They came,
concerned and discouraged
about future life on the planet.
After a day together
deeply engaged
in the work
of the Deep Ecology Deep Hope retreat,
they left,
committed and encouraged.

DSCN8696The Cosmic Walk

DSCN8699The Truth Mandala

One of the exercises
we participate in
during the Deep Ecology
Deep Hope retreat
is the Mirror Walk.
One person closes her eyes
and the other person guides
her to something in nature,
invites the closed-eyes-one
to touch it,
then to get up close to it
and open her eyes
as the guide says,
“Open your eyes
and look in the mirror.”
We did this exercise Saturday
and then talked about our experiences.
When I asked,
what did you feel when your guide
asked you to look in the mirror,
everyone laughed: “Oh,
we forgot that part!”
This happens with every group
every time we do this exercise,
even though, by now, I’ve learned
to stress this part. During the instructions
I say, repeatedly, “When you ask them
to open their eyes, say, ‘Open your eyes
and look in the mirror.”
Rarely does this happen, which helps me realize
how deeply it is embedded in us—
Western, non-indigenous people—
that we are separate from the natural world.
How much hope I have,
that in the evolution of humanity
when we come to understand deeply—
like our indigenous sisters and brothers—
that we are part of the natural world,
we will make changes in our lives
so that all life
can flourish.