Today is Earth Day.
When we say, Happy Earth Day!, what are we really saying? We seem to be able to commoditize anything here in the West, especially the US, so the question seems very important.
Are we wishing each other a great day of celebration? A day to celebrate that we live on this amazing planet?
Are we attempting to remember the Earth in a way that brings awareness to our Mother’s plight?
Are we wanting to begin to live more in harmony with Her, attempting to be more conscious of how we treat Her, of how we see Her, of what we do to Her?
Is it just about us, to help us feel better because we, as a human whole, really don’t give Her much thought nor appreciate just how reliant we are on Her for our lives?
Is it for a Happy Earth? If so, maybe we need every day to be Earth Day for a long time, ’cause I’m feeling our Mother is not so happy.
About seven years ago, I was hiking on Mount Shasta with my partner. We’d had one of the most beautiful days of hiking I think I’ve ever experienced. If you’ve never been to Mount Shasta, it is a remarkable mountain. I know I am not the only one to feel or experience the ability to feel Mother Earth when you are on this mountain.
As we were headed back from our hike, we walked into Panther Meadow. Suddenly, I could feel the pain of the Earth. I could ‘hear’ her song and it wasn’t a song of lightness. It was a song of pain. I began to weep and I could not stop for quite a while. My partner just held me. He completely understood the depth of my feeling, even if he wasn’t feeling it himself. The feeling of grief seared my body, for it is through my body that I feel Her body.
If we stop and pay attention, if we really feel and listen, if we open our heart to Mother Earth, what will we feel?
What will we come to see?
How will we be touched?
How might it change our relationship to Her?
It is our relationship to Her that matters so much right now. We humans have threatened OUR existence as a species. It can be easy to brush this off because we’ve lived our whole lives on Mother Earth and it can feel like we, and future generations, will always live life here, especially a life where the majority of people have their needs met.
But if we keep going the way we are going, if we do not stop to really pay attention to Her, it seems pretty clear that we’ve already altered how we are living, as well as the kind of life that future generations of human beings will live. And, we don’t have to look far to see how we humans have altered life for other species.
What does it mean to be in relationship with Mother Earth?
In many, many ways, especially for women, it can be likened to how we are in relationship to our own bodies. For Mother Earth is where our bodies come from. She is where we receive our sustenance and nourishment. She offers us her waters and oxygen. She is where we will return to when we die.
I know, personally, how difficult it can be to remember to pay attention to Her and what is being done to Her in my day-to-day life, making ends meet, taking care of my needs and those of my family. I know how easy it is to take Her for granted, just as I take my body for granted and the wonder that it is.
Our love affair with thinking and logic and reason keeps us up and away from a conscious, feeling relationship with matter. We’ve made reason and science and logic our Holy Grail. And, we’re told God is the one who sits on high, away from Earth. But, that just isn’t so. The divine is in everything, including matter. And, yes, the word matter and Mother have the same root, linguistically.
We can begin to remember Her every day, when we begin to touch our own bodies with attention, our full awareness. We can deepen our relationship with Her when we deepen it with our body.
Can we come down fully into the body, fully into our cells with awareness?
Can we know we belong here in these bodies, here on this planet?
Can we feel ourselves holding ourselves with great affection and compassion?
Can we just be willing to feel, period?
Can we listen to Mother Earth, open heart to the ground? Are we willing to feel what we discover?
I have a sense that we don’t realize just how deeply Her pain affects us. How could it not? She is our Mother.
A few years ago, I wrote this post for Earth Day in which I shared a wonderful practice to help bring you and your body in closer relationship to Mother Earth. I hope you’ll take a moment to try it.
Happy Earth Day!