All of the wildfires in Northern California this summer have me contemplating the serious situation we find ourselves in. It brings about a wide mixture of feelings. I’ve had a bit of worry for people I know who may be hurt by the fires; unhappiness at the hazy air that we’ve been having as a result; amazement at the gorgeous sunsets and relief that it isn’t happening closer to me. But, also, a feeling of relief that the land is finally burning and giving itself the opportunity for regeneration. This last is not the usual response, I know. Yet, it is a real effect. People have used controlled burning for generations to help revitalize the land. The problem is, that we value the land in its fully grown expression more than in its early stages of growth.
This is not a new topic for me. For over 30 years I have dedicated myself to learning how to take better care of myself in direct relation to caring for the earth and feeling the depth of our connection. As this skill has developed, I have come to understand that it is not that Gaia needs us to thrive, it’s that we need her. As we gradually ruin areas for human habitation, we move on and they return to nature. Gaia then swoops in and allows the gradual, organic process of rebuilding life to begin. Short of a worldwide nuclear holocaust, Gaia will continuously grow and change. Her exquisite life force is alive and well. The inherent adaptability of such a beautiful design is what will give her ongoing success.
Our continuation as a species also depends on our ability to adapt. The more we ignore the overpopulation, overuse and poisoning of our lands, the less viable land there is for us to live on. The natural resources that are so important for our survival are dwindling due to wasteful habits. In addition, these habits are creating a world in which we are becoming sicker and sicker as our bodies were not designed to live well in such a polluted world.
In America, we are especially guilty of this wasteful way of living. It seemed normal to me as a teenager to throw trash on the streets, keep water running, throw away leftover materials and foods along with other types of wasteful behaviors. It was the attitude of privilege that came from living in a middle class suburb in the Midwest. Disrespect was not a word I understood in relation to the earth and its resources. The idea of limitation to gas, water, food and other resources that I used on a daily basis never even crossed my mind.
Slowly, in my late teens – early twenties, I came to know the ethereal strength of the Sonoran desert through hiking and camping. Being completely surrounded by and fascinated by the elements of nature in the desert gave way to spiritual experiences. Visions and insights into the natural world and my personal relationship to it were commonplace. The feeling of privilege, gave way to awe.
“Show gratitude to every living thing” is a concept from the Reiki Principles that I only became aware of through those experiences. It is an intellectual concept that is currently common in our modern lives, yet largely it is misunderstood. The focus in the world of environmental activism tends to exclude ourselves as part of the “living things”. Instead, we are intent on “healing the planet”. Don’t get me wrong. I am all for the benefits of the “Green Movement”, and have been an active member for over 30 years.
The problem is leaving ourselves out of that picture. I will repeat what I said earlier, Gaia will be fine! She does not need us for her survival. She will simply continue to make adjustments to bring about future equilibrium. Can we make adjustments in our way of living to survive with her? That is what is left to be seen.
If you are interested in learning how to thrive along with Gaia, come to my Sugi Way: Seasons training and get reconnected with the earth and your natural well being.