A Dance of the Soul
“ There is a war playing out now...the treasure being fought over is the human soul.” Susan Raven
I read this quote in Nature Spirits, The Remembrance as I drifted off to sleep under a wool blanket close to the wood stove in my drafty old farmhouse. I especially appreciated these simple pleasures after spending three days helping a friend staff a booth at a large farm conference.
She offered me the second bed in her room at the conference center. I woke the first morning feeling edgy. Had the foam mattress and the light synthetic comforter disturbed my energy field? I worked at the booth all day, got little fresh air and no direct sunlight. Then I walked across asphalt to my car. The second night, I shuddered just sitting on the bed, so I slept on two chairs and an ottoman.
In her book, Raven asserts that we strain our immune systems without the connection to the Earth and her “negatively-charged, health-bearing ions.” She writes, “ the emotional feedback from military conflict, fundamentalist religion, manipulative media and corporate malpractice hover over us like menacing storm clouds.” We will experience “ever more sophisticated modes of incursion into our daily lives,” she writes, until we wake up to the power of “our own subtle, supersensible bodies.”
Stated simply, it's time to dance our soul's dance. Where do we start? We have created structures all around us that are convenient, comfortable and soul-deadening. We gathered as sustainable farmers to share our ideas, practices and presence with each other. We are among the most conscious stewards of land in America. Yet we spent our time indoors in rooms with stale air, man-made materials and electronic equipment. We shared how to grow food in a place which damaged the environment and sapped our vitality. The deeper truth-- that connecting to Nature and to each other feeds us as nothing else can—remained unexpressed and unacknowledged. We were disconnected from life itself!
On Friday evening, we watched a movie, “How to Let Go of the World and Love All the Things that Climate Can't Change.” I felt overwhelmed by the environmental degradation and destruction it showed. I was buoyed by the stories of leaders who were using their “moral imaginations” to engage and create a better world. The movie juxtaposed different cultures. Native peoples from an island in the Pacific bravely paddled hand-made canoes in front of a giant freighter to protest its hauling coal to China. Residents in Peking wore face masks to breathe in its polluted air. How do we make good choices when so much around us sets the frame in which we live? Change the focus: create the future from your own inner knowing, rather than unconsciously accepting what the outside presents to you.
When I first came to the farm, the spirit of my father and grandmother called to me, “Assume you have enough. Assume everything you need will be provided.” I stepped into each day imagining that I had been given a chance to create a place of beauty, bounty and balance. I met joy, sorrow, delight, disgust, life, death, the profound, the ephemeral, the plebeian. I was tested, but finally, I simply began dancing with whatever the day presented, knowing it would feed me deeply.
The leader on the Pacific island chose to act not just for himself, but to honor his ancestors and his entire culture. He cried when he saw that the place where his father had been laid to rest had been washed away. Then he lifted himself and joyfully greeted another day.
Surely if he can face each day courageously with the imminent threat of his island disappearing, we can reclaim ourselves, our souls, our lives and our land to create and sustain life--not just for ourselves--but for others, for future generations, and for life itself.
It is how my soul wants to dance. Will you join me?