THE SEASON OF PARENTAL MYSTERIES
In my studies and research of the cycle of the inner year I have recognized the role of
Sacred Days, Feasts or Festivals – a single day when we celebrate an event every year.
Sacred Seasons – a period of many days, even weeks, when we devote attention, deepen knowledge, and have an extended time to encounter certain inner mysteries.
In the past Sacred Days and Sacred Seasons were determined by nature, by religious authority, by governments, and by commercial interests. Days and Seasons gave us a collective attention to specified aspects of our tribal lives often celebrated with elaborate social and sensuous rituals.
But as consciousness evolves and we find our inner life and sense of self becoming richer, many of us long for personal days and seasons for our own specified attentions, meanings, reflections and imaginations. We are at the stage of selfhood when the introspective and individual experience offers as much or more meaning than the collective celebration.
I want to shape my sacred days and seasons and discover new ways of relating to the spiritual, the historical, the personal, and the natural events and elements of existence.
From the second Sunday of May, Mother’s Day, to the third Sunday of June, Father’s Day we have five weeks. Do these days frame a season for contemplating and honoring the deed of parenting? One year you might focus on the parenting you got and the parenting you wish you had gotten, and the following year look at how you might parent yourself (time to do Inner Mother Inner Father). Other topics might be parenting space and time – that’s a change of perspective. Or parenting money!
Unlike animals, good human parenting is not instinctual. It is conscious, creative, and specific to the child (whatever the child is).
In the Parenting Season, we seek to engage parental wisdom, parental compassion, parental expression in relationship to ourselves, to others young and old, to core elements of daily living, to the birthing of the future, and to Nature. Often our mature devotion leads us to face the shadows of parenting, neglect, abandonment, abuse, and idolization. (I share insights about these and other shadows in the 6th session of Inner Mother Inner Father)
It was this time last year that I was developing the content of Inner Mother Inner Father. This year my attention to parenting surprised me with a sudden change in perspective on the ancient feeling toward the earth.
WHO IS THE PARENT? WHO IS THE CHILD?
Mother Earth! Mother Nature! Child Earth! Child Nature!
Last week I heard some wise environmentalist, or maybe it was a spiritual teacher admonishing all listeners to care for our Great Mother, the Earth and all Nature. Love the mother of us all. Yes, of course.
But then a big rolling cry swelled in my soul. No, Earth is not our mother, she is our child! With the evolution of consciousness, the relationship has reversed. Once long ago, before the human intellect developed, we were the children of Nature. But no longer.
Let me ask you, as an adult do you take care of your mother? Do you still see her as a resource for your needs? Are you still her child? Do you take her for granted? Do you resent her minor and gross failures and inadequacies? For many it is hard to imagine our mother as needing anything from us until she is dying a death we cannot keep from happening.
Do you project those feelings on to “Mother” Earth?
What happens if we see the truth, that we are the neglecting, abandoning, abusing, idolizing parent of the Earth. She is the child, powerless, wounded, starving, lost, but still living. It is time for each of us to learn/imagine how to mother Nature. To do that we must drop the “we responsibility.” We cannot wait for the collective will to take responsibility. We must each say I — I can mother Earth.
How do I restore her innocence, and take her into my heart and love her as a most precious child who is so much an orphan these days?
Here are my thoughtful imaginations on what I can do in this parenting season on earth as an orphan:
1. I will find a small part of her that I can hold. This might be an area as small as my hand, but I think the best measure is the breadth of my embrace, from hand to hand with my heart in the middle. I can then divide it into hand widths that I can touch.
2. Locate this area. My back yard? An area in a nearby forest or a local park? It needs to be a place that I can visit with some kind of rhythm throughout the year: daily, weekly, monthly.
3. I want to take photos and a video each time so I can keep a picture of her on my desk or by my bed – just like I keep pictures of my children and grandchildren near me.
4. But I also must use my memory to recall this earth child in my soul before I go to sleep, or while I have my morning tea.
5. On my visits and my recollections I will speak to the nature spirits that dwell within this earth child. I will ask questions and listen. Do they laugh? Do they cry? What do they want me to see or touch?
6. And I will share my experience with others and encourage them to parent their earth child.
This small effort can engage my will, where the entire planet would take hold only in my thoughts and be impossible to actually create and establish an active intimate, real, responsible, and living relationship. I can do this sweet little bit confident it will make a difference to the whole interwoven planet. (Maybe I will watch Avatar, again.) Imagine when I lovingly rest my hand on my earth child here in North Carolina, the love will be felt within an ice flow in Antartica, the sands of the Sahara, a palm tree on Biscayne Blvd in Miami – you get the picture.
Feel a rock,
sing to a bird,
kiss the air,
dance with a stream,
Like any child, your earth child needs you to …Connect. Attune. Revere.
Your parental attention will nurture all of Nature.
Parenting the natural world is so much more than recycling.
I just had another inspiration. Your earth child, like other children, will grow and develop and at some point no longer need your active parenting. Then you will be able to find another part of the earth to parent.
A RICH EXAMPLE OF EARTH PARENTING
Here is a book to inspire you written by a man who studied one square meter of the planet everyday for a year, Forest Unseen: A Year’s Watch in Nature by David George Haskell.
DO YOUR OWN IMAGINING
Building this picture of earth parenting took me a week of questioning and imagining. Please spend some soul time with this imagination and share your inspirations on the blog page. I’d love it if someone wanted to create a Facebook page for Earth Parenting so we can share our experiences with our earth children. Contact me if you would like to do this social gesture on earth parenting.
INNER MOTHER INNER FATHER
I’d also love for all of you to learn the mysteries of self-parenting that I provide in the Inner Mother Inner Father course. The $100 discount is good through Father’s Day, June 16. Learn more here.