I am sharing stories from an OSE zoom gathering on Earth Day. Each person was invited to respond to their first memory of Earth Day.
One woman, who is a therapist working with trauma patients, was celebrating her birthday on Earth Day as she does every year.
One spoke of growing up in Santa Barbara and being present when the oil spill occurred in 1968 sullying the beaches—an eye-opening event that woke up many Californians to how fragile our relationship to Mother Earth can be.
Another told the story of finding a bird with a wounded wing in his backyard in Grand Rapids, Michigan; He found a couple who devoted themselves to taking care of wounded birds and took it to them. He was deeply moved by their work of compassion and delighted in meeting wounded swans and other hurting birds in their home of bird refuge.
Another told of living close to spirit in nature—frogs, trees, and so much else and receiving many dreams and visions where creatures entered were prominent. And how the coronavirus times, while painful, were also granting us and all the species much cleaner air and skies thanks to our slow down of traffic and the rest.
Another told of living with her grandfather who was from Ireland and who spoke often about the value and importance of place and of how, as a result of her grandfather’s teachings, “ground of being” became something very literal for her, something sacred. How visiting Ireland years later as a mature adult, getting off the plane and standing on the land, her father’s teachings about “place” hit her so hard.
Another spoke of remembering the “victory gardens” in WWII when she was a very young child working alongside her grandfather as he worked the earth making his garden grow. Mostly she remembered the “unforgettable smells of earth” that accompanied his planting and his love of earth.
One person told of hearing me teach at the University of Creation Spirituality about defining “salvation” as “sustainability” and how that teaching became key to her subsequently leaving church ministry to launch an earth-based retreat center out in the woods north of Toronto (which she was now leaving after 15 fruitful years).
One person spoke of going backpacking as a 12-year-old and feeling so one with the Earth on that trip, which was his first Earth Day. Now living in Oregon, he has come to realize that every day was Earth Day.
I am struck by how many of these stories bring up (mystical) experiences we had as children playing in nature. This was certainly my experience as well. Just as many people (certainly many scientists) receive their “call” or vocation early in life, so many of us are called early into our mystical lives by Mother Earth.
See Matthew Fox, Skylar Wilson, Jen Listug, Order of the Sacred Earth: An Intergenerational Vision of Love and Action
See Matthew Fox, Confessions: The Making of a Postdenominational Priest, pp. 23-25, 79-82
Queries for Contemplation
Creation Spirituality encourages us to “read the signs of our times.” What signs of our times do you read in these stories?
In your own awakenings around Earth Day?
Order of the Sacred Earth: An Intergenerational Vision of Love and Action
By Matthew Fox, Skylar Wilson, and Jen Listug
In the midst of global fire, earthquake and flood – as species are going extinct every day and national and global economies totter – the planet doesn’t need another church or religion. What it needs is a new Order, grounded in the Wisdom traditions of both East and West, including science and indigenous. An Order of the Sacred Earth united in one sacred vow: “I promise to be the best lover and defender of the Earth that I can be.”
Co-authored by Matthew Fox, Skylar Wilson, and Jennifer Berit Listug, with a forward by David Korten, this collection of essays by 21 spiritual visionaries including Brian Swimme, Mirabai Starr, Theodore Richards, and Kristal Parks marks the founding of the diverse and inclusive Order of the Sacred Earth, a community now evolving around the world.
“The Order of the Sacred Earth not only calls us home to our true nature as Earth, but also offers us invaluable guidance and company on the way.” ~~ Joanna Macy, environmental activist and author of Active Hope.