April 22, 2014

Reflecting on the Vision of Earth Link (ISMAPNG)

As we celebrate Mother Earth Day it gives me pleasure to reflect on the vision of Earth Link and the way in which that resonates with some of the principles of the Universal Declaration on the Rights of Mother Earth as developed in Bolivia.

That Declaration recognises that “Mother Earth is a living being, a unique, indivisible, self-regulating community of interrelated beings that sustains, contains and reproduces all beings.” (Article 1) The challenge is to take those words from the paper and allow them to be become part of who we are.

Earth Link understands that at the heart of the matter is “deep bonding with Earth”, a sense of our oneness with all that is and of our interdependence with the whole Earth community. Meditating on our logo presented below is a way of journeying into this new identity.

One of the experiences that gave rise to my vision of Earth Link was an encounter with Mother Earth and a sense of entrusting myself into her hands. This happened initially when I was at Genesis Farm in New Jersey for the Earth Literacy course in 1999. I do not remember the trigger, but we were sent forth to take some time to reflect. I sat in the arms/branches of a tree and wept- for the Mother whom I had buried not long before coming to the USA. As my tears fell, I began to get the sense that I was being held, not only by the branch, but by Mother Earth herself, who was giving me an assurance that she was there, holding and sustaining me. She did not ask anything of me. She simply held me in my grief. That initial insight deepened as the weeks went by and we immersed ourselves more fully into the story of the Universe, and into our oneness with all that is. Out of those experiences was birthed Earth Link.

Earth Link has a vision of a world where there is “respect, reverence and care for the whole Earth community”. Respect and care you might expect, but what about reverence? It took me some time to be really comfortable with the notion of reverencing Earth, but then I thought that if we could bestow that title on certain people eg Reverend Mary Smith, then surely we could bestow it on Earth. I reverence Earth as the place of my encounter with the Divine. I reverence Earth as an expression of the Divine, not the complete expression, but one that is deeply significant.

No doubt you agree with much of that vision, so why Earth Link? Our intention was to share that vision, build up a community of people who shared it, and facilitate its deepening. We immersed ourselves in the Universe story, became more intimate with our place, and learned some skills of advocacy, because having beautiful ideas is not enough if we do not address the devastation that is happening. Those who were on the journey were hungry for spirituality, and so we began to articulate our own set of Ecospirituality Principles. Their most distinctive feature is the invitation to be open, attentive and aware-to receive from Mother Earth as the source of wisdom and insight. The principles also recognise the importance of our place as the locus of our encounter with the Sacred. Our faith needs to be built on a recognition of the interaction of the Divine and the whole of the Earth community, of which we are part. Such faith needs, then, to be expressed in ritual and lead to action on behalf of the Earth community.

Earth Link is in a different phase of its existence in these later years of my life. However you can connect with it through our website and there subscribe to our monthly e-newsletter if you wish.

Messages to: Mary Tinney rsm

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