And our conservationist-environmentalist-moral outrage is often (in its frustration) aimed at the logger or the rancher, when the real power is in the hands of people who make unimaginably larger sums of money, people impeccably groomed, excellently educated at the best universities – male and female alike – eating fine foods and reading classy literature, while orchestrating the investment and legislation that ruin the world.
~ Gary Snyder, The Practice of the Wild
To argue that the current extinction event could be averted if people just cared more and were willing to make more sacrifices is not wrong, exactly; still, it misses the point. It doesn’t much matter whether people care or don’t care. What matters is that people change the world. This capacity predates modernity.
~ Elizabeth Kolbert, The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History
Caretaking is the utmost spiritual and physical responsibility of our time, and perhaps that stewardship is finally our place in the web of life, our work, the solution to the mystery that we are. There are already so many holes in the universe that will never again be filled, and each of them forces us to question why we permitted such loss, such tearing away at the fabric of life, and how we will live with our planet in the future.
~ Linda Hogan, Dwellings: A Spiritual History of the Living World
We have an invitation to go to church in a new way, by praying before the new leaves budding through dormant trees or the wobbly flowers by the side of the road pushing through the solid earth. . . we too can sing with the air we breathe, the sun that shines upon us, the rain that pours down to water the earth. And we can cry with those who are mourning, with the forgotten, with those who are suffering from disease or illness, with the weak, with the imprisoned. We can mourn in the solidarity of compassion but we must live in the hope of new life.
~ Ilia Delio
Searching for spring all day, I never saw it,
straw sandals treading everywhere
among the clouds, along the banks.
Coming home, I laughed, catching
the plum blossom’s scent:
spring at each branch tip, already perfect.
~ unknown zen nun from the Song Dynasty (trans. by Sam Hammill and J.P. Seaton, The Poetry of Zen)
We have little needs and we have deeper needs.
We have fallen into the mistake of living from our little needs til we have almost lost our deeper needs in a kind of madness. Let us prepare now for the death of our present little life and the re-emergence in a bigger life in touch with the moving cosmos. It is a question practically of relationship. We must get back into relation, vivid and nourishing relationship to the cosmos and the universe. The way is through daily ritual and re-awakening. We must once more practice the rituals of dawn and noon and sunset, the ritual of kindling fire and pouring water, the ritual of the first breath and the last. To these rituals we must return or we must evolve them to suit our needs. For the truth is we are perishing for the lack of fulfillment of our greater needs. We are cut off from the great sources of our inward nourishment and renewal, sources which flow eternally in the universe.
Vitally, the human race is dying. It is like a great uprooted tree with its roots in the air. We must plant ourselves again in the universe.
~ D. H. Lawrence
Our bones know the way of things. Our guts understand what baffles the mind. The soul or spirit is often most clearly manifest in the sensations and language of the body. We feel called towards or driven away by people, places, and things at the gut/bone level. The head can then clarify or obscure this information, or choose to work with or against this body-knowledge.
~ Aidan Wachter, from ‘Six Ways: Approaches & Entries for Practical Magic’
I urge you to find a way to immerse yourself fully in the life you’ve been given. To stop running from whatever you’re trying to escape, and instead to stop, and turn, and face whatever it is. Then I dare you to walk toward it. In this way, the world may reveal itself to you as something magical and awe-inspiring that does not require escape. Instead, the world may become something worth paying attention to.
~ Dopamine Nation: Finding Balance in the Age of Indulgence by Anna Lembke