loving like the rain
Imagine if we loved unconditionally. If we loved in the way soil loves our bodies, growing nourishment in collaboration with billions of other elements (bacteria, fungi, critters, water, minerals, nutrients, carbon, sunlight, nitrogen, sugars, roots, spirit) to keep this big project of life evolving. If we loved unconditionally the way the rains kiss our roofs and fill our tanks and dams and rivers, not asking for too much in return, steadily migrating from the ocean or forests inland in a cycle of love and shedding and transpiring to love yet again. The water and the animals and the trees and herbs know so much about love.
They embody loving as acts of service. Love as acts of reciprocity and being in right relationship – not taking more than you need and always leaving abundance for future bodies and ecologies. Loving as the knowledge that what sustains and empowers you, sustains and empowers me. Ecological knowledge, embodied through the honouring of our interdependence.
A standard of pure, unconditional love and traditional wisdom very difficult to live up to under a colonial, capitalist global system, but an aspiration of ahimsa (non-violence) and liberation that for me feels like the most important intergenerational journey to embark upon. Our Earth is incredibly forgiving and generous despite all the selfish harm some people have inflicted. But we also press up against the Earth’s firm boundaries. A boundary that many Indigenous and involved minds have been speaking about for centuries, white academics and activists for decades. It’s estimated that there are only 50 years of topsoil left at the rate industrial agriculture and land use change is destroying it. A world without soil is a world without soul because all life really grows up from the ground and the contemplation of what spirit and soul even are – the articulation and the art and practices that explore soul are only possible because of the physical container that soil provides. We go back to the soil, and we also grow from the soil. A fact of reality that cannot be abstracted. All wise and rooted cultures knew this and took great care of the skin of the mother. Practices like compost, no dig gardening, bio-char, all have traditional, Indigenous roots observable across the planet.
Is there anything in greater collaboration with the divine and freedom than growing your ancestral food? Food rich with vitality, prana, life force. Food grown with your own intent in gratitude uplifts the life force in our own bodies and imaginations. Seeds carefully stored, sown again and again, experimenting with diversity to increase it. Bringing back lost varieties is bringing back edible knowledge. We can taste the thing that was missing all our lives in a bowl of homegrown corn, tomato and zucchini. The sweetness, the nurturing, the ability of us to look after ourselves simply. We can also taste the importance of allying with the Indigenous and peasant struggle as we eat from seeds tended by others since time began. That hunger for belonging and meaning can be satiated once we embed ourselves in the ultimate creation we all belong to – Nature, and our unique and individual dreams can also be manifested in the social and ecological niches of the Place we inhabit.
Growing food together with other people, is reclaiming a wild and ancient part of our beings that taps us into old ways. Ways that are slower and much more sublime than the current experience of gathering food from the supermarket. That’s one of the reasons why all the land is inaccessible, locked up, stolen. Because many people would not participate in economies of abuse if they had their birthright to home, land and seed. This is why caring about land access and reparations is essential to any healing modality and justice cause. There is no health without planetary health. Our minds and bodies and spirits are an ecological process just like the winds, volcanoes and forests. Mind is in relationship to the environment within and without, our bodies are made up of the elements and our spirits are embedded in this physical experience of being human, being Nature.
Our Earth is clearly expressing their boundaries. What behaviours they will tolerate and what they won’t. Fire, flood, pandemic, warming and weather changes. the sickness of our bodies from living and consuming pollution. The mental health decline that is the result of living in a culture so deeply severed from Earth, a culture focused on meaningless trite and maintaining the disorder so the rich can get richer. Our society is disembodied from the seasons and the rooted practices that make being grounded a real thing. We are disembodied from our own bodies because of this broken dynamic between place and purpose. Co-regulating with the landscape, the steady sway of garden plants and their scents which evoke ancient memories of being bigger than just this lifetime, is a medicine that is intentionally kept from the people. This system does nothing to heal us from the trauma of colonisation and empire which spread all over the world, it maintains power through disconnecting us from the Indigenous wisdom of our ancestors who knew how to live in reciprocity with Earth.
Our psyches and our gut know that this capitalist, consumer project is a death wish yet daily we have to exist within this collective cognitive dissonance. The land is not free. The people cannot be free until the land is free. The land has been stolen, how do we reclaim it as living members of the ecosystem and how do we ally with those whose land it is, and support their goals? How bad do things have to get before the desire for big social and economic transformation awakens in many more privileged hearts? How many more BIPOC, trans, refugee and queer bodies have to be sacrificed to white supremacists delusion. A delusion that is also unprocessed ancestral trauma and grief from going through a similar violence that they now inflict on others. No wonder white people are so sick, the first acts of empire, displacement and colonisation occurred in the places we come from – European elite empires refined these oppressive tactics on their neighbours and community before exporting the illness and violence to the rest of the world. We white folks really must look at these histories and see how we keep playing out the same patterns of abuse and domination. It’s literally in our bodies and we must do the work to end the cycle with us.
It’s an act of love to heal. It’s an act of love to uproot the racism and oppressive perspectives in our own minds. We have to show the Earth that we are actually worthy of being here by remembering and enacting ways of being that are ecological. It’s ecological to encourage diversity. It’s ecological to make sure all members of the community have what they need to thrive and be joyful. If we don’t behave ecologically, well it’s obvious what is already unfolding but the injustice is that it affects those of us in affluent places far less. Our own joy and pleasure and meaning increases when we orientate ourselves towards creating peace and justice in a way that has integrity. There’s something that feels urgent in these times, and as Bayo Akomolafe says it’s important to ‘slow down’ in these times to really make sure that our responses to the situation are actually different than the structures that have programmed us so deeply. Reflect on our own life’s work and how we are in relationship with others and the land, and ask if our current modus operandi supports or diminishes life? And what aspects of this I can control and change? As global awareness and consciousness grows, I find it increasingly difficult to write about ecologically, health, farming, traditional skills, justice and land/Indigenous rights as seperate things because they are not. As weaver, the threads that connect everything are the stabilising element.
A holistic response is needed. People in each field could be incorporating ending empire and injustice and regenerating Nature into their work. Diversity is the key to life. In our approaches and in the physical reality. How would the world look if we loved unconditionally the way the Earth loves? How would the world look if we held very firm boundaries against abuse the way the Earth does? How would the world look if we healed from our own trauma and woke up to the energies of ahimsa?
Culture would be rooted in reality, the living processes of Earth. Old burdens and confusion would lift. Community could flourish without the energies of greed and violence, and the destruction of land, water and sky would cease. We would have such a profound deep sense of real self love (not this narcassistic bullshit), that our Self would extend out to all living beings in the present and those to come. The Earth is speaking. The people are speaking. Are you listening?