Discussion Questions, Storytelling, Sharing

  • Describe the most awesome experience you have had in nature. Or describe your most vivid encounter with a wild animal.
  • Who has helped you cultivate a sense of reverence for life and for the natural world?

Imagery Exercise

The inspiration for this exercise is the series of excerpts in Spiritual Literacy in which people express their reverence for trees (pp. 144). Part of it is adapted from "The Garden of Eden" exercise in Healing Visualizations: Creating Health Through Imagery by Gerald Epstein.

Close your eyes. Breathe out three times, and imagine yourself sitting with your back against a tree that has branches hanging down with green leaves. Breathe in the pure oxygen that the leaves emit in the form of a blue-golden light. Breathe out carbon dioxide in the form of gray smoke, which the leaves then take up and convert into oxygen. Sit there making a cycle of breathing with the tree.

Breathe out one time. Feel and sense how you are connecting with the tree with your body. Sense the energy coming up from the earth, through the tree's trunk and branches, and into your body. Feel how this energy moves through your whole body and how some of it goes out your feet and legs back into the earth again. Sit there becoming one with the tree. What are you sensing from the tree now? How do you feel?

When you are finished, see yourself making a gesture to thank the tree, and open your eyes.

Journal Exercises

  • Decide upon a "Rule of Respect." Write resolutions on how you intend to show respect to your body, animals, plants, things, and other people. Make them very concrete. For example: I will go for at least a 15-minute walk each day. I will oil the tools that need it once a month. I will not tease my dog.
  • Keep a "Trash Journal" either singly or as a household. For one month, measure and weigh the garbage you create. Don't overlook the food waste that goes into the garbage disposal. Note what other kinds of trash you tend to produce. See which items can be recycled or reused and determine what else you can do to reduce your garbage load.