To love the Earth, let us start with our own – the earth of our bodies, of our lives. The philosopher Paulo Freire writes, “No one becomes local from a universal location.” To connect with the global, we must start with our own embodied experience. Where else would we start? Disconnecting from our own experience disconnects us from the world.
A tree with no roots dies. In this country, we are spiritually dying because we have lost the roots to our own bodily experience.
Connectedness does not come from bypassing the heaviness and darkness of Earth. It comes by sinking more deeply into it. No matter how much we human beings delude ourselves into thinking that we are separate from Nature herself, we are not.
Sustainability is a buzzword today that has many definitions and, as a field, tries to address this human/nature separation. The word sustain comes from the Latin root meaning “to hold up from below” and speaks spiritual volumes to me. As a young person, I found sustenance in sugar, the opinions of others, alcohol and drugs, love relationships, food, being a “good girl,” and so much more. When I stopped grasping, and turned toward the darkness of my inner experience, I found the belongingness that I was looking for.
To hold up from below sounds like roots to me. Roots run into the deep dark earth and support the form that arises. A tree with no roots dies. In this country, we are spiritually dying because we have lost the roots to our own bodily experience. We have planted our roots in an illusion of limitlessness, where we are now having to artificially create the comforts of light to avoid the deep dark places. Immaterial needs cannot be met with the material, systems theorist Donella Meadows writes, and trying to do this fosters an illusion that ignores our current reality and stunts, or even kills, life.