🌏Anchor in an unshakable ecospirituality (deep time, reciprocity, gratitude, humility, animism, sacred pause, honoring the season)
🌏Chip away at inherited maps & stories, Dismantle supremist scripts, Divest from Empire (the most ecological thing we can do is compost white modernity)
🌏Befriend your watershed, get to know your plant kin, praise the soil, listen to the river
🌏Build your capacity for discomfort (and discern the difference between danger and discomfort)
🌏Slow down. Practice skills for building spaciousness and grit within (regulating your nervous system)
🌏Support indigenous sovereignty, frontline water and earth protectors, and #Landback campaigns.
🌏Listen deeply for your particular callings and follow them with the commitment of a monarch butterfly’s pilgrimage, ridiculously, beautifully, and like a sacred fool (what is yours to do and discerning when and how you get pulled off center)
🌏Celebrate your senses, revel in ecosensual pleasure, embrace your shadow, and tend your grief and that of others.
🌏For the love of Gaia, give up on hope and hopelessness. Rather, become intimate with butterflies and the seasons, the pace of the moon, the sacred wounds, the parts of you that you’ve neglected still flitting about inside your Meadow. Let even the most disturbing questions and daring dreams drip down the canyons of you. Then, you’ll let go of bringing your silly little head to the game of hope and despair, But will be Life living through you and from there, the Wild and Wingéd Way will emerge like the butterfly from the cocoon, which not even the mightiest empire can withstand.
We are earth.
Healing work IS Anti-racist work IS Decolonial work IS Ecotherapeutic work IS Sacred Grief work IS Rewilding work.
These are not and cannot be seperate if we are to dream and enact ourselves into regenerative, cooperative, co-liberatory, earth-honoring habits of being and doing.
We know the dominant/dominator system is sick and dying. Perhaps it’s already dead and we haven’t quite accepted it? Perhaps we’re living in its corpse and like butterflies from a messy cocoon we must sprout out?
How do we respond?
Yet, like a mosquito at the river’s edge, I’m troubled by incessant questions: If white supremacy was dismantled, if capitalism completely collapsed and transmuted into something that worked for all, if the patriarchy and heteronormavity imploded, if empire was composted, we are still left with root questions:
How will we relate to each other and our earth home?
How will we belong ourselves in a reciprocal, mutually honoring and life-enhancing way?
Will we know how to say hello and goodbye to one another?
How can we hold our monumental griefs together?
How will we compost the emperor and police within us?
How will we ask “What serves creativity and Life?” as our basic operating premise?
What alternative slower and local ways will we cultivate to meet basic hominid needs?
How will we imagine new ways of loving ourselves, each other and the world?
It’s a tall order. It fact it’s too damn tall, as all sacred journeys are. Yet…I feel we’re up to the task. Not as a to-do list or a smart strategy, but as a way of walking in the world. Minute to minute practice full of failure and learning. Not to be completed in one lifetime, but steps on the journey.
My third stomach knows. The ancient river in my bones know.
I feel it’s why we’re here now. Doing this. Beingness. Together.
As earth elder Joanna Macy says, “What a gift to be alive right now.”
When invited to teach an upcoming Ecotherapy course, I realized that something beyond more knowledge or even skills, as commonly understood, is required. Something in me balked at overly-academicizing it, and felt that all-too-familiar intellect taking over, alienating my body, heart, and soul. So these are some spring wild poppies and prickly cacti that emerged through the soil:
1)Deepen your own soul and intimacy with wild nature. Carve sacred pauses in order to practice deep listening and cultivate wholeness.
3)Hone your skills of belonging. Finding that belonging is not only a place but a skill honed with a fierce heart. It is as much a ‘How’ as a ‘Where’, steeped in relationality and stalked by the sacred.
4)Shape your sacred why and wild purpose. Your truth is a medicine for a world that needs it. Your gifts are both a belonging and a deep responsibility. Trust. Trust what you hear when you practice 1-3. Let what needs to be visible become visible, what needs to become invisible become invisible. The joyful gravity of you enacting you ripples out infinitely.
5)Locate and inhabit your niche in the ecosystem of healing. )Locate and inhabit your niche in the ecosystem of healing. “Where your soul’s gift and your positionality (dynamic social location of power + privilege) meet is your ecological niche for a hungry world.” (This beautiful & dangerous framing is from Pinar Sinopoulus-Lloyd (@queerquechua) of @queernature)
Use your privilege towards co-liberation. Become comfortable with uncomfortability. Relinquish power-over. Examine Extractivism in all its forms. Embark on the pilgrimage of Decolonization.
6)Experiment and dance on your growing edge. Shapeshifting is not only allowed, but a basic operating instructions of the cosmos.
7)Live the cycles. Become an apprentice to moon and sun and with river take your counsel. Hitch a ride with a wild wind and honor the seasons, internal and external.
8)Let your animal body be pulled by the scents, shapes, and tastes of the world. Resurrect pleasure, flow grief, surrender to awe. Embody your values. Align thought-feel-flow-movement. Calibrate your body to your heart.
9)Become defeated by the other-than-human.
10)Let all the lies die.
“Start a huge, foolish project, like Noah…it makes absolutely no difference what people think of you.”—Rumi
The deep longing that brought you here doesn’t care about the categories or forms of your culture. It doesn’t f*cking care what people think. The dominant culture is over—time to get ridiculous and follow your calling. What’s ‘reasonable’ is cracked open for re-invention.
Your soul calling doesn’t care about TV ads or the social media algorithms. This incessant soul calling whispering through your bones doesn’t care what you smell like or if gray peppers your beautiful head. It doesn’t care what the reasons offered for war are. It doesn’t care about your retirement plan or how many things you’ve managed to own you. It doesn’t care how much your body mass index is or the 3-month high of the consumer confidence index. It doesn’t care how much you recycle or whether you saw the latest greatest Netflix show. It doesn’t care about the next big thing in home decorating.
Your soul calling only wants to unfurl endlessly, co-creating the universe in the way only it is able to, and meant to, if allowed to breath. If allowed to be embodied through you.
It longs to fulfill a unique niche in the ecosystem of energies. One that brings necessary medicine to the whole show, interrupting the regularly-scheduled broadcast. This wild purpose that you’re aimed at is a way of deep belonging.
So let your ridiculous out!—as in preposterous, humorous, queer, strange, and awesome. And needed.
Be ridiculous and ludicrous and fall in love with it! It’s a key to the doorway into our next paradigm.
So jump in and Let your heart be preposterously big and foolishly overflowing with impossible ideas and absurd dreams, Screaming “I’m outrageously alive!”
“What if the doleful doings of Anthropocene and the unworldings of the Capitalocene are the last gasps of the sky gods, not guarantors of the finished future, game over?
The unfinished Chthulucene must collect up the trash of the Anthropocene, the exterminism of the Capitalocene, and chipping and shredding and layering like a mad gardener, make a much hotter compost pile for still possible pasts, presents, and futures.” – Donna Haraway
This is what we mean by the Great Composting.
Compost capitalism. Compost whiteness. Compost nationalisms. Compost patriarchy. Compost empire. In short: Compost Modernity. We’ve heard of smashing, dismantling, destroying, but there’s something about the image/metaphor/pratice of composting that is both organic and well…satisfying. Implying a built in natural cycle, preparing the soil of the Next.
Have you noticed what all these -isms have in common? A worldview that takes as its unquestioned operating premises: Power-over. Separation. False/small identity.
The paradox we must contend with (& we are going to have to become fluent in paradox): these are ways of being that result from a sacred wound of disconnection AND ways of being that promulgate further trauma of disconnection. Trauma begets trauma. Could we dare say a vast array of modern problems (from depression & addiction to police brutality &climate emergency) are symptoms of this underlying root?
Well how do we do that? How do we undertake (no accident in word choice here) this vast calling of composting we are entrusted with by being alive right now? It’s a good question—all new worlds begin not with answers, but with good questions.
I don’t know. That might be the first of the how: practicing not knowing. Finding the POWER in Uncertainty.
That will be an essential sur-thrival skill in this Great Turning.
The reason is simple, even if it is counter-modern & uncomfortable (certainly un-American): a fleeing to quick or settled answers/forms keeps us perpetuating patterns we are trying to break(down). Which leads us to #2 of the how for next time: relinquishing our longing for comfort at all costs.