Land Steward: Going Deeper
As we learned in the Basics, shifting our fundamental relationship + consciousness with nature is key. What about tending the Earth in a more tangible way?Let's go deeper...
I talk about grounding, or earthing a lot. By now, most of us are familiar with what the practice is—allowing ourselves to physically connect with nature.
Every morning without fail, I walk barefoot through the garden, watering the plants and harvesting flowers. Every evening we play barefoot in the backyard for hours. Why do I make a point to do this every single day?
Researchers conducted a study using instrumentation that allowed them to see changes in brain waves, neuromuscular function, and a few other parameters once human subjects were put in physical contact (shoes off standing in nature) with the earth. What they found was that restoring the natural electrical potential of the earth to the human body (grounding, or earthing) RAPIDLY affects human electrophysiological and physiological parameters. The extreme rapidity of these changes indicates a physical/bioelectrical mechanism rather than a biochemical change. In plain English, what they found were major reductions in overall stress levels, tension, autonomic balance, system-wide relaxation, clearer judgement, intuitive process, and perceiving the whole.
In other words, grounding, or physically connecting with nature, is one of the best things to bring your entire being back into alignment. Grounding can be as simple as taking your shoes off and standing the grass on your lunch break, or heading into the woods for the weekend to camp on the land. Whatever it is, this is a daily practice that should be integrated by all. To get more ideas on how to ground properly, see the bonus module.
consciousness of our environmental impact
As we move into a society that is now making tons of money selling organic-this and environmentally friendly-that, let us remember the essential connection between stewardship to the Earth and our own healing journey. By now, most of us know that consciously creating a green lifestyle is the single most powerful way to make a difference in the future of life on Earth, and for our personal health. But we often resist these important lifestyle changes for whatever reason. In my own life, in addition to teaching others about green living, I have found that when my sustainable habits are imbued with spiritual awareness, I am much more likely to make and maintain the essential lifestyle changes required to respond to the environmental crisis.
Sustainable living offers us the infinite opportunity to practice spiritual mindfulness. Each eco-friendly act—conserving water, composting, recycling, eco-friendly shopping—is also an act of spiritual mindfulness.
Indeed, it is mindfulness that transforms the mundane into the sacred. Turning the compost becomes a weekly round of Earth awareness, the water saved during a rainstorm become moments of gratitude, and limiting our waste becomes an offering to clean air and water. Sustainable living helps us to simplify our lives and re-prioritize what matters to us most—family, community and a radiant time here on Earth.
For many of us, our connection with the Earth reawakens our soul and imbues us with a sense of the sacred. Often some of our deepest personal healing takes place through our relationship with the natural world. But this subversive split—the desire to be healed by nature while we continue to harm it by living unsustainably—can never lead to genuine, whole healing.
I have found that it’s not so much the scary statistics that re-inspire one's connection to Earth, but rather something much more personal that links us to the soul of the Earth. This connection may take place during an experience of natural beauty—the pink radiance of sunset, the dark tumbling clouds of a summer storm, the delicate blossoms amidst the harsh desert landscape, the endless glow of a full harvest moon, or the emotional cleanse that comes from swimming in water. These are moments when we lucidly understand that a part of our sanity as human beings utterly depends on our relationship with the natural world.
Sometimes this essential link between psyche and planet occurs as our chosen spiritual practice strengthens our connection to the whole. Recognizing that we can’t separate from something of which we are a part, we begin to understand the fundamental relationship between our personal suffering and the Earth’s suffering. When we deaden our feelings about the planet’s crisis, we also deaden our souls. The more we try to isolate from the suffering of the natural world, the more we suffer. By contrast, the more we open our hearts to feel the pain, the more connected, courageous and alive we feel. As we awaken our caring for the Earth, there is a concurrent blossoming of compassion in other areas of our life— for family, colleagues, and community. For many of us compassion is the most effective doorway into sustainable living. Once we care deeply about something, then we want to take action.
We as women, as mothers, have a unique responsibility to share and pass on this connection to nature. Our children are like sponges, absorbing all of our practices both "good" and "bad" and learning how to navigate the world. This past year we celebrated Easter with friends, and my son participated in an Easter egg hunt. It was his first time (he's only 2 at the time of writing this) and he was so excited to collect the eggs, but was even more excited to gather the flowers on their property. Everyone thought it was the cutest thing, but this is a practice he does with me on literally a daily basis. Each morning he comes with me, barefoot on the Earth, to collect the flowers and herbs in our garden that we then use to make medicine. He was so gentle and precise when he collected flowers on the Easter egg hunt, just as he is in our garden or when we go wildcrafting. Taking just the tips of the flowers and making sure not to harm the stem, making sure to step carefully as to not crush nearby plant life. It was remarkable to watch, and an ode to the practices that are innate within all of us. Our first instinct is to care for nature. Let us foster this in each other, and most importantly in our children.
10 Ways to give back to the earth
1. Grow something from seed. Try using seeds harvested from your organic produce.
2. Vote with your dollars: shop local and support farmers. Buy second-hand.
3. Hand wash your delicate clothing instead of dry cleaning or laundering. If you have the space for a clothing line, use it.
4. Buy less (or no) processed/packaged food.
5. Do not throw away clothing--instead reuse it (old shirts as rags), or gift it directly to someone (many clothing donations end up in landfills).
6. Never ever use plastic straws or disposable cutlery. Seriously, don't do it.
7. Find a daily practice that taps you into nature's frequency. Grounding or using herbal body oils are a great place to start.
8. Compost food waste. This is incredibly easy to do and is accessible to everyone.
9. Eat more plants, and eat seasonally.
10. Spend as much time in nature as possible, every single day.
BONUS: TEACH ALL OF THESE PRACTICES TO THE OTHERS, ESPECIALLY CHILDREN.
Just for fun...
Get a rough estimate of your carbon footprint by clicking here.
Copyright © 2018 by Motherhood Medicine.
All rights reserved. These writings or any portion there of many not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the expressed written permission of the author except for the use of brief quotations in a review. These writings are not intended as a substitute for the medical advice of physicians. The reader should regularly consult a physician in matters related to his/her health and particularly with respect to any symptoms that may require diagnosis or medical attention.