Considering Earth

Everything changes when earth becomes eairth.

Eairth, . . . what’s eairth you may be wondering.

I’m not sure who coined the word but David Abram describes eairth in his new book: Becoming Animal – an Earthly Cosmology. His colleague Per Espen Stoknes also writes about eairth in his essay: Eairth’s Imagination: Rooting the Expressive Arts in the Elemental Creativity of the Biosphere. ( www.wildethics.com.) .

“Listen” to what Abram has to say: “The air is not a random bunch of gases simply drawn to earth by the earth’s gravity, but an elixir generated by the soils, the oceans, and the numberless organisms that inhabit this world, each creature exchanging certain ingredients for others as it inhales and exhales, . . .all of us contributing to the composition of this phantasmagoric brew, circulating it steadily between us and nourishing ourselves on its magic, generating ourselves from its substance. It is as endemic to the earth as the sandstone beneath my boots. Perhaps we should add the letter i to our planet’s name, and call it “Eairth,” in order to remind outselves that the ‘air’ is entirely a part of the eairth, and the i, the I or self, is wholly immersed in that fluid element.

“The gilt-edged clouds overhead are not plunging westward as the planet rolls beneath them because they themselves are a part of the rolling Eairth. . . the clouds accompany the Eairth as it turns, their shapeshifting bodies drifting this way and that with the winds. And we, imbibing and strolling through that same air, do not then live on the eairth but in it. We are enfolded within it, permeated, carnally immersed in the depths of this breathing planet.”

And then Stoknes…He begins his essay with three statements: “First, we live in the imagination. Second, this imagi-nation, a nation of images, arises from the autonomy of the image. And thirdly, the place where this image-magic is finding place, is, quite simply the air.

“Taken together these three have the potential, I propose, to transform our relationships to art, the earth, the climate and to each other. It invokes a fundamental shift of worldview.”

When I first behaved as a psychotherapist, I realized that to continue in that practice I could neither hang my head in shame when a client didn’t progress nor take credit when a client succeeded in wholing themselves. I was a helpmate, surely, but the grander flux of this living world impacted our behaviors and influenced our decisions… an irrational mindset to take sole responsibility, as we modern, urban people typically do – to the detriment of our mental health..

Then when I claimed an identity as an artist, I realized the same paradigm applied. The imagery, color choices, brush strokes and mistakes pouring out of me were not mine alone. Therefore, I developed a small ritual before purposely creating something. I lit a candle…that small act embedded my psyche in the wonder of the myriad invisible forces guiding my hand and relieved my ego of its habitual litany of fears and complaints.

Abram sums it up. “Since we are not the sole bearers of consciousness, we are no longer on top of things, with the crippling responsibility that that entails. We’re now accomplices in a vast and steadily unfolding mystery, and our actions have resonance only to the extent that they are awake to the other agencies around us, attuned and responsive to the upwelling creativity in the land itself.”

What a blessing.

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About Deborah

Deborah Jane Milton, Ph.D. is an artist, mentor, and eco-psychologist, mother of four and grandmother of eight.
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