by Tracie Nichols
In light of last week’s earthquake and tsunami in Japan, Tracie offers a deeper context of Mama Earth’s readjustments. It seems that we often sleepwalk through our routines, expecting everything to stay the same, according to our human comfort and needs. But really we’re riding on a big cosmic elephant, and sometimes the elephant just stretches or scratches herself, and it’s nothing personal, just the natural flow.
My youngest child, who was obviously uneasy, asked me, “Are there earthquakes in Pennsylvania?” His question wasn’t a surprise. The steady stream of grim images from very visibly publicized earthquakes has been a constant presence. He’s not alone in his growing unease with the reliability of the Earth as a safe home. I’ve heard the same thing from clients and friends, as well.
So, how do we continue to trust the Earth? In my case, as someone whose relationship with the Earth and the natural world is a deeply intrinsic component of core identity and spirituality – that’s one of those “BIG” questions. Since the Earth is our home, as well as an amazing sentient being, I think it’s a relationship worth preserving. I also think it’s important to mention that it is not my sense as a nature intuitive that Mama Gaia is trying to shrug us off her back for any eco-damage we may have done. With the most profound respect and compassion for the people, animals, and plant beings wounded by recent events, I don’t think they are a signal not to trust the Earth anymore.
First, it’s important to recognize that some cultures, mostly European-based, have a long history of feeling like their relationship to the Earth needs to be adversarial. The ethos of “man conquering nature” that emerged during the European and North American Industrial Revolution continues today in our treatment of the natural world as “tools” and “resources” to be “managed.”
Second, it’s important to remember just how far away from nature our style of living has moved us. We are physically removed by buildings, roads, car and plane noise, and the whole infrastructure of clothing and food stores, commercial farms, and more. We no longer interact with the land for our basic needs. The physical distance leads to mental/emotional distance – what we don’t perceive as essential we don’t need to think or care about – and we are ultimately spiritually detached from the living, growing, thriving, planet of which we are an intrinsic part.
Which brings us to now. We’ve been reminded by storms, earthquakes, rising or falling waters, that the Earth is a living, growing, planet. She (my own gender prejudice) is an actively growing organism, and all living organisms require change to remain vital.
Some changes are in response to external influences. You don’t get enough sleep – your inner ecology is disrupted, you have muddled thought patterns, uneasy digestion and are cranky with the other organisms in your immediate ecosystem. We overuse farm land, the microbial balance is disrupted and future crop growth is diminished, insect life falters, bird life decreases… You get the picture.
Some changes are in response to internal stimulus. A child goes to sleep at night, growth hormone is released stimulating bone growth in her femur (thigh) which may cause growing pain in her knees. The Earth releases magma towards the surface of the planet which stimulates stone growth along the Pacific Plate which may cause tectonic shifting resulting in earthquakes and possibly tsunami’s.
Does knowing that this is a natural pattern of behavior change the grief, anger, or fear felt when our lives are irrevocably altered by an act of nature? Does it dismiss the need for swift, thoughtful, compassionate help for those beings effected? Absolutely not. What can change is our need to blame or create greater separation.
My relationship with the Earth, with the land where I live, feeds me every day in a thousand ways. I just cannot blame the Earth for doing exactly what every living being or system does naturally. Cycles of change and growth are an honored part of my life and spiritual understandings; I can’t change that because those cycles are painful, or challenge my faith.
∞ ∞ ∞
08 Storm Brisbane by Burning Image via Creative Commons at Flickr
Hoover Dam by Tim Pearce, Los Gatos via Creative Commons on Flickr
Crabapple Blossom by Tracie Nichols
Copyright © 2011 Tracie Nichols – All rights reserved.
Tracie Nichols is a nature intuitive and teacher who is passionately in love with the Earth (who she calls Gaia in their daily “conversations.”) She writes poems, essays and stories about her love affair, and her secret wish is for everyone else to fall in love with the Earth, too. She welcomes visitors and their stories at her blog, Alchemy for the Earth.