Our place in the world

This piece will investigate how we are immersed in the environment around us and that the interdependence between ourselves and the world, nature particularly, can greatly nourish. Becoming aware of the living world around us invites us to becomes aware of the mutuality of existence and how we are all made of the same material, moving together in a dance.

Climate change and it’s effect on the planet is very topical at present. Underneath the debates and the challenges lies a question that has been with us since man emerged. The question moves beyond sustainability; it becomes a fundamental within our lives. How do we live in the world around us, the planet that accommodates our existence and that supports our development? What is our relationship with the world around us like? How do we engage with it, is it close to us, almost within us as we are within it or does it feel foreign and very distant? For me, it is of the highest importance that an intimate relationship is cultivated between us and the environment we inhabit; it influences us and our impact on the earth. I compare it very deliberately to the social relationships we have and how they need to be tended to and invested in.

Consider the diversity that nature has to offer. Beauty, change, devastation, wonder, mystery, tranquillity. It can only remind me of the template of ourselves. We are very deep and varied, so what can we learn from what is around us?

For me, it’s a soothing and a knowing that goes beyond the actual experience of seeing what is around me. It supports my sense of myself in that it allows me the space to try plug into the energy and dynamism of our co-existence and how earth’s rhythm can support our unknowing, our living in uncertainty.

When we are truly being with something, there is a clarity that emerges that may not make logical sense but it can reach a deeper sense that is almost beyond expression. It is akin to feeling and a sense of mystery that perhaps transcends what we can know. If we allow it in, it can support us in choppy waters and provide answers, that while may not be linear are more than sufficient as it can meet us deeply.

‘And some time make the time to drive out west
Into County Clare, along the Flaggy Shore,
In September or October, when the wind
And the light are working off each other
So that the ocean on one side is wild
With foam and glitter, and inland among stones
The surface of a slate grey lake is lit
By the earthed lightning of flock of swans
Their feathers roughed and ruffling, white on white
Their fully-grown headstrong-looking heads
Tucked or cresting or busy underwater.
Useless to think you’ll park or capture it
More thoroughly. You are neither here nor there,
A hurry through which known and strange thing pass,
As big soft buffetings come at the car sideways,
And catch the heart off guard and blow it open‘.
Postscript, Seamus Heaney, 1998.

In my next post I will continue to investigate our relationship nature and how it can support our relationship with ourselves.

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