I grew up on a Maple Tree lined street.
Walking home from school one Autumn day
I arrived at the end of my street and
into the majesty of dappled, colorful light that was raining down.
The leaves were giving off their glory
for all the world to see.
I was the world
I stood dead still for a moment
breathing it in.
Then eyes gazing upward,
I lifted my feet and skipped my way slowly up the road---
dancing my way to heaven.
As I write this
my whole body smiles.
Light, beauty, awe, color, majesty
How my young self held it
with a reverence so deep and wide
it could knock your socks off---
Seeing, feeling, tasting life.
Fast forward 50 years. Bend Oregon, where I live, is growing rapidly. A city people move to for the beauty, a less hectic life, and the ease of contact with the natural world. Yet there seems to be a disconnect between what we come here for, and how we live.
It seems to be a part of the human condition to care about something but then forget that in order for it to be, we need to tend it. Perhaps its the disease of busyness that gets us.
Our autopilot becomes...I can drive over the speed limit this time, I can chop down old growth trees in my yard, I can be loud and rowdy in someone else’s neighborhood, I can spray roundup on my lawn, I can take my dog off leash...
Our behaviors intersect and affect each other, including the more than human world.
Reverence means--Honor, profound adoring awed respect. Respect and esteem shown to another.
If I choose to cultivate reverence I might not spray roundup next to my neighbor who grows an organic garden, or my neighbor who has cancer-or any neighbor. I might not drive 35 mph on a neighborhood street that isn’t my neighborhood street, I might not chop down that tree that was here 200 years before I was, and could possibly be here 200 years after I am gone.
Let's cultivate a consciousness of interconnectivity. Of me and we. Of not in my backyard and not in yours either...reverence doesn't mean me over you, or humans over the more than human world. It means both/and. Honor, respect and awe for life.
How much better would you feel if you cultivated reverence? What would change?
Here are a few idea's if I've peaked your interest!
Pause before you leave the house in the morning. If you are driving think of every car around you filled with your loved ones. Drive like you want every living thing around you to be safe.
When you are considering changing a landscape put yourself in the place of what you want to get rid of. See if you can think, and feel, and wonder from a non-human and a non-you perspective. Your neighbors, the insects, birds, trees etc.
Remind yourself to think at least seven generations beyond your lifetime when you make decisions. We need a longer view to live well in the short time we are here. Hold reverence for what lives when you are gone.
Spend time with people who have less privilege than you do. Practice having reverence for a life different than yours.
Model your awe of nature to a child.
Get your children out in nature. A park, a patch of grass, a tree, an ant hill. Wonder with them. Recreation is great, and reverence is the deep well that activates our heart and soul.
- Consider bringing reverence to the decision making tables of your life. Hold and talk about reverence before you use resources, before you recreate. Sit with it, let it move in you. Let your heart open.
Together we can create a world that works for all. One breath of reverence, after the other.
“Wilderness is the source of what we can imagine and what we cannot---the taproot of consciousness.
It will survive us.” Terry Tempest Williams The Hour Of Land