We’re halfway through our deep dive into Michael Arloski’s Ten Tenets of Wellness.  Last time, we looked at the Fourth Tenet, Wake Up! and today we’re going to look at the Fifth Tenet, Connectedness Works.

This is a really interesting principle, because it goes beyond supportive human relationships and emphasizes loving and grounding relationships with other species; animals, plants, and the earth itself. With everything that’s been happening on the planet lately – Category Five hurricanes in the Atlantic, earthquakes in Mexico and Japan, wildfires in the West – this tenet couldn’t be more timely.

Depending on where you live, it can be easy to become disconnected from the natural world, especially if you are in an urban area.  There’s increasing evidence that time spent in nature has a direct positive effect on our health, so finding ways to get more connected can benefit us both emotionally and physically.

Dr. Arloski writes that it’s not only our connectedness to other people, but to other species and the earth that truly ‘grounds’ us in our lives and lets us discover at a deep level that we truly are ‘all of one heart.’ Getting to a place where we can really identify with where we live, being able to know the local plants, animals, rock formations, the weather patterns of our region; all are important for reconnecting with the earth, our home.

Poet and author Gary Snyder wrote a beautiful Pulitzer Prize-winning book published in 1974, called Turtle Island, filled with a mythical, mystical, collection of poems and prose designed to call us to rediscover the land on which we live, and realize our place as natives of our place on earth.  (Turtle Island is the name given to North America according to some Indigenous groups.)

For All ~ Gary Snyder

Ah to be alive
on a mid-September morn
fording a stream
barefoot, pants rolled up,
holding boots, pack on,
sunshine, ice in the shallows,
northern Rockies.

Rustle and shimmer of icy creek waters
stones turn underfoot, small and hard as toes
cold nose dripping
singing inside
creek music, heart music,
smell of sun on gravel.

I pledge allegiance to the soil
of Turtle Island,
and to the beings who thereon dwell
one ecosystem
in diversity
under the sun
With joyful interpenetration for all.

Tenet Five invites you to reconnect with your place on this planet, wherever you find yourself. Get out in the natural world. Get to know the local plants, not just the ones in your flower garden. What might have been seen as a mere ‘weed’ now becomes a plant with a life story and history of its own. Maybe it’s a valuable medicinal herb!

Pick up a copy of Snyder’s Turtle Island and let his words speak to you. Or read the poetry of Robinson Jeffers, who was deeply connected to the land where he lived in Carmel, California. Or Pulitzer-prize winning poet Mary Oliver, who has touched so many with her words evocative of the natural world, especially with her well known poem, Wild Geese.

I will leave you with a couple of questions: What is special and precious about the area in which you live?  Do you have any favorite native animals, birds, flowers, trees?  When you allow yourself to re-establish your connection to the earth, you’ll likely find you’ve re-established a sense of profound beauty, peace and harmony that is to be found nowhere else.

Categories: Wellness