This entry is part of a sermon given at the Mattatuck Unitarian Universalist Church in Woodbury, CT during April of 2012:
“The Poet Dreams of the Mountain” by Mary Oliver speaks of the longing—and need—to step out of human time and live according to the time and purpose of the Earth itself. To emerge from an urgent personal agenda and join a more thoughtful and collective dream.
No part of nature thinks about itself. It thinks only of the Everything and what it is called upon to do to support it. It is driven to play its part and contribute its gift and survive against all odds for as long as it can, in order to give all that it can.
Nature has much to teach us about how to live on this planet. The waxing and waning of the moon demonstrates how to strike a perfect balance between letting go and creating anew. The spring and winter show us that everything is evanescent—it is either coming into being or falling away in order for the next new thing to come into being.
We live in a human world of trying times—a time of fear and desperation and mistrust. The state of the planet reflects our distress through its own troubling signs of imbalance—global warming, endangered animal and plant life, ruptured ecosystems, poisoned waters, scarred and contaminated land.
We are frightened by the impending threats we face from weather and pollution and the seeming indiscriminate destruction that Nature metes out on a sporadic and unpredictable basis, ranges of devastation that can run beyond the scope of our imaginations. Nature IS indiscriminate—it will get on board with whatever the collective thought seems to be—good or bad. An air of carelessness and disregard, of selfishness and waste invokes the same from Nature, which is and always has been shaped by collective thought and intention. Which always has and always will seek balance above all else, at any time and at any cost.
We can’t beat Nature—it is more powerful than we will ever be. But is it a competition really? Is that the point? As a shamanic practitioner, I am forever humbled and moved by the generosity and participation of the Nature spirits in my healing work. Whenever I ask for Nature to lend its power to a client in illness or a dire situation, the spirits will rush forward to assist, to lend themselves to the cause of correcting the imbalance. They will lay the beauty of their wisdom at our feet. Lend their power and gifts to the cause at hand. Readily support any dream or creation as if it were their own. Why? Because it is their own.
We cannot dream or act or think in isolation. We are part of an Everything, an All that supports us as we support it. So, let’s support it. Let’s live that truth. Let’s come out of our private shells, come out of the darkness, out of the winter of our discontent, and roll up our sleeves, fire up our imaginations and build a new dream, not a little dream that assuages the panic of our individual egos, but a big dream that recreates a magnificent planet, an Earthly paradise that once was.
Whether we like it or not, we are in a new age. We are coming to the end of a long and destructive earth cycle, marked by greed and selfishness and terrible, unconscionable waste. The indigenous elders have been pointedly speaking to the meaning and importance of this time, this year of 2012, in which we now find ourselves. Here we are in the spring of 2012, a season of rebirth in the year of rebirth. We are on a cusp, a betwixt and between, a passageway between what was and what will be. We are in a place of great power—the power of pure potential. As the songwriter Paul Simon puts it: These are the days of miracle and wonder.
Spring is a time of purification and renewal, a time we must be willing–like the moon above us–to let go and become something else. So, let us begin by dreaming a new dream of ourselves and the planet that is our home and our Mother–our sweet, sweet Earth.