on nature relation,
radical rest, self care, slow life,
well being, and becoming whole
Today is Earth Day. Each Earth Day I think, "Isn't every day, Earth Day?" I often wonder how we humans live each day without an awareness of this amazing being, Earth, we live in and on. It can take a while when for most of us, Earth is the place we have always lived since birth, in our homes, our cities, states and countries, not really feeling an actual connection with the web of inter-being spreading across the planet; the source of our ability to live, grow and thrive from birth until death. Even in death, as our bodies go back to The Earth and become earth. The Earth is where we live our lives as an integral part of her ecosystem and then once again our bodies, at the time of our death continue to play an essential role in her ecosystem.
I'm thinking a lot about life and death these days and about what it means to spend the time we have on Earth as part of her web of life. Though so much seems to be falling apart and out of control all over the planet, I have been living in a world that feels otherworldly these past two months since my 94 year old father went on Hospice for congestive heart failure. With both my parents alive and still together in their 90's, I've gotten used to them being around- for quite some time, and doing a pretty good job of it considering their challenges as they have become quite old.
Now, my dad, always a passionate walker, is walking his final walk in his life on Earth. Being the daughter who is here locally, I have felt ripped out of my life by my roots and sucked into an alternate reality as I tend to my father and mother and arrange for their needs for care at this time. Suddenly, I'm no longer living my own life from day to day on automatic pilot, looking to the next thing; the next thing. Instead, I'm living on The Earth from moment to moment with deep gratitude that she is simply here supporting all life. At age 64, as I prepare to say goodbye to one of my parent's, I know I am here on The Earth in Ashland, Oregon, and at the same time, I have been invited to step into The Rabbit Hole where nothing looks as it once did and I know that nothing in my life will ever be the same again. Once my father dies and I am guessing my mother shortly follows, I will feel my family roots in The Earth more than I ever have, even though my ancestor's have all gone before us. I am learning that losing a parent affects one deep in their own cells. I'm feeling it in my cells; in my daily reality and in my dreams. My sister's are telling me they feel it too.
I'm experiencing a new sense of The Earth and the vast web of interbeing she supports for all of us passengers on this wild spinning ride. I'm loving my father and mother and tending to them as best I can, sometimes with frustration along with the love. As my dad prepares to leave, I feel my mother doing the same and I prepare deep in my heart and soul for their departures. Some days, my father describes a train that he says is moving and tells me and my mother it is leaving soon and he feels like he is supposed to be on it. He says, "We'll be leaving soon." Spending the time with my dad as he shares his experiences stepping between worlds is allowing me a powerful glimpse into his dying process. I'm feeling pieces of the world he is navigating as he has lost all sense of time and sometimes place. I'm learning from my dad's journey how fast our lives on Earth pass, even if you do make it to be 94. He's sharing his stories, joy, sadness, regrets and tears as he looks back at his long life and finds himself, right now, exactly where he is, with a deeply challenging opportunity to look within.
Between Covid and my moves to escape wildfires in Southern Oregon, I now feel I am truly home with my family; my community; the land that is my more than human family. I've never felt anything more right than being here and tending to my father and mother during this time. These past two months, I have barely had the chance to be in nature and unable to do the work I deeply love-facilitating others to connect with The Earth in a relational way through forest therapy, also known as Forest Bathing or Shinrin Yoku- a practice that invites you to fall in love in a new way with The Earth. We forest therapy guides and the thousands who have experienced this practice have learned through this work that what we love, we protect.
I am feeling strongly pulled to connect with The Earth; The More than Human World; community, ground myself again in nature and connect with my own inner nature. I invite you to join me for a forest therapy walk this Sunday, April 24, In honor of my love for The Earth and the billions of lives and life she nurtures and supports in every moment, I welcome you to join me, say hello to The Earth and fall in love.
Forest Therapy Walk
Wild Wellness Guide
Sunday, April 24th
11:00 AM- 1:30PM
Lithia Park, Ashland, Oregon
Sliding Scale Donation- $20-$45
Pre-Register through Wild Wellness Guide