I’m glad to be writing again after many family visits to the East and to the West. Being completely overcome with the beauty of mountain streams or the clarity of Lake Superior gave my body a much-needed reset. It has felt especially precious given the summer of drought, fires, floods, and heat.
I wish to honor the background stress so many are experiencing from the extremes in our weather. As I’ve tried to find the right way into this topic, my cat Gidget interrupted me.
She and I have a morning cuddle routine that got lost in the shuffle today. Unsatisfied, she started to claw and bang on the furniture to get my attention. After scolding her in frustration a few times I got up from my computer and lay on the couch so she could settle her tiny 7 pound body on my chest and purr vigorously. She insists on the head pats and rubs her teeth on my nose. Soon enough she is satisfied and is ready to curl up for a nap.
Gidget falls in the aggressively friendly category. As we cuddle, I often feel awe that this creature is so ardently seeking connection with me. I appreciate being reminded of the wisdom of her priorities: routine connection, purring, resting, and watching chipmunks.
After my cat cuddle, I was more settled too.
I couldn’t help but wonder if she was asserting a perspective about how to relate to all the storms banging on our windows. Could they be in some way like my cat clawing on my furniture?
Most interestingly, Gidget inspires me to explore if one way to respond to our chaotic climate is to lie down and cuddle with Mother Earth.
I know things are urgent; laying ourselves down to give Mother Earth some love and attention might not sound reasonable. Yes, it’s not the only thing that must be done. But, what if in fact, spending time in loving connection with the land and water is one of the crucial missing pieces – vital for both for the Earth’s health and also for our own sanity?
Earlier this month I lay down my busy life for two days to join the Lake Superior Water Walk. This Indigenous-led ceremony is walking around all of Lake Superior over 36 days, praying for the water with each step. As I walked, I repeated the words “Water I love you, water I honor you, water I thank you” over and over in my head. Maybe it wasn’t really that different from the morning cuddles with my cat.
“What else is there to do?” asks Sharon Day, the leader of the Lake Superior Water Walk, in the opening lines of this film. She goes on to explain that she devoted the first 60 years of her life to protest. When she started water walking, she realized, “There is another way, and that is moving forward in the spirit of love and bringing as many people along with me as possible.”
Water walking all the way around Lake Superior is an extreme engagement with this question. I only join in for two days here or there. It’s not for everyone, but it can inspire all of us in our daily lives.
There is something incredibly valuable in taking an hour, an afternoon, or a weekend to intentionally attend to and renew your loving connection with Mother Earth.
The more tools I’ve learned to wake up my senses and perception of the energies in nature, the richer these connection points are. I feel better more quickly, and have a clearer experience of communicating with the Earth the more I practice. I’m especially excited to be offering a three-in-one experience of these practices in the Find Your Nature Retreat this September. I will be sharing how qigong and dance can help us deepen our connection to the Earth around and within us. I am thrilled also to be collaborating in this retreat with Forest Therapy guide Johanna Schussler.
I hope this retreat can be an antidote to the heaviness, disconnection, and confusion of these times.
Three closing questions inspired by Gidget the cat:
- Do you ever experience Mother Earth as being aggressively friendly?
- Do the trees or water near where you live desire a cuddle routine with you – and would they miss it if it didn’t happen?
- What would it feel like to notice nature purring with you and how might that improve your day?
I’d love to explore questions like these with you at the upcoming Find Your Nature retreat! Early Bird Registration ends Sunday, August 20.
Learn practices for connecting with Nature that cultivate ease, wholeness, and aliveness.
Take a weekend to re-set in the beautiful woods of the Christine Center. Early bird pricing for the Find Your Nature retreat ends Sunday, August 20.