Over the years, we have in times of crisis written "I Am" prayers modeled after poem/prayers by Buddhist teacher Thich Nhat Hanh. Once again he speaks to our condition:

"I am the forest that is being cut down.
I am the rivers and the air that are being polluted,
and I am also the person who cuts down the forest
and pollutes the rivers and the air.
I see myself in all species,
and I see all species in me.
— Thich Nhat Hanh in Plum Village Chanting and Recitation Book

The spiritual truth is this: We are the polluted water of the Gulf and we are the polluters. Here is our own "I am" prayer for the Gulf Oil Crisis.


We Are One
by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat

I am the ocean, mighty, wild, and free
and I am being poisoned with oil.
From a hole humans drilled into the earth's skin
flows a stream I cannot stop, threatening all I shelter.
Breath to breath, body to body, we are One.
So be it.

I am a worker who died when the BP oil rig exploded.
I was trying to support my family
and supply a needed resource to my country.
Now I will never see my family and friends again.
Breath to breath, body to body, we are One.
So be it.

I am a worker injured in the Deep Horizon explosion
and I worry about the safety of the oil industry.
I want to know why the regulations and procedures
that were supposed to protect us failed.
Breath to breath, body to body, we are One.
So be it.

I am part of the crew cleaning up this mess.
I am tired and frustrated that the leak is not stopped.
I feel sick from the fumes of the oil and
the chemicals used to disperse it.
Breath to breath, body to body, we are One.
So be it.

I am a charter boat captain on the Gulf Coast.
I love to take people out to see the ocean's beauties.
Nowadays nobody wants to go out for fear of the oil,
and I may lose my boat because I can't pay my bills.
Breath to breath, body to body, we are One.
So be it.

I am a fisherman and I worry about my livelihood.
Vast areas of the ocean are closed to fishing, and
now oil is creeping into the estuaries and marshlands
that serve as fish and shrimp nurseries.
Breath to breath, body to body, we are One.
So be it.

I am an executive from British Petroleum (or
Transocean or Halliburton) called to explain
to Congress how this disaster could have happened,
and I want to blame it on someone else.
Breath to breath, body to body, we are One.
So be it.

I am the CEO of BP and I am willing to publicly take
responsibility for the oil spill but I also want
to protect my company from liability and
the huge costs of the cleanup.
Breath to breath, body to body, we are One.
So be it.

I am President Obama and I grew up in Hawaii
where the ocean is known to be sacred.
I am angry over the oil spill and concerned that
people think the government is not doing enough.
Breath to breath, body to body, we are One.
So be it.

I am a wildlife rescue person and I want to save
the lives of as many innocent creatures as I can.
I am heartbroken at what I am seeing in the Gulf
and hope the affected populations can recover.
Breath to breath, body to body, we are One.
So be it.

I am a dolphin used to swimming freely around
the ocean oil rigs, but now when I dive
and surface I must go through layers of oil.
My pod and I cannot get away from it.
Breath to breath, body to body, we are One.
So be it.

I am a pelican in the Breton National Wildlife Refuge
that is no longer safe for me to raise my family.
My feathers are completely covered with oil,
and I cannot clean them by myself.
Breath to breath, body to body, we are One.
So be it.

I am a sea turtle and the sea I swim in and
the beaches I frequent are saturated with oil.
I wonder how my kind can survive this calamity.
Breath to breath, body to body, we are One.
So be it.

I am a fish (or a crab or a shrimp).
My environment has turned into a toxic soup
of oil and chemical dispersants, and I am
having trouble breathing in the waters I call home.
Breath to breath, body to body, we are One.
So be it.

I am just a tiny organism in the deep sea plankton,
an important part of the food chain for sea creatures.
I am being smothered by oil and dispersant droplets
sinking to the bottom of the ocean.
Breath to breath, body to body, we are One.
So be it.

I am a user of oil and petroleum products.
I know I should reduce my consumption
and live more lightly upon the Earth, but
I resist owning up to my responsibility for the oil spill.
Breath to breath, body to body, we are One.
So be it.

I am an inhabitant of the Earth.
I want things to change and change begins with me.
This deep-sea oil spill is for me both a painful tragedy
and a teachable moment.
Breath to breath, body to body, we are One.
So be it.