(excerpt of my book The depths of Stillness, last chapter)
What actions can we take for the restoration and healing of the Earth? In our home, our backyard, our community and beyond? Sometimes it is easy to think that our small actions do not matter or are not powerful enough. Will my garden of the soul save the planet? Probably not. But my tending of the plants is supporting an ecosystem, it is nourishing the land and my own soul. I know that the peace I find here somehow spreads out, through the healing gift and my interactions with humans and the land community.
However I feel a deeper call. A call of the wild, for the wild, from the wild. A call to support it, to nourish it, to co-create with it. A desire for tending, caring, regenerating, a long term commitment to live in right reciprocity with the land and the more than human. Regeneration is a word that has been coming up for me. Regeneration of the soul. Chi regeneration. Land regeneration. Regeneration of the soil. But what is this wild that is calling?
I have a vision of making a home on the edge of a wild ancient forest that I know, where the trees grow in symbiosis with the rocks. That is the image that calls me. I want to live in that close symbiotic connection where I can listen to and grow with the wild within and the wild around me. Learn from the trees and respect them as sacred. This place is not far away from marble mines, like in the 111 trees story, it is dry and there is little water, little rain, the temperatures are wild, way too hot for me in the summer, with cold nights in the winter. The soil is poor and I wonder how I could regenerate a land like this. Is it even possible? Yet my deeper knowing tells me this is what I have to do.
I watch videos about permaculture solutions that support the creation of ecosystems in dry climates and how to turn desertified places into green oasis bringing ecosystems alive. I look at water retention systems, plants that fix nitrogen, resilient plants that help create water underneath with long roots into the earth to restore the soil as ways to keep the rain water in the ground. I dream of a Zen garden using the rocks that are already in the land, ancient rocks with knowledge and wisdom. You see, I don't want to move the rocks to create the garden, but build the garden around the rocks, respecting the nature as it is, and protect and encourage the small niches of abundance, which I saw growing, in between those rocks where small micro climates seemed to develop and life grew.
After my nomad years and soul journeys, it is important for me, at my age, to settle down to make a home and be part of a community of kind humans, rooted trees and wild creatures. To create my home, as a caretaker of the land, an Earth guardian, following my ethics, guidance and intuition. I imagine living in low impact structures, buildings that could be removed without leaving a trace or moved to another place if needed. A conscious lifestyle in harmony with the land. I start to draw a little plan. I start with a collage to gather the images of my imagination. I receive dreams of internal patios and a round house, perhaps a yurt, although I know that the extremes of the weather in that part of the world and the climate crisis, might make it impossible in some months of the year or too vulnerable in a violent storm. I see also a wooden building, a Japanese style simple structure to house the healing space, where I would give my gift. In between these two structures, an internal patio, the Zen garden, with paths and roofs, built as much as possible out of recycled wood and other natural materials, to provide shade, to collect rain water, to create the new garden of the soul. This would mean to change country again, to move back to the home-land, to start from point zero once more. Will I be able to find new constellations of belonging?
I allow myself to wonder what plants I would plant in my future garden. What flowers would I find to create new flower essences? Who will I meet, old friends and new, ancestors and the new beings of the future. What can I give? What new healing methods for humans, plants, animals and land will come through me? What creative work will I do? What films or books might emerge of such an experience? What can I teach? perhaps weaving together my particular life experiences and creativity, with the learnings on soul descent, trauma, healing, the feminine and deep ecology. I dream about this, while the Southwest wind from the sea blows loudly against my hut, in this cold Spring, reminding me of the urgency at this moment of the Earth. I feel the edge. I feel the grief and the uncertainty of it all. And I know that our actions are also prayers, full of meaning, a resonance that might well go beyond what we could expect. Perhaps this could be a valid response to the times we are living in. An adequate embodiment of being the change I want to see in the world.
In the meantime I meet with an extraordinary tree. This tree was hit by lightening, and possibly most of the tree snapped off, now only showing the inside of a burned down trunk on one side. From that, a new branch started to grow up, then, after probably many years, it started to grow down, forming a perfect arch, one could say a portal. On the other side it sent aerial roots, an humble request to the soil for nourishment, and there, it started to grow another tree, where branches and roots mix together, reach out and up and rooting down more, in a confluence of purpose and grace. I approached the tree and sat next to it, wondering how long it took this tree to find a new shape out of her own true nature even though a great shocking event changed her life in a dramatic manner.
Somehow this tree showed me a possible image of my own soul at this moment of post-traumatic growth. In the company of this tree, I mourned the years it took me to find myself again. The years in which I felt a ghost of myself, not quite fitting in, but allowing me the time to explore the depths of dissolution and healing, and almost without realizing it, I was shaping myself into a portal, a passage for soul encounter, building a path for new growth that perhaps was always part of the initial seed, waiting, maturing, transforming into it, quietly and patiently.
By now I have learned the tools for resilience, to hold space for safety, to find wisdom in the wounds, to go beyond struggle and towards regeneration. It is a practice, we keep repeating it again and again, with gentleness, with tenderness, with care and self-compassion, until the roots are strong enough to hold new branches. A poem by Mary Oliver comes my way, timely.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do —
determined to save
the only life you could save.
Yes, I can do this, like that tree, sending out the roots and the branches, while listening to the new voice. Yet some days I feel impatient. I feel the urgency to rebuild a new foundation of trust. A longing for the elementary forces of nature. An archaic memory to be in service to Earth, to be a guardian of the land, and to give my gifts, more fully, in a committed and response-able way. I continue to feel this call of the wild, to rethink ecosystems, and healing systems holistically. I feel into the new threshold, I lean into the edge. The seed keeps pushing through the ground, wanting to live.