What I have come to see in retrospect is that my experience of “remembrance,” in these places in the world, was the interactions between my body and my soul, between my body and the earth’s body. I feel this to be so. These lands were filled with such vibrant moments of remembering and such deep connections. And, I sense it was my soul connecting with the earth’s soul in these powerful portals of life. Slowly the need to know why subsided and the pleasure of a moment of vibrant remembering grew stronger. Controlling and having to understand became less important while the internal longing and sense of knowing something deep and timeless brought me present.
In his book, Anam Cara, John O’Donohue shares Celtic wisdom that speaks of the body being in the soul, not the other way around. This is also true for the earth and her soul. The earth’s body is in the earth’s soul. We breathe in our soul, just as we breathe in the soul of the earth. There is no separating line between our souls, and perhaps in certain places on Earth, our souls tap into something important, something the soul once knew, and something necessary to experience and be known again in this lifetime.
O’Donohue writes, “The body is the mirror where the secret world of the soul comes to expression.”
Soul drinks in experiences through the body. The soul experiences life here on earth by way of the physical body. Standing on the peat in Ireland, I was connected to Soul and to Earth, both ages old. If this is so, then we must listen to the soul, and we must act on its impulses. Our conscious self is the one who can choose for Soul. It is the choice to act, to live what Soul longs to live.
In these times, remembering our connection to the earth, to Soul, to the inner world and the invisible realms is of the utmost importance. To relearn how we are connected to each other, to the earth, and to ourselves is the medicine to heal a disconnected world. To remember the threads that weave us together, already, is the work at hand. We’ve forgotten. We were taught differently. We can relearn. We can remember.
Connect to Earth
I have this sense that my feet hold maps, and when I come onto new land, land that has called me to it, my feet connect with the land and through this connection, they feel, they know, and they remember. A connection between land and soul takes place, and the conduit is my body as well as the earth’s body.
The earth has a soul. I have a soul. And they connect.
As I stood on the peat in Ireland, or out on the point on Molokai in the presence of Lanai and Maui, or even on the Ghats along the Ganges in Varanasi, my body was the conduit of connection between the earth’s soul and my own soul. The divinity that lives through me connects with the divinity that lives through the earth.
In this way, in a very tangible way, I truly am at home here on Earth. Where the divine kisses the flesh, and where the divine infuses the soil, where they meet in this point of connection, is love. It is self knowing self, a remembering that there is no difference between flesh of the body and flesh of the earth, that the flesh of my body came out of the earth, and eventually will return back to it.
In these moments of remembering a knowing, my mind stills, my breath slows, and I become aware of everything I am feeling in my body. I am aware of the experience of what is happening without any thought about it. The feeling of remembering takes over thought. Remembering drops me into something – a time in the past, an experience long ago, and a connection to something other than who I know myself to be in this moment of experience.
My legs provide the sturdy foundation for my soul to connect to the earth. My arms are an extension of my heart into this physical world. My limbs offer myself to the earth and to others in a way that connects. My body echoes the Celtic understanding in John O’Donahue’s Anam Cara, that Soul takes in experiences through the body.
I’ve found it so much easier to connect to the land than to people. The land is welcoming, but I don’t always feel people in that way. This has been the growth for me, to discover that people call, too, just like the land – and that life calls just like the land.
I am life. We are life. It’s all life. And it’s all connected.