The Lay of the Land

The structures, laws and modus operandi that once underpinned our modern economy lay in shambles and perhaps even ruins. People have lost their jobs, their source of livelihood and perhaps even their sanity.

I turn on the news and there’s nothing but insanity that repeats itself in a timeless loop. Advertisers, media companies and people all benefiting from a culture of chaos. A culture of lies. A culture of highly distorted truths hidden under a beautiful facade.

What is this crazy world we’re living in? A world where we cannot leave the house without a mask on. A world where all the restaurants are not permitted to serve customers. A world where everything we thought to be true turned out to be false.

A world where everything is upside down… Or perhaps right side up?

While we struggle to make sense of our lives, Nature takes a much-needed break from human activity. The ground that you walk on is not an inanimate object, but a living, breathing entity that provides for us all. The polluted waters have finally turned crystal clear. Birds have come alive and all the creatures that we needlessly killed in the name of economic progress finally have the chance to leave and breathe freely.

Do we actually thank the Earth for all it has given us? Or do we endlessly and needlessly operate from a place of eternal scarcity–when all around us, there is ample evidence to the contrary.

Nature gives us so much. Yes, Nature is also frightening and merciless, but she is also kind and compassionate.

We humans selfish. We’re raised to be selfish. We wear the badge of selfishness as a badge of honour. We take and take and take and never give. No matter what we take, it’s never enough. We blame capitalism, our parents, politicians–we even blame the guy down the street whose only crime was to wear a hoodie. And while we’re at it, let’s blame communism, too–especially since it never took into account the deep cruelty at the heart of human nature.

The Ancient Ones had a different relationship to Nature. They had a respectful and grateful relationship to the land. They knew that they are physically dependent on the land. The nature of this relationship is not so much one of ownership but one of stewardship. They felt they have been entrusted with a responsibility for the land and the sea and all of the creatures that inhabit the land.

This sense of responsibility is not simply a romantic notion or an emotional tie. It is intrinsically tied to a spiritual understanding of the Earth. Traditional knowledge, languages, cultural practices and oral traditions built up over the millennia are all connected to the land. If that connection, that timeless cord, is severed then the spiritual and material well-being of all of us is at stake.

Before we allow ourselves to indulge in nationalistic sentiments, let’s stop for a second and consider the notion that the world, the earth, the land and the seas are all one interconnected whole.

We’ve closed our borders and the COVID-19 virus still rampages through the world invisibly, reminding us of the fragility of our institutions.

Perhaps it is high time we stop looking at this period as a crisis, but as an opportunity. An opportunity to repair all that was–and is–wrong with us.

If we don’t, I’m afraid it is future generations that will pay the price for our choices. We’re all connected to all that was, all that is and all that will ever be.

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