In my previous blog post titled Membrane/Boundary Work Part Three I talked about how human boundaries/membranes are a two-sided issue–establishing good boundaries for ourselves, and learning to respect and support other people’s boundaries. If you haven’t read that post, I suggest you do that now and do the exercises, then come back here.
In the previous post I offered the Rope Circle Exercise version for Respecting & Supporting Other People’s Membranes/Boundaries. Then I introduced the Start/Stop exercise. Now I want to focus on how we treat the Earth.
When we go out and spend time in Nature, like in the Lao Tzu stanza in an earlier post called More Resources For Grounding, we can sensitize ourselves to the beauty and sacredness of Nature. From that frame of reference we will not want to damage the Earth or our environment. Yet it is happening. The connection to Membrane/Boundary work is that a population of humans that is not deeply sensitized to boundary keeping will tend to rationalize and take what we want from the Earth without gratitude, without pause or reflection and without remorse. We will lose this Earth as a home if we do not quickly learn good stewardship. There is a direct connection here with how we train ourselves and our children in respect, kindness and boundary keeping and the treating the Earth with respect.
GROUP EXERCISE: DEVELOPING AWARENESS OF EARTH MEMBRANES/BOUNDARIES
This is an exercise of both mind and heart, not done in one session. First the group has a discussion with a big flip chart and a scribe. Make an inventory of the major Earth systems,
- oceans/rivers/lakes/ streams—the cycle of water
- the soil and the plants/trees and fungus that live within it
- the climate and weather of the earth—climate change
- the energy and mineral inheritance of the EarthFor each of these systems make a brief list of strengths, benefits and threats to each system.
Next I recommend the group watch the film “Symphony of the Soil” It is an environmental film that is not a doomer film. It is moving, passionate and filled with hope. Then I recommend every member meditate on what they have seen and contemplate these questions.
What are the membranes/boundaries of the Earth? Is the Earth showing us that her membranes/boundaries are threatened? How are we as human intertwined with and a part of Earth’s membranes/boundaries? What are our roles as stewards to speak for and defend her boundaries? How do we as people end our participation as Earth boundary violators? How do we teach this to children?
This reflection work will take some time. I recommend that the group come back for a session of sharing after each member has had time to meditate and reflect on these questions.
In a future blog post, I will discuss Medicine/Spirit Work on Earth Membranes/Boundaries
About the author – I hold a masters in public health education from UC Berkeley and a masters in counseling psychology from California Institute of Integral Studies. I’ve been a licensed Marriage & Family Therapist since 1991, and am certified in Somatic Experiencing. I began my medicine man training in my first vision quest in 1973. I was initiated as a medicine man under the training and supervision of Theresa Dintino. I studied Aikido for 30 years and received 3 black belts. I live and practice in Oregon and Sebastopol, and enjoy playing music, tending our apple orchard, and spending time with my two wonderful children.
Jerry Allen, LMFT, SEP, MPH, Anishinaabe Mashkikiiwinini (Medicine Man)
Gratitude Way Medicine Man Counseling & Coaching – email@example.com