"With this sacred pipe you shall walk upon the Earth; for the Earth is your Grandmother and Mother, and she is sacred. Every step that is taken upon her should be as a prayer." Black Elk, quoting White Buffalo Calf Woman in "The Sacred Pipe."
This is the secret of a sacred life, the foundation upon which to build all relationship. Here's why.
The earth is always beneath us. Like the sun, she gives always. Because of gravity and the needs of our bodies, we have no choice but to allow her to serve us. Since she serves us all, she is greater than any one of us, or even all of us collectively since she has served all past generations, and will serve all future ones.
When we walk upon the Earth with reverence, gratitude is the attitude that begins to infuse our souls. This is because we are constantly being served by One greater than us, that also happens to be a physical embodiment of the Love of Creator (like Jesus, Christians). When gratitude infuses us, humility can also take hold, because being served by One so great we begin to see our brothers and sisters in a different light. We see our spouses and children as ones to serve. The man on the corner asking for money is not a burden, but an opportunity for soulful exchange. How can we serve him? The woman digging for pennies in a crowded line at the grocery store... do I have change to give her?
Now, our souls, being of God, are not wired to receive all the time without giving back to the Source of the gifts. So one who walks in this prayer without words is naturally, soulfully drawn, not only to God however S/he is defined, but to the Earth herself. We feel a relationship, a kinship to her. We see the food we eat with new eyes. We see water for the life blood it is. We value soil and begin to ask questions about it. We collect seeds, revere trees and develop relationships with the non-human entities that are similarly dependent upon her. And guess what? Our relationship with them begins to feel more like a multi-species sibling-hood than a stewardship. It begins to feel like we are deeply connected. Extinction is no longer an option to consider and true stewardship - one of action rather than words - begins to take hold.
Friends, we are at a sacred tipping point. I have great hope and see truly awesome transformation as I have described taking place. People are beginning to see the Earth less as a separate resource to be used and abused and more as a connection to God, as the oracle She is, if we will only re-learn her voice. We knew it once. Our ancestors certainly did. They had a realistic relationship to her for they had not yet come into so many addictive conveniences that are essentially lies about our dependence upon Her, and God.
I call upon us all to walk in a prayerful way today. To "breathe through our feet", to walk a little slower, make one car journey less, to look to the sky and notice clouds, sun and stars. And may these actions open portals to soulful relationships about which we had forgotten, and may these inform all aspects of our sacred, holy, unique, bountiful lives.
(art by Deskridge)