Excerpted from Returning the Gift. Dr. Robin Wall Kimmerer is a mother, scientist, writer, and Distinguished Teaching Professor of Environmental Biology at the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse, New York. Kimmerer is an enrolled member of the Citizen Band Potawatomi. She lives on an old farm in upstate New York, tending gardens both cultivated and wild.
SEED QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: What does gratitude as powerful medicine mean to you? Can you share a personal story of a time you felt the healing power from gratitude to the living Earth? How do you practice gratitude to the living Earth?
"The Giving Tree" (book) has been a favorite of mine since my youth. "The boy" (in the story) never once gave thanks to "the tree" for it's presence and service to him ... Yet the tree was happy! The tree, on the other hand, showed it's love for and appreciation of the boy in providing for the boy's needs with the gifts it had yet to give. Without words, the tree thanked the boy for his presence (no matter his motive).
I think I will see that tree in Heaven one day! Amen
Life is a cycle of connectedness. We all are connected as human beings.Life begins because of connectedness between two beings. Life is sustained and flourished by connectedness. We all are connected with nature. We are a part of nature, not apart from nature.Our being is made up of five primordial elements:earth,water, fire, air and space. What is inside is also outside. We have organic connection with life within and life without. It is our sacred responsibility to express our gratitude to the life giver and sustainer, the Mother of all, the Mother Earth.
We need to awaken and sustain this spiritual awakening in our everyday life.We may remain awakened when we read a writing like this or listen to a spiritual discourse or be in the presence of an awakened soul.. And then we go back to sleep. We get disconnected with the source of our being. We waste and dump toxic chemicals in water, we poison crop, rip soil, pollute air because of ignorance and at worst by greed. In the name of progress, we cut the sacred chord of life. We ignore and deny the inconvenient truth.
This is a serious global challenge. We will save our Mother Earth or kill her. We all need to take responsibility and make right and wise choices for sustaining and flourishing life everywhere.We need to wake up and remain awake for preserving life of all beings, us and nature. This way we can express our gratitude to the Creator.
May we have an awakened mind and a grateful heart for the survival, sustenance and flourishing of our Mother Earth.
Jagdish P Dave
Gratitude means being thankful for everything including my own existence, based on the realization that this whole interconnected interacting Earth and beyond including my existence is a gift. Living that awareness is medicine, that is, is wholeness and health for the living Earth and for me. In becoming aware of that I begin to feel the healing power from gratitude to the living Earth. I practice gratitude for my immediate small part of the living Earth by taking care of it, not polluting and exploiting and destroying it, and by advocating for environmentally healthy practices and policies on a planet level.