Buddhist teacher and author Thich Nhat Hanh once said 'We have a word to ‘be’, but what I propose is a word to ‘inter–be’. Because it’s not possible to be alone, by yourself. You need other people in order to be. Not only do you need father, mother, but also uncle, brother, sister, society. But you also need sunshine, river, air, trees, birds, elephants and so on. So it is impossible to be by yourself, alone. You have to inter-be with everyone and everything else, and therefore, to ‘be’ means to ‘inter-be’.'
Have you ever really looked at a spider’s web? Up close and personal with your nose nearly touching the silver thread? When shifts are happening it can help to remember that each of us are continually supported in a web of connectivity and consciousness that holds us just as the spider is held in her web. When heavy rain or tempestuous winds arrive, the web dances, bouncing and stretching, expanding and contracting in order to stay strong and anchored. We are exactly the same.
Folklore abounds with wisdom that connects us to this knowledge. I grew up being told that when I had troubles then the nook at the end of the garden was there to ease these troubles; and that I could go to that leafy shady corner and tell my woes, offering them to the universe. To sit, to stand, to dance out the pressures of my thoughts so they could be transmuted into part of the greater web, while all the time trusting that I was, (and still am at 47), a child of the Universe. In other families who remember being close to the earth, or who are still connected to their gardens or farms, I have heard of other ways to offer up troubles; talking to the bees (those great keepers of secrets), talking to the pigs, writing the trouble and the desired solution on a piece of paper and wrapping it around a stone to throw into running water so that the great web of creation can bring understanding to resolve the problem.
This is the gift of Earth medicine. Feeling always supported, always loved, always connected to trust, hope and the magnificence of creation. Having just engaged in a three week shamanic Earth healing pilgrimage, the truth of Earth medicine feels stronger than ever as I perceive the way in which our very grids are woven together in total interconnectiveness.
If you are practitioner working with a healing modality, you will have many tools that you can use and recommend to clients that recognise and activate the essential healing relationship between energy healing and Earth medicine. Energy channels called radiant circuits are my favourites for their incredible power, and ability to bring deep transformation in less time than it takes to smile. You may want to trace one of your radiant circuits, called your penetrating flow, with me in this video below.
When we throw our arms up in gratitude of receiving while doing this next exercise, called Connecting Heaven and Earth our radiant circuits spring forward to connect to the web of creation.
At that moment we are not simply being, but as Thich Nhat Hanh suggests, we are consciously inter-being. Through our radiant circuits, all our energy systems are connecting deep into the earth, grounding and replenishing, while also feeling supported and nourished by the invisible web of energy all above and around us. With such health and vitality speeding through our radiant circuits, we are reminded at our deepest level that we can never be alone. It is the same when we hug a tree, give love to a pet, show kindness to a stranger or marvel in the colours of a sunrise.
I have always grown up surrounded by nature and Earth medicine, but as I increasingly teach in cities, I hear from many clients and friends that they feel nature-starved. They feel disconnected from nature, from each other, and from hope for the future of our planet. The only way they feel more connected is when they are able to immerse themselves in nature through activities such as hiking, or playing on the beach. At these times they are able to get away from the pressures and stresses of their daily lives and allow the gifts of Earth medicine to recharge them, but they fully recognise that those infrequent escape times are not enough to keep them vibrant and energised.
Yet nature is everywhere. It is not possible for us to live separate from it as everything we are is nature. Remember, ‘Not only do you need father, mother, but also uncle, brother, sister, society. But you also need sunshine, river, air, trees, birds, elephants and so on.’ (Thich Nhat Hanh). Well, I know I need elephants! Even here where I live in Cornwall, my existence is intricately bound with the existence of the elephants of Africa and India, because the same web weaves us all. If the reality of our daily lives is such that we are rarely able to fully immerse ourselves in our natural world, then perhaps we need to redefine what ‘nature’ is. So here goes!
Nature is not only a mountain range or a sparkling ocean or a three hour hike in the wilderness. Nature is a park in a city, a tree at the end of a street, a bird on a window sill, a plant in a living room, the rain falling, the sun shining, a muddy puddle that splashes on your trousers on the way to work. Nature is the incredible, life-giving air that we breathe. Nature is a dog barking, a child laughing, food on a plate, the cotton that we wear, nature is me, nature is you. Earth medicine is offered to us every second of every day, it is offered to us because when we are vibrant and energised, then we make the web stronger and more abundant for all (even the elephants).
And when we remember this, then we know we are never far from the nourishing, sustaining life-force that feeds us with energy, joy and purpose, even when, or especially when we are going through times of deep change and transition; when SHIFT HAPPENS!