Gaia – on the naughty step, with time to think… what next?

It feels like Gaia has put me on the naughty step – I’ve been stilled, put in my room, told to wait and think. What have I been doing? To get us into this situation, what have we, our species been doing? And what will I do next, as we move from stillness, out of isolation? Have we – particularly those of us in richer, more privileged positions – have we thought about the consequences of our actions in the past, and how those have brought us to this situation?

My own actions up to now have contributed – travel, travel, travel. Too many places, too quickly, too often. Too many aeroplanes, too many meetings.

It feels to me that Gaia has said to me: be still.

It feels to me that all our problems: climate change, poverty, greed, war, cultivating and believing without evidence, spreading of malicious thoughts and words… all these things have brought us to this point: the viruses over the last few years becoming more virulent, spreading more quickly, becoming pandemic. The physical viruses mapping our mental, emotional and spiritual viruses.

So now, as country by country we ease out of lockdown, what will we do? Will we return to our former ways – of travel, and consumption for some, and poverty and despair for others? Can we remember the other countries and peoples within this maelstrom – the poorer and sometimes indigenous communities? Can we consume less and share more? Can we keep our carbon emissions low, our noise low, our footprint small, and enjoy the blue sky, the green plants and the birdsong?

Do we have a chance now to build a world that is more compassionate? Compassionate to each other, not just human to human but across all species – animal, plant, fungal, bacterial, even viral… If it had a voice, if it had a choice, I don’t suppose it wanted much to be jumped across species, into a new, strange, challenging host.

Can we be compassionate to Gaia, and ask her – then – to be compassionate to us?

I can only change my actions. I am confused, and unsure, and living alone, but in a community that cares. I miss my friends, but still, if I stay still, then all will settle into clear water where the separation is just a glance across a still reflective surface, where we see each other, still, as friends, in an older way, corresponding, meeting less and meeting more significantly. I want to be hugged, and now I can hug myself, maybe.

As I move slowly off the naughty step, it feels to me that my life has been changed, and that I am asked to keep as many of those changes as I can.

Om Shanti Shanti Shanti.