Thursday, December 22, 2011

Caring about trees

I read this devastating article on Reuters this morning that claims that up to half a billion trees in Texas may have died due to the horrific drought conditions the state is experiencing. The article claims that's approximately one tenth of all the trees in the state.

On an eco-spiritual level, I have always been a lover of trees. I feel their grace and rootedness; I sense a kind of "I've-seen-it-all" wisdom and even an air of benevolent service, as though they know they are holding our earth together and creating the oxygen we need to breathe. When I think of a loss on this kind of level, what comes up for me is a question: "Why are trees leaving Texas?" and a follow-up, "What can we do about it?"

Our country experiences floods and droughts all the time, cyclical and sometimes seemingly nonsensical, as various parts of the US deal with climate crises of varying proportions. It's just part of what happens with weather, people, and land. (And, many would say, events like these are increasing as a result of climate change.) But when so many living beings leave at once, I wonder what else in the environment--beyond the current drought--makes it likely for that outcome to arise.

If you're a praying or meditating person, I invite you to join me in sending love and strength and compassion to the trees in Texas. And while you're thinking about it, maybe send a quick "thank you" to the trees in your own area, too. They don't get a lot of thanks in our world, but we'd miss them if they were gone. In fact, our physical lives depend on them.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Belonging to your place

I love this passage from Gail Straub's book, Circle of Compassion: Meditations for Caring for Our Self and Our World and I use it in my Eco-Spirituality course:

We have forgotten what we can count on. The natural world provides refuge.... Each of us harbors a homeland, a landscape we naturally comprehend. By understanding the dependability of place, we can anchor ourselves as trees. —Terry Tempest Williams
  • I put down deep roots where I live. I belong to my place, this is the very grounding for my rhythm of compassion. This helps me belong to myself. 
  • To create my sense of place I begin by becoming intimate with the particulars of my home landscape: the plants, creatures, stones, trees, buildings, landmarks, and people.
  • I create my sense of place as I walk every inch of my surroundings, feed the birds, or plant indigenous herb gardens.
  • Today I practice mindful intimacy with my place as I stop and notice the subtle details of the sounds, sights, smells, and textures that surround me.
  • This week I study the maps and history of my region. I am falling in love with my place. I write a love poem to my home landscape.
  • Over time I fall in love with the light and shadow of the days and the cycles of the seasons. As I learn to live in harmony with the cycles of my place, I begin to live in harmony with my own seasons and my own light and shadow.
  • Today I focus on Terry Tempest William’s wise words about place, “Each of us harbors a homeland, a landscape we naturally comprehend. By understanding the dependability of place, we can anchor ourselves as trees.”
  • There are few things in life as steadfast as my place. It is my ground for meaning. As I belong to my place, I belong to myself. I am rooted in my rhythm knowing when to pay attention to myself, and when to focus on the world.

Writing about Nature & Spirit

Hey, this is exciting. I just received word yesterday that the Festival of Faith & Writing, which will be held in Grand Rapids, Michigan in April, accepted my proposal to facilitate a discussion circle on "Writing about Nature & Spirit." (Woo hoo!) The Festival is a huge, biannual writer's conference, full of inspiring talks and performances, fascinating people, and great energy. It's also not "exclusionary," either in the faith sense or the writing sense--readers are welcome too. And if you're interested in writing about nature, come be part of my group! :)

Monday, December 19, 2011

Coming soon! A Simple Guide to Eco-Spirituality

Hi and thanks for checking out my new blog, Simply Eco-Spiritual. I'm creating this blog to share ideas, tips, and resources related to Eco-Spirituality (which I teach at Earlham School of Religion) and my newest book, A Simple Guide to Eco-Spirituality, to be published soon by Luminis Books! On this site you'll find
  • Presentations
  • Video clips
  • Discussion guides, and
  • Additional eco-spirituality resources
I invite you to drop me a note if you have a question or just want to share your own thoughts and interests in eco-spirituality. The time is now for a nurturing relationship with this planet! Thanks for joining me in loving and supporting life. :)

Wondering who I am? Here are links to my Amazon Author Page as well as my blog about writing.

Smiles and blessings to you!