Ahh, springtime, glorious springtime. Is it possible to experience this buoyant time of year without feeling a sense of magic? A sense of wonder at the ability of Mother Nature to regenerate herself, time and time again? No matter what has happened, no matter what travails we might have experienced during the winter months, no matter what calamities might have befallen our Great Mother, she appears to us in full regalia, ready, with a childlike innocence, to hold and nurture us, again.
Indeed, the gifts we receive from the earth are plentiful. Our very existence is dependent upon her support, from the food we eat, to the materials we use, to the water we drink—we cannot thrive, or even survive, without constant, close reliance on Her rotund, voluptuous bosom. Our gratitude for her grace should match our need for her care.
However, as we are probably all too aware, this is not always the case. We have all created a world in which the gifts she gives freely are taken—stolen, really—and used selfishly for individual gain. Sometimes we do not even stop to recognize that Her gifts are not ours to claim. However, this is the paradigm we live in, insane as it may be. And to shift it, we must recognize the insanity.
Despite our continual devastation of the only thing that sustains us, I do not believe that destruction is inevitable. Call me naïve, but I still hold out that there is hope for humanity. We humans have an immense capacity for destruction, but so too do we have immense potential for creativity, love, and selflessness. We can choose which wolf to feed, as the old saying goes. And even though, it seems, we have been feeding the bad wolf, there is nothing saying we cannot change our course. In fact, changing course may be the only choice we have.
But how do we go about creating such a radical shift? The answer, I believe, is in recognizing that we are, indeed, earth. In almost every creation myth from every world religion, humans are said to be created from the muddy ground. From Greek mythology, where Prometheus created man from clay, to Incan tradition, where the God Viracocha formed humans from mud during his second attempt at creation, to The Bible, where the “Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground”—a multitude of spiritual traditions pay heed to our deep and intimate connection with the Great Mother.
Even though we may have lost touch with these primeval mythologies, the echoes of our ancient past reverberate in subtle ways through our veins—and the umbilical cord to our Great Mother is never entirely severed. In fact, if it were, we would cease to exist.
A more urgent matter is how we came to be so disconnected from her in the first place, the answer which will undoubtedly bring us closer to healing our rift with her. In my opinion, the answer is the same as to how we have created the disconnection within ourselves. Some call this rift “the mind-body dichotomy”—at some point our mental powers have spiraled out of control and come to dominate and control our bodies—in the same way humans have come to dominate and subdue the earth. On an individual level, when the body and mind are disconnected, it causes illness, emotional issues, and violence—toward ourselves and toward others.
We are not meant to live disconnected from our bodies—just as we aren’t meant to live disconnected from the earth. If we can deepen our connection with our bodies, our emotions, and our purest desires, we can, in turn, hold the earth who nurtures us closer—and live with more balance, intention and integrity.
When we try to heal and protect our planet in a way that disregards our intimate connection with Her, we will not succeed. Even though attempts at protecting our planet, such as those of groups such as Greenpeace, are commendable, they will not prove to be an effective solution if they continue to be rooted in a sense of separation. We’d be better off following the examples of cultures that have developed harmonious relationships with nature—taking and giving back to her with respect and a sense of deep gratitude—and interconnectedness. In the West, even our attempts to preserve nature reflect our sense of disconnection: we see protected land as separate, “pure,” and detached from human activity. We fail to see, or create, a solution where we can live in balance with the earth—we are either destructive and dominant, or not present at all.
Even though healing our connection to the sacred feminine and our planet is a complex and ongoing process, we can start by honoring our own place in the sacred circle. The following meditations are meant as a means to deepen this connection—to our own bodies and to our planet. As spring wakes the earth up from her deep slumber, we too can use this time as an opening to awaken ourselves from the sleep of disconnection from our greatest nurturer and caregiver. Happy spring.
Sacred Tree Meditation
Although our sterile and scientific world might have us see trees solely as fuel, material for paper, or building materials, in truth they are living, breathing organisms with innate abilities to connect to one another and to respond to our emotional energy. We humans have a symbiotic relationship with them, based on the sacred breath, that is truly magical. This meditation is built from this profound relationship.
- Find a beautiful tree that speaks to you, in a place you feel comfortable and safe.
- Sit near, in, or on the tree.
- Notice your feelings as you get comfortable: do you feel safe? Protected? Does your mind feel calm or disjointed? Is it difficult to allow yourself to slow down?
- Touch the tree’s bark, gently. Feel the rough texture with the sensitive tips of your fingers. What colors are interwoven into the bark? It is probably not just brown. What does the bark smell like?
- Thank the tree, for being there, and for providing you with shade, oxygen, peace…how often do we stop and thank plants for all they do? Perhaps we can see them as more than precursors to furniture or lawn ornaments.
- Breathe with the tree: With each exhale, imagine the tree breathing in. As you inhale, realize that you are breathing in oxygen the tree is producing. Touch the tree gently as you do this. Do this for as long as you like.
- To complete the meditation, bow to the tree. Express your gratitude or love to it. You might want to leave behind a gift for the tree: perhaps a small stone, or bead, or jewel. The tree will appreciate the gift and the intention behind it.
- To feel more attuned to the natural world, do this meditation once a week. You might find yourself building an enjoyable relationship with an amazing being.
The Enlightened Consumer: Shopping Meditation
Although there are many sources available telling people what to buy or to avoid, and they probably have some good points, by using our intuitive intelligence, we can make a more informed and empowered choice about what to buy.
- Before going to the store, do 5 to 10 minutes of meditation, connecting in with your breath and body by placing one hand on your stomach and one hand on your heart.
- Connect with the intention to purchase the products which benefit the highest good for your body and for the planet.
- Head to the store, all the while staying connected to your body and breath.
- With each thing you buy, pick it up and ask yourself, how does this make me feel? Notice the subtle sensations in your body.
- As you become more connected to your feelings and your truth, this process becomes simpler and easier.
A Love Letter to Mother Earth
We often take for granted all that the earth does for us—and by writing her a love letter, we can start to understand how much she has given us, and in turn feel nurtured and protected. Through this, we might begin to feel the safety, protection, and nurturing that are always available to us.
- What memories do you have from childhood where you felt connected to nature?
- What times as an adult have you felt protected or nurtured by Mother Nature? How has She healed you?
- Recognize that the products you use every day would not exist of it weren’t for Her. Is there a particular item you are especially thankful for?
- What types of beauty have you observed in Mother Nature, and what has it brought up within you? How has her beauty inspired or gifted you?