12 October 2020
"Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better." Albert Einstein
Years ago, while living in Peru, Amanda Stronza found a little mouse on her doorstep. It had been dropped by a hawk and left for dead. She tried for a week to lovingly nurse it back to health, but she did not know what she was doing, and it died. She was distraught. People told her it was just a mouse and there was no reason to get so upset. There are many mice. He was a "just" a mouse. She understood what they meant, but she also did not understand what they meant. He was a mouse, yes. He was a tiny sentient being with feelings and fears and pleasures and thoughts. He had a life. He was special. They are all special.
In fact, we are all "just" mice.
Since that day, every time she finds a dead creature, she honours her/his life with the beauty she finds around her/him.“My intention and hope in creating the memorials is to give attention and respect to the animals I find, as individuals, as whole beings who had lives of their own," Amanda explains. "I want to notice them, see them, really see them, not just as “dead animals.” Not as objects. They share the world with us. They once had beating hearts and memories, fears and follies. They had families. By creating beauty from their deaths, I hope to help us all see them. All of them. I share the photos and stories not to sensationalize, but rather, in a way, to do the opposite, to normalize."
I find myself dedicating more thought to spirituality and nature (and the connection between the two) these days. Probably because I have moved down south from Mazatlan, Sinaloa, to a small organic farm near a small village on the coast of Nayarit. A really special state where nature and magic and brujas
are at home.
I have always felt a deep connection, and the most grounded, safe, and supported, when I am in nature. I don’t think my home language, a language that has been dominated by one world view, has the words to truly explain how I feel. I feel home, in life, and in death. When I sit in the soil, in the leaves, in the sand, I feel like I can see every cell in my body vibrating with the cells and elements around me. We are one. All through my life I know, I feel, supported by I guess what I can only describe as my guardian angels. They appear in different forms, but always in the form of living creatures. Sometimes I do not see them around me, but I can feel they are there. When they do appear, it is not like they talk to me. They are just there, either we have a moment, or we don’t, but I always learn something about my life in that moment. Something I needed to know, to grow, to understand.
I think a lot of what is wrong with the world is a result of our disconnection. With ourselves, each other, and with the other Earthlings we share our home with. We are home. Information processing (including our use of language) has shaped our worldview as a collective society which views the world in a very limited, “scientific” way, in which we have to divide and segregate pieces, instead of seeing the whole. I wrote before about Donella Meadows and her article about love. She wrote that as a scientist, she was trained in practicality, but discovered that practicality and love are in fact the same thing. She wrote: "What is love, but the ability to identify with someone or something beyond your own skin?" We are all intimately connected with each other and with the earth.
There is a lot that we do not see. Well, that we do not intentionally observe. I think some people are more sensitive to this than others. Most of us had some experiences of wonder and connection, at a deeply spiritual level, as children. But most of the time this is taught out of us in the education of life.
I had a conversation with a dear friend the other day. I was telling her about some recurrent dreams I was having. And that there were moments from those dreams that kept running through my being. I had a voice visit me one day to confirm my interpretation of them. The voice may have been my sub-conscious. It may have been one of my guardian angels. It was just a voice, there for a second, and gone again. And “aha” was the moment.
I also told my friend about someone I had met recently who had told me they had seen me before in a dream, three years ago. My friend has always been acutely aware of…I don’t know how we would explain it other than to use language like the “unknown”, “the spiritual realm”, “magic”. When she was a little girl, she saw spirits. But she was told from a little girl on that that was crazy and such things don’t exist. So she learnt to compartmentalize her experiences and not share them with anyone. When she had a near-death experience, she saw many people who would form one or other part of her life path. And indeed they have been coming into her life. I am one of them.
I have had conversations with all sorts of people, from all walks of life, who have had their own experiences that they have either fully embraced, or still do not understand.
Why do we live in a society where we want everything to be so defined, so black and white? Why do we not embrace more of the “feeling”, instead of only focusing on the “thinking”? We consume life, we do not live it. And we suck the magic out of our children in their early stages of development.
Waltor Hagen once said "you're only here for a short visit. Don't hurry, don't worry. And be sure to smell the flowers along the way." The universal order may appear to be chaotic and everchanging, but in actuality, everything is designed to be in perfect operation. The dance of the universe is a never-ending celebration of life itself. We are part of this beautiful dance.
The world is a magic place.
The other day I was sitting in this stream. I was not contemplating life or death in that moment, but for the weeks leading up to that moment I had been contemplating aging in general and fearing how things are changing, and my own mortality. But in that moment, I was not thinking about it. I put my hands in the stream and felt the river sand in my fingers. I felt, deeply, that one day I would return to this again. Change is constant. Beautiful. But I am always part of this. The magic of the world that I evolved in. And that spiraling energy is eternal. In whatever shape or form.
Image Source: Amanda Stronza, https://www.instagram.com/amandastronza/