Healing the Wounds of our Time
By: Sarai Nicolina Shapiro
A holistic or traditional healer knows that to fully heal an ailment, you must go to the root of the issue. Otherwise, you will experience ongoing and ever increasing symptoms throughout the body and psyche. If we were to look at our living planet, Gaia, as one body that is out of balance and suffering from dis-ease, perhaps the current inflammatory symptoms would include racism, sexism, classism, ageism, speciesism, a fever of global climate change. But, what is the root?
I believe that it can be found in the original breaks that nearly everyone on the planet has experienced in our ancestry to land/place/home, to the soils from whom we come from and return to, and for whom we share a common etymological root. “Humus” is fertile top soil and “Human” is the English word for our species.
We humans were in deep connection with the lands we were living on for the vast majority of human history. We relied on our collective knowledge of the places we lived in order to survive. The beauty of being earth animals who eventually developed heightened consciousness is that the ecological principles that we needed for survival also taught us how to stay in balance psychologically and spiritually.
Living in connection with the earth teaches us ways of being that directly heal and contradict some of the biggest symptoms of the dis-ease of modern Gaia. How might turning back to our original teacher, the earth, help us to live here in a more beautiful and balanced way?
Some (of the many) ways that reconnecting ourselves with the more than human world can bring us back into balance include:
DIRECT FEEDBACK ~ Teaches humility instead of narcissism: We receive feedback in real time. If you are in a self-centered spiral, you will miss what is around you, including possibly your next meal. No matter how pretty your eye shadow is or what you posted on social media that day, when you are needing to bring forth a fire (with no matches) on a cold winter night, the only thing that will help you get that fire is your connection to the wood and the land and your body.
CYCLES ~ Teaches nurturance vs. perpetual progress: We interact with the cyclical nature of time through watching the moon fill and empty, the sun rise and fall, constellations move, and seasons change. We are reminded that life works best when it has times of productivity and times of rest, not constant growth.
DEATH/LIFE ~ Teaches honoring of life vs. being wasteful: When we interact with death more often we have a constant reminder of the fragility of life and the unbelievable blessing that life is while we have it. We are less likely to waste or destroy unnecessarily ours or any other precious life.
EQUALITY ~ Teaches respect of vs. fear of diversity: We know that all humans have the same birthright to resources for survival. The earth does not discriminate based on gender, how much melanin you have in your skin or sexual orientation. The mountain spring runs for anyone who can find her, the acorns feed all who approach in gratitude.
EMBODIMENT ~ Teaches responsive vs. reactive nervous system: Because we co-evolved with every other living creature, our bodies are built to have our feet touching the earth, our hands harvesting fragrant plants, our eyes witnessing sunrises, our skin touching the wild water and winds. Without these embodied experiences, we end up living in and from our heads. Our minds become carried away with stories that are not rooted in the grounded reality that the earth teaches.
Our young people are feeling the inflammation, the consequences and symptoms of how far we have come from living in connection with this source. Many of them are falling victim to the symptoms of this disconnection leading to depression, self-harming, and deep confusion around who they are. Many are using that as fuel to cry out and demand change.
Connection to the humus, earth, that which is our mother, and ourselves, and our source of life, all wrapped into one, is essential for us to become well again, and perhaps even thrive as a species! Each of our individual wellbeing contributes to fulfilling our ecological niche and potential as humans here on this planet ~ to be guardians of all life and creators of beauty.
What if all young people started off learning about how the humus/soil supports all life without asking for any glorification in return. What if we were each asked the question – how can we live up to our namesake as humans, and be humble in our greatness like the humus? Let’s remember that the simple act of spending time in nature, seeking her wisdom, and tending those sacred threads of connection is a revolutionary act in this time.
For further reading/exploration on some of these topics check out adrienne maree brown, Joanna Macy, Charles Eisenstein, Martin Prechtel