There is nothing quite like the wild beauty of nature to bring out the life and joy in all of us. The earth sustains us, nurtures us, we breathe the air, drink the waters, eat from the soil. It’s the clearest, simplest concept I can think of, yet has become one that is remote and complex for people to understand deeply. My 5 year old nephew and I had some little discussions about what the earth is, where it is (wow!), and how we need to be gentle with it and protect it in everything we do. We talked about the importance of saving, instead of wasting (“what’s waste?”) and the difference between natural and synthetic, and why it makes sense to eat things that are natural, derived directly from the earth, and doesn’t make sense to eat those neon orange tic tacs he was sure he wanted in the checkout aisle.
Making a change here depends on each of our desire to educate ourselves, and come to an understanding of the real consequences of our actions. Children need to be provided with information – which they are always seeking – so they can develop an awareness of the bigger picture. As adults we need to consider our actions carefully and make thoughtful choices based on relativities greater than ourselves and the narrow view that is so easy to get caught in. It’s too easy to get stuck in the “everything is everything” mentality – which is a phrase we use here to describe when people have lost the ability to discern, and end up going along with what ever is happening just because it is happening. It takes a sustained effort to live conscientiously, but as we make choices that are relative to the earth, and relative to all life, we become part of life again. We become stronger and more vibrant, we remember in a deep way that we are part of this planet. When we become an integrated part of the whole of life again, is when change and healing can happen.