Today, we held a public intervention with Agents of Change, at the Two Rivers Urban Park. To me, agency means an ability to make my own contribution to the world, based on the insights I have around life, nature and an interconnected humanity. Although I have focused on social justice for a very long time, it is only recently that I have become aware of how this is intertwined with environment, heritage and what it means to be a person living in the world. David Abram, for example, speaks of the links between song, environment and ancestral heritage, and the way that traditional songs and stories can take people and communities into place. By separating people from community and stories from their natural context, we are sometimes erasing cultural heritage.
Ian McCallum argues that all people have a deep connection to the natural world, and states that by getting in touch with this soul aspect of ourselves, we are able to heal the wounds of spirit. I’m beginning to understand how vital recognition of our connection to earth, and our ecological intelligence is when it comes to evaluating the wounds of society. Space, place, belonging, identity, meaning and intangible (non-material) heritage are strongly intertwined.
Although the social world has been structured and hierarchies have been created between people, nature, mind and body, imagination and possibility enable us to work towards change. Exploring our own values, meanings and interpretations of the world, and those aspects of ourselves we have forgotten enable us to bring new possibilities to life, creating a culture where human and non-human life is given a deeper sense of value and respect.
“Let us sit down here…on the open prairie, where we can’t see a highway or a fence. Let’s have no blankets to sit on, but feel the ground with our bodies, the earth, the yielding shrubs. Let’s have the grass for a mattress, experiencing its sharpness and its softness. Let us become like stones, plants and trees. Let us be animals, think and feel like animals. Listen to the air. You can hear it, feel it, smell it, taste it…the holy air…which renews all by its breath…spirit, life, breath, renewal…it means all that…we sit together, don’t touch, but something is there, we feel it between us, as a presence. A good way to start thinking about nature, talk about it. Rather talk to it, talk to the rivers, to the lakes, to the wind as to our relatives. John Fire Lame Deer quoted by David Abram in The Spell of the Sensuous.