A REFLECTION ON RECONNECTING WITH THE EARTH
If I could sing the opening of this article, I would start with a chant that I’ve spontaneously opened or closed presentations with when I felt called to do so:
“We Are One
With the Soul
Of the Earth
I love Earth — deeply, truly, fully.
Earth loves me — deeply, truly, fully.
The love she has for me is not monogamous.
She freely offers herself to anyone who is open to receive her gifts.
She requires no payment for her love, yet responds to respect, gratitude, and affection, like any beloved.
This is not anthropomorphizing. Earth is so far beyond, so much more than just homo sapiens. She is alive, breathing, flowing with movement, birthing and dying in every moment. The earth is comprised of billions of creatures revealing innumerably diverse layers of microscopic to macroscopic forms of life. She has been cast as less than the living, sensate being that she is, but that is not the truth of Gaia, the Earth. Viewing the earth as inanimate has allowed human beings to steal her body bit by bit, chunk by chunk, tree by tree, in the name of industry and progress. It has allowed people to foul and poison her air, water and land, and greedily misuse her creative fire without regard for the mystery of interconnection, and certainly without gratitude and a sense of reciprocity.
And this reciprocity matters. I’ve observed over thirty years of helping people reconnect with the Earth physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually as part of their studies of herbal medicine, that rekindling the awareness of this living connection helps a person to reconnect with and liberate their own authentic self. And as it says over the doorway at the temple of Delphi, “Know thyself.” And as Shakespeare reiterated, “To thine own self be True”.
We know the truth of our individual and collective connection with the Earth and one another innately, at a cellular level. But this connection has to be felt to become knowledge. It needs to be more than just a belief or an idea in our minds. We need to experience the reality of it in our bodies. We are living in an evolutionary time, a bridge time between where we have been and where we are going. Perhaps most importantly, this time is about choosing how we will approach the challenges facing us. We are being called to move from relying solely on intellectual understanding to remembering how to reincorporate experiential knowledge. When we embody something, we know it for ourselves. As we have cut ourselves off from the Earth, and from our interconnection with all life, imagining ourselves above all that is not human, or rather succumbing to the fantasy that this is reality, we have also cut ourselves off from our bodies. We’ve learned not to trust our own senses. Nor even to consult them. And thus, it is much easier for us to become confused as we are lied to, manipulated, and led to act against our own best interests and those of our fellow creatures. Some even like to imagine that we can leave the earth a mess and rocket off to find a new planet to inhabit and conquer. It is counter-productive to indulge in this kind of immature thinking. We need to grow, to become more like plants and trees, our elders.
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