Relatedness Is How We Wake Up

ecological self presence relatedness May 28, 2021

Another month or two and I will have lived in Vermont for an entire year. One full cycle completed. What an adventure it has been, a new discovery with each shape-shifting month. And oh my, the spring really lingers in her pleasure here, she languishes, she refuses to be rushed. The latest transformation has been by Lilac, entire roadsides and backyards taken over by perfume winds of mauve, magenta and pearly white.


Lilac, returning Goldfinch, monstrous Rhubarb, and the wise, living earth around me are who I hope speak through these love notes, not me.⁣ Their voices show up as a little bit of poetry, a little bit of practical wisdom, a little bit of praise for living. May you always be left with something nutritive. 


I am wondering: How are you getting your needs met?


So many of us still believe that we can only get our needs met through other humans or material stuff. But there is a whole other world waiting for us. The animate world reminds us that we are not alone in the task of living. We don’t need to keep ourselves so alienated. 


Engaging in practices of reciprocity naturally lead to a sense of deep nurturance, comfort, and connectivity. But we have to stop trying to orient ourselves outside of the land. This habit is what gets us stuck in the human/nature split, what gets us spinning in patterns and language of superiority, what keeps us treating the earth like inert, dead soil instead of the sustenance of our lives.


A simple daily offerings practice acts as acknowledgement of this sustenance and it purposefully breaks our unconscious cultural agreement that humans are separate from the earth. 


So I would like to tell you now about two basic practices I use to remember this reciprocity daily. The first practice I call: Feeding the earth like the earth feeds me. 


In the mornings while I am making breakfast, I take a quick trip outside to mutter a few words of praise and connectivity. With my hand I dig a little into the ground, creating a “mouth” of sorts. And into this mouth I leave a small offering, maybe some collected hair from my brush, some crushed rose petals, leftover cornmeal or almond flour from my pantry, small shells from the Oregon coast, stale tea leaves, or even coffee grounds. When I am done this mouth-hole gets covered back up again.


I give thanks for the great support and nourishment I receive daily from this living world. I fill myself up with these gifts and then leave a gift in return. It is a call and response. An inhale and an exhale. 


The second practice I call: Speaking Outloud


I love to speak outloud to the thrumming relationality of all things around me. On my morning walk this morning my prayers included:


“Hello Living Sky, your cloud people are moving quite quickly today. 


Hello Living Wind, please be merciful on the tomato plant, it’s stem is not so sturdy yet. 


Hello Living Earth, may your rich universes of life be diverse and plentiful. 


Hello Living Lake, thank you for calling me to you just when I need it the most.”


This relatedness is how we wake up.


Without relatedness we eat and drink and live luxuriously 

but touch nothing. 


We float the surface but never hear the earth whispering its secret names.


With relatedness our hearts are fed lavishly by wanting nothing at all. 


Let us remember to find something to adore and keep talking to it.


Adoration is enough.