© Catherine Meeson June 2012 & 2015
I am part of a local Friends network whom 9 years ago began the task of rehabilitating our very neglected local creek. There were a few dozen to begin with and well as with all things volunteer, enthusiasm wanes ,life and other duties get in the way and the work slows. There are many factors that contribute towards successful cooperative ventures but in the case of environment and conservation I believe it is love, love of life, love of all life, the natural order and an appreciation for beauty. What also drives efforts such as ours, from my perspective, is a deep sorrow over what modern man’s lifestyles and habitation are doing to the environment. Mankind mercilessly continues to clear land for homes and farming, reducing the natural habitat pushing the boundaries of flora and fauna further and further into the void of extinction. In place we would plant what we would like, often misguided choices that are not sustainable in the name of vanity and show. Now there is nothing wrong with a beautiful garden and a mix of worlds, but I think it is a question of balance and now we have the know how; of what is, appropriate. Are our actions in harmony with the greater good or just selfish desires? That is a question that must be tackled by everyone alive, it must come from the heart and the mind aligned to higher will for the benefit of all living beings.
We co-habitate this planet, we should not dominate it. Dominion has been falsely and selfishly misconstrued in the name of power, to corrupt and abuse at will. Our dominion in the misunderstood name of the Eternal Father has ruined the mothers balance and killed off many of her life forms. Enough said in this light for now.
This is a story , that I share of inspiration and a little knowledge that may promote a different view of the natural world and the healing process. I believe as many do, whom are inspired by the old ways, the knowledge and wisdom of indigenous cultures and our own Western spiritual teachings that the Earth is sacred. The garden of Eden, of delights, of experience, plenty and beauty. The earth is populated with a bounty of species most of whom we will never know personally, and yet they dwell with us. Their cell stuff composed of the same earth materials, the water they consume , ours too, the air they breathe and generate; our heritage together. It is all these beings together that generate the web of life and the planetary life force. The Earth herself has an aura which science terms the Atmosphere, with layers, the Troposphere, closest to Earth, followed by the Stratosphere and Mesosphere and the Thermosphere. They serve the same function as an aura, for a smaller being, life support and protection. It is not just an inanimate mass of rock with plants and animals dwelling upon it. There is great variety in the many types of species and habitats and ecosystems in which they dwell. Climatic variations, topographic variations, geological and botanical, account for the diversity that has developed over aeons of time, etc. The point in mentioning this is the need to understand what a given place can and cannot sustain, which brings into question how much we should impose our will and technologies upon adapting and changing the given to do what we want. The question has to be asked by every human being, and the responsibility for the consequences of our actions born equally by all.
In Australia we have the benefit of insight from habitat change and species introduction, being able to observe in a small time frame what such introductions of non native species has done to the plant and animal kingdoms. Across the nation many volunteers and employees are setting about the task of rehabilitating lands and waterways. It is a long process, indeed inter-generational work, costing a great deal of effort, money, and heartfelt enthusiasm. It is take a great deal of effort now and into the future for coming generations who value and understand the integrity of all life systems, of all living beings, to create the needed change. The site at the beginning and in 2012 in the gallery below.
In these short years we have been able to remove noxious weeds, plants, and re-vegetate with native and indigenous plants of the region. It is important to know what is part of the region, the local ecosystem, for the web of life that dwells there, providing food, shelter, materials and habitat for them. We took photos when beginning and now we have a transformed place. The energy is different, the community ownership different. The work is done by many in the community from volunteers in the group to various businesses, schools, Corrections Victoria people, NAB, Volunteers Australia, Melton special School, Local council, Western Water and Melbourne Water contractors. This collective collaborative effort has wielded the results you can see for yourself.
All whom participate tend to have a sense of pride and enhanced self worth for having contributed. Many say it is a relaxing thing to do, though at times strenuous,. On a completely different level, the title of the piece is called Community Social and Environmental rehabilitation. As we tend to the rehabilitation of Earth and water, of our planet, we are tending to the rehabilitation of our own bodies and souls . Through affinity, resonance, relatedness and a whole complex bio energetic phenomena, involving the planetary life force that the many ancient masters speak of as chi/ prana etc. We exchange chi, life force, life energy. Our energy field harmonises with the field of place spoken about in geomantic literature. We bring our heartbeat into rhythm with place, our brainwaves synchronise with the Earth’s natural frequencies , or the Schumann resonance of 7.86 Hz cycles per second. If one even imagines the Earth inside an Aura, a bubble is what one sees, like an egg in the first stages of cellular division. We live in this planetary egg.
For optimal states of health and well being people need to dwell in various consciousness states and be able to transition effectively between them. The life enhancing states support both relaxation and stimulation. Yet our culture tends to be geared to ‘ gogo go’ on stimulation all the time, in excess. Our electrical lives, plugged into the ‘Great Grid Umbilicus’, the new navel, which runs at 60hz to power our devices. To be in those fields all the time is unhealthy . We seek out peace, quite, and nature instinctively to restore the balance. The sounds of nature are also composed of harmonics and frequencies that are life enhancing, covering the complete range of human hearing 20- 20,000 Hz. These sounds were created as part of the same bounty of life as we were, part of the creators bosom. Coming to places like the creek exposes you to elements of sound that are harmonious, and renewing, such as bees, frogs, water trickling, bird call, gentle and soft sounds. One will leave felling released and recharged, even after a short time.
In Australia we have a landscape of floods and rains, as was once said by one of Australia’s early poets, Dorothea Mackeller. This means, it is quite normal for us to have extremes . I reflect on this because the old river red gums that grow so beautifully along the creek can be uprooted and have their mighty branches snap. Many of the younger River reds we have planted have been uprooted by flooding, or vandalism but not all. The whole river has changed, and the walking courses differ from what they were before settlement. This Toolern Creek site is earmarked for development and so is the Werribee River and Melton Reservoir. This means more pollution, more illegal dumping and less habitat for many creatures. These lands were once very different 150 years ago. But all was cleared by White man for farming and grazing.
Collectively we grieve, we grieve for the loss that we see all around us, of habitat, of species, of life. Our culture our civilisation seems like a big monster, a mighty machine with so many cogs, so complex, that no simple solutions are enough. How could there ever be enough to renew and replenish what we have already lost, the thousands of species slipping into the void of extinction daily..
I come here to sit and commune, to listen to nature who has taught me so much. I come here to plant and weed, to remove rubbish, I come here to vent and rage at what I see, I come here to say sorry. I come to listen to myself, to soul, to the movements of the whole which can always be discerned in the smaller systems of life. A river is like a tributary leading into the body, connecting, nerves, muscles and bones interconnecting through it’s arterial system, the whole. The rivers are the life blood of the earth. For aeons, we have depended upon the rivers and the seas, all one needs to do is look, all one needs to do is listen, to feel, to know. Know that the balance needs restoring; know that our actions are powerful. Know that we can be creators of great beauty and harmony as well as destroyers.
The dual nature of existence lay within us all. Humanity is a Creator Destroyer, but the actions of our species ‘now’ are the key. Not all destruction is destructive. Destruction can lead to regeneration and renewal. Maybe we need a great destruction of biblical proportions, to re evaluate. It is a question of balanced relations. Not all creations are creative in the sense of the beauty of an illumined mind. We destroy the beauty and we create ugliness and in -harmony. We go against the wisdoms of the ancients. We deny our collective knowledge and heritage at our own peril. Now we are trying to recreate the beauty and reverse the ugliness. They are ALL manifestations of the being within. We are planetary stewards, stewards of life, we were not meant to destroy the delicate balance. With that I ask you to consider what your legacy will be? Because the responsibility is yours you see, and mine, and his and hers and theirs. There is no us and them in relation to a whole race of beings’ dwelling within a planetary system. There is only ‘Us’.
By listening, we hear. We enhance our hearing and our perception our knowledge. We listen to what is audible, and that will tell us a lot about the nature of any given place. Have you wondered why we don’t seem to see or hear, the birds, the sounds of the natural world any more, bees, leaves, water rustling. We have created towers in the sky. Fields of houses replace the once green forests. Concrete runs rampant like a tumour. Our creations blind us, they block out the suns light, they cast shadow .they limit our perception of the Universe. Our creations deafen us, traffic, trains, the sounds of industry, of our electronic gadgetry. We terrify the animals with sound pollution. Our electronic illumination has not necessarily illumined our minds or hearts. We have desensitised ourselves to the planetary being and now we seek to colonise Mars!
The planet contains a living evolving energy field. I ask you, What do you need to survive as a human being, the essentials?. Cast aside your way of life for just a moment and ponder your essence. Water, food, shelter and relatedness. This all comes from the Earth, it is sustained by the planetary being. Whether vegetarian, meat eater, vegan, it is not just about the nutrients we ingest but the life force, the essence. We are all composed of the same stuff, and we are all dependants, though we claim otherwise. What happens when crops fail, when floods, destroy yield, when scorching sun turns crops to a crisp and dries up lakes and rivers? Through time, through our history we moved on. Through time and through geological history such changes happen, slowly and rapidly. We as a species adapt. All other species adapt or perish. We don’t have many places we can migrate too any more, and we leave pollution and destruction in our wake, toxicity and residue that will seriously interfere with the functioning of ‘all species’.
So in this realisation, is a key to the future health of us all, of our planet, our cultures, and the collective of beings. It is not only our physical selves that suffer, but emotionally, mentally, spiritually we suffer too. So do the animals. So do the plants. And so does the mineralogical layers of Earth which are strata of all our life. True healing can not occur only at mind level, through laboratory studies and chemical trials / vaccines or pharmacology. It has to start at the level of relations. Planetary relations between all kingdoms. From the place of ‘I am that’, of kinship with all life, as the Indigenous have always demonstrated. It is only since the Industrial Revolution that we have gone out of kilter in such a dramatic way, the machine age, the age of science, which must come to the conclusion that whilst we can seek to know, we will always be humble seekers, we are given so much , so with this we must carefully consider. True healing needs a bodily integration, a spiritual insight, an energetic knowing , a relatedness. A comprehension of the whole being by the whole being.
I believe that conservation and rehabilitation should be integrated into schooling, into formal rehabilitation programs, for physical level rehabilitation and mental health programs. I believe if we create places of sanctuary and healing and allow people to interact with the environment in the multitude of ways possible, that healing will be much more rapid . All hospitals should have sacred gardens, doctors surgeries could be fitted with plants, harmonious colour schemes, mellow music to ease patient anxieties. . Urban landscapes should have not only parks, but many many more community gardens for people to grow food and flowers, for all of us to learn what was once our collective heritage. . Education should have curricula centred around contact with the natural world where children are taken out regularly on field trips as part of their learning., Writing , maths all the essential stuff can be integrated into field learning, tactile contact. To comprehend what conservation is, one needs to have an active relation to established, honoured and nurtured.
On a bio energetic level we need to connect to the earth through our base chakra, through the body, through the feet, through the hands. If we work on this level we will affect all other levels of being. I believe spiritual realisation is the key to integrated living and community environmental rehabilitation.. If our base chakra is blocked, we will struggle to connect to the earth, we will struggle with connectedness in relations, we will have body problems and problems on other levels of our being. Our cultural practises are very mind oriented and the global body (Earth and person) suffers with conditions such as obesity, anorexia, many diseases and traumas, which reflect our relation with and to, Earth. The better connected to the earth we are, the healthier is our state of being. If we work to heal the environment, we work to heal ourselves, in reciprocal relationship. If we work to heal ourselves, a consequence of balance is to walk balance, in all relations., and contribute to giving at a community level. But this level must include the Earth and it’s inhabitants. Human beings can no longer be the dominant species, wreaking havoc on the natural world. We need to become wise beings . We need to let the heart guide, the heart of love, not pride. The heart that is connected to the same pulse as all life, which is connected to the wisdom of the ages. We were given these wisdoms, as a guide, the more we ignore them on a collective specie hood level the greater the peril we will face on a , resource level, habitat level into the future. The days of instant gratification and short term gain must cease to be motivational factors.
The question now is what will we do? How will we choose to be? Given what we now know? Will we collectively heal and restore the environment and our community or will we continue on our selfish mindless path, consumers who preach dominion at the expense of other species and who practise exploitation as a god given right?
See Beginning Image and Now (2012) Images 3 & 4 in the gallery below.
Your body is my body.
Social groups come together as a form of social service but the principles go much deeper. If this level of volunteer effort was embraced and actively pursued by many more, the transformation would be immense, yet one can only act from a sense of relation to. If someone feels they have no relation to, they will not act. So how do we re-establish interest, in relation, to? It is the relationships that are primary, the relations to all things, the Buddhists speak about it, all Native traditions speak about it. We know in our collective psyche what we must do, yet our habits die hard, the immensity numbs, the apparent lack of time thwarts many a willing hand. It will not take miracles, just a little individual and collective effort, a little love to restore right relations. A snowflake can start a snowball which can start an avalanche. Let our avalanche be motivated by love and relation.
One can just come and work on whatever level one is able. Even people who seem incapacitated, such as folk in a wheel chair, could be involved, giving out the plants to be planted that are on the table, or handing out the seeds to scatter! When engaged one slows down, connects with the body and the breath, becoming absorbed in the activity and replenishing the nervous system. It is like an active meditation and relaxing for most, even though digging can be really hard work, and bending all the time etc. Even people with diminished capacity can still give what they can. Every bit counts. Administration, management of people, communications, storytelling and teaching the young, conducting walks and exploration days. For those whom have no garden, it is a way to tend the garden, establishing in them a sense of ownership, relation and pride.
know for me this process has been very healing, very heartening. I know there is an emerging field devoted to Eco - psychology or therapy, the use of nature for health and healing. It is about life, at a fundamental level of relatedness, belonging and connection. I keep saying his because it is true. Many have grown up with little contact with nature since they were kids. Some grow up in countries living in high rise with hardly a green thing around!
I have been on a long healing journey from both chronic physical illness, and P.T.S.D./ Depression. I have been able to reaffirm self and relation to the wider world. It was not something I was taught it was something that was within, that was nurtured by listening and relating directly, by interacting with nature in all her elements. I have rebuilt slowly, remodelling my life, to what I want. This process of remodelling and reconnecting could be offered as intentional rehabilitation on many many levels, for diverse client populations. There are many community health concerns which could benefit from working with nature, both in environments which are in a good state and those that are not.
Concerns and fears and phobias over snakes and spiders, or other predators/ dangerous animals should not halt our efforts. Land owners and corporations have a greater responsibility to the collective and the span of time, because they have the Earth to work with, they have more resources . We have together worked on a piece of land, a water way that while extremely small and modest, it is a beginning, an example of what can be done with dedication and many hands over time. Yet one needs to realise that it is indeed inter generational work ( it has taken generations to get like this ), to change the habits of our ancestry, of ourselves and replant the seeds for the future in a more ecological manner , educating our children in right relations. These are our tasks. I want everyone to get inspired, to care, to heal the earth and themselves which will affect the community level at the same time. Make connections, pioneer, build relations and inclusiveness, every effort is worthwhile. Even a small crack in a hard veneer is enough to allow the trickle of wisdom to enter.
We are a bit beyond just doing my bit with recycling. Consumer habits and practises need to change We need a fundamental rehabilitation of our whole way of life, as a culture from the ground up. We have the knowledge, we have the ways, we have the means, Do we have the Will?
The beginning and looking up the embankment (see gallery below image 5 &6)
Leadership is needed from Individuals, from Corporations and Organisations, from Schools and Governments, policy makers, all levels of society, to effect the necessary change in a timely manner. Economics can no longer be the motivating factor for action. We must take the task on, of Environmental and Social Rehabilitation , for it is our collective responsibility.
From the ground up it is time for direct action.
In closing, I want to apologise if this sounds preachy. My mother always criticised me when I was passionate about anything, and yet I must speak up, with the voice I have been given, with the insight I have developed however meagre and use the abilities I have to make a difference. Here is a link to a wonderful article I found which supports my proposition here, giving context within the very framework which got us into this mess, that of our own theological interpretations and societal underpinnings..
an interesting article on the same is available at the link below
A book I highly recommend on Environmental Rehabilitation is Earth Repair by Leila Darwish
I also recommend if you want to explore these themes and see what you can do to respond, participate in The Awakening the dreamer Changing the dream symposium developed by the Pachamama Alliance.
Local Facilitators including myself can eb connected to via Be The Change Australia
The kingdom of Heaven is within, and if so, then what is within your kingdom? for that; is what you bring into the world!.
Friends of Toolern Creek 2009
I am a girl from the North who lives in the South...a Minstrel of melody, a wordsmith, creatrix extraordinaire! I Compose sonic tapestries and create visual delights, and tantalize with tales from other times! Multi modal Artist/ Creator with Words, Pictures & Sounds. Ambient Music composer & singer songwriter. Artist/ therapist/ healer.