Earth Way thoughts 2022

a letter with some thoughts about connecting to nature and healing the planet

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I want to share a in words some of my experience spending more time with nature. So much good has come from it.

First, I am a lot calmer and second much happier which is not to say all my problems are solved – they are not. But I feel better.

Before covid I found myself longing for nature. Covid brought a window for quick and drastic changes. I took it as an invitation to go deeper into nature. By the Salish Sea at Golden Gardens Beach while many were observing lockdown, I wandered. It was easy to find that part of me who as a child could take in the wonder and beauty of nature just for the pleasure of it. PLEASURE.

I also found the time and space to be alone.

In that moment I got to observe how I interacted with nature.

For example, I didn’t have a prayer or meditation practice but somehow I felt uncomfortable just going out into nature without some marking of that transition into an eco-system that was complete without me. So instead of stumbling out on to a beach, feet stomping all over fragile eco systems, anxious to just move body, I began to stop for a moment of gratitude. I still frequently forget, but eventually I remember. I need to listen and then I sing for few moments or a longer. This singing practice is new for me. I remember I used to take long walks up and down San Francisco hills in in my early 20’s and sing. But between now and then, it wasn’t my practice – now it is. I have a few of my own songs I like to sing that are transitions that usher me into connection with myself and the environment.

I am so grateful for that practice.

It has helped me in some very stressful moments. Out of that practice I learning, slowly, that I am part of nature. When I enter natural environments I can align with at times that feel very good, grounding and personally healing. That is a powerful step and I am curious about what other people are doing because I feel like there is a specificity to every individual that is important to acknowledge, recognize and honor.. Embracing that practice for myself helps me with self-love.

Judgement is not the best way to invite change for me. I can get defensive which clouds my brain. Instead, I think open ended questions that are sincere questions such as "what can I do to help heal the planet?" are helpful. I ask in this coming from a place where I thoroughly accept that my lifestyle is part of the problem with our environment/ climate change. And the answer that I always hear from within is connect deeper with nature because when I truly love, I want to share, I want to support all that is around me. My love for nature comes easily and making small and big changes follows. Those changes are not as easy but easier... There is time for that space to develop these relationships with ourselves and our environment. . Sure we should act quickly and dramatically but there is something about moving with a deep desire for real change that will facilitate that change that will make a lasting impact.

I grew up playing outside in the woods and on the beaches so I feel comfortable there and that is lucky. I am fortunate to live near places where I can access nature. I realize that this is privilege. Access needs to be universal, it is a natural birthright. How to to achieve that is open-ended question that I am thinking about a lot.

So, what am I doing?

here are things that I have been doing for a while: struggling not to use plastic, reducing my travel footprint (which for me means electric biking) and trying to make every plane trip really count (stay longer, direct flights and less travel). I would like to walk more and for right now eating less meat. I didn’t realize how big a footprint factory farmed beef has on planet but it is huge as is buying new clothes. Just look at the photos or rivers which are filled with dyes. These are things I can chip away at and they support the environment TRANSLATION- they lessen the huge burden I place on the planet by my high footprint lifestyle. And they are a start. These actions help me remember to be a little humbler and build confidence to do more.

I believe that if we are more connected to nature, if we turn away more from our phones and machines we will be able to figure out more efficient ways to repair some of the losses we are seeing with the planet and repair some of the ways we relate to other humans and earth.

My last thought is about perfectionism, I don’t think blogs were meant to be perfect so this one is not and specifically not trying to be. Instead, I am trying to fill in some gaps where social media fails. I want to share something longer and more intimate than social media and more casual than writing a book or essay.

Sending love,

Joan

I am currently enjoying the Shaman's Cave Podcast and Sandra Ingerman's teachings.

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Some photos taken near the Salish Sea from the past month.