Its winter. Here in Seattle I look out my window as the rain quietly drops to the earth. Many of you walk to your car through your busy lives as snowflakes gently touch your nose. The trees are bare, the flowers are long gone, many lying quietly in the earth, resting for the coming spring. It’ all around us. Mother Earth is telling us its time to rest. Its time to turn inward and find a silence. Its time to slow down our bodies, our minds, and our Spirits.
Soon, I celebrate the first day of Soyal. Soyal is a Hopi ceremony of rest and regeneration for the Earth. Just as we need time to lay low and regenerate, so does she. I commit during this time to speak softly, not break her ground, and walk with the greatest of care so that she may rest in peace. Soyal means “establishing life anew for all the world”. What a reflection this has brought for me. Mother Earth provides for us. We often take from her without consideration, and without return, and she suffers from it. We pillage her hills of trees where her beautiful animals and plants live, we rape her of her oil with our huge masterpieces of contraptions so that we may fuel our lives, giving back, yet again toxic gas that chokes her trees and breaks her skin.
It doesn’t need to be this way, but we each have a responsibility. She holds us in such a beautiful way. Perhaps we can consider her as we go about our daily lives. Start small if you’d like, or rework your life to live more in accordance with her- I can guarantee you won’t be disappointed with your sweet connection.
I haven’t reached perfection here. I struggle with it all the time actually. How do I function in this world I live in and cut down my impact on the earth? I eat local as much as possible, but much of my food is shipped from other parts of the US or other countries. I carpool to school when I can, but often end up driving by myself. I fly probably once a month to California to see my partner, use energy in my home, and many, many other things that hurt the earth. But here I am in this world. The best thing I have found is to keep thinking about it. Use each opportunity to think about how I can reduce my impact and change patterns that I can change.
Here are a few ideas for how to get started! I am going to try and just pick one per month to truly incorporate it in my life….
· Carpool to work or school, or bike or walk if you can!
· Eat food from your local farmers market when available. It helps out the earth, supports your local economy, and is often more healthy!
· Pay attention to our political leaders. Who are we electing and what are their environmental impact strategies?
· Turn off lights and electronics when you aren’t around! You’re not using it, and it will save you money as well!
· Get a live tree for Christmas and plant it on the new year! (Ours was pretty cute this year)
· Compost and Recycle
· Check where your investments are, and talk to someone about moving them if they don’t match your moral standards. (I am in a slowww process of this…and need to get my butt moving!)
· Consider what is in your cleaning products and personal hygiene products so you aren’t dumping toxins into your body or the earth!