Saturday, April 19, 2008

Gettin' Earthy!

Now that I’ve started talking about the four elements, I’ll confess: I’ve always been an earthy woman. In my youth, it was easy to see. I oozed sensuality like most twentysomethings in the days of free love with no strings attached. In Hot Flashbacks, I mention how boomers my vintage were lucky. The AIDS epidemic didn’t rear its ugly head until nearly a decade after we made love and not war till there was no fight left in us. I delighted in bawdy jokes back then and salty language, too. I had no idea that these tendencies were so heavily driven by hormones. I hope you’ll enjoy reading in the book about some of my more hilarious epiphanies when my hormones stopped and, finally, I could be motivated by something other than my “animal urges,” as an ex of mine once called them.

Earth is my element in more ways than one. The signs in my
astrology chart are primarily Earth (Sun, Moon, and Ascendant). In Chinese medicine, which has been my ancient adjunct to the modern allopathic kind for over 20 years, Earth is my element—the one that needs constant tune-up.

It should have come as no surprise to me, then, that Earth and environmental protection became my job. For over half my long civil service career, I worked in waste reduction and recycling programs. The rest of my astrology chart is primarily
Air, so, again, it was predictable that astrology would be my side job. I love making the bridge from Earth to Sky and back. You might say I’m in my element(s).

This week we celebrate our Valentine’s Day to the planet—Earth Day. My last post was a lead-up to this important day each year to take stock of where we are as individuals, and as a community, in keeping our globe vital and viable.

Earth Day started in spring of 1970 and has grown bigger and better over the years with vast varieties of local celebrations and opportunities to do your part to save your little corner of the world. I won’t argue about whether or not global warming is real and if the Earth needs saving. As a person who has worked on the inside of environmental stewardship, I am sorry to report from many trusted leaders that it might already be too late to save many species and resources that we take for granted. Late, but not impossible. We like drama; witness our choices in TV programs. Maybe that’s why we’re waiting for the 11th hour.

I belong to a church named after St. Francis of Assisi. Not only was “St. Frank” the Dr. Doolittle of his time who talked to the animals and is their patron; he is also the patron of ecology. I celebrated Earth Day at a day retreat with Sr. Linda Gibler, a contemporary and learned nun with credentials in cosmology.

One thing that came up in this breathtaking Earth Day retreat with Sr. Linda, her second in a row with us, is how the media has influenced our view of the world. In the ‘50s, television first became affordable to the public. With the acquisition of that little box came our first awareness of what was going on with people in other parts of the world. Prior to that, only a fortunate few had any direct contact with those in other countries, real or vicarious. TV planted the first seeds with everyman and everywoman that there were everypeople dotting our Earth with the same hopes and dreams with similar and sometimes unique concerns. Slowly we learned about starving children, genocide, and natural disasters, building global connection and compassion. The Internet brought the global community together in a way none of us who pre-date it could have ever imagined.

Back to David Suzuki and how we are the Earth and its four elements:

Use this Earth Day to dig dirt! Make digging it both figurative and literal. Play in the dirt, pot plants, dig in the garden, and dig up those ugly shrubs. Take a nature walk and notice what things pop out of it speak to you. Actually, listen for their psychic dialogue. We did this on our Earth Day retreat and decided it doesn’t matter where the voice comes from, even if it’s only a subconscious place in our own minds. A buttercup is often very wise—or the buttercup part of our brains—whichever.

Use less, recycle everything you can, and bring your own cloth shopping bags to the market. Minimize your use of bottled water (buy a
reusable bottle ) to help keep all those plastics out of landfills and learn which ones are safe. Keep abreast of these and other green issues. Make your next car a hybrid. Discover some of the truly creative ways people are making recycling pay—literally! We are all four elements, but earth is the one that represents our home, the only place humans inhabit, as far as we know. One of the things Sr. Linda observed—as our scientific knowledge changes, so does our story. Maybe if we find life on other planets, they’ll have advice for taking better care of ours.

Most of all hone your relationships and make more of them without geographical boundaries. That’s the earthiest thing you can do. Peace and cooperation on Earth is what will save it. This we can only do one friend, colleague, councilperson, cyber buddy, or family member at a time. When we know we are the Earth and so is everyone on it, there is no other option but being an Earth Mama or Papa, protective of our family.

And speaking of the Mamas and the Papas, that groovy boomer band, maybe one of their greatest hits, with a few minor adjustments to the lyrics, can become our Planetary International Anthem:
This Is Dedicated to the One I Love.

Each night before I go to bed, my baby.
I whisper a little prayer for you, my baby …

1 comment:

Dänna said...

Dear Joyce,

Another 60's surviver! Write on!
Looking forward to reading your story!