Women and The Environment- The General Congress of Women
by Maureen Jones
As women from around the globe gathered for our Zoom call, which transformed into a Sacred Circle, we were brought into a space of loving peace by the playing of sacred Native Flute music played by Geri Littlejohn with one of her handmade flutes, generously offered from the tree whose wood made the flute, setting the tone for an inspirational and meaningful gathering.
Welcoming us was Ann Smith, who in her introduction, reminded us that it is in her sacred connection with Nature, particularly the trees, Geri Littlejohn’s music on flutes made by the gift of the wood of trees, helps all who listen, to come into a deep and sacred space within, helping to connect with Nature, ourselves, as well as into connection with one another.
After an inspiring video presentation of S.A.R.A.H accompanied by an Indigenous Sacred Circle song to call us into our Circle, Grandmother Robin Youngblood’s invocation and Indigenous blessing created our sacred space, creating the atmosphere which opened my mind and heart to the teachings and shared wisdom of the speakers Jean Shinoda Bolen, Clare DuBois, and Grandmother Robin Youngblood. To punctuate this, just prior to speaking, Jean Shinoda Bolen rang her Tibetan Singing Bowl to create the sense of being in circle together, which also gave me a sense of being centered and present.
While the overall topic for this webinar was regarding women and the environment, the primary focus we more specifically about trees, the sacredness of Nature, in particular of trees, and the sacred connection of all life, and how that relates to, with, and for women.
I sat, riveted, as I listened to Jean describe the sacred nature of trees, and how they relate to the web of life in the Earth, and as an archetypal symbol. In relaying her personal story of a tree that had been near her home, and her quest of learning, as well as her desire to stop the destruction of that tree, Jean shared of her discovery of the profound importance and sacredness of trees. As I listened to Jean speak, I began to realize that what I thought I knew, scratched the surface, as a deeper revelation of our sacred connectedness began to unfold. It was revelatory for me, at least on some level, to make the connection between Mother Earth and Trees, with the womb of a woman and the function of the placenta. How profound to realize that being born into my human body, having been nurtured and provided the air and removal of toxins through the placenta, that I now continue to live within the Womb of Mother Earth, nurtured, and provided air and removal of the carbon dioxide by the Trees whose roots go deep within the soil of Earth. As I listened and began to take hold of the very truth of what I was hearing, I began to also ponder the correlation of transformational growth in the spiritual sense and being nurtured in the primordial womb of the Great Mother, growing until the time come to be born anew. While absorbing these magnificent truths, the practicality of life and the necessity of preserving our trees, while ensuring that we plant new trees and provide the proper atmosphere for their nurturing and growth, also loomed large. Trees, as a central part of the ecosystem, the “lungs of the Earth”, it is imperative for human existence to continue that we ensure that there are sufficient trees, which provide us the basis of life in their oxygen, but also shelter and warmth with the wood they give us. I learned of a group of women in Africa, who saw the need and stepped up to begin a program to plant new tress to replace ones being destroyed by our consumption. Women, who are the givers of life and nurturers of life, took up a task of creation by planting trees that will be nurtured in Mother Earth, to grow and care for all of Mother Earth’s children who live upon Her. I felt inspired as I realized that it is one small task at a time that will add up to do great things. Those women in Africa began what seems a daunting task, one tree at a time. I too, in support of tress, other environmental issue, anything I undertake, will discover accomplishment one step at a time.
Grandmothers Robin’s message of hope and a reminder that we are co-creators and contain that power within us, was moving, as was her story about what happened as a result of destructive actions of digging and uprooting tress that caused loss of life. As she spoke, I felt a stirring within, the reminder of who I am as a woman, to dig deep within to speak with confidence the truths of our interconnectedness, and how me must come together to bring restoration to Earth and all beings here.
I was further inspired by Clare Dubois, as she shared about Nature-based women’s leadership with the connection to her mission to reforest the world. On the website for her project, bringing her teaching and practical applications together, states that over 15 million trees have been planted. As truly amazing those numbers are, what moved me more was Clare’s message of our oneness with all life. She expressed the idea that beyond breathing with us, the trees are listening to us and are witnesses to our lives, being part of our lives because we are all connected as one. The profound nature of this stirs my being as I consider her words. While continuing to listen, a part of my mind sees an image of what she is speaking about.
As the discussion with Jean, Grandmother Robin, and Clare continued, they addressed woman and the role of women in connection with all they had taught. The idea of the role of women to not be dragged into the polarities becoming more prominent in our world at this time, but to anchor deep into the consciousnesses of our connection with all life, and be rooted, like a tree, stable in the storm around us was discussed. I found meaning in Jean’s description of the times we are in a “liminal time”. We truly are on the threshold, between cycles, about to embark on a new stage of life. My thoughts are how we are at a decision place, on the threshold of a new beginning filled with restoration built in the consciousness of our sacred connection to all life, or we are on the threshold of complete destruction if we continue blindly forward making no change.
From each message and discussion, I realized we are in a wonderous place in our history, ripe with the potential for restoration and new possibilities for life in harmony with all of Nature. The messages from centuries of misinformation and the dismantling of what our ancestors taught us of our connection with all life on Earth and the Elements of Earth, Air, Fire, Water, and Spirit, has brought us to the brink of destruction. The false notion of we are separate has perpetuated a destructive tendency within humankind. We are creators, yet we are also destroyers. The notion, the lie, of separateness, causes division and polarity. By acknowledging our being one with all life, there is no separation, we restore balance and harmony, we dismantle the division and destruction. Each one of us, doing our part, can make a difference. Life, all life, is precious. What I choose to do with my life impacts all life. What do I choose to do? How can I bring restoration and balance to Earth and to all being on Earth, with whom I am intricately connected? A question I ask myself each new day, and one whose answer begins with, one smile, one act of kindness, one tree at a time. What a glorious opportunity!