In Native American cultures, The Great Spirit is a deity intertwined with the fabric of the Universe itself on the large scale and yet personally engaged with the web of living things and the world on an earthly scale. I am creating a spiritual practice by borrowing a little from the Buddhists and the practice of mindfulness, but mostly from the strong connection I feel for the worship of Earth as taught us by our first nations. For those who hunger for the connection of a spiritual practice from someone who is learning to braid her own.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

A Pachamama state of mind

"The most important thing is state of mind," said the Shaman to open our week long study. "Concepts are second to right state of mind. People are capable of thinking up lots of exciting concepts. But nothing you accomplish should be at the expense of the people who go after you or the land, air or water they need to survive."

State of mind includes the collaboration of mind, heart, body and spirit, input from the ancients, spiked with the perspective of our great-grandchildren. Sometimes it's what we do that is most important, sometimes it's what we don't do that has the most effect. 
We are working on these:
  • Saying thanks for Pacha Mama's every gift--air to breathe, water to drink, food to eat. We sing or give thanks with every meal. A growing skill is of getting still enough to recognize things that are gifts.
  • Composting--this is a "double coupon" choice of alternatives, that is that small stainless bucket on our counter top keeps trash out of the overflowing landfills, and it grows natural bacteria (and worms) that can be returned to the soil.
  • Reducing, reusing, recycling--and buying from companies who do when we must buy. Buying used is good too. There is even a neighborhood in the Portland, Oregon area where a tribe of families uses Facebook to ask for and offer equipment, services and supplies.
  • Only buying from companies that match our values. We choose products by referring to the Better World Shopper.
  • Offering water sources (like bird baths) for creatures. Water is more important than food.
  • Removing invasive species (English Ivy, blackberries, nettles on our property) to make room for native plants that feed native creatures. The latest and most troubling news about invasives is that bull frogs kill native tree frogs, and the bull frogs have to go too. Yikes.
  • Creating habitat and food sources (like a dead tree that can be left a few feet tall for perch and feed); we are working on Certified Wildlife Habitat awarded by the National Wildlife Federation by systematically removing invasive species and planting natives. Natives have the added bonus of needing less water.
  • Stop recycling leaves--they serve as shelter for creatures and add nutrients to the soil, naturally by putting them in flower beds. 
  • Stop buying chemicals and seek alternative ways to kill pests and feed plants so you don't leave poison that eeks into the water through the soil.
  • Plant a tree! Plant several trees! Do a bit of research for planting/care requirements so you don't lose them the first winter or summer. Safety from wind and lots of water for the first year.
  • Stop buying plastics, including a ban on bottled water. There are alternatives that do not use non-renewable resources.
The Huffington Post has 17 simple things we can all do to reciprocate with Pacha Mama.

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