Cultivating Fertile Soil

Today in our environment, we are neglecting our soil, which is the basis for life to thrive. If we don’t have healthy soil, we don’t have a healthy environment for life to exist. In the garden, we end up with pests, plant diseases, and a lack of nutrients and water in our soil. Our plants aren’t able to grow to their fullest potential because we aren’t giving them the foundation to do so. If we cultivate healthy soil with the proper structure to maintain water and nutrients, we are able to create an environment for strong and healthy plants to grow. This is also a similar approach in our every day lives.

In conventional agriculture, farmers are spraying fertilizers and pesticides onto their crops for their plants to grow. In our health industry, doctors are prescribing pharmaceuticals to help with the symptoms of our health issues. In our mental health industry, psychologists are prescribing drugs to numb emotions and blockages we are facing today.

As a culture, we are neglecting the core of our issues and have resorted to using bandaid techniques that don’t consider the symptom as part of the whole. In permaculture, we can view our ecology, social structure, economy, culture and livelihood in a whole-systems design, where everything is interconnected.

I believe our neglect of Earth’s soil is a reflection of the neglect of our own individual soil. We are neglecting the root issues for our mental, physical, and emotional issues that we are facing today.

“You can’t just do whatever you feel like.” “You can’t just do anything you want.” “You have to learn self-restraint.” “You’re only interested in gratifying your desires.” “You don’t care about anything but your own pleasure.” Can you hear the judgmentality in these admonitions? Can you see how they reproduce the mentality of domination that runs our civilization? Goodness comes through conquest. Health comes through conquering bacteria. Agriculture is improved by eliminating pests. Society is made safe by winning the war on crime. On my walk today, students accosted me, asking if I wanted to join the “fight” against pediatric cancer. There are so many fights, crusades, campaigns, so many calls to overcome the enemy by force. No wonder we apply the same strategy to ourselves. Thus it is that the inner devastation of the Western psyche matches exactly the outer devastation it has wreaked upon the planet. Wouldn’t you like to be part of a different kind of revolution?” 

Charles Eisenstein, The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know is Possible

In our culture, spending time focusing on ourselves is seen as not moving forward. Are we provided any time to just be with ourselves and our individual growth? I’ve recently had two conversations with some sisters where their life circumstances have forced them to slow down and go within. At first, it was completely unsettling and they felt that they had to continue on the race of “moving forward” in life, but in reality the Universe provided them with exactly what they needed… Time and space to do the inner work.

Are we provided any time to cultivate the fertile soil that we need to plant our passionate seeds in order to grow into strong, rooted plants? How are individuals able to be rooted into their work if they haven’t been able to explore who they are, what they are passionate about, and the life they envision living?

How can we move forward as a society by nurturing and regenerating our soil? I believe it’s by supporting and nurturing the self. The permaculture ethics focus on Earth care, People care, and Fair share. These ethics can be found in many traditional societies, but unfortunately our society doesn’t focus on any ethics. However, we can choose to embody these in our own lives. In moving forward in our society, we need to remember to put ourselves and Earth first.

“Ultimately, work on self is inseperable from work in the world. Each mirrors the other; each is a vehicle for the other. When we change ourselves, our values and actions change as well. When we do work in the world, internal issues arise that we must face or be rendered ineffective.” 

Charles Eisenstein

We find ourselves constantly doing for others or obligations and stating that we just simply don’t have enough time to care for ourselves. In this state of mind, we will never find time. We end up in the rat race, thinking about what we have to do next or the next goal we can achieve, and never allowing ourselves to be present or satisfied.

If we aren’t able to care for ourselves and fill up our own cups, are we able to fully show up in our daily lives? We can’t fill anyone else’s cup if ours is constantly depleted. When we begin to give time, energy, and love to ourselves, our reality around us shifts. We no longer see the world as a projection of our insecurities and inner turmoil, we see it from a place of peace we feel within ourselves. We can lift others up because we are able to lift ourselves up. By cultivating our fertile soil, we can stand in our personal truth and inner knowing, allowing that to ripple around us.

With so much love and support,

Mandalynn


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