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Thinking About Earth Day

Sleeping in the Forest

I thought the earth remembered me,
she took me back so tenderly,
arranging her dark skirts, her pockets
full of lichens and seeds.
I slept as never before, a stone on the river bed,
nothing between me and the white fire of the stars
but my thoughts, and they floated light as moths
among the branches of the perfect trees.
All night I heard the small kingdoms
breathing around me, the insects,
and the birds who do their work in the darkness.
All night I rose and fell, as if in water,
grappling with a luminous doom. By morning
I had vanished at least a dozen times
into something better.

from Sleeping In The Forest by Mary Oliver
© Mary Oliver

As of late I've been inspired more than ever to be out in the natural world. I have spent a long time trying to make changes in my life so that I'd feel better about myself as a person and stop feeling so uncomfortable with my lifestyle. I work at a job where I stare at a computer screen for 8 hours a day. I consume too much. I don't move my body enough. Trying to come to terms with this life is like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. It's not me. There's no question why I've felt so unhappy and out of place.

I've spent some time musing on what IS me. I am not a person who wants to be chained to a desk or overweight or sedentary. I'm not a victim. I have made choices that have led me to this place and I'm capable of making choices to lead me away from it.

Opening my Etsy shop and receiving positive feedback for it is one of the few instances in my life where I felt like I was achieving my soul's purpose. It was a beginning for me - a way to communicate my values and worth to the rest of the world. I've been interacting with other artists lately and have been massively inspired by them - even though they are essentially strangers. Creating art is a facet of my true self, my higher self, that I have actualized. My connections to others now through that art is fostering other seeds of my soul that have lay dormant for quite some time.

Michelle Palmer has inspired me to move forward with my art fearlessly. She has inspired me to continue to believe in my creativity and not fear it being sent out into the world. She has reminded me of kindness, faith, grace, and the power of a few kind words.

Margie at Resurrection Fern has inspired me to lay down on the green grass and look at the world. To really SEE it in ways I've been numb to for the last few years. Her example has quickened the reverence I've long had for the quiet, small nuances of the natural world - the thriving of life which continues unabated beneath the trampling of our daily lives. She reminds me to stop - to slow down - to collect - to reflect - and to give back through my art and my actions.

Afi at JooJooLand reminds me that there is color in this world and that being thirty years old doesn't mean one shouldn't embrace pink and playfulness and raincloud earrings. She reminds me that there are others out there who give personalities to small animals - who remember fondly how a small creature can make the heart bloom with inspiration and imagination.

Szilvia at Elukka reminds me to be lighthearted and whimsical - and to honor our companions in life, be them oceans or beagles.

Because it is Earth Day and because I've taken these tentative steps towards fulfilling my true nature, I can't help but feel an overwhelming gratitude for my life and for my potential. I know I am capable of living close to the earth and close to my heart. I know I carry home inside of me, and tending that home is of the utmost importance. I know I'm communicating my soul to the world through my art and actions, and I know I have a responsibility now to be true to myself.

So I take steps forward and I breath and I climb and I walk and I sip my cool Lemon Ginger Honey Tea and consider the ways I'm blessed. Thank you to Mother Earth for the bedrock and the grass and the trees and flowers - for giving us life and breath and inspiration and joy. Thank you for sunsets that remind me I'm alive and for hooting owls and rabbits on their hind legs looking at me. Thank you for tufted titmice and squirrels and polar bears.

I will do my part to return the favor.


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