The earth is shifting and life is rising through her. In the Northern Hemisphere we’re seeing light stretching longer through the days. The sycamore trees in our neighborhood are putting on their green gowns. The succulents are in full bloom. Lots of bees buzzing about. Ahhhhhh… It’s Spring! This season shows you how to love what is growing in your life.
What’s growing in you these days?
You might be feeling charged up by more sunshine, ready to grow branches in new directions, and decorate your life with new leaves. Or maybe you’re softening into your concern about what hasn’t bloomed. Wherever you are, there is soil waiting to be turned, there is breath waiting to be moved, inspiration waiting to be received, and a fluency of motion ready to be known.
Some of us feel like a field about to blossom and burst into color. Some of us feel like a forest that has been logged. Some of us experience all kinds of invasive plants growing through our soil, shaping us as a new ecosystem. Some of us have a complex configuration of a life – difficult and magnificent, dangerous and miraculous, depressing and magical.
What have you lost that is giving rise to new versions of yourself? What has been destroyed in the storms of life, and is now making way for new experiences? What has been cut down and destroyed in you by an unjust world, and what is growing in that graveyard?
New growth isn’t always easy to embrace.
Life’s journey is an unfolding of creative exploration that explodes into being through continuous dissolution.
We are living through a biodiversity crisis. And because of the ways that us humans have been exploiting the natural world, treating this planet as if it belongs to us, we are facing devastating consequences.
Ecosystems are changing. Ecosystems have always been changing.
On the one hand, our species is to be blamed for the devastation that we are in the midst of right now. At the same time, this planet is a living, changing entity that has never stayed in one form, and has always been reconfiguring itself.
I remind myself that the earth itself created us. We are never separate from it.
Some humans think we are the masters of this domain; “smarter,” more “evolved” than other species, that we are conscious beings, and therefore we know better than nature itself. Some people think that we have the right to do whatever we want with the resources that the planet has to offer. Humanity has claimed ownership of the earth.
Some of us feel the intense need to DO something about the loss and destruction that our species has been inflicting on the planet.
As I’m writing this, my mind is busy with all the injustices that come hand in hand with the destruction of the planet. My heart breaks for indigenous communities around the world. My body aches as I think of all the harm caused by systems created by white supremacy, capitalism, colonialism, and patriarchal models that still rule the world. The lands, the people, the plants, the animals – we are all interconnected, and the issues that are oozing out of the wounds inflicted by the very same causes are inseparable.
You don’t always know how to love what is growing in your life.
Today’s world makes it difficult to lust for the simple pleasures, to be ok with where we are, and to be at ease with life as it is. Being on the verge of catastrophe is not your typical love potion.
We have to rise with plants in Spring and stand for social justice, for equality, and equity, and reproductive rights, for antiracism, for gender inclusivity, for clean water, and clean air, and for each other. We have to learn how to be in a reciprocal relationship with the soil and the seeds and the trees and the bees.
Sometimes, in the urge to do something, through our anthropocentric lens, we still think that we are somehow smarter than nature, that we know what it needs, that we are somehow going to be the saviors that rescue her.
Invasive species of plants show up and grow in areas where logging has happened. In the human eye, even in some environmentalists’ eyes, these plants are seen as a problem that needs to be eradicated. They are seen as damaging, as plants that aren’t supposed to be there.
But is it really problematic? Are we smarter than nature? What if these invasive species are here to prepare the soil for what comes next? What if this is nature’s way of repairing? Plants have been here for way longer than we have. Perhaps the earth knows what she’s doing.
I recently heard an interview with herbalist Rosemary Gladstar on For The Wild Podcast, and at some point they were talking about this very topic. Gorgeous conversation! The host, Ayana Young asks: “How do we love what is? How do we love the plants that are coming up for us?”
I think of my pre-teen daughter. We’ve always been so close. She’s always loved to snuggle and cuddle. She still does. But only at home. Nowadays, when I bring her to school, or pick her up, she doesn’t give me hugs anymore, and barely even says a word to me. Is it heartbreaking? Yep! Is it natural? You bet it is! It’s an invasive plant growing where my favorite grove of ancient trees used to be. My heart is broken. But this is not a problematic ecosystem to eradicate. This is nature doing her work. And I can grieve what no longer is, and also receive what is coming up now.
Nothing stays the same.
Do I struggle with the invasion of wrinkles around my lips and eyes? Or with the way that my breasts have a relationship with gravity that has nothing to do with my intentions and desires? Oh, I struggle! Sadness and anger are not skipping me. The shattering of old self, old identities, old forms is heartbreaking. And the new growth is not always pretty, or satisfying, or exciting, or inspiring.
But there is such gentle power in the process of learning how to be with what is coming through us. There is so much beauty in the cultivation of receptivity, in being curious about what the soil is preparing for, in the willingness to be in the discomfort, the uncertainty, the unsureness, and in opening up to the entirety of the journey.
How do we fall in love with what is?
It’s not about not taking action. Engaging and participating is a necessity. The Bhagavad Gita teaches us that taking no action is not a possibility, because non-action IS an action. By doing nothing we allow something to be done, and that’s an action taken.
We are co-creators of this world. And when we garden, we will do some trimming, some weeding, some planning, some watering, and we will cultivate what we want, till the soil, and plant seeds.
But as we watch the changing landscape, as we witness our children coming into their own, as we see ourselves aging, as we stand by parents transitioning to elderhood and death, as we lose what used to turn us on, and grieve what no longer pulses in us, we can breathe with the currents of now, and consciously, actively, intentionally make space for what is coming.
We don’t know what’s coming next, and yet this very moment asks us to fall in love with what is here right now.