10 Keys to a Happier, Healthier Relationship… With the Earth!
Published in Elephant Journal
Now that we’ve all survived this year’s Valentine’s Day and the hype about love and romance is behind us, perhaps we can find the time to pay some more attention to an even more primary relationship: our connection with the Earth. Each one of us is involved in an intimate relationship with this brilliant and gorgeous planet, but we’re also conditioned to ignore her and take her for granted. So, here are a few simple (and not-so-simple) tips for cultivating a more loving, mindful and respectful relationship with the Earth:
1. Remember when you fell in love. It may have been long ago, and you may have been much younger, but see if you can reconnect with that magic. Remember how exciting it was just to be near her, how you were delighted by every little thing she said and did. That love and magic are still inside you, just waiting to be rekindled—it’s never too late!
2. Show a genuine interest in her. Give her your undivided attention when you’re together. Make it clear that you respect her ideas and want to learn from her. Be curious about what she does and why. Try stepping into her shoes—yes, they are very big, but it’s important to understand where she’s coming from.
3. Listen—really listen, with your body, heart and soul; not just your ears and your linear mind. She’s communicating with you all the time, in many rich and beautiful ways. If you listen deeply, you will learn a great deal about her, about yourself, about life and what really matters.
4. Spend quality time with her on a regular basis. Nurture your connection. If you want the relationship to grow and thrive, this is essential. She’s been asking for this for years. Are you willing to say yes, for your own sake and for hers?
5. Get to know her family. She has a very large, diverse and close-knit family of multi-talented and fascinating beings, from delicate butterflies to towering trees. Take time to develop relationships with them, especially the ones that live near you. You’ll share some special experiences and learn a lot.
6. Tell her she’s beautiful. Admire her remarkable natural beauty that has not been diminished by her advanced age. Notice her lovely attire and how it changes with the seasons—sometimes subtly, sometimes dramatically. See how much beauty she creates around you, and let her know that you appreciate it.
7. Notice how much she does for you every day, even without you asking. Find ways to show your appreciation. Yes, she’s immensely generous and loves to give, but she doesn’t want to be taken for granted. She shouldn’t have to resort to drastic measures to get your attention.
8. Show her how much you care, in both small and big ways. She feels everything you do, and the little things really do count. Consider her needs. Pick up after yourself and help keep the house clean. Be kind and gentle with her. Find ways to show your love for her every day—you’ll feel better, and she will too.
9. Say you’re sorry and make amends. Face it, you’ve hurt her—often unintentionally, but still the damage has been done. She is extremely forgiving, but if you want this relationship to last, you need to demonstrate that you are willing to make amends and change your behavior. Actions speak louder than words.
10. Step up and do your part. Take responsibility for the relationship. Notice what you can do to make it better. Ask yourself how you can take less and give more. Don’t just sit back and wait for her to do her part—she always has, and more. And don’t wait until it’s too late—don’t wait until you lose her to realize how good you had it all along.