It is amazing to consider how as infants we are one with everything. In time, of course, we learn how to distinguish between ourselves and others, between the world we carry inside and the world we move through. But ironically, the sages of all paths are those who, after lifetimes of experience, try to return to this primary state of Oneness.
When I think of the moments I have felt most alive, they all have the quality of joining all-of-what-I-keep-inside with everything-outside-me in a way that makes me forget myself. They all feel timeless and open-ended. Tenderly, the deepest moments of making love allow us to join in that Oneness beyond ourselves, as do certain moments of being immersed in great music or great open spaces. I have also felt this after long periods of swimming or running, or after long periods of being healthfully alone. I feel it when discovering what it is I need to write. Joy, it seems, is the feeling of that Oneness.
Not surprisingly, it is the risk to love—the risk to give our full attention—that lets what-is-eternal-within merge with what-is-eternal-without. In those moments of Oneness, we, as drops of spirit, join the larger river of spirit.
World Water Day was March 22. I admit that I didn’t do anything special, but it got me thinking about water, life’s most essential ingredient. In California today, 99.8% of the state is in moderate to extreme drought. How do we live with decreasing amounts of water? What do we do about global warming, which is melting our snowpack and increasing evaporation from our extremely low reservoirs?
I, for one, aim to get more informed. I challenge myself to:
* Savor water, especially now that it is less plentiful.
* Save and reuse water. Here’s how:
Install water-efficient showerheads.
Take shorter showers and turn off the shower while lathering.
Use a cup instead of leaving the tap running while brushing teeth.
Regularly check for leaks.
Reuse water from rinsing or boiling by letting it cool and then watering plants with it.
Use a pail of water to wash your car rather than a hose.
Rinse dishes in a sinkpan rather than under running water.
Use a pan of hot water to defrost frozen food rather than running hot water.
Of course, these are just a few ideas to get us started! Joining activities to protect our sources for clean water is another action item. Water is our most precious resources, so let’ s outdo ourselves in keeping it renewable and available for all.
I pray for the earth’s healing, just as I also thank her— for pines, poppies, sparrows, and cottontails. In observing their beauty, I am restoring my own vitality, taking into my being their light and energy and balance. A cottontail knows how to be a cottontail. Hearing me, it dives into the underbrush. A cypress shares energy drawn from the sun. I lean my back against its trunk in wistful gratitude.
The afternoon passes. Before long the blush from the setting sun deepens the lake’s hues. Like pepper scattered in the sky, the starlings have taken to swirling. How do they swoop of one accord, a body of many? They must be attuned at a different level, synced in, like voices harmonizing and riffing and pulling together again.
Thank you, Gaia, for these daily miracles that offer their grace to me. Strengthen my desire to serve the whole—to cultivate an awareness of not just my collusion in destruction but also my participation in reawakening the truth that we are part of you, Gaia, one planet, Earth. In loving you and braving the consequences of defiance, we can we shift the consciousness of humanity, person by person. That is my prayer. That is my task.
This Sunday, I’ll be celebrating women’s spiritual stories of healing at herchurch (Ebenezer Lutheran). In other words, I’ll be preaching, singing and dancing! Join us at 10:30 a.m. at 678 Portola Drive in San Francisco.
Alice Martin’s smile is shy and her black eyes observant. When asked to characterize her experience of the Divine, she begins with a story about herchurch. “It was during last year’s croning ceremony. Oh, how can I describe it?” Searching for words, Alice looks toward the altar, allowing me a partial view of her tucked-in crown of hair. She depicts the older women sitting up front in chairs like thrones, how they were honored for their wisdom, how she was moved to tears. “It’s like the floodgates just opened, and I was in this experience of joy. I really felt the presence of God, of Goddess. It was like a down-pouring.”
Alice reaches up with both hands as if parting a curtain. “It felt like this light on me, this golden glow, and this connection to the Source, the Divine. So many times I’ve been struggling against my own feelings of unworthiness and the sense of being oppressed as a woman, as a minority. You have those everyday pressures and then there’s your own emotional baggage that kicks you down and keeps you down, and the task is to dismantle that. But this was just such a moment of ‘I’m of worth. I have value. I have a place.’”