Feeling inextricably connected yet small in relationship with the natural world can lead us swiftly to a sense of the sacred.
The natural world is one of the most resplendent and consistent sources of generosity in our lives — whether we experience it directly moment-to-moment or not. When we allow ourselves to tune in and pay attention, our Earth is perpetually nourishing and providing for us, sustaining life and offering its abundant gifts with a breathtaking and consistent flourish. We are fed, literally and figuratively, by the Earth’s offerings every day. All manner of things born of the Earth can awaken us to perspective. All manner of moments in Nature can offer us gratitude for life’s preciousness and remind us of our fragile and powerful bonds of connection. Amidst oceans, fields, rain, trees, flowers, plants, animals, sky, birds, sun – and so much more – we can immediately experience our own relative stature amidst and against the grandeur of the landscape. Feeling inextricably connected yet small in relationship with the natural world can lead us swiftly to a sense of the sacred. Surrendered to awe and wonder, we experience the gifts of life more readily and deeply.
Yet, we are living in times when the sources of our greatest gifts of the natural world are more and more removed from us, virtually inaccessible to many, and imperiled and threatened by humanity’s legacy of choices and the choices we continue to make today. The offerings of the Earth are woven into our clothing, our bodies, what we eat…but they are belied within the synthetic ingredients, packaging, buildings, and methods of transportation that carry them. Our gaze is more often directed into a computer monitor, television screen, or cell phone than directed at the ground or at the sky. As we surrender more and more to technological advances, our individual lives can become cut off from the thread of connection that helps us to know our true and necessary place in the exquisitely resilient, fragile, reciprocal web of life. In many ways it can require more effort than ever to connect with the gifts that nature holds for us, and in so many ways it has never been more important.
When we allow ourselves to fall in love with the Earth in all her splendor, we strengthen our bonds of connection.
Gratefulness supports the cultivation of intentional remembering and honoring of our relationship with “Mother Nature.” Grateful, we open ourselves to experience more fully the privilege of her offerings and to listen for both the small and loud cries for our companionship and stewardship. Deepening a sense of belonging to the natural world can deliver a level of presence that arouses not only a more sacred and reverential engagement with the Earth, but can also inform and fortify the ways that we relate to ourselves as essential creatures of nature.
When we allow ourselves to fall in love with the Earth in all her splendor, we strengthen our bonds of connection. We allow ourselves to experience the great fullness of our emotions at how inextricable we are from the Earth’s perpetual flow of gifts, recognize how much and how often we take them for granted, and grieve the losses our Earth and all her creatures are suffering daily at the hands of our civilization. Gratefulness invites us to heal our disconnection, live in greater celebration, and strengthen our place in the rightful relationship of reciprocity with the natural world.
Grateful Living beckons us to actively engage in ways that more deeply respect and also preserve that which we treasure most. To generate a sense of possibility for our natural world will require that we “feel into” our connection and interdependence with our whole hearts. We are inspired to sustain that which sustains us, through remembering more deeply the ways that we are inextricably bound to the world around us. As we come into union with the generosity of nature, we learn to be more humble and gracious. As the poet Hafiz says, “After all these years of shining, the sun does not say to the earth, ‘you owe me’…Imagine how a love like that can light up the whole world.”
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Kristi, thank you for your thought provoking words. It grieves me to see what we are doing to this world and the impact this has on the many who live on this earth, human and otherwise. I realised in reflecting on your article that many of my gratitude logs focus on the beauty and splendor of nature. You are so right about the perpetual flow of gifts. Our responsibility is to recognize the value of those gifts, not just to us, but all living things and not to take them lightly.
I try to walk lightly on this earth, and perhaps do it better than some, but not as good as others. But to recognize this is a good reminder at times not to be wasteful.
Thank you as always for a timely reflection.
Kristi – “All manner of things born of the Earth can awaken us to perspective. All manner of moments in Nature can offer us gratitude for life’s preciousness and remind us of our fragile and powerful bonds of connection.” I have found this to be true for me…Each day, I have been taking my morning coffee and readings outside…perspective and connection says it all to me….This “invitation” has truly spoken to me, today<3
Hi Kristi, Today’s quote and your essay both remind me that I am life. We all are life.
I wrote the following meditation this morning
:“Heaven is authentic earthly participation…This world is it.” Quote by Rev. Charles Moore
Good Morning, Science has taught us that energy does not die. So what dies? I’m guessing it’s the personality known as Carol. But what about the lessons Carol has learned? Where do they dwell? I’m guessing in the energy that is released in death. Where does this energy go? I’m guessing into the formation of new life. If that is so, what is the goal of my life? I’m guessing life is hoping evolutionary energy will be released when I die. It seems to me that both science and religion are calling me to grow in an evolutionary awareness that will be resurrected in the hearts and minds of the generations that will follow me. Does that make me [and you] creator? I think so.
What a gorgeously thoughtful and hopeful reflection, Carol. I have to say that I have always felt as you do – that the energy and learnings of our current life get added to an energetic pool for the future and this makes everything now matter so much. “We are all life.” And we are all creators. Thank you, friend. K
Yes, Kristi, I agree fully. Personally I love being out in Nature, every single day and I give thanks, I pray ( I have my own church, which is a trail where the trees are high on both sides and to me it’s my cathedral) and I feel empowered. I am not disturbed and there I can just be. I feel God’s presence there rather.
In a man made church.
There is a song ( in German) “Vor dir neigt die Erde sich und bewundert Deine Werke”…..
The earth bows before thee
And admires your work”
What a gift God gave us.
Thank you Kristi
Brigitte – thank you for sharing reflections on your sacred sources of inspiration. You have painted a beautiful cathedral for us to imagine and enjoy with you. Gratefully – K.
Oh what a wonderful invitation – to be in love with earth that brings wholeness to my soul, longing for healing and connection… in the past weeks I have been through a rough inner journey… nothing seems to be right… how awful to be”caught” in these feelings of quilt and shame… disconnected…
And yet the earth is ever loving and healing… soothing my soul as I walk upon the earth… grounding my feet firmly… “is alright… I am here loving and healing your wary soul… connect with my beautiful and refreshing energy “..
Thank you Kristi for sharing this beautiful awareness of earth connection… I am grateful…
Thank you for sharing yourself with us Maria, and how you are able to turn to the natural world to fill you up when you feel depleted. Connecting and reconnecting with those things for which we are grateful is such a vital sustenance. Keep coming back to gratefulness for nourishment. It is always there/here for you. From my heart – K
Oh, dear Kristi this is so very beautiful! I love my daily walks, it is so healing to be in Nature! I watch in awe at seeing fuzzy caterpillars, the one day I watched a ladybug crawling on a leaf and up and down the stem! Wonders abound in Nature! When I pick up litter, I bless the people who do litter, that they may realize our oneness with Mother Earth and the interconnectedness of all things. Thank-you for sharing this essay, Kristi!? It is a wonderful reminder to cherish and be grateful for Mother Earth and all of nature!
Peace, love and blessings, Sheila ???
Oh, good morning dear Sheila! How lovely to hear from you and thank you for always responding to the invitation to love life ever more…you are so alive to how much we have to be grateful for. I count you as a source of my inspiration. Blessings of this beautiful season to you. K
Kristi…that was so well written and I could almost feel the earth outside calling me to enjoy some time in quiet there. Thank you.
Thank you so much Pam – I am grateful that you felt drawn to commune; that would be my hope. And it was a real joy to write this piece, so I am glad you enjoyed reading it. Blessings – K