Before Our Eyes & Rhythm
Two Lovely Offerings From Ellen Dee Davidson
Before Our Eyes
After years of media debate about whether Climate Change is real, despite decades of warnings from the world’s scientists, we now see the results of a warming climate right before our eyes. People’s homes are burning. We’re breathing smoke. There’s no end in sight to the floods, fires, record breaking temperatures, droughts, crop loss, and super bugs. It’s really, really scary.
Many of us feel betrayed. Our government had the information for decades. There was more time to reduce carbon emissions, create a green economy, and reforest, since trees absorb the carbon that speeds global warming. Instead, the government did nothing. And here we are, watching brave firefighters risk their lives in infernos that grow bigger every year.
Our grief can be so overwhelming that we want to ignore the grim reality and wish Climate Change would just go away. Meanwhile, fossil fuel extraction amps up with fracking and tar sands drilling. Logging trucks are everywhere this summer, hauling out big, old trees—at a time when, if our species were behaving sanely, we’d be planting trees as fast as possible, as if our lives depend upon it, because they do.
We ask, “What can we do?”
Recently, I listened to a podcast from the Pachamama Alliance with Arkan Lushwala. Lushwala says people all over the world are asking him what they can do, but this is not the first question to ask. Lushwala says the first question we each must ask ourselves is, “What can I be?”
The urgency of our times requires action, but this action must come from our real talents and abilities. When we know who we can be, then we know what we can do. Sometimes we may need to slow down, pause, and really listen to ourselves and the Earth to find out what is ours to offer.
Meanwhile, we can make small changes in our lifestyles. It might not seem like much to use less plastic, grow wildflowers for honeybees, donate money to people planting trees, teach children about nature, or fly less frequently, but all these small choices do add up. Climate Change is such a huge problem that none of us can slow it down on our own, but every single one of us can be part of the solution. Together we have a chance.
When life is in balance we have rhythm. We dance our way through our days in a graceful flow.
Our heartbeats synchronize with the pulse of the universe and we live in the breath of connection. Most of us experience times when we know this organic joy, but how can we bring ourselves back when something throws us off the beat? How do we find our own unique rhythms and join them harmoniously to the greater whole?
Pause for a moment and feel your pulse. Take a breath. Relax into your living being. How do you feel now? Where are you in space? Are you sitting, standing, walking, or lying down? Observe yourself with the tenderness of a mother towards a newborn baby. What do you need? Is it time for a nap? Time to be fed? Time to laugh and play? Time to go somewhere?
Tune in. If you are at work, or busy with the demands of mothering, or called to be an activist, this process of tuning in may take place in small moments. Instead of immediately reacting, wait and sense into yourself. That way, the response will come from a more coherent, authentic you.
Most of us suffer from hurry sickness. The pace of modern life is fast. One of the best parts of home schooling my daughters for a couple years was that it allowed them to find their own natural rhythms; they woke up when they wanted to, ate when they were hungry, and enjoyed activities as the desire arose. Many of us have never had the opportunity to discover the natural cadences of our beings. But we all can. The knowing awareness and internal guidance is with us all the time, in our bodies.
Tree Sisters offers a teaching about the In Breath and the Out Breath. When we nurture ourselves with enough In Breath, allowing ourselves to rest, heal, spend time in nature, eat nourishing food, sleep, be with friends, meditate, do yoga and whatever fills us with energy, then there is an almost effortless arising of Out Breath activity and a desire to offer our gifts to the world. The In Breath tends to be more archetypically feminine in orientation, while the Out Breath leads to more doing in the world. The challenge for all of us living in a culture that puts more value on achievement, accomplishment, and archetypically male expression is that many of us become exhausted and burned out. Then we lose our balance and fall out of rhythm with the universal intelligence. We are cut off from vast sources of energy and become so very tired.
This deep burn out and being used up is reflected in how we have treated the natural world. It really isn’t sustainable for us or life on Earth to continue at this frantic pace. So in all the sweet, small ways you can, take time to touch in with yourself and linger in the nourishing moments. Even if it is only five minutes here and there during the day, stopping and pausing to check in with yourself can be life changing.
Although finding your own wild rhythms might feel like a small and insignificant thing to do, given the magnitude of the issues facing us as a species during these pivotal times, it is not. As each one of us comes into greater harmony with ourselves, we add to the harmony of the whole, and this will be reflected in the world we interdependently co-create. There is so much power in simply taking care of ourselves. As Mary Reynolds says in Dare to be Wild, “We are nature and nature is us.” As we heal ourselves, we heal our world.
*** For more information about Tree Sisters and the In Breath and Out Breath, check out www.treesisters.org.