In a time of extreme environmental change and cultural evolution, we are beckoned by the opportunity to develop radical ways of stewarding Earth-centered social community. Advances in technology are offering us the choice to expand and heal our consciousness as global citizens, but with the imperative to focus on how our decisions and actions may support the flourishing of ALL life and generations to come. How do we cultivate this form of focus?
In our work as ecological educators we find that connection to nature (the elements, plants, and creatures) not only balances brain waves and biochemistry, but also imbues an expanded feeling of family and camaraderie. When one sees a rollie pollie, tree, or cloud as a conscious playmate, we have reason to take care of the Earth, both the playground and the playmates – a sentiment that influences individual choices and beliefs about our role as co-creators on the planet. It is crucial in this time of our evolution to identify opportunities to maximize our connection with Nature, both locally and globally.
Is it possible that we can heal the planet through art, music, and play? These universal languages are powerful vehicles to deepen our relationship to the Earth. With paintbrushes, pencils, watercolors, or sculptural shapings, one can calm the mind and bring attention to the natural world all around. The receptivity of this creative mode facilitates the building of a union with the elements and other life-forms. Through imagination and collaboration in our games, we can find new ways of seeing and engaging with Nature. As we dance on bare ground, the soil below can become alive with a spirit and personality of its own. Creativity and exposure in nature begins to shift our brain waves to rejuvenative frequencies, open the capillaries for increased blood and oxygen flow, and balance the autonomic nervous system towards a healthful rest and digest mode. This is a state of energetic balance that is foundational for every person to restore our responsibility as stewards of the planet.
Crafting or creating in nature, gardening, and playing on the land inspires us to a spiritual awakening – empowering compassion for the living systems and creatures around us. We build new neural pathways in these states of inspired receptivity, allowing information from the world around – the movement of weather and wind, creatures, plants, and waters – to guide our thought processes and intuitive actions. What might the world look like if every person cultivated this practice of listening to and playing with Nature?
Imagine schools filled with young people focusing their attention on the plants in their recreation yard, assessing the health of trees, inventing ways to support the flourishing of their gardens, and celebrating the magic of the creatures woven through this mini-ecosystem. Envision workplaces where employees gathered to build morale by singing for the Earth and their relations. This is a movement that Mother Nature is calling for through us today. We are the generation destined by our ancestors and prophesied by tribal elders of present to reweave a harmonious way of inhabiting the world.
As a medium of communication, artists can influence emotions and beliefs through visual and musical messages. Creativity focused on appreciation of the Earth and an honoring of the human relationship with Nature can be transformational for individuals and communities. Beauty and joy can be the impetus for us to learn new sustainable ways of living lightly, respectfully, and in integrity with the balance of all life.
So what are we waiting for? Let’s go get our hands dirty and make something beautiful together!
Michael Meade is an Educator / M.C. with All Aboard Earth (www.AllAboardEarth.com), an educational multimedia collective bringing ecology and sustainability to schools, concerts, festivals and conferences that integrates music and visual arts to inspire and inform. Photography by Hannah Rapp of Playful Passages (www.PlayfulPassages.com), an Earth-Based Creative Healing Arts Therapy Program integrating art, movement, nature and rites of passage to create empowering life transitions.