I arrived home last night after just over two weeks of travel. Not the longest period of time to be away; yet, somehow
The feeling of coming home was wonderful. Even though I was away experiencing wonderful, beautiful, life-changing things, I needed to come home…come deeply home. I mean this both literally and metaphorically, and the two are intertwined.it felt like I’d been gone a long time.
When I walked in the door, I realized just how much the last two weeks had transformed me and my relationship to home. I felt more home than I ever have, and it’s no accident that this comes from profoundly shifting my relationship to the earth and to life.
I was lucky to spend time on the land in both Alaska and Montana, and I experienced both places as very different in feeling. But, what shifted was how I relate to the land. This relationship has been shifting over time; yet, beginning a practice of active contemplation and prayer to the land, to pachamama, and witnessing how she responds has softened me to what it means to be alive.
During the five days of reatreat at Feathered Pipe, which I co-led with Michael Lennox and Karen Chrappa, the land wove its medicine deep into my bones. From the moment I was asked to come teach, the land began to call. I heard it. I trusted what I knew. I didn’t know how things would unfold, but I could tell the land was calling.
When I arrived at Feathered Pipe, I could feel the softness of the land, and I could feel myself settle into its embrace. I could feel the earth’s open arms.
Over our time there, we held beautiful ceremonies that helped us learn how to weave our love and prayers into the land. I moved from a knowing of earth’s sacredness to an active remembrance of her sacredness, to an active and whole-hearted thank you to Pachamama for everything she gives so graciously, so readily, and with such love.
Remembrance and voice, woven together, weave us into the land. Karen Chrappa guided me to come to know this, how deeply we are loved by the earth, how each of us is her child and how alive this relationship is. When we remember this, and when we actively engage in this relationship, when we are truly grateful for what is given, coming to see through the lies of entitlement and privilege, we begin to hear and see and feel and know that the beauty of the earth is the very same beauty in ourselves.
It can feel like a stretch to consider that the earth is alive and has a soul…yet, it is so. While it can feel easier to know this and feel this when we are out somewhere in nature, like I was in Montana, our task, our very important task, is to come to know this deep connection to our true home right here, right where we live, deep in the city where the concrete covers the dirt, or deep in the suburbs where strip malls line our streets.
This relationship is crucial. Coming back into Pachamama’s embrace through remembrance, through gratitude, through an active celebration of the wonder of life is what helps us remember our true nature as earth and water, fire and air. We humans are not owed anything. We have tried to make ourselves believe that we are, yet somewhere deep inside we know it is not so. Entitlement and privilege cut us off from the nourishment and sustenance that active receiving and remembering offer.
There is no succor in entitlement. There is no relationship when we are steeped in false privilege.
There is no possibility to know the aliveness in our cells that dances in all of life when we keep taking, taking, taking as if there is an endless supply of earth to consume.
Deep in the belly of home we know this to be so, and the soul comes to know satiation when a true and real and whole ‘Thank you’ is lived and offered.
I have not known why my path has been to travel to so many ‘alive’ places. I do know that many places have called to me and I have had the profound luxury of being able to answer the calls. I am coming to see that one of the elements of wisdom growing inside me is this relationship with the land, is this known experience of the uniqueness of the song that each place sings. I am coming to know great reverence for life through this body I’ve been so generously gifted with.
Being here, right here, fully here, is to be in relationship with the earth, with life. Breathing in the belly. Listening to life’s song, and singing to life in return. Receiving what is offered, with gratitude. And, knowing it is all given because life lives for life. We’ve been taught we get because we are ‘owed’, yet receiving is entirely different. Receiving happens when we come to know that the love is infinite. It is a flow. Love asks us to receive, deeply, so deeply that we finally come to know that hole we’ve been trying to fill in our hearts can only be filled by this love.
I am coming to see how little I know, except what I know in my bones, and I know it in my bones because they are awake and alive and grateful with celebration and ceremony. I know my practice will now actively include these things. Something has awakened within.
I’d love to know how you’ve come to know the sacredness of the land and of your own body. I’d love to know how that is for you. Please share with me and with others in the comments, if you feel called to.
photo by Anne Jablonski