by Meg Beeler
Your body “knows” connection with nature when you hike, garden, watch the moon rise, or collect stones and shells. Your heart remembers your own and your children’s joy in climbing trees, swimming in creeks, catching polliwogs.
Yet you’ve mostly forgotten how to sustain your relations with mountains and trees from day to day. You may be culturally hesitant, being drawn to indigenous people but not fully believing you are a relative of earth and sky, deer and snake, mosquito and fish.
Even when you love the earth, your personal and cultural separation from nature can be a major source of dissonance and alienation. Yet there’s hope. When you work with intent and focus to strengthen your connections and repair what’s broken—just as in any relationship—you will become empowered and energized.
?In developing a relationship with a specific creature, plant, or place in nature—using your experience and direct perception rather than your ideas about something—you experience the world differently, with deepening intimacy. You nurture your sense of wonder, becoming re-enchanted with nature. In building a relationship over time, you open yourself to deep conversation. The aliveness of the land engages with you. Your compassion, empathy, and heart connections expand. Blending nature (the physical) and spirit (the mystical) together, you develop filaments of connection that weave into your life in mysterious ways.
When you develop relationships in nature, you start with where you are. You might start with a single tree in the neighborhood, a city park, a creek or a boulder, a hillock or a prairie. It might be a place in your imagination, one you’ve visited or wish you could visit.
The point is to learn how to connect and exchange energy with the other living beings who have inhabited this planet for 3.5 billion years: who else has this track record of wisdom and survival?
You spend every day of your life on the earth; she’s always with you. When you develop a relationship with the earth and her creatures, you are never alone.
Connecting, Filling, and Opening to the Earth
When you touch earth, the earth touches you. Your intent to connect paves the way.
Mother Earth, as she is called around the world, supports our feet, our cars, our homes, our water supply. You spend every day of your life with her; she’s always with you! Shifting from taking her for granted to calling on her and connecting with her is simple; the energy you can draw upon to do this is profound. Indigenous peoples take in energy from the earth; you can too. What I have discovered is that the more I connect to the earth, the less alone, isolated, and disconnected I feel.
When you are tired after a long meeting, three hours of conference calls, or running around after some five-year-olds, you can use the practices in this book to release the fatigue and draw in energy from the earth, opening to her support and power. When you do this regularly, you will notice a stronger and stronger connection developing, along with a changed sense of self and ego.
You Are Nature
You have to spend time outside—observing, listening, being—to sense the environment as your extended body. Being outside with a specific tree gives you a “perceptual” or experiential sense of the feeling of its bark, leaves, and shape. Being outside offers you direct experience of the smell of wet earth, the feel of the wind, and the shifting colors of your favorite lake. The more you are outside, deeply filling yourself with such sensations, the more you become an embodied part of the whole.
Imagine you are walking through a forest. Your habit is to look at the trees and enjoy the views. Maybe you identify the birds or native plants; possibly you notice the relationships of a particular species to the environment. Maybe you can even name most plant, animal, insect, and reptile species in the ecosystem. All these skills and habits come from information about the forest; they come from the mind.
What if, noticing a bobcat, you slowly, very slowly, approach it? What if the bobcat stops and watches you? Suddenly you are paying attention to sound, movement, breath, and footfall; you are shifting out of mind. What if the bobcat lets you approach? Your heart hammers, and your body becomes very still. What if the bobcat lets you sit and share the forest, even lets you sing to him?
Now you are in your body, your senses; now you are feeling the connection with the bobcat. You have moved from looking at to being with. You’ve opened your resonant heart to engage with the living energy of this other being.
Deepening Your Relationship with One Place
Establishing a relationship with the natural world is like nurturing one with a human: it takes care, time, intent, and mutual exchange.
I read about a man in Arizona who took the same hike in the mountains around Tucson every day for ten years. His deep familiarity let him know the seasons, the effects of drought on the creatures and plants, and changes over time. Many cultures have practices like this: a Zen Buddhist monk is assigned a nine-year, daily cycle of circumambulation; a young Masai warrior is instructed, as part of his initiation, to go into the bush with nothing but his spear until he kills a lion. Luckily, lion killing is not part of our culture, and there are other ways to practice deepening by establishing your relationship with place.
Return to one place—a single tree, a lake, a stream, a mountain, a trail near where you live, a corner of the park—regularly. Experience it with all your senses—feel the breeze on your face, taste the warmth of the sun on your skin, let the sounds vibrate into your cells, and notice when the energy changes. The more you know it, the more you deepen and expand your awareness of who lives there, how the season change, what plant beings thrive there. With this understanding, your perception grows and grows, as does your connection. Out of connection flows reciprocity.
About the author:
Meg Beeler M.A. is an internationally known author, shamanic healer and Energy Alchemy™ expert. She is a graduate of UC Berkeley and Antioch College. Meg lives on Sonoma Mountain in the San Francisco Bay Area. http://www.megbeeler.com
New book examines the shift from an ancient female-centric world to a imbalanced left-brain, male-defined society and its role in the oppression of women and environmental abuse worldwide.
In “Stampede of the Natives, Linguistic Tracks Unveiling the Loss of the Mystical Kundalini,” Barbara Redzisz uses her own personal experience along with years of research into the very roots of language to explore both the little understood kundalini experience and the shift to an imbalanced, left-brain-oriented and male-defined societal structure. Redzisz posits that devaluation of the feminine has resulted in abusive practices, such as human trafficking, and extends even to the body of Mother Earth through environmental misuse and exploitation.
When she had her own ecstatic kundalini experience at the feet of the late female guru Ma Jaya Sati Bhagavati, Redzisz swept aside mystical considerations and began to explore the largely misunderstood kundalini experience. She proposes that the ecstatic and pleasurable experience first arose as a natural anesthetic during the last stages of childbirth in ancient times as a result of the rapid birthing breath. The experience of borderline trance and breathless ecstasy awakened fearlessness, leadership, prophecy and healing within the birthing mother, Redzisz says, and the book outlines her journey of discovery regarding how that ancient mother-based experience was suppressed and mystified.
After studying phonetics and linguistics while earning her master’s degree in speech and communication from Columbia University and experiencing the kundalini herself, Redzisz set out to find the source of the ancient, destructive shift to left-brained, male centrality. She realized the only potsherds remaining from that prehistoric time were the basic sounds of language. In “Stampede of the Natives,” she presents conclusions from her more than 30 years of research, which she calls Original Sound Discovery. Redzisz traces the source of the shapes and sounds of the Western alphabet and illustrates her proposal that their roots lie in the features on the face of the individual mother and of the Earth. She reveals the hidden linguistic tracks that traverse the fabric of many languages, discovering parallels within an overlooked history when “her story” became “heresy.”
“The women’s movement was beginning to expose us to a parallel, if neglected reality. It came out of a prehistoric time when there was mother centrality,” she writes. “It was to those ancient sounds of language that I had to turn to find a way back into what I began to perceive as humanity’s almost hidden mother centered prehistory.” Redzisz calls for repairing ourselves by pairing up the over developed left (male) brain hemisphere once again with the right (female) hemisphere to create balance.
“Stampede of the Natives,” published by Peppertree Press, is available through wholesale distribution outlets, such as Ingram, Baker and Taylor, and Books in Print, as well as online at www.amazon.com, www.barnesandnoble.com, www.booksamillion.com and www.peppertreepublishing.com. More information is available at www.BarbaraHammerstein.com.
About the Author:
Barbara Redzisz was born in Warsaw, Poland, and immigrated to the United States as a small child. While singing in Broadway shows, she earned her bachelor’s degree in philosophy at Hunter College in New York City, and subsequently, received her master’s degree in speech and communication from Columbia University. Her theatrical career spanned the golden age of musical theatre in the late 1950s and early 1960s when she performed with luminaries like Bette Davis and Phil Silvers. She hosted her own radio show on WRVR-FM, and is the author of three other books, including “Cinderella after the Ball,” which details her life in the theatre and her marriage to, and divorce from, Jimmy Hammerstein, who was the son of Oscar Hammerstein II.
Peppertree Press * September 2013 * ISBN 978-1-61493-152-2 * $19.95 * Softcover * 293 pages
By Barry Dennis
Earth Day is the day when millions of people in 172 countries all over the globe share their appreciation for our beautiful planet. What are you giving back to the earth this year?
You might believe that one person can’t do a lot. But if we take the time to change a few small behaviors, we can make a difference collectively.
Here are six ways to be part of that effort.
Precycle before you recycle.
Precycling is the art of returning a thing to the earth before it was even taken, saving our resources and creating a brighter future. What kinds of things can you precycle? How about bottled water or plastic grocery bags? You can drink water out of a reusable water bottle, and pack your groceries in a reusable cloth bag. You’ve just precycled, preventing two plastic items from ending up in the refuse stream. Less demand for these items leads to less production.
Flick a switch.
This is simple. Begin to make it a habit to turn off the lights whenever you are leaving a room. Turn off the water when brushing or even while soaping up in the shower, then turn it back on to rinse off. Turn off your car ignition when you’re waiting for someone. Every time you flick the switch, you are also flicking a switch in your brain that helps to reinforce the behavior and turn it into a good habit—the habit of conserving.
If it ain’t broke, don’t replace it.
Before upgrading to the newest iPhone or a bigger-model flat-screen TV, ask yourself if it will make your life better than if you simply kept the model you already have. Take a moment to really visualize all the earth’s resources it took to make these items. You could save some of earth’s resources by simply waiting six months or a year before replacing something old with something new. At the end of that time, assess whether the quality of your life was seriously compromised by hanging on to that older model.
Change the demand.
Our system of supply and demand is a good thing. That is, when we demand goods that are actually, well, good—good for our health, our home, and our planet. By bringing greater awareness to what we consume, we change the demand that must create a new supply. Consider organic food, which does not use pesticides or hormones. These are not only better for our home planet, they are also healthier for our “home bodies.” Increasing the demand will change our common agricultural practices so the supply naturally shifts for all our benefit.
Want what you already have.
We sometimes think that “stuff” will make us happy, like a shiny new car or another pair of shoes. But who and what really makes you happy: your pets, your family, your friends? Your work, your leisure activities, your home? Right. This Earth Day, think about those you love, as well as the things around you that make your life easier, more fun, or more comfortable. Give thanks for all that you have, instead of wanting more.
Declutter your life.
In celebration of Earth Day, walk around your house and get rid of everything that’s not useful or healthful. Go through your bathroom, closets, drawers, kitchen cupboards, garage, basement, porch, and yard. Recycle everything you can, and donate the rest. Cleaning up your immediate environment will make you feel happier. Keep your empty space empty. The earth will thank you.
Barry Dennis is an internationally known inspirational speaker and spiritual teacher. His new book is The Chotchky Challenge: Clear the Clutter from Your Home, Heart, and Mind…and Discover the True Treasure of Your Soul (Hay House, April 2012). Learn more at www.BarryADennis.com.
By Marlene Buffa
The month of May joyfully reminds us of the rebirth of nature. In acknowledgment, we celebrate Mother’s Day – honoring our birth mothers, and ultimately our spiritual mothers. Symbolizing the greater gifts of the earth as Mother to all living things, we dedicate one day to recognizing our origins by honoring she who gave us life, and the earth which sustains our life. This month, take a look at your own walk on the planet, and see the many different forces which give birth to your potential.
Safe and secure
From the moment of conception to birth, our life depends on our mother for development. Not only do we grow in the biological sense, but Mother sets the precedent for her role as nurturer and protector. We flourish at an alarming rate of cell duplication and soon, enter the world as a complete physical being. We take for granted Mother is there for us, tending to our basic human infant needs and offering love and support for our emotional growth, as well. Mother taught us to adapt and improvise, demonstrating overcoming obstacles and making way for better things.
Mother Earth, as we experience her, always existed. From the day of our birth to our last day, the constancy of our world never waivers. We depend on gravity and the tides, sunrises and sunsets as the natural and normal courses of each day. We go through each day silently grateful for such support, and if something shakes our foundation, Mother Earth heals herself rather quickly, or she changes entirely in response to the occasion, usually producing a shift greater in magnificence than what suffered the loss.
Savvy mothers allowed us to make mistakes. While the lessons often eluded us, Mother pointed out that we learn from errors as well as successes. In short, our Mothers provided a sense of direction as well as buoyancy on the rough waters of life. We value her opinion, her steadfastness and her willingness to navigate while we steer the ship ourselves. While patient or not with our explorations, Mother helps us to set goals ourselves while giving us the space to change course and consider different directions.
North and South, East and West, Mother Earth grounds us in geography and geology. We learn our limitations in conquering mountains, rough waters and ocean depths, yet the challenge remains to find an inside passage which best suits our goals. Encountering the inevitable heights of difficulties, or diving deeply into despair, Mother Earth stands unmoved by our machinations and simply “is.” With so much to see and explore, we uncover parts of ourselves as depicted in earthly landscapes. The patient giant, Earth gives us unending opportunity to make mistakes and try again. When our direction becomes clear with all obstacles removed, we advance to even higher ground of who we truly are in the wind of our achievement; we transform into a spiritual being even better than before!
Birth to potential
At the time of birth, no one, including Mother, knew our future. Perhaps her newest bundle of joy would grow to cure cancer, write a symphony or free a nation. Rarely would Mother desire anything negative for her baby. Doing her best with her given conditions and circumstances, Mother nurtured, loved and taught us to develop and pursue our dreams. She provided what loving support possible and released her umbilical hold on our sovereign consciousness so we could venture into the world to experience and achieve our finest potential.
Our Earth Mother provides us with soil to grow our food, oceans and animals to harvest for our nourishment. Learning from her and from one another, we make our way through life by discovering new edible food or methods to improve our chances in hunting and gathering. Mother Earth provides us with a canvas by meeting all our basic needs and freeing us to explore what we do with the palette of pure potential.
Birth to ourselves
As an infant – and more importantly as an adult – we exist as pure potential. As we age, we learn and acquire cynicism and doubt, and many times long to revert back to a womb of protection to shield us from the hazards of the rocky life we befell. When we separate from mother, in the physical and emotional sense, we realize our glory as an autonomous individual and discover the greatness within us. Giving thanks to Mother for all she provided, especially life itself, we expand our horizons and explore possibilities separate from her.
Mother Earth, too, gave birth to man’s potential. In space exploration, we separated from the earth and atmosphere to explore the unknown, moving further and further away. Like a child whose distance-radius expands with confidence, our daring missions away from Earth grow larger with each effort. And, like the child who returns to mother, we return to the earth, compelled by the need for grounding and the pull of gravitational force. When reunited, we share our discoveries with our fellow travelers in the hopes that one day they, too, reach far only to find themselves.
We give thanks to our Mothers and to Mother Earth for nurturing and sustaining us throughout our lifetime. Understanding that direction and guidance give way to discovering our own path, we strive to make the most of our talents and gifts. In separating from the gravitational pull of Mother Earth and the loving connection from Mother, we realize our individuality creates our potential. This month we may share flowers or a meal with Mother, giving her gifts of Earth itself, for they are one, as are we all.
Taking a quiet sideways glance at life, Marlene offers insight through her words from experiences. . A student of new-thought teachings, Marlene finds practical spirituality around every corner and seeks wisdom through observation of life’s inter-relationships. Sometimes playful, sometimes poignant, always thought-provoking, her writing inspires readers in meaningful ways.