Every day is Earth Day. Every moment of our lives, the earth is giving herself fully and unconditionally to us. We could not be here without her, we rely on her, and we have seen how powerful she is. With climate change becoming an increasing threat to the well-being of humanity and the planet, more than ever it is important that each of us cultivate a deep connection and love with the earth. We protect what we love, and if we can take time each day to honor, express gratitude for, and connect with the earth, we will take care of our most beautiful, precious planet and inspire others to do the same.
In honor of Earth Day, here are a few ritualized ways that you can connect deeply to mama earth, all her gifts, and her unconditional love for everything that calls her home.
Meal Time Mindfulness: One of the simplest ways to connect with the earth is at meal times. The earth gives us everything we need to nourish and protect ourselves from illness. If you notice your diet contains a lot of processed foods, try one meal with vegetables, healthy grains, and sustainably harvested proteins. Take time before you eat to connect with your food. Smell it and look at it. Say a Thank You prayer for the blessing of the meal, and ask that it may nourish you and help your body, mind and heart to heal and be strong. Some indigenous traditions encourage an offering of part of one’s meal back to the earth as a way to express gratitude. If you feel called, you might offer a small piece of a meal to a favorite tree or garden.
Write a Love Letter to Mama Earth: One way to get in touch with your love and appreciation for the earth is to write her a love letter. This can be a poem, a haiku, or a straightforward note. Write to her as if you were writing to a person you love. Express all of the things you appreciate about her, all of the commitments you want to make to her. Taking time to create in the name of love for the earth will send the vibration of gratitude through your whole body.
Create an Earth Altar in Your Home: An Earth Altar is a way to create a sacred space in your home that brings nature to you. Your altar can have representatives of all the elements as well as anything else that feels sacred to you. You might collect a little soil and put it in a bowl, have a candle, a small cup of water, any essential oils that feel special to you, and anything else you collect from the outdoors.
A reminder, if you find something outside, ask the earth's permission before you pick it up. Check in with your intuition and feel into whether or not that item - whether it be a rock, a feather, a plant - wants to be picked up from the ground. If the answer is yes, pause to offer gratitude for the gift you have received. So much about our connection with the earth has to do with acknowledging all of the gifts she gives us.
Buy Flowers for You or Someone You Love: Beauty is a natural and important part of our world. Beauty fills us with delight, joy, and compliments the often heavy reality we humans are facing. Flowers are a gift from mother nature that we get to delight in. Buy yourself or someone you care about flowers as a way to spread the beauty and the sweetness that is always right there waiting for you. Giving yourself or someone you love a "just because" gift is a simple and powerful way to fill our cups.
Bonus: Purchase flowers from a local shop or farm as a way to support sustainability and small business spreading beauty and abundance for us all.
Be with Mother Nature: Our relationship with the earth is mutual beneficial. We get so much from spending time with her, and she relishes in the moments she gets to hold us. Like the Great Mother that never gives up her love, care, and compassion, the earth can take all of our pain, all of our worry, all of the hardship and bring it into her soil to be composted and transmuted. Being outside is healing to the body, mind, and spirit. There is reason why Nature Therapy is a therapeutic orientation, and we feel so good after spending time outside. So let's go. Let's go be with Mama Gaia, and receive all she gives so freely, and give back our love and gratitude.
For those of us who live in cities, this does not mean you have to take a big trip. A park, a garden, a rooftop to cloud-gaze on or any other accessible outdoor experience will be of benefit.
- Community Trash Clean-Up: Unfortunately, we humans have littered the planet, especially the oceans, with garbage. As a gift to mother earth, put on some gloves, grab a trash bag and head outside to collect any garbage you see. If you live near a park or a beach, these are especially important areas to go to. Use it as a time to be outside in service, knowing you are doing something that benefits all living beings. Bonus: ask a friend to go with you and double your impact.