Written by Dave Inglis: Like most people in our society, I live most of my life in buildings or in a car driving on asphalt to other buildings. “Nature” is someplace I can go “out to” for an occasional visit, but before long I want to return to the comforts and conveniences of the world of “indoors.” In 2017 I attended a Rising with Roots retreat (an experiential retreat based on Joanna Macy’s The Work that Reconnects). We were given the assignment of going out of the retreat house and into woods with a question for Mother Nature and a journal, and of listening for an answer. My question for Mother Nature was, “How can I overcome my separation from you?” After I wandered around for awhile and finally sat down, here’s what came to me, as quickly as I could write it down:
I am your mother. From me comes everything that sustains you--every breath that fills your lungs, every drink that quenches your thirst, every bite that fills your belly and nourishes your body.
From me come the raw materials for the house that shelters you, the clothes that cover you, the car that takes you where you want to go.
From me came your parents, and sisters, children, friends, everyone you see, and all the people you don't see who make all the things that you use.
From me come your natural abilities to see, hear, smell, taste, touch, walk, speak, think, imagine, create, love, and serve.
You are not separate from me at all. Your separation is in your perception, because you focus on your thoughts but not how it is you think them; on your food but not how it is grown; on your possessions but not what they are made from; on the people in your life but not how it is they came to be.
By cultivating mindfulness and humble gratitude for all of these gifts, the veil between your perception and your reality can dissolve-- if you choose it to. It is that simple, and you may return to me at any time to remind you. I hope you do--for your sake, for my other human and non-human creatures’ sake, and for mine.
Our destinies are all intertwined.