I’ve been collaborating with Melbourne University this last year on a project researching how contemplative nature engagement helps address ecological anxiety. This is personal for me – anxiety and grief regarding the future is something I’ve lived with ever since I can remember. And while I still feel sadness around the choices humans and cultures are making, I am profoundly soothed by what I’ve learned from deep nature contemplation. Each time I enter into contemplation I rediscover, each time with enormous surprise and great joy, the alive, aware, and evolving earth. Each time it is fresh – a felt sense of intelligence, benevolence and love emanating from life. To surrender, then, to the will of the alive world, to learn to be as trusting and curious as life’s process, feels the only true way to be. I don’t think it’s spiritual bypassing, my sense that, on the deepest level, Gaia’s got this. Might not be what humans are comfortable with, but life’s bigger than that. The political, especially in days like these, can feel overwhelming, so it helps when I can behold a vaster view.
Regardless, I’m slow to live from trust and surrender. I’m forgetful, and fear rises easily. Fear causes contraction, so practicing listening to the way of the earth is essential if I want to stay open and equanimous. I feel that’s why I find myself teaching this method of listening – because it’s what I most need to learn.
The birds and the bees are in the sun drenched, rain drenched blossom by the east window as I type this morning. Learning to align myself with their intelligence and loveliness is what powers these words. The green fuse drives all of us to flower. And from aligning with life, saying yes to being drenched by what falls from alive skies, anxiety is soothed, because I’m within the living. Everything is kin. Everything is close, and clear, and free.
The human world I dream to help shape has these qualities, so to make that world, I must be like this. It’s unhelpful and untrue to think I do this work alone – but we need to remember that we do it together. That’s what I seek to offer – spaces to touch this world together, to support each other to know it and share it and live from it – the world of co-becoming.
I’m putting out some feelers to see if there’s interest in longer immersions next year. I ran a five month co-becoming course with twenty participants (two groups of ten) in the first half of this year, which was wonderfully rich, but I’d like to offer an experience that is slower, and deeper. One Sunday afternoon a month, February to November, in Warburton and, if there’s interest, in Alphington, by Birrarung. Details are on the events page of my website.