This morning was warm (relatively) and there was a feeling of Spring in the air. The air was thick with moisture in a different way than in previous days and weeks. Some of the native birds were singing and the sun was noticeably higher in the sky for the particular time of day it was. Yet, it was the sum total —the gestalt of the experience — that was being known. The whole body system was experiencing Spring. It just was. In that moment there was a deep affection and care for this thing that was being felt. It was Spring and it was lovely. 

Our bodies are made up of the four elements: Earth, Fire, Water & Air. These are the same elements that comprise the world we live in. One of the tragedies of modern, post-industrial life is an increasing alienation from our bodies. The intellect is revered and the body is something of an afterthought, or even non-thought. This is one important contributor to the isolation, depression, and anxiety that plagues our society. The other consequence of being alienated from our bodies is that in turn, we are alienated from the larger body of the earth and the natural systems that maintain life.

There is a direct correlation between the harm being done to the earth and the disconnect we feel from our bodies. Remember, we’re made up of the same stuff. We are not separate from the rest of life on this earth.

We find it very difficult to harm what we are intimately connected to. Yet, what we feel separated from is much more easily harmed. Have you ever screamed something nasty at someone driving in another vehicle? Easy to do, because we feel separate from them. What if they were sitting next to you? Much more difficult, because we’d feel less separate. We’re trashing the earth because, among other reasons, we feel disconnected. So it is easy to do. 

I suggest that the palette of colors needed to stem climate change must include the color of coming into intimate relationship with our bodies. Without this, the attempts to reverse climate change will be intellectual, not embodied. We’ll be trying to solve a problem instead of knitting back together a relationship with a dear loved one that has been severed. When we see that we are not separate from something, we want to protect it. Mothers, know what I’m talking about?

This type of relationship is possible with the earth and the natural systems that maintain life. It all starts with an question: “Can you feel your feet on the ground or the rhythm of your breath?”