I check in with my smart phone at least a dozen times a day, often more. This is a relatively recent habit, as there were no smart phones before 2008. To check in with my phone requires energy and attention.
What if I checked in with Mother Earth as regularly as I check in with my phone? What if I directed my energy and my attention towards Mother Earth a dozen or so times a day? Would this make a difference? Would it make a difference to me? To the earth?
I decided to try and see for myself.
I began with something simple, something I already do. My morning walk. I started by pausing for a moment before setting off – to take note of what was all around me, to really feel the earth beneath my feet, to thank the earth for her many gifts. What if I took my first few steps with love – love and reverence directed towards the earth herself?
What if my walk was like a prayer for healing, for healing of the broken relationship between earth and us humans?
Walking this way has made a difference to me. This simple practice puts me in touch with the earth every day, deepening and strengthening my connection with her.
My whole walk isn’t this mindful – I also like to stretch my legs, walk quickly, daydream, walk backwards, sing while I walk, or just feel good about moving physically. But now and again throughout my walk, I stop – take pause, take note, remember who I am walking on, take one more step with love.
Spiritual leader Thich Naht Hahn (who died Jan. 22/22 at age 95) practiced walking meditation. He wrote, “With each step the earth heals us, and with each step we heal the earth.” He recommends kissing the earth with the sole of your foot.
I can’t speak for Mother Earth, but I think walking in this way does make a difference to her. I believe the earth knows what kind of energy we direct towards her – whether it is distracted, hurried, reverent or loving. Whether we are taking from the earth with a spirit of reciprocity and thanks, or taking from the earth with utter disregard. Right now, I believe the earth is hungry for our love – for footsteps and actions offered with attention, gratitude, and wonder.
Prayers for the earth. Prayers for ourselves. One step at a time.