Learning about the languages of trees, their social networks, and our own human microbiome forces us to rethink our relationship with “things.” If trees have memories, respond to stress, and communicate, then what can they tell us? Will we listen? Where does one species end and another begin? What happens when we know plants can talk?
~ Katie Holten, Deciphering Words in the Woods (Emergence Magazine)
I bless this day in the fullness of good it already contains, in the many occasions it offers to listen deeply, to be of service to others, to express gratitude moment by moment and to keep my mind so filled with love, beauty and joy that no negativity can find even the tiniest crack in which to set foot.
I bless this day in the infinite opportunities it gives me to love: to love and bless every human I meet, every beast or bird I pass by, every plant I behold, for all are but the manifold expressions of the infinite Life that undergirds all.
Truly, I bless this day for the wonderful adventure it can become as I walk through it with the eyes of wonder rather than boredom, use every opportunity to express peace rather than irritation, and choose love over fear.
Thank you, Life, for this day.
~ Pierre Pradervand, 365 Blessings to Heal Myself and the World
Once you’ve plunged into the ocean, does it really matter whether or not you believe in water?
~ Brian C. Muraresku, The Immortality Key
If you’re not willing to see more than is visible, you won’t see anything.
~ Ruth Berhard
The animacy of the world is something we already know, but the language of animacy teeters on extinction — not just for Native peoples, but for everyone. Our toddlers speak of plants and animals as if they were people, extending to them self and intention and compassion — until we teach them not to. We quickly retrain them and make them forget. When we tell them that the tree is not a who, but an it, we make that maple an object; we put a barrier between us, absolving ourselves of moral responsibility and opening the door to exploitation. Saying it makes a living land into “natural resources.” If a maple is an it, we can take up the chain saw. If a maple is a her, we think twice.
… Learning the grammar of animacy could well be a restraint on our mindless exploitation of land. But there is more to it. I have heard our elders give advice like “You should go among the standing people” or “Go spend some time with those Beaver people.” They remind us of the capacity of others as our teachers, as holders of knowledge, as guides. Imagine walking through a richly inhabited world of Birch people, Bear people, Rock people, beings we think of and therefore speak of as persons worthy of our respect, of inclusion in a peopled world. We Americans are reluctant to learn a foreign language of our own species, let alone another species. But imagine the possibilities. Imagine the access we would have to different perspectives, the things we might see through other eyes, the wisdom that surrounds us. We don’t have to figure out everything by ourselves; there are intelligences other than our own, teachers all around us. Imagine how much less lonely the world would be.
~ Robin Wall Kimmerer, Braiding Sweetgrass
We dream of having a clean house — but who dreams of actually doing the cleaning? We don’t have to dream about doing the work, because doing the work is always within our grasp; the dream, in this sense, is to attain the goal without the work.
~ Marcus Buckingham
Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good. Lower the bar. Actually spending ten minutes clearing off one shelf is better than fantasizing about spending the weekend cleaning out the basement.
~ Gretchen Rubin
Compassion is not a relationship between the healer and the wounded. It’s a relationship between equals. Only when we know our own darkness well, can we be present with the darkness of others. Compassion becomes real when we recognize our shared humanity.
~ Pema Chodron
The early Greeks defined presence as the fundamental characteristic of being alive.
I believe it is not easy for any of us to be fully present, and that we settle for shadows and glimpses, for fleeting moments that sift through our hands and are gone. We may become clouded from impinging distractions as we are carried into countless pressures, anxieties, and demands; or else we try to escape through the many abundant and tempting means at our disposal; or we seek to overpower obstacles through adrenalin-driven pursuits, or with our intellects, determination, and skillful maneuvers, or by other strengths and capabilities, continually striving for something out of reach, or once attained, soon abandoned, while we silently lack what we most want.
As flawed human beings, it can be difficult to see beyond ourselves and understand each other intimately and compassionately. Being hampered by our limitations and the context of our past experience (or inexperience), we can be blind to each other even when we don’t want to be. Our failings can also blind us to ourselves, preventing us from reaching a deeper understanding below the surface of self-awareness.
~ John Justin David, from Parabola, October 26, 2020