PEOPLE AND TREES: INTIMATELY CONNECTED THROUGH THE AGES

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Featured image: Tree of Life painting by Judith Shaw

Trees are considered sacred in many cultures. Tree worship, in one form or another, has been practiced almost universally by ancient peoples in every corner of the globe.

Trees Speak to the Soul of Human Beings

It is no wonder that trees have captured the human imagination since the beginning of time. Their strength, deeply rooted in the Earth, is an inspiration. Their trunk and branches are a wonder of nature because they stand sturdy and impenetrable most of the time, yet they can flex and sway with the wind when needed.

The whisper of a breeze in their leaves or the sight of ants marching in a straight line up or down their trunks remind us of the magic of nature that trees embody. They live for hundreds or even thousands of years, and so we revere them as keepers of past secrets and sentinels of the future.

Watching their cycles of growth, shedding of leaves, and re-flowering in the spring, people have long perceived trees as powerful symbols of life, death, and renewal. Since the beginning of time, humans have had a sense that trees are sentient beings just like us, that they can feel pain, that they bleed when they are hurt. Trees even look like us. People have a trunk; trees have arms. And so we innately feel a deep connection to them.

Many people say they can feel a tree’s vibrational energy when placing their hand upon its bark. With their deep roots, trees carry significant grounding energy. We naturally feel peace and serenity when walking in the shade of trees or on a forest trail.

Trees Help Us Every Day

A recent study shows that trees remove so much pollution from the air that they “prevented 850 human deaths and 670,000 cases of acute respiratory symptoms in 2010 alone.” When an insect called the emerald ash borer killed off a significant number of trees in the American Midwest in the 1990’s and 2000’s, rates of human death from cardiovascular and respiratory illness increased.

More difficult to quantify is the psychological effect that trees have on people. People who spend time outdoors, or even those who have access to windows looking out at trees, have been shown to have better health than those who do not.

The Universal Tree of Life: Both Ancient and Modern

The concept of a Tree of Life, often symbolizing the connections between all life forms, is found in many religions and philosophies, dating back as early as ancient Egypt. The Egyptian tree of life symbolized creation and represented the chain of events that brought everything into existence.

Fast forward to modern science. The tree has become the quintessential symbol of biological evolution, as its ever-branching image poignantly depicts the unmistakable interconnections between all living species on the Earth.

The beautiful Tree of Life painting at the top of the article was shared with us by artist Judith Shaw. It was inspired by the ancient symbol of the Tree of Life as well as by Sacred Geometry.

The Tree Leaf and Eternal Life

Consider this beautiful commentary from Thich Nhat Hanh reflecting on a tree leaf:

“I asked the leaf whether it was frightened because it was autumn and the other leaves were falling. The leaf told me, “No. During the whole spring and summer I was completely alive. I worked hard to help nourish the tree, and now much of me is in the tree. I am not limited by this form. I am also the whole tree, and when I go back to the soil, I will continue to nourish the tree. So I don’t worry at all. As I leave this branch and float to the ground, I will wave to the tree and tell her, ‘I will see you again very soon.’

… That day there was a wind blowing and, after a while, I saw the leaf leave the branch and float down to the soil, dancing joyfully, because as it floated it saw itself already there in the tree. It was so happy. I bowed my head, knowing that I have a lot to learn from the leaf because it is not afraid-it knew nothing can be born and nothing can die.”

Cultural Beliefs About Trees

Trees are considered sacred in virtually every place where humans have settled.

There are many profound beliefs surrounding trees that people have held for millennia. Here are some interesting and touching examples:

  • For the Sng’oi people of Malaysia, a person and a tree can belong with each other, and this relationship is maintained for life. Certain trees and certain people belong together. When a person belongs with a tree, they also belong with its offspring: any trees that grow from the seeds of the first tree, no matter how far the seeds may scatter. The Sng’oi people call upon their intuition to know which child trees have sprung from which parent trees.
  • The World Tree is said to dwell in three worlds: Its roots reach down to the underworld, its trunk sits on the Earth, and its branches extend up to the heavens. Many cultures share a belief that this tree is the Axis Mundi or World Axis which supports or holds up the cosmos. For the Mayan peoples, the Axis Mundi was a massive Ceiba (in other cultures, it is called Kapok) tree that stands at the center of the world. The Mayan beliefs reflect that human souls first came into being as the sacred white flowers on the branches of the Ceiba tree. Souls of the dead Mayan ancestors rose from the roots of the Axis Mundi up through its branches and into the celestial realms.
  • In Germanic regions, it was believed that mankind was created from tree trunks, echoing the perception that people and trees have much in common.
  • In Sweden, some trees were considered “wardens” and could guard a home from bad luck. The warden was usually a very old tree growing on the lot near the home. The family living there had such great respect for the tree that they would often adopt a surname related to the name of the tree.
  • A well-known sacred tree in Norse mythology was Yggdrasil, a giant ash tree that was said to link and shelter the nine worlds that were believed to exist.
  • In Irish and English folklore, fairies would be found wherever Ash, Oak, and Hawthorne trees grew together. Hawthorn trees were regarded as a powerful symbol of protection, and were often planted near houses to ward off lightning as well as evil spirits. On the dawn of Beltane, it was believed that women who bathed in the dew from a Hawthorne blossom would become beautiful, and men who washed their hands in the dew would become skilled craftsmen.
  • Buddhists have a deep reverence for the Bodhi tree, a type of fig tree with heart-shaped leaves, beneath which the Buddha is said to have meditated for 49 days, trying to reconcile his mind to the fact that there was suffering in the world. On the 49th day, he stood and thanked the tree for providing shade for him, and in that instant he attained enlightenment. Today, in the same location where the Buddha is believed to have sat, there grows a descendant of that same Bodhi tree. Buddhist myths say that the tree will live there until the world is destroyed, and the place where it grows will be the last place to be destroyed; and when the world is reborn, that site will be the first place to appear.
  • The villagers of Piplantri, in Rajasthan, India, celebrate the birth of each little girl by planting 111 trees in her honor. The entire village works together to plant and care for the trees. This tradition not only ensures that the environment will be able to support the increasing population of the village, but it has also brought harmony and a drop in crime to the village.
  • In Malaysia, people maintain a very intimate relationship with trees. “There is a practice of tree planting around houses to the extent that the walls and wooden structures are allowed to give way to the roots of creeping plants, purposely sown at the bases of these structures.” The graveyards in Malaysia are covered so thickly with trees that the entire grounds are cool and sheltered from the tropical sun. The trees are allowed to take root into the graves and it is said that the trees whisper prayers to the creator asking for forgiveness of past transgressions of those buried in that place.

This article was written by Jocelyn Mercado and originally published by the Pachamama Alliance.

Featured image: Tree of Life painting by Judith Shaw

TEACHINGS OF THE EARTH COUNCIL

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Note: This article, written by Dawn Baumann Brunke, is an excerpt from the book Shapeshifting with Our Animal Companions (Bear & Company, 2008).

One early morning, not long ago, I awoke from a terrific dream. It was so vivid and powerful that its images and ideas still pulsed through my body as I opened my eyes. It was one of those multi-leveled dreams–one in which I was ‘me’ but also a spirit self that was part observer, part participant.

To begin, the dream opened with a visual of the earth cut in half–the kind of graphic that elementary science books are fond of using when describing the different layers of our planet. But, unlike the static image in a text book, this visual was reverberating with activity. What I saw were so many layers of colours and movement: a frenzied red-orange molten center; a dark, dense layer that was magnetic, strong and powerful; several grid-like layers that were ‘electric’ and blue, like thin moving fields interspersed between other layers; and many more. Each layer had a unique consistency, pattern and–yes, consciousness. There were layers upon layers of water, and I noticed differences in such things as ‘lower waters’ and ‘upper waters’. Indeed, nearer the surface crust there were ever more delineations, and the patterns and colours became more varied and ornate.

As I moved closer in perspective, I was aware that each layer was actually many layers, and that even the divisions between layers were not so much divisions as layers of merging. So, too, were there many ‘voices’–many cohesive presences alive and aware, each responsible for a particular layer of space, each vibrating with its own flashing pulse that was both a tone and a colour and–I saw now–harmonically related to the deeper pulse that beats through every aspect of our earth. How exquisite!

I was reminded then of how I connect with large fields of presences, such as Ancestor Horse or Spirit of Dog or a Great Bird Deva. My understanding of these is that they are all are variations of group consciousness, ‘held’ by a unifying force and awareness. Of course, ancestral energy is different than devic energy or animal spirit energy, but all are similarly held by a sentient consciousness, a presence or wisdom which we can all connect with and learn from, should we choose to do so.

It is difficult to explain in words but, of course, we must always try. This is what I heard in the dream as I was observing the layers and urging myself to remember when I awoke–for part of me had been ‘awake’ in the dream, quite aware another part of me was sleeping. Everything I saw, felt and heard was alive and throbbing… so many insights were flooding my brain that I knew the best I could do was simply experience as much as I could and hope the gist would be carried back to my waking consciousness.

It was then that I was aware of being in a large meeting hall–not a meeting hall as we know it in our human way, but a spatial meeting hall, a kind of deep down in the ocean or far out in space setting that had a vague Sci-Fi atmosphere yet at the same time was realer than real. I remembered being here before! I remembered many of the beings who were sitting around the tall, elegant meeting tables, which were unlike any I had known. As I looked closer, I realized they were also simple, natural–how was it that we did not know of this design on earth?–and somehow centering.

This was a meeting of the Council of Earth (also known by other names), and the discussion was the ‘Surface People’. Many of us were in attendance as listeners and students. I was mildly surprised to find I was simultaneously sitting on the Council and sitting as an observer, watching, listening, learning. The Council was explaining how those called to know about the Council (which now includes you, as the larger memory is unfolding) are also called to remember we are all members (as always, a funny twist on the word remember, which is to re-member ourselves), and we are all part of something much greater than we normally suspect.

The Council then shared one of their main concerns for the Surface People–those of us living with our consciousness limited to the surface of the planet (or, we might also say, those of us living primarily on the surface of our awareness)–was our resistance to awakening to deeper levels. As a key example, they showed this in terms of the political arena. As an observer of the Council, I sensed dismay at the levels of corruption, fraud, and fixation on money that had diverted so many humans from breaking through to a larger awareness which would allow all of us to genuinely feel our connection not only with the wisdom and delight of our deeper selves and others, but with the earth herself. How could this have happened? And why?

And then, just as a wave of an overwhelming frustration, sadness and overall disappointment threatened to crash over me, I saw a shimmering movement from the Dolphin People. From their minds or beings, they shared an image of the dolphins on earth: joyous creatures leaping and arcing over turquoise waves in the ocean. On a huge flat screen which appeared in front of us, we watched the physical dolphins leaping, clicking, splashing and making backward motions half in the water and half out, until we were all smiling and laughing. This living film then shifted to other animal scenes: a group of ants moving and aerating soil beneath a flower bed; brightly shining bees buzzing from vibrant flower to flower and back to a golden, gleaming hive; dragonflies glittering the sky with their iridescent wings–and I was awash in the group’s responsiveness to the innate beauty and tremendous feeling of gratitude for these small beings who did so much. It was as if our hearts were swelling upward and outward, as if our deeper feelings–the ones we always felt but covered over with so much ‘stuff’–were suddenly coming to light, as if our inner selves were literally illumined and illuminating through our bodies in this joyous state of being.

We watched the Elephant People–such a proud, strong people!–walking majestically through sun-dappled forest. The Fox People showed us their presence in so many parts of the world and we appreciated their fine, delicate movements, their sensitivity to the cycles of the earth, the contours and varying presence of the land. The Raven People, the Polar Bears, the Iguana People, the Crocodiles–each group showed itself like a bubble of consciousness that any one of us could access merely by attuning ourselves and merging in deeper relationship. There was so much! Worlds within worlds–all these bright sparks of awareness, movement, vitality–and these words are merely covers of understanding, for it is not even awareness, movement or vitality as we pretend to know it in our surface way, but a deep, abiding love and connection for who we are in all our totality, with all our connections to our own countless layers of self, and to others, to all the peoples–plant, animal, human, sky, rock and more–of the Earth, and beyond. There is a central pulse of such pleasure for our diverse presence on earth which runs like a song–truly, like a song–throughout our planet. And between these worlds within worlds–which I now saw were not separated at all, but flowing, merging, one into another. I understood not just with my mind, but with my being, that this is how it was all over, even on the surface: when we limit our awareness, the very living of our lives, we see only the separation because we resist the fullness of who we really are. We so fear the greatness, the fullness of the experience of one merging into One, that we limit ourselves. And so we scuttle up to the surface of things, using only one thin fraction of our awareness, diverting our thoughts with so much activity and noise and busy-ness, so as to avoid the truth we all know deep inside.

The dream took several hours to unfold, bits of it reconnecting me like long-forgotten spiritual synapses, depths to surface, a little at a time. “Is there another message?” I asked, but nothing came. While writing about this for Timeless Spirit, I asked again, hoping for a central message or words from the Council to bring through to others. And then I heard, It is enough. You are enough.

As a laugh of deeper being burbled upwards to consciousness, I recalled the Council’s presence–the fullness of what that was: simultaneously being on the Council and watching the Council, hoping to learn more. How is it we are both something so big and something so small? What kind of trickster plan is this? And then I saw it was that way with all of us Surface People, such an extraordinary game we play: pretending not to recognize the truth of belonging flowing constantly through our blood and bones and being, linking us to all the ten thousands things upon the planet.

Our relationship with the earth is thus a relationship of becoming, of waking up from the dreamy game and laughing with elation at the fullness of who we all, really, most sacredly, are. It’s a dream within a dream. Not only are we remembering the Earth; the Earth is re-membering us.

You can read more from Dawn on her website.

4 WAYS TO SET YOURSELF UP TO RECEIVE MIRACLES

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I want to offer you a paradigm shift today:

Don’t set goals. Instead, set yourself up to receive miracles.

When we set a goal, we are often looking for what is realistic, logical, expedient, or profitable.

When we ask for a miracle, on the other hand, it’s always about transformation. Getting from an old place to a completely new place, shifting paradigms, saving lives.

When we want to change the world then (quite a task these days!), what is going to be more useful? Goals? Or miracles?

I’ve had too many times where I set a goal and there was no energy behind it. No spark. No passion.

But when instead, you make the decision to put forth your highest effort, or take a big leap outside of your comfort zone, or go out of your way to help someone in need, or approach a project from an entirely new angle … When you seek help from above in the form of prayer or ceremony or simply asking for the resources that you need …

That’s setting yourself up for a miracle.

So if you think the only thing that’s going to get you unstuck, re-motivated, aligned with your life’s mission, or out of a bad situation is a miracle … You just might be right.

And miracles are available to us.

They happen every day. We know this. We know there is magic afoot, all around us. We know that spiritual teachers and prophets and shamans are not lying about the reality of mystical and non-ordinary experiences. Spiritual awakenings and moments of intense & life-changing insight are not an accident. We’ve all experienced synchronicities that we know are not a coincidence.

So why don’t we think it can happen to us?

It is the old scarcity story? Do we believe that there are not enough miracles to go around?

Guess what … We get to CHOOSE. We have an innate tendency, as human beings, to receive miracles. We just have to decide if we are up for the challenge of welcoming them into our life.

I make it a practice to expect to see and experience miracles & magic every day.

And so I do.

Many of the miracles I experience are small-ish. The way the sun shines through tree branches, creating a perfectly concentric, spiderweb-shaped glow in the middle of winter. A bald eagle flying overhead. A sudden burst of insight or inspiration which is the perfect answer to a question that I was stuck on.

Not so small, really. These are each incredibly amazing in their own right.

But some of the miracles I’ve experienced are BIG. The birth of my children. Quitting my finance job so I can do the work that I love. Talk to amazing people all around the world on Zoom every day. (Video conferencing itself is a miraculous feat – talking to someone on the other side of the world as if you are chatting together in your own living room!) Having a mountain speak to me, first in shamanic journeys … And then manifest into my physical reality. The synchronistic ways that beautiful & inspiring people come into my life at just the right time.

You can set yourself up to receive miracles.

There are PLENTY of them to go around. In fact, the world would be a better & happier place if more of us opened up our arms with full trust & faith to welcome miracles and magic into our lives. You can start today!

Here are 4 ways to set yourself up to receive miracles:

  1. Figure out your life’s purpose. We each hold the key to something the world critically needs. It is our sacred responsibility to find out what our purpose is, and then go and DO it! So don’t wait another day. When you are on the path toward your true life’s purpose, miracles and synchronicities will guide you all along the way. I guarantee it.
  2. Step outside of your comfort zone. We are programmed to recreate the familiar again & again, because it’s safe and predictable. When we jump outside of that comfort zone, we enable our subconscious mind to see that something entirely different is possible and even survivable. Even preferable! So try it! There is no better way to create a huge shift in your life (a miracle) than taking a big courageous step outside of your comfort zone. Outside of the comfort zone is where tremendous growth and transformation occur. Just hold on tight and enjoy the ride!
  3. Take action. This one is really important. The universe is constantly conspiring to send us huge amounts of abundance, but our blocks and low expectations can get in the way. When we take action, we counteract those low expectations, by creating an open pathway for the universe to send us what we’ve been dreaming of. It’s a two-part deal: (1) The universe creates opportunities, and then (2) We need to take action on those opportunities in order to receive the abundance that is meant for us. When you are consistently taking decisive & inspired action, you can expect miracles to begin arriving at your front doorstep.
  4. Know deeply that if you have a desire, there is a reason you feel so passionately about it, and there is a way for you to accomplish it. We are always surrounded by amazing solutions to our problems, solutions that will bring us the happiness, freedom, and income that we need and want; it’s just a matter of SEEING the opportunities that are there. We are each capable of so much more than we perceive on a day to day basis. So let go of that small version of yourself. Open up to your full potential, know that you have these ideas and longings and passions for a very important reason, and seek out those ways to accomplish what you most deeply desire to bring forth into the world.

I know these 4 steps are not easy. They can often bring up fear and doubt. But they are absolutely the TRUTH and once you step into them, big changes ALWAYS start to happen.

The world needs YOU to step out fully on your highest path, bring your life’s purpose to fruition, raise the consciousness & awareness of all the people with whom you come into contact, and make the world a better place, in the way that only YOU can do. All of our children and grandchildren are depending on us to take heart right now, step forward with courage, and do this work. The next 7 generations are counting on us.

IMAGINE: A MEDITATION

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Imagine that YOU are the web of life.

 

Feel yourself extending down into tree roots,

Misting silently to meld with the air,

Arching throughout all space and time,

Floating seamlessly throughout the waters of the oceans.

 

You are stretched out, infinite, embracing all that exists in the universe.

 

You are the fabric we are all made of.

 

You are the animating force;

You are the universal instructions

Within the cells of every living being

That take lifeless matter

And transform it into the mystery of Life,

The miracle of Creation.

 

YOU hold all things together

 

You weave the moons and stars with your gossamer threads

 

You keep the planets spinning in their perfect ellipses

You keep the Suns burning

You make the comets fly

And you push the outer reaches of the universe

Ever to greater distances,

Ever expanding

 

How does it feel

To be the up and the down,

The weft and the warp,

The hot and the cold,

To be everything that exists?

To be the wind

To be the sea

To be a part of everyone who ever lived?

 

Imagine now that you are the force within the crocus,

The first flower of spring.

How does the bulb know

When to send up its tiny green tendrils,

Unfurling toward the light?

How does it know which way to grow to get to the sun?

How do its cells know just how to split and multiply

To produce the perfect green leaves

And delicate purple blossoms

Emerging from Mother Earth

Pressing themselves through the layers of dead leaves and decaying matter from last fall

Until they emerge, brilliant and miraculous, smiling in the sunlight?

 

It is magic.

 

It is inspired by this force

That pervades us all:

The web of life,

The fabric of the cosmos,

The universe.

 

You are the act of Creation;

You are the Sustaining force.

 

We are all interconnected;

We are all woven together;

We are always safe

In each other’s embrace.

 

What we do to each other,

We do to ourselves

 

Honor and respect

All aspects of the web

 

For the Earth is You,

And YOU are all of Creation.

You ARE the web of life.

 

By Jocelyn Mercado

 

Image: Creation of the Universe

AWAKENING

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Do not settle for being trapped

Within the constraints of what society has deemed “reality”;

For the truth of our existence

Goes so much deeper than what most of us ever experience.

 

Do not settle!

 

Dive deep into the boundless oceans of your soul

Let the tides pull you out to sea

Be swept away in the waves; you know not what beauty and passion await you in those depths.

 

Wait – are you still standing there in the shallows?

Up to your knees,

Afraid to go deeper?

 

I implore you, do not think it over.

Do not listen to your fears. Do not pay them any mind.

Fear will try to consume you;

It will tense you up so your life force stops flowing;

Fear will tell you a million little lies

That keep you frozen, afraid to move.

 

 

Know fiercely that fear is a phantom

Look, you can put your arm right through it;

It is not really anything,

Only an illusion.

 

Move through it now, step past it, leave it in your wake.

The unknown is calling to you.

 

Come in deeper. The cold waters reach up to your waist now. Feel the power and intensity of the water’s touch.

This ocean, the vast ocean of your consciousness and unconsciousness, holds the secrets you have been searching for, all your life.

 

Dive in, my friend.

You do not need oxygen here.

You do not need a flotation device.

We are going past all the limitations of the human body

And into the unseen realms.

 

Forget everything you thought you knew;

Release all of your long-held assumptions;

Turn away from your doubts,

And plunge into the depths

Of the universal consciousness.

 

I will swim by your side

And together, we will never be the same

Ever again.

SPRING EQUINOX

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As the tenderest pale green leaves unfurl

Open to your power woman, you are the heart of it

As the tips of the trees turn pink, then red, then blossom into fullest abundance

Stand with pride woman, for your soul is one with it

 

As the icy, dark days give way to light, warmth, and gently awakening life

And the fertile soil springs forth with miracles;

As the birds return to sing outside our windows each morning, heralding all the signs of rebirth and renewal,

 

Woman, you hold the power

For giving life

For healing the darkness

For lifting us up with your song

For inspiring us to greater creativity with your dance

 

New life begins in your womb.

Just as Mother Earth incubates all the life-forms,

And provides fertile ground for the Spring awakening,

You birth the more brilliant future that our eyes long to see.

 

You embody the miracle of the spring equinox.

 

Earth, Mother, Wise Woman, Girl-Child, Pachamama

Your heart is at the center

Of this incredible resurrection:

The return of the vital life-force

After a long, harsh winter.

 

You are infinite

You are our brightest tomorrow

Show us the way

Embrace your role as our greatest inspiration;

Stand with pride

With a glint of laughter in your eye

For you know the secrets

You have seen the future

And it is all more beautiful

Than our human minds can fully comprehend.

 

Woman, show us the way.

 

Featured Image: Cherry Blossoms in Vancouver

WHY OUR SOULS NEED NATURE

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This article was written by Jocelyn Mercado and was originally published by the Pachamama Alliance.

We have all felt it at one time or another. A call, a yearning. A deep knowing that we belong. And why does it so often happen when we have climbed for half of a day to reach a rocky mountaintop, or when we stand silent in awe beneath a sweeping blanket of pinprick stars and the beckoning moon? That feeling is our spirit, reaching back through time, calling us to return to the old ways of being.

As Arkan Lushwala states in The Time of the Black Jaguar: “What a magic world that was! Our ancient grandfathers had a mind very different than ours; their mind was really free and wise, naturally connected to the sacred motion of the cosmic forces.”

Arkan goes on to explain that the ancient people in Egypt, Guatemala, Peru and other places—where today we go to visit and marvel at their ingenious pyramids and sacred buildings—felt a burning responsibility to play music, dance, pray, and light fires in their sacred spaces. These rituals raised the vibration of the Earth and all beings on it. They activated consciousness and healed parts of the Earth that were hurting.

A Sense of Our Oneness

The ancient people understood that we are all interconnected. Recent studies show that humans, plants, animals, and the Earth are made of stardust. When stars are at the end of their life cycle, they collapse and then explode in a supernova. The elements—atoms and molecules—that were formed and then expelled as other stars died, later joined together in empty space to create our own sun and its solar system, and as a result, all life on Earth.

The rivers, the rocks; the eagle; giant redwoods and phytoplankton; the tiny infant, calm in her mother’s arms: all are intrinsically the same. When one life ends, another begins. This is our legacy, and our comfort, as living beings on the Earth. The circles and cycles of life extend out infinitely in all directions.

The Power of the World always works in circles,
and everything tries to be round…..
The Sky is round, and I have heard
that the earth is round like a ball,
and so are all the stars.
The wind, in its greatest power, whirls.
Birds make their nest in circles,
for theirs is the same religion as ours….
Even the seasons form a great circle in their changing, and always come back again to where they were. The life of a man is a circle from childhood to childhood, and so it is in everything where power moves.

Black Elk, Oglala Sioux Holy Man

Listening to the Wildness Within Us

We cannot be separated from the natural world. Our bodies need to breathe the air, to drink the water, to eat the food that grows in the Earth. Even in cities, where it feels as if man has overcome the need to be connected to the Earth, the pavement is still supported by the ground beneath; weeds and grass shoot up, relentless, from the cracks in the sidewalk. The brilliance of a sunset glows from behind the skyscrapers. The wildness of nature calls to us, entreating us to open our hearts. It never gives up on calling us to return home.

And yet … So many people have turned away from nature. Turned a blind eye to the overflowing landfills, the oil spills and the disappearing wondrous plants and animals, each one of a kind, each a special and critical link in the whole of life. Indigenous languages are being forgotten. The forests are disappearing.

From David Abram in The Spell of the Sensuous: “It is likely that the ‘inner world’ of our Western psychological experience … originates in the loss of our ancestral reciprocity with the animate Earth … The animate powers that surround us are suddenly construed as having less significance than ourselves.”

 

 Photograph by Diliff: Hopetoun Falls, Beech Forest, near Otway National Park, Victoria, Australia

Photograph by Diliff: Hopetoun Falls, Beech Forest, near Otway National Park, Victoria, Australia

How to Find the Way Home

Our souls feel this loss. Our hearts know it, deep within. That is part of the reason that many of us turn away—it is too painful to bear. But we must, instead, turn toward the pain. We must embrace it, as a way out, a way to the other side, where we will turn history on its head and run back to the source. We can still go back.

Human consciousness is shifting. The dreams of the Achuar people in Ecuador brought an alliance from the north, and the Achuar ancestral lands have been protected from oil drilling. Communities, activist groups, and organizations are springing up in record numbers, working to bring back peace, justice, and to protect the planet. An awareness of the cosmic cycles that move us are returning to the mainstream culture. Climate change, and an acknowledgement of its potentially harmful effects on the planet, is being recognized and people are increasingly taking action to heal the Earth.

We are attuned to receive the Earth’s wisdom, to feel Her heartbeat. We must strive to reconnect with our senses and our intuition, and to honor the sacred vibration of our planet once again.

For Meditation and Reflection

Here are two poems on which you can reflect as you sit outside, or near a sunny window. Imagine a world in which all people live in a mutually beneficial relationship with the Earth, a world sparkling with the magic of life and a shared respect for all beings.

Navajo Chant
The mountains, I become a part of it…
The herbs, the fir tree, I become a part of it.
The morning mists, the clouds, the gathering waters,
I become a part of it.
The wilderness, the dew drops, the pollen…
I become a part of it.

Kiss The Earth by Thich Nhat Hanh
Walk and touch peace every moment.
Walk and touch happiness every moment.
Each step brings a fresh breeze.
Each step makes a flower bloom.
Kiss the Earth with your feet.
Bring the Earth your love and happiness.
The Earth will be safe
when we feel safe in ourselves.

Featured image: Double Alaskan Rainbow

A GLIMPSE OF HEAVEN

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Tiny baby,

Growing in your mother’s womb;

A miracle,

You appeared from nothing

When two cells joined.

Your tiny heart began to beat at only 18 days from conception;

And it beats strongly now, feeding your cells,

Which multiply as if by magic.

 

What are the chances of these incredible events?

 

When stars first collided in the Big Bang, had they already dreamt of you,

Tiny baby?

 

When the first life climbed out of the sea onto rocky shores,

Was the plan for human evolution

And your eventual birth

Already known to the Great Ones who guide our destiny?

 

For you are a ray of hope, tiny one.

You have been sent here with a special purpose.

You possess talents and insights and a unique perspective on the world

That no other human being, or any other creature, possesses;

And you are destined for greatness.

 

Babies are magical

Because they have just emerged, blinking,

From the Source of all creation.

 

Before they are conceived,

Babies are one with the Divine Source

They are sent to us in pure love

They are made of heavenly light

They exist in a blissful state

Of eternal trust, compassion, and peace.

 

When they are in the womb,

They are continually bathed in love:

The love of the Great Mother;

The love of creation;

The love of life longing for itself

That brought the two tiny cells together in ecstatic union.

 

Babies

Remind us of the mystery and wonder

That lies just beyond what we can see and perceive

With our five senses.

 

And because they are so close to the eternal and loving source,

They embody it

They radiate it

And they share this essence of love and light

With all who encounter them.

 

Babies are all the proof we need

That Heaven exists;

That God, the Source of Life, our Creator, loves us unconditionally;

That we will never die, but that we will go on to the next phase of our existence

By returning to the same blissful state from which the tiny baby just emerged.

We know this truth instinctually.

 

All that we seek

Can be found

In the light of the baby’s eyes

And the enthralling sound of her laughter,

For those contain the essential magic

Of the miracle of creation.

 

And so, tiny baby, do you know that you are destined for greatness?

Do you know that you hold the key to all the world needs

In order to free us from pain and hurt?

You are the answer.

 

In truth, we are each the answer.

 

Each of us is the tiny baby.

Each of us came from heaven and pure light;

Each of us started out perfect, filled with peace.

 

We are still perfect, even today;

And anything that has happened in our lives so far

Has only made us more perfect

For exactly what we are destined to do.

 

And now is the time.

It is OUR time

To embrace who we truly are,

To wake up to this knowledge that yes,

We are magic.

We are each a miracle.

To awaken the ancient remembering

That we are each a messenger from heaven.

 

We each hold the key to unlocking some problem or challenge faced by the Earth and its creatures right now.

 

We each have the power to change history.

We each have the strength and the ability to make a difference.

 

We must seek inside;

Find what calls us

Find what inspires us

Discover the work that we can’t NOT do in this lifetime,

 

And be the change

That we wish to see

In the world.

 

Believe that you possess magic.

Do not ever doubt it.

Be true to yourself,

Speak your truth,

Shine your light.

 

And live the live you have always dreamed of

Since the moment you were conceived

And sent here

From heaven.

 

Beautiful baby photo courtesy of peasap on Flickr.

THIS LIFE

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Since I was a little child,

I felt I was destined for something bigger

Something greater

Than following the rules

And getting a job

And fitting in with everybody else.

 

For a long time,

I worried about what people might think

But now

I’ve been alive long enough

And I’ve experienced enough

And I’ve accepted myself to the fullest extent

 

And now, I don’t care what they all say.

 

I want to shake things up — a lot

I want to live life out loud

And speak my truth

And live my dreams

And find the deeper truth of my soul

And run wild and free

In this lifetime.

 

I want to transform my own life

And then I want to connect

With everyone else who feels this same way

Who longs for more

Who knows they are meant to do something amazing

Who dreams of a different, brighter, more creative and more unlimited future

Because we just KNOW that it’s possible;

It’s an essential truth that cannot be proven or disproven;

It’s based on ancient wisdom

And nature

And intuition.

 

This KNOWING is based on things that run deeper than facts and figures and rules.

 

I want to wake up every morning

With joy in my heart and

Feel like I’m flying

When really I’m walking

Because my heart is so full

I can barely contain it

 

I want to teach my children

That there are no limits;

I want to encourage them to explore new things,

Every day,

Because you never know what will grab your heart and become

Your most meaningful and compelling passion in this life.

 

I want to model for my children

A life fully lived;

I want to feel every emotion,

Explore unknown cultures,

Meet people that, if I had followed the rules, I would never have met.

 

I want to pursue opportunities that seem foolish

(When you look at them with logic)

But that are brilliant and perfect

(When you look with your heart and soul)

 

I want to walk barefoot in the woods,

My feet wrapping around roots and feeling the crunch of the leaves

I want to feel the heartbeat of the Earth through my soles

 

I want to dive deep into the oceans

Exploring the realms that supported the first life;

The vast waters that stabilize our precious planet

 

I want to stare up at the full moon

And soak up its silvery glow

And know that its gravity pulls me too

Just as it tugs at the tidal waters

 

I want to live for months in the Amazon rainforest

Where there are no roads

Immersing myself in the wisdom and undisturbed wildness

Of every sacred thing that lives there

 

I long to visit the ancient ruins

Of Peru, Mexico, Egypt, and India;

Opening my soul to feel

The energy and power of those places

And I want to lay down on the ground there

So my body can soak up all of the knowledge encased in the Earth

Back from the times of the earliest civilizations.

 

I long to climb the tallest mountain I can find and

Raise my arms to the sky and

Yell for all the world to hear,

A sound from the depths of my soul

 

I want to connect with compassionate hearts (like yours) all around the globe;

I want to use our intuitive powers

For the healing of all people, everywhere

And for the healing of our beautiful planet

Because if we can join our hearts together in harmony,

We can bring our wildest dreams to life.

 

I long to make profound

Transformational

Positive

Loving

Life-affirming

Change in the world

 

Just by being me.

 

I want you to join me.

 

We can change the world together,

You and I.

SET YOUR SOUL FREE

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We inhabit a living world

Of dreams waiting to be manifested

Continually on the brink of becoming reality

 

The possibilities sparkle all around us

 

Look at the trees … If left alone to multiply, they stretch to infinity

Enlivening the entire Earth

Gifting us the oxygen we need to survive and thrive

Funneling nutrients through the soil to benefit trees and other creatures

Providing a habitat for countless plants and animals

 

Look at the endless blue sky

It encompasses us

It opens up for us

It brings us sunlight, or rain, or cleansing wind: Whatever we need most: All those blessings that the sun and our atmosphere can shower down upon us

 

Think of the animals

All over the planet

Growing, evolving, adapting, changing the surface of the Earth with their activities,

Brightening our spirits just by existing

Think of how many different species

Exist across the globe

So many incredibly varied life forms

Millions that we have not even discovered yet

Each living in their own special way

Upon the same Earth as us

 

Consider our human brains:

Incredible computers that can process anything,

Receive divine inspiration,

Create new ideas never heard of before,

And come up with the technology and architecture to build something never seen before.

We are programmed to cradle and comfort a tiny baby

With the same ease that we communicate wirelessly

Or navigate outer space

Or paint a masterpiece

 

Think of the universe, stretching to infinity in all directions

And the wonders it holds!:

Planets of every size and description,

Comets and stardust and asteroids and moons

And exploding stars that are right now creating the matter that might make up our ancestors far in the future

Just as the explosions of billions of years ago created the elements that form our bodies today.

 

There are no limits to what we can do.

 

The universe and the vast expanses of sky and the happy proliferation of trees speak to this truth, if we would only listen.

 

Tune in to your intuition:

It feels like freedom.

 

Tune into the creative possibilities that you are capable of:

It feels like eternity.

 

Tune in to life itself:

It feels like magic.

 

It IS magic.

 

And all of this is within us

Within every cell of our bodies;

All of this is available at our fingertips.

 

Nothing is impossible.

 

We just need

To break free

From all expectations and perceived limits

And then we will soar

Higher than we ever dreamed

Connected to all that is

And living our truest, deepest, most potential-filled

LIFE.

 

By Jocelyn Mercado

Image by jeronimo sanz