Saturday, April 24, 2010
I have trouble with the whole idea of "Earth Day" which seems to only honor the earth one day or week of the year. I feel the same way about Valentine's Day and how wrapped up our culture gets lost in romantic love and expressions as opposed to loving deeply each day. I'm not saying that everyone only recognizes and appreciates the earth on a certain day. I think the intention of Earth Day is wonderful, it's just that most people either feel too overwhelmed, confused, or hopeless to know where to start to help our earth and how to make it last.
The phrase, "As Above so below, As within so without," comes to mind when I think about where we are as a culture and how that impacts the earth. The expression of "As above, so below..." originated in ancient Egypt and became a major principle for alchemists and magicians. Today, many of us who believe or practice magic still believe in that truth. I don't interpret that belief to mean we're responsible for everything we experience because we created the thoughts or fears inside us first. It's ignorant and cruel to use that way of thinking when people experience tragedy. How I interpret the alchemists philosophy is that what we are experiencing internally influences how we view the external. What does this say for us then?
Most of us don't know how to properly nurture, protect, or love ourselves. So how can anyone expect then that we know how to heal and take care of the earth ? We all could start with a little more compassion for ourselves and others. With compassion we can learn greater acceptance, kindness and wisdom. There's a difference between being selfish in an unhealthy way as opposed to having self-love in beneficial ways. Most of the time we're not conscious of the millions of internal voices that constantly berate, criticize or make ourselves feel horrible. If we could slow down and hear what we're saying to ourselves, we'd be appalled. We don't talk to the people we love this way, so why do we treat ourselves so horribly?
One of the easiest ways to love ourselves more is to connect with nature because nature gives so much back to us. I'm not talking only about going outside, for walks, hikes, camping etc...Each moment of the day we're interacting with all the elements of Earth. For example, we breathe in oxygen, we drink water, we eat the food that came from the earth, we take medicine and vitamins that are all derivatives of what is found on the earth and on and on. We just forget how much we rely on nature and she on us. I believe then if we really want to make a difference to help the earth, we start small. Notice the next time you drink water how it tastes and imagine where did it originate from. When you eat, think of how it started in the earth and how the wind, rain, and the sun shaped it. These are just tiny examples of how much we depend on and the earth. I don't want to sound like those angry and pessimistic people who preach about how much we've destroyed the earth and we're all heading for a cataclysmic end if we don't do this or that.
We humans have the capability to change for the greater good as well as we have the power to destroy. We've just forgotten who we really are and what gifts we can bring to the world. Meditate upon your passions and what brings you the greatest joy in life that doesn't depend on how much it costs or looks. That's where you start to focus on change, real change for the earth. Help the earth because you want to and not because it's the "right thing to do" or if you don't do anything you'll feel guilty. Those lessons never helped us as children in any valuable way. It's not going to start now that we're adults. Children are great teachers in the way that they receive so much from nature in the simplest of ways. To have that joy, enthusiasm and appreciation for all the gifts that the earth gives us can help us to heal old wounds. We can then help to restore and renew the earth where she needs it most.
I'll end this post with one of my favorite poems; "Wild Geese" by Mary Oliver
You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting--
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.