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In honor of Earth Day, the renewal of spring and in light of the pandemic, I honor Mother Earth, all sentient beings upon her and our journeys. As adults it is our responsibility to foster love and support around us. We can’t uphold that responsibility unless we honor love and support within.

In my world, so much of my past has been based on harsh discipline to get what I want and need. I was raised in a patriarchal belief system with stern guidance, critical boundaries and a “don’t-be-nice-it-will-spoil-her” attitude. Competition over cooperation. The strict father model on steroids. My inner talk took the tone of critical outside voices.

As an adult, I discovered the power of reparenting. Parenting is all about providing a child with protection and care in order to ensure their healthy development into adulthood. I discovered parenting also includes honoring the inherent worth and dignity of every being as well as instilling a sense of hope.

This inherent worth and dignity is a right of every living being on this earth, including Mother Earth. My first responsibility is to reparent myself and instill these traits within. My second responsibility is to encourage worth and dignity everywhere else because we all matter.

We live our lives doing the best we can, seeking love and acceptance, finding guidance and direction. Fear divides us. Awareness helps me monitor my inner talk so I can catch myself when I forget my worth and dignity. How I treat myself is how I hold myself in the world. I choose to be encouraging, have healthy boundaries and remember kindness is the hand I extend to myself and then to others.

We waste so much energy trying to cover up who we are

when beneath every attitude is the want to be loved

and beneath every anger is a wound to be healed

and beneath every sadness is the fear that there will not be enough time.

Our challenge each day is not to get dressed to face the world

but to unglove ourselves so that the doorknob feels cold

and the car handle feels wet

and the kiss goodbye feels like the lips of another being

soft and unrepeatable.

Participants’ Reflections:

  • That was beautiful. It just started snowing here. I thought winter was over. This is perfect for Earth Day and the reality of the world that we are living in, which is very unpredictable. So the goal of finding a center is so important. I loved what you wrote today. I loved the line to remember kindness is the hand I extend to myself and then to others. Being codependent, wanting to please everyone and take care of everyone, it was a hard lesson to learn. I remember you talking about Lisa Nichols and the cup and saucer. And how much we give away. You fill up the cup and don’t give it away. You keep filling up the cup until it overflows and you give to other people what’s in the saucer, not the cup. It’s a hard thing to learn but it’s so important to be kind to myself and to give myself what I need. Then, when I am in a centered place, I can help others. I’m grateful for this reminder today.

  • Thank you. I’m thinking of my daughter today. She is a farmer. Today for Earth Day, I am feeling gratitude because of my connection to my daughter. I know how hard farmers work, I know how hard she works. She loves farming. Fifteen- hour days for six months out of the year. I feel gratitude today. Gratitude for those that work in the fields. Thankful for my food and the Earth that is so bountiful and the folks that work in that field to bring me the food that I eat. Thank you.

  • Well-said. I am also grateful for the farmers. I have many food issues and have a hard time finding foods I can eat. It has to be organic because I cannot deal with the pesticides. It’s taken me years to establish some sense of normalcy in being able to eat food. I completely agree with you.

  • I was thinking about your comment about the patriarchal model. I was also thinking that our parents did the best they could for us. We now find it lacking in some way. It left us with some emptiness and things to work on. But they really did the best they could.

  • I agree. They learned from their past, and it moves forward.

  • I was thinking about parenting and how I’m trying to be mindful in my parenting with my children. I am very aware of conversations that I’m having, trying to teach them how to find peace and ease within themselves and how to show up for themselves. Talking about patience and gratitude. I was never taught that as a child. So I am very aware now of being a mindful parent.

  • What a blessing. That’s the food you serve to them every day whether you say it in words or not because you are it. What a blessing. Thank you.

  • I was thinking about how all my life, I’ve tried to be kind with people and animals and nature. I found it easy to do that and not easy to be kind to myself. So I am trying to undo that part. I was looking out at the beautiful tree outside my window. It goes way up tall. I was thinking how the water comes down on its branches and we all are the branches. The water comes down and falls on the branches, on all of us. The water is like our tears and our joy. It all runs together and softly goes over the roots of the tree. It’s how we all help each other.

  • Thank you for listening. Thank you for being part of the tree, I love that metaphor, as we all exist together. It is my goal to be gentle with myself especially when I can’t meet my expectations. I extend gentleness to me, and if I don’t, I take a breath and find it. I hope you have a pleasant day.

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