When our spiritual practice is interwoven with the Land, when we are used to looking to the spirit of the Earth for guidance, connection and comfort, it can be incredibly traumatic to navigate natural disasters like wildfires, floods, and earthquakes. It can feel like the Earth’s gifts of abundance, love, wisdom, and wellness have evaporated, like our spiritual foundation is crumbling with the destruction to the Land. It might feel safer to skip ahead to a future vision of positive outcome, to focus on the long-term nature cycles and the eventual benefits of the disaster when feel we do not have the bandwidth to think about the current destruction and loss. We imagine the fire clearing the land of dead underbrush, supporting new growth, the flooding bringing rich nutrients to meadowlands and fields, earthquakes birthing mountains.
This future approach might seem like a comforting vision amidst the societal and domestic chaos around us. But in fact, we are robbing ourselves of our spiritual connection and support during a time when we need it the most. Yes, the Land is going through stress and trauma, and yes we too will feel the grief and stress with the Land. But we will also feel the deeper, timeless spirit beneath the current chaos and destruction. We will find that the Earth energy that grounds us and supports us is still there, holding the Land in it loving lifeweb, open and waiting to hold us as well.
Some of us might find ourselves focusing on the human cause, the role our lack of sustainability or climate change plays in the natural disaster. And yes, there are probably lessons to be learned from the disaster, sustainability practices to be adopted, or problems to face. But in the midst of the trauma of the disaster it not that moment. This sense of guilt only serves to distance us from our spiritual connection. Later, there will be healing work for home, society, and Land alike. First we survive, support each other as best we can, and support the wildlife and the landscape when possible. We extend our love to the Land and in turn remain open to its love for us.
We can maintain our connection with the Land even when we have been evacuated and do not have immediate access to our sacred nature spots, to the places we connect and practice our spirituality. Within the lifeweb of the biosphere we are still connected. Our spirit in familiar companionship with the spirit of the Land.
Staying open to these connections during these times does not, as we might fear, increase our own stress and trauma, rather it deepens our understanding of it and helps us to navigate the chaos. Nature has journeyed through many cycles of creation and destruction, and its wisdom in this matter can offer guidance and wisdom. Staying connected with our spiritual practice helps us ground our stress and worry in that deeper, timeless Earth spirit.
So leave aside cause and guilt, and the potential positive long-term effects of the natural disaster for another day. Allow yourself the space to feel with the Land, to connect in shared experience. Take a still moment to sit and acknowledge the grief and trauma, allow the feelings passage through your being. This trauma and chaos will wash away in time, the Earth will receive them, compost them and in turn offer nutrient rich healing when the time comes to return, to rebuild, to clean up, and embrace the future.
The Earth offers guidance to all who listen.