Posts Tagged ‘Nature’s Wisdom’

Aparna Hasling ~ Mother Nature’s Cosmic Web

Here’s a lovely submission from reader Aparna, who shares how her give and take with Nature informs and enhances her spiritual tradition at Sri Vidya Temple in New York. I especially appreciate her ideas about invasive species. This piece first appeared in Sri Chakra, which you can find here. If you scroll to page 8, you can see photos of the land and Her people. Thanks to Aparna for sharing this post on yet another spiritual tradition’s focus on healing the Sacred Land — and it’s all sacred!

Mother Nature’s Cosmic Web
By Aparna Hasling

Blazing the Vanadevata Trail at the Sri Vidya Temple continues to teach me lessons about nature, society and existence. I have learned to see traits of individual plants akin to human beings and ecosystems as complex spiritual communities. The spiritual experience we call LIFE is a dance of Shiva/Shakti (akin to flora/fauna) reciprocally influenced by the subtle energies of stored samskaras (akin to soil), and it continuously repeats in infinite variations throughout the cycles of time.

As maya refracts infinite consciousness, individuals are blinded to most of the electromagnetic spectrum and ignorant of the microcosmic ecosystem beneath their feet. Yet embracing the power of anima-siddha, it is possible to hold a single teaspoon of healthy soil and commune with half a billion tiny life forms.  Soil is a dynamic community of microorganisms with diverse populations of predators and prey. They have complex survival strategies, and winners of these underground battles determine the level of nutrients available to plant roots.  Among the most sacred are the mycorrhizal fungi, a cooperative network of organisms which carpet forest floors.

The temple woods and wetlands, a place I call Shakambhari’s Sanctuary, has nurtured my unique spiritual perspective. After Aiya announced that Devi would show me Herself in the trees, in 2005 I began exploring this uncharted land. Alone and oblivious to my own vulnerability, I walked through thicket, marsh, and meadow without map, compass or GPS.   Getting lost was part of the experience, as I slowly awakened to the consciousness of nature.  For me, it was a place to worship without murthis and heal without words. A mystical link developed such that when I lay on the ground, I could feel Devi’s embrace.  And as I learned to make friends with the trees, my devotion to guru magnified.

In 2014, I offered the trail and trail guide to Aiya. It was the culmination of an intense sadhana, and I hoped it would evolve into an actual environmental center linking spirituality and science ecology. Unfortunately, comments from devotees were discouraging and I feared some would unknowingly desecrate land.  I had to explain to visitors that every turn of the trail was designed to bring attention to a particular tree, or divert attention away from a sensitive habitat. I felt protective of the land and prayed that others would respect the trail as sacred ground, rather than an opportunity to further subjugate nature or construct according to their desires. Yet my attention shifted when I saw a more immediate threat on the horizon.

In early spring and late fall honeysuckle bush dominates the understory. Before I understood the plant was invasive, I admired its capacity to defy winter by leafing out early and holding leaves through late fall. Yet just as wealth is no longer beautiful upon learning a corrupt source of funds, so honeysuckle monopolizes the soil’s and sun’s energy, offering nothing in return to local insects or wildlife. Caterpillars cannot munch the leaves, birds cannot eat the caterpillars and fox cannot eat the birds.  This plant should be given a different name because the only things it attracts are ticks and mosquitos.

For years I knew that temple land suffered from invasive plant species: buckthorn, honeysuckle, garlic mustard (and many more). At first, the wild grape vines seemed most destructive, since I could see them use trees as giant trellises and eventually kill our trees by blocking light from above. Then I learned that invasive buckthorn trees lead their attack underground by emitting a toxic compound called emodin through its roots, overpowering adjacent root structures. In partnership, garlic mustard groundcover emits a phytotoxin, thus killing the sacred mychorrhizal fungi. My studies were overwhelming as I learned that buckthorn also interferes in the embryonic development of frogs and garlic mustard also suppresses butterflies eggs. The overall impact of these non-native plants have cascading effects on the biodiversity of nature’s web, yet only those devoted to Mother Nature conceive the consequences.

The spread of invasive species kicks nature’s balance off kilter; it causes some creatures to perish which stimulates others to overpopulate.  For example, the extermination wolves led to a 10-fold proliferation in white-tail deer. Simultaneously, human populations increased, shrinking forest habitat. As a result, deer have become a destructive force in the forest; they overgraze native plants and allow unsavory invasive plants to spread further. Today, deer are blamed for the disappearance of regenerating trees as well as vertebrate and invertebrate fauna.  Land managers respond by caging/protecting young trees. Yet their bias toward particular plants continues to disrupt nature’s web; even though poison ivy is a native species relished by deer, it is routinely removed from public lands.

For millions of years the animal kingdom (Shakti) lived in harmony with the plant kingdom (Shiva). Each was part of a chain, and the bounty of food was enough for all. Now, just as our spiritual culture is being depleted by worldly influences, so the environment is experiencing collapse. The reciprocal influence between plants, animal and soil is no longer sustainable and the intricate food-chains are broken. Modern society disavowed the sacred circle by converting forests into farmland, fertilizing soil with toxic chemicals, hunting animals to extinction, and cultivating exotic tastes.  Attempting to become civilized, the human race has become an invasive species, destroying without cause and amassing resources without providing for the community.
Chaos is expected in the Kali Yuga, yet some devotees are compelled (by duty, remembrance or compassion) to strive for an ancient balance.  The Vedas deify Mother Earth, and therefore service to Her is divine seva. For me, the work of land restoration is equal to the task of re-identifying the tiny self with infinite consciousness.  Removing invasive plants, I imagine my own negative tendencies. Chipping the dead plants to bits, I invoke Kali’s energy of transformation.  And nurturing new native plants to thrive, I awaken my consciousness to God.  While the manual labor is intense, it is a contemplative path and slowly the echo of Shiva’s drumbeat calls me home. Sri Gurubhyo Namah!

 

How Wolves Change Rivers

Thanks to Mary and Mitch, who both sent me this video at approximately the same time. Nature lovers will enjoy the gorgeous scenery at Yellowstone, and I love the underlying message of how one small group can make a powerful difference when aligned with Nature.

On a not unrelated note: if you feel so led, please join me in sending extra love and support to the Nature Spirits and Elementals at Yellowstone, as they fight for victory over some recent unnatural challenges with unfathomable ripple effects. The land and its beings are strong, but they can use and appreciate our positive and healing energy. Those who know Reiki, please consider sending the Mental Emotional Balance symbol to Yellowstone, as that mitigates all sorts of imbalances. Much gratitude.

From the YouTube channel:

Published on Feb 13, 2014

Visit http://sustainableman.org/ to explore the world of sustainability.
For more from George Monbiot, visit http://www.monbiot.com/

“When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe.” – John Muir

When wolves were reintroduced to Yellowstone National Park in the United States after being absent nearly 70 years, the most remarkable “trophic cascade” occurred. What is a trophic cascade and how exactly do wolves change rivers? George Monbiot explains in this movie remix.

B-Roll Credits:
“Greater Yellowstone Coalition – Wolves” (http://bit.ly/1lK4LaT)
“Wolf Mountain” (http://bit.ly/1hgi6JE)
“Primodial – Yellowstone” (https://vimeo.com/77097538)
“Timelapse: Yellowstone National Park” (http://bit.ly/1kF5axc)
“Yellowstone” (http://bit.ly/1bPI6DM)
“Howling Wolves – Heulende Wölfe” (http://bit.ly/1c2Oidv)
Interview from TED: “For more wonder, rewild the world” by George Monbiot
“Fooled by Nature: Beaver Dams” (http://bit.ly/NGgQSU)

Music Credits:
“Unfoldment, Revealment, Evolution, Exposition, Integration, Arson” by Chris Zabriskie (http://bit.ly/1c2uckW)

FAIR USE NOTICE: This video may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes only. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 106A-117 of the US Copyright Law.

For any concerns or questions, you may contact us athttp://sustainableman.org/contact/

Native American Wisdom: “We breathe what the tree exhales; the tree breathes what we exhale. So we have a common destiny with the tree.”

Reposted from exopermaculture.

“We are all from the Earth. And when the Earth is corrupted, it will create its own reaction. Mother is reacting.

“When you say ‘resources’ you’re talking about our relatives, about family.

“The structure of the world itself is that it functions on a natural law, that is of a powerful, endless regenerative process — if everyone agrees to the law and follows the law. But if you challenge the law, and think you’re going to change the law, then you’re bound to failure. And in that failure will be a lot of pain. Because the natural law has no mercy. It is only the law.”

Respect!

Natural Law includes regeneration.

In Diana

Just sharing some photos from a recent walk in the woods:

Can you see or feel my friends?

Can you see or feel my friends?

I *might* have gathered with Elementals, Nature Spirits and Trees. I might have asked them to assist.

I *might* have gathered with Elementals, Nature Spirits and Trees. I might have asked them to assist.

I might have mentioned how we could work together to restore our beautiful planet.

I might have mentioned how we could work together to restore our beautiful planet.

I might have asked Grandfather Sky and Mother Earth to reveal the path for completely eradicating GMO's from the face of this gorgeous planet. I might have rallied troops.

I might have asked Grandfather Sky and Mother Earth to reveal the path for completely eradicating GMO’s from the face of this gorgeous planet. I might have rallied troops.

I might have initiated a Faery Blitzkrieg of Love Bombs and Pixie Dust.

I might have initiated a Faery Blitzkrieg of Love Bombs and Pixie Dust.

But then again, who honors the Ancestors? Who listens to the Trees? Who offers themselves as a partner with all of Nature, seen and unseen, for the highest good of all? Maybe I just went for a walk in the woods… 😉

How I Did Less and Ate Better, Thanks to Weeds ~ Tama Matsuoka Wong at TEDx Manhattan

This was fun! Thanks to “And Here We Are.” David and I attended a Goshen event that aired this conference, but somehow we missed this one.

“Tama Matsuoka Wong is a professional forager and the principal of MeadowsandMore, which she founded to connect people with wild plants and natural landscapes. She won the New Jersey Forest Stewardship Award in 2007 for her work on stewarding her own property in western New Jersey. She collaborated with New Jersey Audubon on producing a booklet Meadows on the Menu about how to work with nature to turn lawns or fallow fields in to meadows. Tama has advised and worked with schools, conservation groups and private individuals to assess, steward and restore natural landscapes on their properties.

“Tama recently authored the book Foraged Flavor: Finding Fabulous Ingredients in your Backyard or Farmers Market about her several year project with the chef de cuisine at Restaurant Daniel in NYC to turn edible “weeds” from nature in to delicious cuisine. Tama has lectured about food and nature across the country and has led educational programs for schools, conservation groups, foodies and homeowners. Her “weed” work has been profiled in the NYTimes, NPR, CBS Sunday morning, among others.

“In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized.* (*Subject to certain rules and regulations)”

Singing Plants at Damanhur

More indications of intelligent, communicating and creative plant life!

For an excellent article regarding the science behind this video, as well as scientific proof that tree hugging is now scientifically validated, please click here. The video accompanied the article, but the article itself is great!

If you’re not familiar with Damanhur, please delight your senses and imagination and click here.

Slugs, Bugs and Synchronous Tugs

It never ceases to amaze me just how in tune we can naturally be, just how easily we can over-think the message, and how the Universe finds ways to amp up the message in ways we finally recognize. I wish I’d taken a photo this morning, but some of you will probably be relieved I didn’t! 😉

Something’s been eating my zinnias. And all my tender seedlings, including radishes and marigolds! And chowing my dwarf Siberian kale like it’s God’s gift to brassicas. Maybe it is, but how would I know having only eaten one cayenne peppered leaf?! Last week I “asked” what to do and got the urge to put David’s coffee grounds around some of my plants. Lo and behold, they seemed much better. No new holes.

That’s where I started over-thinking things. “What does coffee have in it? Nitrogen. Hmmm, my plants must be low nitrogen. Healthy plants don’t get eaten by garden pests. I better compost.” (Not that compost’s ever a bad idea, but the specific message when I asked was to use coffee.)

This week, I spent my odd hours and minutes between sessions adding more and more compost to my plants. With all the leaf mulch, this is no small task, because you don’t want to mix the mulch in with the compost. If you do that, you’ll actually deplete the soil instead of amending it, as the leaves or wood chips break down and rob nitrogen. Mulch stays on top so I don’t become a monocrop dandelion farmer, but to compost effectively means carefully moving the mulch and adding the compost, then replacing the mulch on top. For each and every plant. This method took awhile, but combined with some heavy rain, it had my plants growing really well.

And yet, they still had new holes! Lots and lots of holes. The dwarf Siberian kale looks downright embarrassing. I thought marigolds were a garden pest deterrent, but you’d think these things were the most delicious stuff ever. Munch, munch. And my dill? Gone. My zinnias? Gone or turned to green lace. What the heck?

Here’s where Nature put me back on the remedial program ‘cuz apparently, my mind’s so quick I’m slow.

I brought in some of my healthy Winterbor kale leaves last night and noticed a little, tiny slug on there. Ew, but nothing a little water didn’t remedy. I stared at David’s used coffee grounds (which I usually just add to our compost bin) while washing off the slug and wondering what’s eating the dwarf Siberian kale. Slow, slow, slow!

This morning, I woke up really early and while contemplating my munched out garden, I got the sudden urge to open the back door and see if the daisies had bloomed yet. They hadn’t, but guess who I saw slowly climbing our garage wall? Mama Slug. This was no 3/4″ kiddo, but a full on slimy three incher, happily sliding up the wall, probably towards my front yard zinnias. Still no lightbulbs going off in my brain yet.

I came in and opened an email about 15 reasons to have a permaculture herb spiral. In my reply, I mentioned my zinnias and tender seedlings, feeling a bit like one of the three bears: “Someone’s been eating in my garden!” Still not clicking. Finally, I received another email from Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways and read an article called “Garden with Attitude,” all about not expecting 100% germination and success in an organic garden. The author specifically mentions zinnias, slugs and … coffee as an effective slug deterrent!

Ding, ding, ding. The over-thinking slow child has finally received Nature’s original message: spread coffee grounds around the plants you want to save.

I’m sharing this because so often we do immediately receive the answer to our asking, but we can easily over-think, complicate or dismiss things that seem too simple. Nothing’s ever wasted, though. In my quest to discover how to deter leaf hoppers and grass hoppers — the ones I thought were eating my plants — I learned some valuable things, too:

1) Having a wild lawn doesn’t necessarily translate to “bugs, you eat the weeds, and I’ll eat the garden.” I ran into my permaculture teacher at the Farmers Market this weekend and she said, “Well, you’ve created this wonderful hotel for leaf hoppers, and now you’re feeding them dinner! Cut your lawn.” Doh! She then shared some of her own create-a-habitat then feed-the-critters stories.

2) Cayenne pepper deters many bugs, but don’t put it on melon leaves. They hate it! Glad she shared that with me, because I might have ruined a lot of crops that way.

3) Diatomaceous Earth really does kill aphids, but I backed off using it so much when I saw a lady bug wanting to do her job.

4) It’s not just the faery in me that’s been wanting flowers. It’s also the would be lazy gardener trying to create a positive ecosystem to attract predator bugs to do my work for me. I miss my wasps in Madison! I can now feel justified in buying some healthy starts of flowering plants even if I can’t eat those plants. Their beauty will also serve a practical purpose.

5) Organic gardening is a lesson in non-attachment and the importance of planting many seeds. Organic gardening is a potent metaphor for life, and Nature shares abundant lessons when we choose to listen.

Wishing all you gardeners and creators much growth and abundance on the ever winding journey!