Saving the World

Deepwater Horizon Oil Rig Disaster
Deepwater Horizon Oil Rig Disaster

Recently I hiked into a beautiful valley in the foothills west of Boulder, Colorado. It was so gorgeous that I decided to stop and sit on the east ridge for awhile. I found a big rock high on the ridge and sat surrounded by scraggly pine trees clinging to the rocks. And I could feel layer after layer of tension melt away as I sat in the afternoon sun.

As the sun dropped lower, I walked across the valley and sat under a huge old ponderosa pine on the west side of the valley. I closed my eyes and listened to the wind blowing through the grass; I felt so grateful to be in this beautiful place. The wind danced around me. Wind seemed thrilled to have one person listening and a little bit aware, if only a little.

I sat and day-dreamed about everything this valley has witnessed; dinosaurs roamed here billions of years ago when it was a swamp on the edge of an inland sea. Later the Arapaho tribe hunted and camped in the shelter of this valley. And now every weekend, thousands of people roam here in tennis shoes and hiking boots and flip flops. Many of the trails are eroding away from too much foot traffic. We risk destroying the valley we all love.

Personally I don’t believe that Mama Earth is in any real jeopardy, she will be just fine. Even though we pollute, misuse and mistreat Earth, she has proven powerful enough to shift and accommodate every change humans throw at her.

Our Earth will continue to flow and teem with life, despite our inept treatment of her. It is people who risk annihilation; it is people who need to be reminded how to live in nature’s flow. We act as if we believe we can rule over Mama Earth and bend her nature to our will, but history has proven that idea to be folly again and again. We mistreat Earth at our own peril.

We’re not killing our Earth. We’re killing ourselves.

“So, the world is fine. We don’t have to save the world—the world is big enough to look after itself. What we have to be concerned about, is whether or not the world we live in, will be capable of sustaining us in it.” 

~Douglas Adams

Structure and Flow

Moonrise

 

Physical Soul

Your Soul is infinite and formless; unbounded and free. AND for this lifetime, your Soul has chosen to inhabit a physical body here on this physical planet we call Earth. These physical structures define the boundaries of your Soul’s container for this lifetime.

The solid parts of your human body can foster flow or block it completely. Human structure is the container that holds your flow. Without any “solid” physical structure, your life on earth would be a liquid puddle of a life! So it is important to pay attention to not just your Soul, but also the earthy structured part of your human existence; the physical body that your Soul inhabits can make this life constricted and painful, or free and flowing.

The Earthy Miracle of You

Human bodies are walking, talking miracles. Seriously! Do you have ANY idea how astounding it is that you ever developed at all from a single cell into a living, breathing, billion-celled baby?  Do you know how many things had to go right for you to end up here on Earth alive in that body of yours?  I sometimes wonder why we are not all walking through life in complete and total awe of our miracle bodies.

Every day your body quietly performs miracle upon miracle just to keep you alive; your heart pumps blood to each of your muscles and organs For 24 hours a day, 7 days a week it never stops beating and serving you. You swallow a bite of food and your digestive tract breaks that sandwich down into energy and molecules that your body knows just how to use to repair itself and create new cells – a hundred acts of body maintenance happen without you ever having to consciously get involved. And every single minute you must breathe in air to stay alive. Your amazing lungs lovingly inhale that air, extract the oxygen and then pass it on to your bloodstream so that fresh oxygen gets delivered to each cell in your body.

Can you pause for a moment and focus on the fact you’re your body has been magically created and orchestrated by Spirit? You are a million miracles from head to toe. Take a deep breath in right now and pause long enough to realize how amazing it is that you ever came into form in the first place.  A million things had to happen in perfect order for you to ever be conceived and created. And the Universe doesn’t waste that kind of time. You are not a mistake or a surprise or some kind of an oops! You are a miracle.

Your Soul energy chose to come into form on this planet at this time. And everything about you being here now is a miracle. Wrap your arms around yourself and give a little squeeze in honor of the miracle you truly are.

 Outer Earth

Get to know your outer landscape; Go outside and stand or sit. Look around. Is the terrain smooth sand or jagged rock or wet swamp?  Is that rock beneath your feet or sand? Look around – Is the land where you are soggy and wet or dry as a bone? And does this place on Earth speak to you? What does Mama Earth have to share with you?

Connecting with Earth:

Connect with the earthy physical side of nature by sitting directly on rocks, dirt or grass. If you cannot get outside, lie on the solid floor in your home. Feel the stability and structure of elemental earth. Notice how calming and grounding earth is for your body.  Imagine that you can absorb the calm grounded-ness of earth through every pore of your body. Breathe in and allow your body to become as stable and solid as rock; feel the solidity of your bones supporting your organs and muscles.

Allow the stability of ground to permeate every aspect of you with each breath. Drop your attention to the center of your belly as you breathe. As you connect with earth and find your physical center, radiate that calm stability out to the rest of your body, from head to toe. Flow with the stability of earth.

Inner Earth

Go within – get to know your inner landscape, your physical body which is your “home” for this entire lifetime.

Is your body boney or soft?
Light or heavy? 
What do you enjoy about your physical body? 
What do you dislike? 
Is your inner earth fluid and flexible or rigid and immovable?  
How does your physical body feel right now; do you have any pain or discomfort? 
What does your body want to say to you?

We Are of Water

Water Reflects our World

We are of water,
and water is of us.

When water is threatened,
all living things are threatened.

What we do to water,
we do to ourselves.

Water is sacred,
a human right.

Water is our unifier
because we are all made of water.

~Ruben Saufkie, Sr. 
Water Clan, Hopi Indian Runners

Elemental Universe

Everything in our known Universe is created from elemental earth, water, air and fire. Everything including you. Try the simple practices listed below to connect with each element and understand yourself and our Earth more deeply.

PathEarth: go outside and sit or lie on the earth. Feel how stable and solid it is. Soak up that stability. Notice how the dirt and stones of our Earth give your body something structured to lean into for support. Feel into that structure and stability, notice how it holds you. Breathe deeply in and out. Thank the dirt and stones of our earth for providing a stable structured container for your life.

Turn your attention inward. Breathe and focus on the the hard bony parts of your body for a moment or two. Feel into the way your bones provide the internal structure and stability that makes it possible for a watery creature like you to stand up and walk around. Without bones, you would slide across the ground like a slug, bound closely to the earth. Breathe in and thank your bones for providing structure and stability to your body.

Water: take a bath or shower and feel the sensations of the water on your skin.  Feel the soft, yielding, fluid qualities of water as it flows over your body. Notice how different water feels from earth. Breathe and imagine those fluid qualities permeating every inch of you, making you soft, yielding, flowing.

Breathe and focus on the pulsating flow of blood within your body. Imagine the ebb and flow of fluids entering and leaving each organ, each tissue. Allow the soft flow of water to permeate every corner of your being. Then imagine that you can radiate these soft, flowing qualities out into the world; radiating flow to those you love and to those you have conflict with. Then radiate those flowing qualities back to the waters of the earth, bringing the gift of elemental water full circle.

Dancing FlameFire: sit in the sun or in front of a burning fire; feel the heat on your skin. Relax and draw the heat of fire into the depths of your body; bask in the glow of fire within. Breathe in the warmth and imagine that you can direct elemental fire to wherever more warmth or spark or action is needed.

Breathe in and draw more fire into your heart, then radiate the warmth of fire and your inner radiance out into your world. Breathe in and out, drawing fire in and then radiating it out again and again and again.

Storm cloudAir: go outside and stand or sit where the wind can find you. Breathe in the winds of nature and focus on elemental air permeating every tissue, bringing oxygen to every cell of your body. Breathe in air and exhale with an ‘ahh’ or ‘ohh’ sound. Allow the wind of your breath to cleanse  and clear your mind, blowing through and carrying away negative or worrisome thoughts.

Breathe in and allow the wind of your breath to blow down your spine and out the tips of your fingers and toes. With each exhale, send love and gratitude out into the world for the gifts of elemental air.

A fifth element lies beyond the 4 elements which create the physical foundation for our Universe. This is the mysterious element of Space or Akash. This is where the magical spark of life emanates from in the first place. And this is where the energy of Soul resides. Below is a simple way to connect to Space.

Space: go outside and find a spot with an unobstructed view of sky. Gaze at the sky; breathe in its open clarity and expansiveness. Breathe in open sky and imagine yourself dissolving into sky with every out breath.

Breathe in sky and dissolve into open spaciousness again and again. Imagine you can be nothing but breath and space. Allow tensions to dissolve and flow out of your body with each breath. Allow thoughts and emotions to dissolve into spaciousness. Make more space for positive feelings, thoughts and experiences to flow into you.

Musing with the Moon

full-moon-horizon_9450_600x450

I bought a lunar calendar this year. It takes a bit of getting used to because it divides the year up into 13 moons instead of 12 months.  After years of looking at the year as the month of January followed by  February followed by March… it seems weird to track the year by moon cycles.  After all, I have been trained since Kindergarten to track what month it is!  But keeping track of which moon cycle we are in this year has opened my eyes to nature’s rhythms and cycles in a deeper way.  And it’s shown me yet another way of looking at my world that is filled with wisdom and truth.  And I have discovered that I can use and learn from both ways of looking at the world; I can follow the cycles of the moon and stars  AND I can honor 4th of July and celebrate Christmas on December 25th again this year. I do NOT have to choose and lock into only one way of looking at my world. Truth and wisdom can be found in many forms.

Tracking moon cycles has deepened my awareness of my own cycles.  I am female, which means my emotions ebb and flow and cycle like the moon. It is the way nature wired women to operate. Don’t believe me?  Well if you’re female, find a lunar calendar and start taking note of how your mood ebbs and flows during any given lunar cycle.  And if you’re male, track your wife or girlfriend’s moods.  Try it and you’ll see how lunar women truly are.  It is not just our menses that are tied to Mother Moon. And how cool is it to be intimately tied to Mother Moon.  I find it somehow comforting.

Every year on planet Earth contains 13 lunar cycles. That’s actually not just Native American folklore – it’s astronomy.  The length of our year is determined by how long it takes the Earth to go all the way around the Sun.  And Mother Moon cycles around the Earth 13 times in the time it takes the Earth to cycle around Father Sun, whether we believe in and honor pagan rituals or not.

For those of you who haven’t ever paid attention to the moon before, a new moon is the time every month when the moon is dark and cannot be seen in our night sky. A new moon lasts 2-3 nights and then a tiny sliver of the waxing (growing) moon shows herself again in the night sky. In many earth based traditions, each new moon marks the beginning of a cycle. Many ancient cultures who were more intimately tied to the natural cycles on Earth, believed that new moon energy marks the perfect time for renewal and / or beginning new projects.

Several years ago, I discovered a wonderful book that shares Native American wisdom and legends about each moon cycle on our Earth; it’s called  The 13 Original Clan Mothers  by Jamie Sams.  One Clan Mother or Grandmother is said to watch over us in each lunar cycle. I don’t know about you, but I LOVE the idea of Grandmothers guiding and watching over me (some would label me a female chauvinist). And I also adore the magical names that Sams uses to describe the energy of what each Grandmother focuses on.

1st Moon:   Talks with Relations
2nd Moon:  Wisdom Keeper
3rd Moon:  Weighs the Truth
4th Moon:  Looks for Woman
5th Moon:  Listening Woman
6th Moon:  Storyteller
7th Moon:  Loves All Things
8th Moon:  She Who Heals
9th Moon:  Setting Sun Woman
10th Moon:  Weaves the Web
11th Moon:  Walks Tall Woman
12th Moon:  Gives Praise
13th Moon:  Becomes Her Vision

Truth can take many forms. Every spiritual tradition contains gems and nuggets of truth and wisdom that are available to help me in this crazy, confusing cycle of days known as a lifetime.  If I decide that one teacher or one school of thought is the only source of truth for me, then I lock up and limit my world and my possibilities.

Finding and holding onto truth can be as elusive as trying to catch a fish as it flashes in the sun at the surface of a lake for just a brief instant. Wrapping words around the truth to explain it is a very tricky business;  no words ever completely catch the essence of a truth because truth is an energy, a sensation of lightness and expansion. My truth creates space and opens up a new view of the world to me.  Words never quite do justice to the energy that is truth.

When I search for truth, I can choose to put blinders on and follow only one teacher as though he or she holds all the keys that will unlock me and lead me to wisdom.  Many people prefer that way – it simplifies their search for truth and wisdom. But I can  refuse to wear blinders. I can choose to search out those flashes of truth from every teacher, every tradition, every corner of the Universe that catches my awareness and speaks to me. The second way takes more patience and goes against the norm, but I find it to be infinitely more rewarding.

☾  ☽

Originally published by Nancy Lankston in 2012
under the title “Moon Musings”