One of my spiritual practices (the one I manage to engage in regularly) is to take a moment five times a day, stop what I’m doing, and breathe a prayer aligned with the time of day, opening my attention to Spirit. So in the morning when I get out of bed, I stop the indoor morning chores that I usually step right into (Tucker the cat’s insistent yammering for food, sometimes at 4:30 a.m., is hard to ignore), and step outside. Whatever my wake-up mood (if it is indeed 4:30 a.m. by Tucker’s alarm clock, the mood is likely surly), being outside in the waking day lightens my heart. The sky shows hints of dawn, a curve-billed thrasher whistles a loud good-morning, the air is fresh.
This morning during my patio prayer, I realized anew….I’m in love with Earth and All My Relations. The sky, the sprawling mesquite tree in our front yard, the Santa Catalina Mountains in our north view, the hummingbirds that sip from our feeder by day and the bats that make a sugary mess of our feeder by night, the amazing ants that doggedly build their colonies, the coyotes that occasionally skirt my path during morning neighborhood runs—everything is beautiful, a living show of Life. All of these are my relations in this web of life. (Well, mosquitoes are perhaps my least favorite cousins in this Life family.)
Everything and Earth itself are living beings, and we’re all related by virtue of the Spirit of Life that permeates all. (As well as by virtue of the elements formed in and shared by stars of which we’re formed—we are indeed made of stardust) All of it is beautiful and vibrant, and I love it. Creation fills my soul, moves my heart, inspires my mind, embraces my body. The word that comes up most often in my morning prayer as I greet the morning outside is
A way we can cherish creation is by “Standing with Saguaros.” A creative collaboration between Borderlands Theater and Saguaro National Park in Tucson, its purpose is to help celebrate the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service this year. Act 1 of the project invited people to find out: “If you stood with a saguaro cactus for an hour, what would you discover?” Some discoveries of saguaro-standers: “It gives you a whole feeling.” “I felt gratitude.” “I kept thinking of [the cactus] as my friend.”
(The other two acts of Standing with Saguaros:
Act 2—“The Saguaro Minute” podcast on KXCI Community Radio @ 91.3 FM, kxci.org;
Act 3—Dance/theater performances in Saguaro National Park, November 2016)
If we paid rapt attention to all the beings around us—cacti, ants, sky, birds, mountains, coyotes, people—
What would we discover?
How would our spirits be touched?
Where might the Spirit of Life be revealed?
What would we do differently?
How might we be moved to respect, to protect,