"Oh, Mother Earth, beautiful and bountiful mother, we are so grateful to you for our lives. Thank you for the good way you nourish and sustain us, for the life-giving waters that fall upon us, for the winds that bring us new seasons and the changes of life that support us. We honor all the creepy-crawlies who create such good soil and take care of all the physical waste of the world, for the winged ones who inspire us, the finned ones who teach us how to dive deep within ourselves, the four-legged ones who give of themselves so we can have full bellies and those four-leggeds who have agreed to be close companions to us two-leggeds so we learn better how to love unconditionally. We honor the plant beings - oh what great diversity - for sweet smells, energizing colors, medicines to heal ourselves and such wondrous tastes to feed our bodies. We honor the tall standing ones - those tree beings and all the stone people who help us build our lodges and creations. Our hearts are full of gratitude, Mother, for your wisdom and for this beautiful life that is available to us all, filled with grace and ease. Ah Ho."
The native peoples of the world have never needed to "go green" because they live in harmony with their natural surroundings in accordance with traditions and ways that have been handed down through the millennia. Those ancient ways worked for a very long time with humans co-existing with all other life forms on this beautiful planet. They live connected to life, maintaining the delicate balance of diversity. This way of living acknowledges and honors that each choice we make either helps the Web of Life remain strong or weakens the strands that connect us all. The choices we have made while hypnotized by the current worldview that we are greater than and therefore separate from other beings - a "Lord of the Jungle" mentality - has created the imbalance and dis-ease in our world that now threatens, not only our survival, but the survival of billions of beings with whom we share this planet.
The native peoples of the world have not needed to devise programs and enact laws to halt the devastation of the physical world by humans but we do (so we can draw attention to the fact things have to change). The native peoples of the world have not designated one day out of the year to honor the Earth but we do (so the other 364 days we can forget about Mother Earth). The native peoples (those that have not been subjugated or infringed upon by "civilization") continue to live in balance with their surroundings, taking enough to have a sweet life and no more. They can now serve as a model for us who wish to live in harmony with the natural laws of this physical home. We can't return to a tribal configuration and painting the old ways in a sentimental light doesn't help us move forward but we can glean the essence of the old ways and begin to live our own lives in accordance with those ways. I have learned from the native teachings how to be respectful of life, to honor all expressions of life and to acknowledge the connection I have to the Web of Life. I am learning how to live in a way that supports the diversity of life and helps the world stay strong.
One of the lies we have been handed through the dominant culture is that these old, old ways (very green) didn't work, didn't allow our "potential for greatness" to manifest and required hardship and struggle. Nothing could be further from the truth as recent findings clearly indicate. Unlearning the destructive habits that we have taken as our right to perpetuate generation after generation as "civilized human beings" has become a grassroots vision that is gaining momentum as a way to turn the river of arrogance, entitlement and domination to a river of shared vision, community connections and consensus. As most revolutions, this green revolution has sprung from a vision at the grassroots level. As we have seen, no amount of legislation can curb polluting business practices, stop deforestation, clean the living waters or persuade agri-business to put the health of the people before profits. What has made an impact is ordinary people walking away from these unhealthy habits and creating new (based on the old) ways in their lives, in their families and in their communities - habits that are built on simplicity, mutual respect, harmony and adapting ourselves to the natural world, not adapting the natural world to our specifications.
We now have some fairly widespread programs of recycling, growing organic food, alternative energy sources in place but these alone will not be enough. We must call forth a new vision which in reality is very close to the oldest of realties -- depending on the web of life to which we are so intimately connected to sustain us rather than manipulating the web of life for profit and power over others. The strands of the web that we can touch and taste and smell and see are the strands that will naturally be the ones we feel most connected to and most willing to strengthen and sustain. These strands connect us to our families, our neighbors, and our local communities. With our increased ability to see and hear what is happening many looks away, we realize that our choices made locally do impact everyone globally. This new way of looking at ourselves and our place in the world has been fully expressed and fully lived by the indigenous peoples of the world and so isn't really new at all. It is a remembering.
As we remember how to live in balance with all of life, how we see the world and our relationship to it changes, never to be seen in that old flat two-dimensional way again. Once we remember that we belong to the world community of all life forms as an equal strand on the web of life, no greater and no lesser than any other living strand, then we cannot go back to the dishonoring ways of hierarchy and separateness. To go from the belief that the world belongs to us because we are human beings, greater than all others in creation, to the truth that we belong to the world and whatever is done to any being in the world we do to ourselves - that is truly "going green." Or as some of the native teachings call it - it is becoming attuned and living in accordance with the Whirling Rainbow of Peace.
Within the Whirling Rainbow of Peace all ways, all colors, all traditions, all peoples are honored that honor the Web of Life. Each local community or tribe lives in accordance with all the other beings around them so that all can continue to evolve and support the diversity of life. When seeking medicinal plants, we go to the places where they grow and make a request of the elders of these plant beings to see if they welcome us and grant us permission to take some of them for our healing uses. If the answer comes back yes but take only a few as we are repopulating to become stronger, then only a few are taken. We don't take without asking, and when we take it is with honoring and gratitude expressed, whether plant beings, mineral beings, or animal beings. All are seen as having an equal right to live and live well.
Now those of us who are remembering who we really are and how to walk in the world with harmony sometimes get tripped up by guilt. We have to address the emotions of guilt and shame if we want to truly throw off the blinders of the dominant beliefs and express our connection to the Web of Life in a good way. Guilt keeps us from taking the actions and non-actions that are so needed right now. Feeling guilt, shame and remorse is a good way of telling ourselves on a soul level that it's okay to keep doing what we're doing as long as we feel bad about it. The Web of Life is not interested in our shame or remorse. It cares only what actions and non-actions we take. Instead of feeling sad and angry about all the animals who end up as roadkill, express your gratitude for their life each time you see them. Stop and offer their remains some tobacco or cornmeal with a prayer or gratitude, bury them if you like or move them off the road if you can do so safely. These actions honor the animals - our guilt and remorse do not. Instead of feeling guilt and shame about what your ancestors did to the native peoples of this continent, forgive yourself and your lineage for not remembering the sanctity of life and then live your life anew with respect for all people. Do you perpetuate the lie of separateness by not talking to people who are different from you, or are you willing to leave your comfort zone and make new connections? What we do today is so much more important that what we didn't do yesterday or the days before.
When we belong to the earth we walk softly, creating grace, harmony and beauty wherever we go. When we belong to the earth we are respectful and grateful for every being that exists so that life continues with all the diversity, splendor and abundance for all. When we belong to the earth we take only what we need to satisfy our physical and spiritual well-being. When we belong to the earth we see the majesty and sacredness of the web of life and take those actions and non-actions to make sure that majesty and sacredness continues for all the generations that will come after us. When we belong to the earth we remember ourselves as sacred human beings, joyfully living in balance with ourselves and all our relations. This new state of consciousness that is sweeping over our planet, touching every nation and culture, bringing diverse people together in a common vision of harmony, peace and life-affirming actions is here to stay. We can either ride the waves of this common vision by making new choices in our lives or be swept away by its powerful force. We are the ones we have been waiting for.
These are my words.