I have delayed writing this post today because I wanted to find subject matter that my mind deemed more uplifting or positive. I have done the grocery shopping, some cleaning, scrolled through Facebook, made coffee and decided I was hungry a couple of times— basically employed all the available tactics to avoid coming into direct contact with what is waiting for me here and now.
For me today, what is here waiting for me now is grief that sits in the middle of my heart waiting to pour forth the moment I say yes to what is there.
I am not grieving the loss of a human loved one. I am crying for trees, sacred trees that are at risk of being cut down so that a highway in regional Victoria can be widened.
The Djap Wurrung Embassy who represent the traditional owners of the land where the trees stand writes this:
“We are sitting here on Djapwurrung country protecting sacred trees.
These beautiful trees include an 800 year old tree that has seen over 50 generations born inside of a hollow in her trunk and a 350 year old directions tree that has been shaped and resembles a Woman. This area is part of the song line, the series of scared trees and artefacts we find here regularly prove its significance.
To our People, the land is our means of survival.
It is our food, spirit, identity and culture. Our lands have a spiritual value and not an economic one. If the land is destroyed so is our dreaming. Our dreaming is our story. It is what connects us to the beginning of time, back to our spirit ancestors, our creators.
Vic Roads plan to create a 4 Lane Highway.
It’s located just outside of Ararat, this is why we are sitting on Country now. If this 12km stretch goes ahead 3000 trees will be gone, including the sacred trees and their protected habitats. All this devastation is in the name of cutting 3 minutes off the existing highways travel time.”
It’s is the idea of cutting down the 800-year old sacred birthing tree that upsets me most.
Tree as mid-wife.
Tree as life support.
Tree as safe holding space.
Tree as womb.
Tree as nurturer.
Tree as witness.
Tree as healer.
Tree of wisdom.
Tree as divine feminine.
Tree so sacred and holy.
Tree so easily discarded in the name of progress and development.
Could my life be so easily discarded too?
My heart cries out, “Stop! Stop! Please stop! This is too much devastation to bear.”
And as I speak the words I know they are not mine alone. It is the voice of the earth, of the divine feminine, of the animate and inanimate beings being exploited and destroyed, and of all the men and women awakening and remembering that we were born to co-exist in harmony and with reverence, and that to continue to dominate and compete is the path of our destruction.
Here where I live in suburbia, life is very comfortable, efficient and orderly— well except for the weeds that always pop up in the garden and that untameable kid who keeps discarding his soft drink can on our nature strip on his way home from school.
I live some 2.5 hours drive away from where the sacred trees are at risk of being felled for a wider road. In fact, I’ve never seen them. They are far from my sight and it is easy to turn away and forget and preoccupy myself with what is in my view along with all my distractions.
Except my heart won’t forget. My heart is connected with the one heart that connects all beings, and so is yours. What we do to the earth, to the one heart, we do to ourselves.
My heart burns and weeps and deep within I can hear a wailing song of grief, yet it is still tinged with hope.
I was reluctant to write this post because I know there is a part inside all of us that doesn’t want to hear it. I have observed over the last couple of years that when I share anything on social media that highlights environmental concerns that it goes ignored when in comparison, anything I share about love and happiness seems to get many, many likes. It could just be algorithms but I also think that maybe we have become numb or hopeless and/or just prefer to be uplifted and entertained than to read or witness something in which we too will experience pain, a pain we don’t know what to do with.
So let me reframe this sharing. It is not intended as lecture or judgement but as an expression of my own heartache. This story of pain is actually one of great love.
I have been blessed to witness so much of the extraordinary beauty and mystery of Mother Earth with my own eyes from breathtaking sunsets, to whale sharks and schooling hammerheads in her seas, to visiting many lands across Europe, India and Asia. This planet is so extraordinarily beautiful she moves me to tears and I fear that we are not doing enough quickly enough to preserve her for our future generations.
Whatever it is that pains you— the destruction of the earth, the loss of a loved one, the impossibility of a situation in your life, persecution, racism, injustice—may it break your heart open so wide that only love pours through and moves you into action in service of something greater than just you, in service of the one heart that connects us all.
The heart that feels fully can heal and transform anything.
With love and courage,
This post is for Her, our beautiful Mother Earth, with a great and endless love.