There are so many ways to string words together and so many words from which to choose to make meaning. I can’t winnow them and that makes hard work of editing my first self-published art book . An expanded version of the handcrafted Ode to Gaia I made a year ago, this one has 64 pages instead of 40. includes 12 additional paintings and a new drawing for coloring in. This time, Ode has a subtitle. I thought it was: Calling Forth our Imaginal Selves.
Two months have passed since I chose that subtitle. I never once considered changing it, until last Friday. My writers’ group met then. They’ve worked on the book with me before, but this time suddenly the subtitle was being bandied about. New strings of words popped in that living room like a bouquet of helium balloons. One enthused: “ I like, ‘A Love Song for Life on the Planet.’” Others glommed onto that one. I did too. It’s inviting, warm & fuzzy and reminds me of the fraternity boys singing under my dorm window a long time ago.
But later…That new subtitle title seemed redundant. An ode suggests the potential for love song. Gaia already implies a living planet with life on it. That subtitle doesn’t hint at the deeper purpose I have in mind. Yes, I want readers to fall in love with the miracle of being alive on Earth. But the greater significance is what that love demands of us.
Love asks us to commit to the beloved and that changes us. We don’t know what will be asked of us or how our lives will be changed by loving. Loving someone or something often calls for sacrifice, curbing our own enthusiasm, at least for a moment, for the good of the other. We’re asked to be generous with our time and resources, to do whatever it takes to support mutual thriving, to nourish the relationship. Loving calls forth empathy and compassion and those feelings sometimes hurt. To love deeply means also we will be deeply affected by the loss of what we love. We may grieve. In my North American dominant culture, we are not taught that grievng is a blessing that cracks the heart open to deeper loving, greater wisdom.
Many hold love at bay because they don’t want to deal with the hard stuff, but I see no reason to fear it. Systems theory and contemporary science reveal what the ancients knew all along: everything is connected. Thus, I know that my commitment to nourish and protect the beloved, also nourishes and protects me.
So if we love life on Earth and we know Earth is hurting, we need to do something to heal the wounds. And that means changing our consumptive life style. Ode to Gaia poses a series of “What if…” questions to inspire new possibilities for how to live that nourish our human relationship to life. Frankly, I’m asking humanity to grow-up. It’s time to move beyond our adolescent, self-centered behaviors, and choose instead to live within the living limits of this glorious globe. We have no way of knowing whether we have already tipped beyond the carrying capacity for human life on Earth, but without changing our ways NOW, human catastrophe is inevitable. The planet will thrive without us. Species now on the verge of extinction will flourish again and plant life will take back urban sprawl.
Remember, Gaia doesn’t need us. We need her!
Homo-sapiens is not the final form of human evolution. Imagine us humans with our heart intelligence aligned with our belly wisdom which collaborates with our brain knowledge and sensory awareness. WOW. We can become a wiser and more fully functioning version of who we have been. So I want that sub title of the Ode book to state clearly that I’m calling for a commitment from modern humans to do whatever loving life requires. Maybe that’s it: Making a Commitment to Change our Lives for the Love of Life.
Ode to Gaia: Changing our Lives for the Love of Living
Ode to Gaia: Calling Forth our Commitment to Change Because We Love Life.
Ode to Gaia: A Call to Humanity to Commit Ourselves to Life.
Ode to Gaia – A Call to Midwife the NEW Human
Ode to Gaia – Calling Forth the Eco-Centric Human
Ode to Gaia – Choosing a New Story for Humanity
Do you see what I mean about all those words…
What think ye?
Ode To Gaia: Living Beyond Self
Thank you Anahata for this idea. After writing the post of today, I may reclaim my original subtitle. The concept of Imaginal Selves is really important to me. Why not give us humans something to strive for – a new sense of who we are! Love you and appreciate your deep wisdom greatly.
Your new B/W work just knocks me out of the park with the power of the nurturing and love this blessed Planet, Mother Gaia, bestows upon us. All of the nurturing a human yearns for is in this work. I so appreciate your love, devotion, and passion to the work and the message.