A Deeper Relationship With Earth

Sunrise, Tara Mandala, 4:30 am


It’s 4:20 am and I’m awake. Sleepily, my eyes open to the amazing night sky out the window just next to my bed. For some reason, even though this day is going to be a long, full one and I know I will need the sleep, I can’t sleep. The light from the soon-to-be-rising sun is just barely perceptible along the edge of the San Juan Mountain range outside my window, and even now at this early hour, the saffron-colored walls begin to come alive with this new day.

As I lie here hoping to go back to sleep, deeper within I know something different. I hear an inner voice say, “Get up and go outside.” This  beautiful land is inviting me outside. The land called me here to Tara Mandala, and I responded. I am here for just a few days to co-lead WisdomWomen’s Visionary Gathering. My time here is precious.

So, I get up, throw on my clothes, grab my camera (phone) and journal. I head out into the early morning, down the stairs of Prajna Residence Hall, and out on the path to the community center. Along the way, I pass by the small pond along the road and turn to see the color of the sun barely noticeable in the water’s reflection. I take a picture. It is time-stamped 4:34. It is early and cold. There are no signs of anyone else up yet.

Temple at Tara Mandala Buddhist Retreat Center

As I enter the community building, it is dark. The kitchen staff doesn’t begin till much later. I decide to have coffee, something I do when I am away, especially when I am on retreat. The coffee smells divine as it drips into my cup. I then take my hot cup and journal and go outside to a spot I’d found the day before, just off the side of the community building. There are two plastic chairs. So I sit down in one. My view is looking out at the Tibetan red temple up on the hill where we began our retreat the night before and where we will spend much of our full day ahead. It’s still dark so the temple is hard to make out, but even so, I can see the recognizable red from this distance. As I sit and take it all in, I can feel Her. I can feel the earth –swollen with life waking up from a night separated from the sun.

I pull out my journal and write:

The land here at Tara Mandala is incredibly powerful. She has a kind of holding I’ve never experienced before. I woke up at 4:00 am and felt Her pull in my heart. She told me to come to her, down into Her. To look directly into Her heart. To remember what it is to be Her daughter, and to now wake up to and grow into the sacred blueprint of what it is to be a mature human being who loves all of Her children as She does. To be here, now, fully and open-heartedly, as a vital member of Her joyful family. She longs for this. She longs for us to remember and see and know the beauty of Her heart and soul, and to walk on Her skin with delight and a fierce determination to return Her body to a home where all beings are safe and at peace.

This is the great trauma we have endured and are enduring- this separation from the Great Mother, from Her love, which is also the painful separation from each other and all beings. And She is clear, we can return to Her right now, at any moment by feeling how our blood and bones are held in the rivulets of her waters and the deep valleys of her heart. 

Here, right now, I can feel her so clearly. I can feel her love. I feel immersed in her. Everything in me ripples with her love. Time seems to stand still as I watch the sun come closer, the Blue Jays flit between branches, and the Deer meander through the meadow directly in front of me. The Jays are noisy this morning. Probably they are noisy every morning, but their insistence on being heard reminds me of how life is busy at this time of day even though most humans are still fast asleep.

I sit and sip my coffee, just listening and watching as life emerges from night to day. To fall into her embrace, we must soften. We must let go into being here and being human.

I am softening into her, and as I do I am consciously choosing to be here, now. To be here fully in my life. To accept that she is my mother and I am her daughter. To no longer fight against life. To draw her nourishment up into me through deep strong roots into her. I never put these roots down into her because for most of my life I didn’t want to be here. I think this is more common than we believe.

Without the roots, we cannot be nourished by her.

Without the roots, we float in our human existence.

Without these roots, we cannot know the depth of love that is here for us, and cannot truly love her and be the eyes, the ears, the touch, and a voice for her soul.


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9 Replies to “A Deeper Relationship With Earth”

  1. Loving so many lines, such a sense of depth and inner knowing…such a blessing of the self…the soul. Thank you Julie.

  2. I’m so drawn to what you’re sharing here, Julie, and want to know more, to hear more, about what it means to be rooted in the way you’re speaking of. Is it mostly about taking the time to be mindfully present to Earth – sitting with an open heart toward Her? What else might be involved in growing my roots? There is something that continually feels distanced, to me, from Her about the carefully manicured and contained pieces of Her that surround me in my neighborhood/metropolis (L.A.). I feel like I need to peel something back to find Her true essence, but I’m not sure where to begin, and wonder whether I’m simply missing what is already and always here.

    1. Hello, Dear Kristin!
      Such good questions. I’m writing about this in my book – the end of the book. It’s been a long journey for me. What I know now is that we must listen for Her to Her, feel Her, open to Her, with a sincere desire to love Her, to be Her daughter, to realize She is suffering yet at the same time so deeply in love with us. For me, grief has been my way into Her. But She took me in. She showed me just how deeply I am loved. And in that love I began to feel the grief of turning my back on Her. I asked for Her forgiveness. And I dedicated my life to Her. She gives it to us. This is very personal, yet I feel compelled to share it here.
      What you say about peeling a layer back. I understand that. Yes, here where I live, I have to find the places where She feels accessible. I go to the Presidio where there is dirt, there are trees. Where I can smell Her and hear Her. Yes, She is here, always here. And there are places where it is easier. It’s good to notice the distance. Look for places where that distance isn’t so great. Go on a journey to find places near you where you feel that distance grow smaller and where Her essence grows more palpable. Each person’s relationship with Her is different. She does want this.
      Llewellyn Vaughn-Lee wrote: “From heart to heart, from soul to soul, there is a call and a response. The Earth calls—out of a deep longing in the Earth for its sacred nature to be recognized, for its heart to be seen and known—for the Real to return.” He offers us something to guide us.
      Much love to you.

      1. All of this is beautifully put – thank you. I’ll sit with what you’ve shared and with my own heart and see where it all leads… Much love back.

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