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Be the Medicine

By Jennifer Montalbano

I spend a lot of time in nature. I have dogs to walk and a son to play with and occupy. But in all honesty, walking in the woods or watching the flow of the river is my reset. Being in nature to me is like enjoying the company of an old friend that graciously gives moments of pause and offers the opportunity to just be. 

The past few walks of late, I’ve noticed the early signs of spring. The earth smells like it is waking up. Small shoots are poking slightly from the ground. And there is a difference in the song of the birds — is that hope I hear in their quickened chirps? 

I read recently that one of the most significant differences between indigenous cultures and our modern one is that the former respects nature as an older, wiser elder. These cultures view nature as alive, with a consciousness and intelligence equal (or perhaps superior) to our own. How this changes the nature of the relationship! If nature is a being rather than a thing, we move from seeing the natural world as a collection of disparate resources to be used and controlled to an alive and dynamic relationship cultivated through the exchanges of gifts and gratitude. 

In our modern culture’s fascination with achieving and doing, we lose sight of powerful medicine – the medicine of right relationship. But it is always there for us, patiently waiting like a mother for her child to find his way home. The prescription is as simple as it is profound — a felt experience of connection.

Now that spring is almost here and the natural world is arising from winter’s slumber, wouldn’t it be wonderful to take this as a collective opportunity to consciously connect and remember? I have set that intention for myself. We can all be the medicine.

Articles and personal reflections from the GWI team as they navigate their lives and their shared work.

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