Friday, April 22, 2011

Blessings to the Earth

Welcome to the Earth Day Blog Carnival!

This post is part of the Earth Day Blog Carnival hosted by Child of the Nature Isle and Monkey Butt Junction. Each participant has shared their practices and insights of earth friendly, environmentally conscious, eco-living. This carnival is our way to share positive information and inspiration that can create healing for our planet. Please read to the end of this post to find a list of links to the other carnival participants. Happy Earth Day!

There's an evening meal tradition in my family, where we take a moment before eating to hold hands and recognize our gratefulness. Sometimes the things we're grateful for are said out loud, and other times, we keep them to ourselves. My husband often says he's grateful for me (for making the meal) and I often find myself feeling grateful to the food itself: that we have the resources to acquire it, the skills to prepare it, and healthy bodies to process it into energy for living our lives.

On nights when we take a longer moment for gratefulness, I find myself sending blessing energy to all who were involved in the meal sitting before me. I thank the farmer who grew the rice. I thank the truck driver who brought the cheese to the market. I thank the cow for living in a perpetual lactating state so that I can have cheese to eat (something I never truly appreciated before being a breastfeeding mother myself). I thank the spinach seed for growing into a strong, green, vitamin-rich plant; I thank the leaves for knowing how to photosynthesize. I thank the soil that housed the spinach on its journey, for all its nutrients. I thank the sun for its warmth and radiant energy, for never failing. I feel thankful that I have copious amounts of fresh, clean water to drink with my meal and use to water my own growing plants.

This is where the ritual changes: I send positive energy to those who don't have enough clean water for drinking and washing, and I thank the people who are working hard every day to change that. I even send light to the people who say that the problems of others (and the problems of the Earth) are not any of our business to try to fix, that we should always think of ourselves first. My hope for them is that their hearts will be opened and their minds softened; that they will one day see themselves as an integral part of a much bigger picture.

I recently read a book called The Gentle Art of Blessing, and in the fourth chapter the author, Pierre Pradervand, begins to describe a ritual of blessing a meal. I immediately recognized this practice as the same gratefulness time that I've been observing. He writes, "Blessing nature in its manifold manifestations and gifts is an essential part of blessing.... And blessing your meal and those who helped produce it might even get you thinking and concerned about the working conditions of those who produced it."

When we are truly grateful for all that we have, we can no longer take it for granted. We will be compelled to work for change, for the betterment of the lives of others, for changes in the way our food supply is handled, and in how migrant workers are treated. We will eat seasonally, locally, and sustainably. We will stop having a battle with food and our bodies and instead see them both as resources that we should appreciate, enjoy, and treat with gentleness and respect. We will be inspired to grow something green and edible, or purple and flowery, or tall and carbon-neutralizing.

That is my hope for this Earth Day, that we each plant a seed within ourselves: to vow to treat Mother Earth and all the gifts she provides (including other human beings) with the assumption that each and every creature is precious, worthy, and beautiful. Only then can we begin to make a difference.

Earth Day Blog Carnival - Child of the Nature Isle and Monkey Butt JunctionVisit Monkey Butt Junction and Child of the Nature Isle to read all about the Earth Day Blog Carnival.

  • Going Green in 2011 - Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama discusses the way she and her family are going “greener” in 2011.

  • Our Greatest Teacher - Amanda at Let’s Take the Metro shares her experiences with her children and nature, their greatest teacher.

  • Dreaming of Spring Gardening - Erin of the Waterloons talks about the ultimate in local food, her backyard garden.

  • Earth Conscious Minimalism - Nada at miniMOMist thinks minimalism can help you save the world — as long as you don’t just toss everything in the trash! Check out Her list of places to donate (bet you haven’t thought of them all!).

  • Blessings to the Earth - Amy at Anktangle believes that a simple act, such as being intentionally grateful for our food, is just the catalyst we need to bring about large-scale change.

  • Eight Movies to Inspire Change - Mrs Green at Little Green Blog shares her top 8 movies that have inspired her to take action to make the world a better place. She’d love to hear your suggestions to add to her viewing list!

  • Can I Have a Green Period Too? Kelly at Becoming Crunchy shares the environmental impact of switching to sustainable menstrual products, along with offering a great Mama Cloth giveaway for anyone interested in making the switch (and for those who already have and want to increase their stash!).

  • An Eden to Call Our Own - Lucy at Dreaming Aloud shares how learning to care for the Earth starts in her own garden.

  • Elimination Communication - Melissa at the New Mommy Files discusses the environmental impact of diapering, and why elimination communication was the best choice for her family.

  • The Living Earth: A Meditation in Science and Reverence - Seonaid at The Practical Dilettante asks you to pause to wonder at the blessing of the fact that our living planet is here at all.

  • Earth Day Anthem - Amanda at Let’s Take the Metro created a poem in honor of Mother Earth, women and nurturers everywhere.

  • The Plasticity of Compromise - Zoie at TouchstoneZ shares how she is working to compromise on healthy family living and avoiding plastics whenever possible.

  • Earth Day Resolutions - Charise at I Thought I Knew Mama shares why she has decided to make Earth Day resolutions, what those resolutions are, and how they are a step up from her current efforts at green living.

    Is it time for you to say “Enough!”? Mrs Green at My Zero Waste asks you to rise up and say ‘Enough!’ on Earth Day.

  • Homeschooling with the Earth - Terri at Child of the Nature Isle shares her desires and dreams for Earth-based learning and the ways her two young children have already started a natural curriculum.

  • Beyond the Green Sheen - Jenn at Monkey Butt Junction offers some advice on how to avoid greenwashing and make purchasing choices that really have a positive impact.


  1. What a lovely post, and very thoughtful. I love your compassion and respect for others and the way you are emulating that to your friends and family. I will take your inspiration and see if I cannot implement something similar into my own dinner rituals. Many thanks!

  2. beautiful - thanks. I'm ashamed to say we USED to do this and have gotten out of the habit. Your post has totally inspired me to reinstate this reverent and meaningful blessing - thanks so much for that :)

  3. I love your ritual and your gratitude and awareness! So beautiful!

    Happy Earth Day!

  4. Wow Amy - this is beautiful! I really love hearing what you are doing and find it so inspiring - I'd love to pick up a copy of that book now, too!

    I admit I don't think of or show enough gratitude for such things...I definitely think that needs to change. Thank you for the great motivation...

  5. What a beautiful piece! I, too, must confess that I have fallen out of habit of taking time for gratitude. Thank you for the poignant reminder of how important it is!

  6. My heart opened and celebrated as I read this post. I love the gratitude that you and your family pour into each other and the meals you eat. After reading the work of Masaru Emoto with water crystals a few years ago I saw the effect that blessings and positive thoughts have on food, people and every living thing – a true power of transformation! So what you are doing there each evening is really a huge part of world change. A simple act with a ripple effect.

    I have used the same giving thanks ritual in a number of other circumstances…most notably when I was at the dentist having a yucky long treatment. I sat there and let my mind drift to give thanks for everything…the dentist, his parents, his teachers, the food he ate that morning, the builders who built his office, the people who made the clock on the wall, the radio announcers who were playing through the speakers…literally everything I could think of. And that treatment passed like a dream!

    So ultimately this Earth Day, thank-you for the blessings you are sharing. You have really inspired me to be more consistent in my gratitude practice and I wish many more will join you in planting those seeds.

  7. Gosh Amy - you are such a special person. You truly are a blessing for this earth. Your words always touch me. This post is beautiful, inspiration, and invigorating.

    I deeply believe in a giving thanks ritual. It is so vitally important. Trying to get my toddler to sit through them is a current challenge but one that will have such a postive lasting impact.

    Wow - there is so much more I have running through my mind but in short, thank you for this important contribution. This is what Earth Day is all about!

  8. This is so wonderful. We have a very similar ritual at our house, although we have drifted away from the really intense paying attention as our schedules have become busy, and our dinners perfunctory... the blessing has become so, also. I may have to try to reinstate it, having read your inspiring words.

  9. Wow, thank you all for your overwhelming response to my post! I was so touched by each of your comments, I hardly know what to say. Just...thank you, and blessings.

  10. Beautiful. Absolutely beautiful imagery throughout. I come from a mother who consistently told me to "put the white light out at night so that deer stay away from the road while we're driving" or to "send healing energy when you hear an ambulance for all those involved" so this really resonates with me. It's a fact that we are all made of energy, so why not purposefully direct that energy into positive uses, especially those you mention here?

    On another note, I need to start doing this more often. :)

  11. My heart warmed up as I read this post. I think it is a great one for the Earth Day carnival. It is so true that once we plant the seed within ourselves, then we can move to change. Once we have that seed, we can feel how interconnected we really are.

    I've been trying to explain to my kids all of the people who are involved in bringing us our food, toys, clothes, etc. They aren'y quite able to extrapolate out so abstractly yet, but they get a bit of it. Growing our own food and making our own toys & other things helps. Also, they are understanding where things go when we are done with them and are mindful of creating waste. They'll gently understand the origin cycle, too.

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