We Indians…know that everything has power. Stones have power. A blade of grass has power. Trees and clouds and all our relatives in the insect and animal world have power. We believe we must respect that power by acknowledging its presence. By honoring the power of the spirits in that way, it becomes our power as well. It protects us. ~ Russell Means
There are so many ways we can celebrate the gifts that this planet offers us. The sun that sustains us, the water that purifies us, the animal kingdom that provides us companionship, the plants that bring us beauty and nourishment, the winds that move us.
As we—the beings who share the earth—came from the same source, so we are connected to each other like siblings. When we recognize the connection we have to all living and non-living things, our very lives become an offering. We live our respect.
We make choices that honor our planetary family.
“Living our respect” does not have to mean making tremendous changes in our daily lives. Just being aware of our interconnectedness with all beings is a start.
Here are a few ways to live your respect both inwardly and outwardly:
When you’re outdoors, say a quiet thank you to the sun. Or the river. Or a tree. Take a moment to think of them as your family. Notice how that feels.
Granted, most of us already do this. Consider taking it a step further by eliminating all use of plastic bags and bottles in your daily life. Get a BPA-free water bottle that you can refill. If you have kids, empower them by inviting them to choose their own. Keep a few fabric shopping bags in your car so you’ll always be prepared. There are also plenty of collapsible bags that fit perfectly in a purse or workbag.
By composting—either using a composting bin or creating a safe area in your yard or garden—allows us to return nourishment to the land that fed us.
Create a sacred space
A wonderful way to honor nature also makes an excellent family project. Go out into nature and have each member collect an item that speaks to him. Perhaps it’s a leaf, a rock, a feather, or a piece of driftwood. Just make sure that removing the item will not disrupt the area it comes from. Clear a space on a mantel or shelf. When each person returns with the chosen item, ask her to explain why it spoke to her, and then place the item in the sacred space. Refresh the space every season, being sure to return the found items to nature with thanks.
Practice a “being meditation“
Go outside. Stand quietly. Spend about ten minutes feeling your presence on the earth. Notice the weather, and let it speak to you. Every day you practice this “being meditation” your experience will change. Feel yourself changing with it. Honor your place in the sacred shifting and evolving.
By living our respect for all beings around us, we develop a natural flow with them.
We know that when we protect the earth, she protects us. We can delight in the glint of light on the river, the call of a sparrow, the delicate arch of a tulip, even the crisp wind that stings our cheek, knowing that all of them are our siblings.
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Editor: Renée Picard
Photo: Chinchilla Photography at Pixoto