Tune In to Yourself and Mother Earth Like Your Life Depends On It

Put your hand over your heart and breathe. Whether you are having a rough day or settling into your life with ease and gratitude, it is important for every single one of us to acknowledge the rough times we find ourselves in. 

April 22 is Earth Day, and it will be like no other Earth Day we’ve experienced. It’s possible that there are people on our planet who experienced the 1918 Spanish flu, which ended up decimating close to 50 million people, but for the most part, there is nobody alive who has been through something quite like the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Recently, I read a post on social media that said Mother Earth has sent all of us to our rooms to think about our actions and behaviors, and how they have impacted our collective and individual well-being. Now, we’re being called to hit the reset button and dive deep into unfamiliar and uncomfortable territory. Hopefully, we are also coming to truly understand, honor, and embrace the importance of returning to a state of balance, internally and externally. 

Like everything in life, we are being met by the duality of our experience. We are being called to feel and recognize all of it: good and bad, connection and loneliness, life and death, reasons to celebrate and reasons to grieve. The container of our beautiful planet is showing us how connected we truly are, in ways that are both devastating and heartwarming. 

We have seen firsthand the consequences of viewing ourselves and our health as disconnected from the wellness of our species and planet. We have felt the pain and frustration of social distancing and not being able to do simple things like get our nails done, chat with our local barista, or simply enjoy a walk through our neighborhood without worrying that we’ll meet someone else on the road. We have also felt the agony and helplessness of loss: of life, livelihood, and a sense of both safety and freedom.

At the same time, many of us are experiencing unprecedented joy, compassion, and generosity. We are spending sacred time with our families and loved ones, both at home and virtually. We are stopping to literally smell the roses and connect with the land around us. We are opening up to acts of massive generosity and experiencing things we didn’t have the time or awareness to notice before, because we were too goddamn busy. 

We are waking up to inspiring new possibilities in this moment of collective pause.

It’s Time to Come Back to the Feminine

The Earth represents the feminine principle, which has been sacred throughout human history but has sadly fallen to the wayside as masculine values of enterprise and activity have assumed front and center in many of our societies. 

Today, it’s no surprise that we are being encouraged to come home to ourselves, to connect to our hearts, bodies, spirits, and the parts of us that we’ve shunned or even destroyed in favor of external activity—which constantly makes us feel we should be doing more, achieving more, getting more work accomplished in the few waking hours we have. 

The extreme of this mentality is a tendency to decimate the environment, which is viewed as an object to exploit rather than an ally to support and feel nourished by.

Today, that engine of productivity has ground to a halt. In the midst of that, I’ve noticed that the places where my attention is likely to go have shifted dramatically. Whereas I may have previously allowed myself to get distracted by everything from traffic to a troubling email to my ever-growing to-do list, the collective quieting has made it possible to hear myself think. 

I also notice (as you probably have) how loudly the birds seem to be chirping in the height of spring. I have the reduction in noise pollution to thank for this growing attentiveness. 

Before the pandemic, too many of us were running on empty and compromising our full well-being—including the parts of us that need rest and relaxation to dream a new world into existence. In this limbo period, we’re being shown that it should no longer be considered a luxury to simply slow down and notice how we feel. 

For the sake of our collective health, we must reintegrate slowness and contemplation. We must bring the values of the feminine back into our lives and communities.

Each of Us Is a Planet 

Aside from the importance of acting on climate change and honoring the feminine principle, I’ve been thinking a lot about how we can’t move into collective harmony and unity if we as individuals feel fractured, distracted, disconnected, and out of balance.

The truth is, every single one of us is exactly the same as Mother Earth. We are microcosms of the macrocosm. We all have our own seasons and cycles, which are close to impossible to honor in a world that constantly demands our productivity and achievement. More than anything, Mother Earth is urging us to stop, pay attention, and to see our chaotic, inspiring, confusing, rich, and powerful selves reflected in her.

Sages and spiritual teachers have always stressed the power of seeing ourselves as reflections of the world around us. It is so powerful to shine a light on our full selves and know that we are just as complex as the planet on which we live. And like the planet, we need to find balance. We need to lean into moments of rest and hibernation, and reconnect to our full potential.

With this major quieting that is occurring all over the planet, I am beginning to see how the regular hectic pace of civilization tends to leave me feeling like I have no extra time to spare on contemplation or going inward. For many of us, meditation and self-care is something that we may give a few minutes to on a daily basis, but only if we have the time or energy to spare. 

If it’s true that we as individuals are microcosms of Mother Earth, perhaps we are being shown that we have it all backwards. Maybe in order to create the kind of world that is worth living for, we need to see our seasons of rest as intrinsically connected to our seasons of productivity—and to recognize that bringing them into balance is exactly what is needed to rebuild a society that exceeds our expectations.

What happens in the next few months is anyone’s guess, but this Earth Day, let’s come back into balance. Let’s acknowledge the losses as well as the silver linings. Let’s stay informed even as we prioritize going inward. Let’s notice the parts of our inner world that feel neglected and undernourished, and begin paying attention to them.

As we listen to the birds sing like there’s no tomorrow, let’s also take a deep breath and remember that, at least for now, we have the privilege of breathing the same air as our fellow humans and other animals, plants, and life forms. 

Our bodies, our minds, and our well-being are linked together in a massive network that is as delicate and complex and awe-inspiring as our sacred Mother Earth. If there’s only one lesson we integrate in this intense and paradigm-shifting time, let it be that we can no longer afford to crank up the noise and drown out the signals that our planet and our internal knowing are sending us. 

It’s time to tune in and listen like our lives depend on it.

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About the Author | Kelly McNelis

Kelly McNelis is the founder of global community, Women for One, a speaker, coach, facilitator, and bestselling author of Your Messy Brilliance: 7 Tools for the Perfectly Imperfect Woman. With more than 25 years of experience as a nonprofit and small-business consultant, Kelly empowers generations of women around the world to build the relationships, community, and confidence they need to achieve their wildest dreams. She finds daily inspiration in spending time with her husband and children in her home outside of Seattle.

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