Taming Nature by Nancy Lankston
I like to spend time camping in Rocky Mountain National Park. I love that place. But the last time I camped there, I came away sad. The hiking trails at RMNP are badly damaged from too many hikers. The campground is stripped of every bush and flower; only the hardiest old pine trees still survive. There is very little natural life left anywhere near the campground. I was haunted by the nagging thought that humans destroy Nature wherever we go.
People have been trying to manage and control the beautiful wild places on earth for generations. But we always seem to end up destroying huge pieces of Nature in the process of trying to preserve and micro-manage it. Environmentalists preach about man’s destruction of Nature all the time. It is sad to realize that a tree hugger like myself can add to the destruction without even realizing it.
I believe that we lost an important connection between humans and Mother Nature when we stopped sleeping on the ground and hunting in the forest every day for dinner. We lost something valuable when we got “civilized.” And now, with every piece of wildness that we pave over or fence in, we lose even more connection. With every choice we make to ride in a car instead of walking, and with every streetlight that we keep burning all night long, we lose our understanding of the value of wild places.
Somehow we forget that every drop of water we drink and every bite of food we consume is a gift from Nature. We forget that Mother Nature provides everything that sustains our lives. We forget… Is this our proverbial fall from paradise, this act of forgetting?
I look around at everything humans have done to our Earth in the name of progress and I wonder. We seem to have a terminal case of amnesia; we forget that humans are intrinsically a part of Nature. Is this a Christian oops, this idea that humans have dominion over this planet? Where did we come up with the notion that we must tame and subdue and manage every other creature on Earth? Whatever happened to the Christian concepts of kindness and sharing? Apparently those ideals don’t apply to plants and animals.
I shouldn’t pick on Christianity. It’s not like Jews, Buddhists, Hindus or Moslems have a history of being any kinder to our Earth. Most religions act like the human body is a necessary evil rather than a divine miracle. Is it any surprise that those same religions view the body of Mama Earth like a necessary evil to be tamed and controlled?
Can we stop trying to tame Mama Earth? Can we just STOP? Instead of seeing life as a battle of humans against Nature, can we wake up and connect with the wisdom and wonder of Nature? It is the wisdom and wonder of Nature that makes life on Earth possible! When will we realize that destroying Nature is as dumb as cutting off our own arm? Are we wise enough to finally choose cooperation over domination?
I know in my heart that I am not separate or distinct from Nature.
This single simple idea feels so critical to me. But what will it take before I start living like I believe that? When will I start working with Nature, actively listening to Nature, looking to Nature for my answers?
I wonder, what else is possible? Can I learn how to partner and work with Mama Earth rather than doing things to her? It is time to try. Because the truth is, I cannot survive without Nature. Nature and I are one.
There is a sacred ground that is calling to us to heal now; it is the ground of the feminine that holds and nourishes all life. This feminine ground can be found in the dirt of Mother Earth that holds and nourishes a tiny plant seedling. It can be found within each woman who holds and nourishes a human embryo in her womb. Both plant and human require the sacred ground of the Mother to hold and grow new life.
I read of a young woman being brutally raped and left for dead on a bus in India. I turn the page and read of Mother Earth being raped and polluted in a search for oil in the tar sands of Canada. And I feel the same energy in both acts; a hatred and a dishonoring of the feminine. It is the male warrior energy run rampant, forgetting the sacredness of the feminine body.
The feminine body has been objectified and mistreated for generations. Both the female womb and the dirt of Mother Earth have been dishonored and defiled again and again. Entire cultures and religions curse and blame the feminine for our human fall from grace. Those that don’t understand the gifts of the feminine have tried to stifle her wisdom and annihilate her power.
We fear what we do not understand. But how can we possibly kill what holds and nurtures each life? If we kill the mother, we kill ourselves. And even when we deny the sacredness of the feminine, the mother quietly continues to perform her sacred magic, holding ground for every new life.
Mystery of Mother Earth
Mother is so quiet, dark, mysterious and yet so nurturing; the feminine gifts look and act nothing like the male energies that are prized today. These feminine gifts are so misunderstood, and yet so necessary to heal this world. The power of the feminine lies within an expansive holding, supporting and nurturing energy that is difficult to pin down; visualize the warm safety of mama’s lap; feel into the quiet stability of the earthy ground and you will be on the right track. Knowing the feminine is best done on a visceral and emotional level.
It takes a quieting of the mind and a wondering heart to grasp the gifts of the feminine energies. Watch a mother with her baby; sense her gentle nurturing and quiet loving presence. Or go outside and sit with Mother Nature; just sit and be still. Breathe, watch and listen to Nature.
The divinity of the feminine whispers in the ripples of the water and the gentle opening of a flower. It is there in the growing tree limbs that arch toward the sky and the roots that burrow into mother’s dirt. Our Earth Mama holds a quiet space of wisdom, always there beneath the surface of life. She is a mysterious, flowing and constant presence.
The ground of our Mother whispers that it is time now to heal the feminine. The Mother is quietly, yet insistently calling to us. She is demanding that we remember her gifts and honor her sacredness or perish. It is time to heal our relationship with our Earth Mother.
Originally published by Nancy Lankston in July, 2013
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.
Earth: 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.
Fire: 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.
Air: 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.
Use this Guided Meditation to relax and open to the heart of Mother Earth.