Posts

Earth Day 2020

Sea turtle in blue water for Earth Day

Photo by Julian Berengar Sölter on Unsplash

On the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, I’m awake at 4:00 a.m. after another restless night during the COVID-19 pandemic and trying to think of a reason to say, “Happy Earth Day.”

In 1970, the first Earth Day wasn’t a celebration, but a protest. Sparked by an oil spill, backed by a U.S. Senator, and organized from the ground up, events included thousands of teach-ins, rallies, and marches for environmental justice. (There is an excellent article on the backstory of Earth Day here.)

Over the next 50 years, Earth Day was greenwashed into a “celebration” complete with music festivals. Community groups gather to clean up trash in the park, but the movement lacks the bite it did in 1970, when the trash was dumped on the steps of town hall to protest abysmal waste management policies. 

Now, on the 50th anniversary, we are spending Earth Day isolating in our homes or braving the grocery store in masks and gloves (and creating new environmental problems with poor disposal practices). Meanwhile the environmental protections that were fought for in 1970 are being “rolled back” in the name of economic growth, but which sounds to me less like beneficial growth and more like corporate profit at any expense for the rest of us.

I have been taking a narrow approach to my advocacy. Recognizing my time and energy are limited resources, I focus my attention locally and at the state level, where my individual voice has more impact, and trust that bigger organizations have my back nationally and globally with the help of whatever dollars I can send their way. As a wildlife rehabilitator, I not only try to save individual turtles from their injuries, but I will remind you, ad nauseum, to watch out for them on roads and properly dispose of fishing tackle, and I do what I can to support projects that ensure healthy habitats and safer road crossings. 

Not only do I have a soft spot for my local hard backed friends, but I know that many species of turtles face extinction due to overexploitation, habitat loss, and climate change. To me, the struggles of turtles provides sad commentary on the state of the world’s wildlife in general and the failure of the human animal to recognize our interdependence on and interconnection to species that don’t look like us, as well as to many that do. Through turtles I relate to the environmental crisis as a whole.

I believe it’s time for the Earth Day movement to get some teeth again. The coronavirus has dumped the trash of consumerism, social injustice, and wildlife exploitation on all of our steps. Youth-led movements are back, and they are ready to teach us how we can create a clean and more sustainable future, if we are willing to listen. When we collectively demand systemic change, and we get it, then maybe we can say, “Happy Earth Day.”

Virtual in 2020

Since I can’t be in Albany today, I’m joining New York’s virtual advocacy day. There are many virtual teach-ins happening today as well. Here are a few you can join:

Earth Day Live 

Pachamama Alliance Earth Day Summit 

Youth Climate Strike Earth Day Live 

Podcast Ep 44: Bonus – Turtle Rehab Rundown

Bonus episode! A follower asked for an update on my adventures in wildlife rehabilitation, so this episode is a quick rundown of what my first year as a rehabber looked like. I’ll add a bonus episode like this once in awhile for the turtle-curious.

If you would like to chat about this episode or learn more about yoga, Shamanic Reiki, wildlife conservation, or other ways we can bring healing to all of the beings on our beautiful planet Earth, join us in the Shamanic Flow Circle group on Facebook or leave a comment right here. Please consider becoming a Patreon sponsor and help me purchase needed equipment and supplies for my wild turtle rehabilitation clinic.

Much gratitude to Blair Sutherland for the beautiful intro and background music.

While the yoga and other practices presented are intended to be accessible to most, please be open to practicing in an appropriate and safe way for you. It is recommended that you consult your physician before beginning any new exercise program and that at any time during a practice you feel nausea, dizziness, or pain you stop and seek medical advice. I accept no liability whatsoever for any damages arising from the use of my podcasts and, while I make all reasonable efforts to share accurate instruction, the podcast may contain unintended errors. Before all else, listen to your body and trust your inner knowing.

Podcast Ep 26: Wildlife Rehabilitation, Shamanism and Yoga

The Nightingale card from Kim Krans’ The Wild Unknown Animal Spirit deck inspired this episode. To practice speaking my truth and to share more of how I came to be who I am, I tell the story of how a dancing turtle led me to shamanism, which led me to wildlife rehabilitation. The 30-minute gentle yoga practice explores the poses that have been named for animals, and how we might move more like them.

If you would like to chat about this episode or learn more about yoga, Shamanic Reiki, wildlife conservation, or other ways we can bring healing to all of the beings on our beautiful planet Earth, join us in the Shamanic Flow Circle group on Facebook or sign up for the newsletter.

Gratitude to Mark Piper for the background music.

While the yoga and other practices presented are intended to be accessible to most, please be open to practicing in an appropriate and safe way for you. It is recommended that you consult your physician before beginning any new exercise program and that at any time during a practice you feel nausea, dizziness, or pain you stop and seek medical advice. I accept no liability whatsoever for any damages arising from the use of my podcasts and, while I make all reasonable efforts to share accurate instruction, the podcast may contain unintended errors. Before all else, listen to your body and trust your inner knowing.

Turtles and Stardust: Experiencing a Shamanic Journey

Photo of a Florida Box Turtle (Terrapene carol...

Photo of a Florida Box Turtle (Terrapene carolina bauri). Taken in Jacksonville, Florida, USA. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Despite my endless exploration of all things spiritual, I had not, as of last Saturday morning, experienced a shamanic journey. I’m not sure how I avoided it for so long, considering that I’ve been in the company of shamans a number of times. I really wasn’t trying to avoid the practice; there was just never a good time to try.

True North Yoga hosted a shamanic journeying workshop last weekend, so I finally got my chance. While being led on two journeys I experienced intense physical sensations, including floating, falling and dancing. And I saw turtles.

When I first got my Medicine Cards I pulled my seven totem animals. Turtle was the first card I pulled out of the deck, and is my totem in the East, or the guide to my spiritual challenges. But I haven’t seen the turtle card for quite awhile.

Turtle represents Mother Earth in the cards and in a number of cultures. Hindu and Chinese mythology (and Terry Prachett‘s Discworld series) describe the world as being supported by elephants standing on the back of a turtle. Native Americans call North America “Turtle Island.” I wasn’t surprised to find turtle in a vision in which I was guided to connect to the earth.

Besides representing earth, turtles might also represent the lunar cycle, protection, perseverance and longevity. Turtles have been around 200 million years or so. They are wise old souls.

In my vision, turtle was stepping deliberately, to the drumbeat, and stirring up stardust.

I’ve had a couple of days to consider what turtle means for me, besides the obvious earth connection. A few web authors suggested a need to slow down, to practice patience. Others point to turtle’s ability to withdraw, to hide in its protective shell. Both explanations are fitting, but neither feels complete.

Turtle pose adaptation.

Turtle pose adaptation.

This morning I led my yoga class into turtle pose (a preparatory adaptation of Kurmasana) and as we were holding the posture I thought about turtle’s ability to draw inward. It seemed to me it wasn’t so much about fear as withdrawing into perfect stillness, which sounds like Pratyahara, or the withdrawal of the senses, the fifth of the eight limbs of yoga. Perhaps this is something I’m being called to practice.

Sitting on my desk is a wax turtle, meant to be a candle but unlikely to ever be burned. It was sent to me by an internet newsgroup acquaintance, someone I never knew in real life. If you remember newsgroups, you know I’ve had this turtle candle a long time. (If you don’t remember newsgroups, just know that I accessed the newsgroup with a computer that had dual floppy drives to accommodate both sizes of floppy disks. If you don’t know what a floppy disk is, please don’t tell me. It makes me feel old.) I received this turtle because the person felt I should have it. It has represented earth on my personal altar many, many times. I don’t remember how the turtle candle came to be on my desk today, or how long it’s been sitting there, but I’ve decided it can stay. It seems to belong there now.

Now if I could just find some stardust…

Enhanced by Zemanta