Saturday, December 11, 2010

A Spontaneous Earth Exchange

Sometimes people tell me apologetically that they would love to do a Radical Joy for Hard Times Earth Exchange for a wounded place, but they just don't have the time.

The following story, which comes from Laura Staman, Director of Outdoor Programs at Sweet Briar College in Virginia, proves that anyone can do an Earth Exchange anytime at anyplace. All you need is a place, your own personal emotional attachment to it, and the willingness to bring those two elements together for a few moments.

I’d like to tell you about something that happened recently. It is related to the ongoing gift of hope and listening to the land that Radical Joy for Hard Times represents. In my neighborhood there is a wonderful section of woods I enjoy hiking through. It is a spot of wild in the city of Lynchburg. Well, when I was walking the other day I discovered that a patch of that woods had been cleared to build a home. Though it is not a terrible thing to build a home, I was shaken by the clearing of the woods and destruction of forest growth. At first I dropped my head, said a prayer and walked by sadly. The hardest feeling sometimes is helplessness.

But then I decided to walk back into the space and sit and listen. It was as if the land just needed to be acknowledged... like it was dissociated or something from the trauma. So I sat and listened. Moved into the space and then just prayed to bless this place and help the earth recover from the hurt and the dramatic change. I blessed the home that would stand there and hoped the Beings there could live in harmony. Then I created the Radical Joy for Hard Times bird out of roots that had been ripped from the earth.... and I felt like I had made a difference somehow to the place, and at least to my consciousness.

Change is inevitable, and sometimes destructive, and this time I felt empowered to acknowledge it and to offer peace. The bird, and the memory of the Global Earth Exchanges, gave me a vehicle for doing something. I felt I had a voice and was connected to something larger than myself, therefore not helpless.

As I think back over this simple act I gave to the land and the future home, I reflect on how it is much like the healing I am doing now from a childhood trauma. Facing it, bringing peace into my life, blessing myself, building art out of its roots, and creating a new home inside myself.