Today, many of us will take time to celebrate our home, the Earth we live upon and who supplies are most organic and life-sustaining needs. We will join with others to offer ceremony, prayers and rituals of healing in hopes of rejuvenating and revitalizing our beloved Earth home. Previously this month, we have talked about hope as not being mere wishful thinking but “the ability to imagine a tomorrow that is worth living and to have a reasonable degree of confidence that we have the resources to achieve that life.” (Rob Voyle).
If we ponder this understanding of hope, there are a few ingredients that stand out for me which are important to consider in our hope for the healing and restoration of the Earth. First, we are asked to imagine. Second, we are asked to create a positive vision of the Earth. Third, we are to cultivate inner confidence that, collectively, we can accomplish this vision. Fourth, we must create a good plan outlining the resources needed and how we use them.
It’s easy to imagine a restoration of a beautiful Earth when we are out in Nature and it is pristine and the sun is shining. Yesterday, I spent most of my day walking with dogs in the bush, on a trail and around a pond. I could imagine the beauty of the Earth because I was feeling it in my bones!! Yet, I wonder, how many of us really spend time imagining a preferred tomorrow where our Earth is healthy, happy and prosperous….toxicity gone.
I read a newspaper article in the KW Record just the other day of a research study with numerous countries around the world about the time people spend in Nature. The results showed a global trend of people spending less time in Nature, in the parks, in forests and bushes than they were 5 years ago and that kids are spending less time outside than a generation ago. How can we imagine something new and different if we don’t even have a relationship with our Earth? How can we imagine what we would like with Her instead, if we have no sense of who She is now and what collaboration she desires from us?
In my Peace Building Conversations course, I invite people to be concrete in imagining the world they would love to be in 25 years from now. It was surprising for many that they struggled initially to get really concrete and clear about a vision of tomorrow for the Earth. If we cannot imagine with genuine engagement in our heart, we cannot hope for a preferred future for our Earth.
Second, we need to have a positive vision of the Earth. This may initially sound simple and easy, but it requires real effort and goals that are so emotionally impressive and valued in our hearts that they naturally occupy our conscious mind. It is easy to get caught in the despair and futility of our collective life here on this planet when everyday news reports spread stories of disasters, explosions, oil spills and corporate destruction and take-overs of land, air, water, seeds and so forth. We can get caught in a sea of reaction and reactive action rather than taking committed and thoughtful steps toward our collective vision.
Both of these steps require a deep level of motivation and agency in our thinking about our power to achieve the goals to restore, heal, and replenish the vitality of the Earth. Our goals must be achievable and yet difficult enough that our essential talents, skills and sense of purpose are evoked. Otherwise, hope cannot sustain us to create what is preferred in our vision of tomorrow.
For this week, I invite you to reflect upon, write down, draw, collage, pray for a concrete vision for yourself about a preferred future of the Earth that is healthy, happy, harmonious. Consider these questions and get as specific as possible.
- Who lives in a world like this?
- What do the waterways look like?
- How do we travel?
- What do the fish, birds, four-leggeds do?
- What is the picture of the way we negotiate diversity and conflict in this vision?
- What will it look like?
- How will people interact?
- How will people live? Be as specific as possible.
- What type of awareness do people need?
- What skills need to be acquired?
- What principles or ethical responsibilities will need to be embraced?
- How will the Declaration of Human Rights be lived out in the world?
- Who do you believe will make this happen?
Write a blessing, a poem, say a prayer, or offer ceremony to the Earth today and do so with great hope in your heart, and with a clear vision of what She and we can be together. Drop me a line of your vision or at least some real tangible pictures and hopes and goals of what you hope for with the Earth’s healing. Finally, what role and agency will you play in this preferred future? Let’s imagine and dream collectively this week. And let’s imagine in ways that call out our organic relationship with our Great Mother.