Earth My Body

The path to self-knowledge is a hazardous road, and one with its own special beauty.

The path to self-knowledge is a hazardous road, and one with its own special beauty.

“I had traveled over ten thousand miles from my American home town but I had not budged one inch in my thinking. . . . I shut out logic; I shut out reason. I opened myself to intuition, and closing my eyes, I began being water. As I walked, I used all my senses. I could smell water, taste it, feel it, hear it, see it. I was cold, blue, clear, muddy, still, rippling, ice, melting, vapor, steam, rain snow, wet, nourishing, splashing, unlimited.” — Marlo Morgan, Mutant Message Down Under, 135-6

“Our experience of the world is routed first through our heart, which ‘thinks’ about the experience and then sends the data to the brain for further processing. . . . The heart routinely engages in a neuronal dialogue with the brain, and, in essence, the two decide together what actions to take.” — Stephen Harrod Buhner, The Secret Teachings of Plants, 84

We begin with the breath of Earth: in through the nostrils, out through the same. “Earth my body,” we say, and then we say it again: “Earth my body.” I have begun an internship in the practice of eco-somatics. We work with our bodies, we feel into the Earth. It all begins with the breath.

In and out. I rise and I fall. Earth my body. It becomes a chant. Left foot, then right foot. One before the other.  I move to the rhythm. My breath turns into rhyme. Earth my body. It becomes a mantra. Up–down, in–out, right–left. I cycle. I am the seasons. Earth my body. It becomes a prayer.

In a key passage of Marlo Morgan’s Mutant Message Down Under, the protagonist is dying in the desert. Two days have passed since she has drank water, eaten food. Her body is weak, and her will is lost. She experiences a moment of surrender. She drops her illusions, and she finds her intuition. Her body becomes more than herself. She becomes water, and she is saved.

Two days ago I woke early to walk on the mountain. I went far, and I hiked high. I breathed in, and breathed out. Up the steep climb, I let out a strong exhale. Earth my body. I called out intuitively to the mountain, saying, “I am here. One human here!” I opened to it, felt into it. I breathed in and felt connected, as if the mountain was the whole of me, as if I, for the first time, was becoming aware of my parts. The great body of earth commingled with my own. The wind in the trees brushed the hair of my arm. The cawing of crows and the rustle of deer browsing in the brush–these too were me, an extension of myself. On my walks, in my findings, I find the mountain. I find myself.

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