Tea time is a lovely ritual of pausing to consciously relax and enjoy our connection with one another and the sustenance we are given. With every sip, we acknowledge the delicacy and sumptuousness the Earth provides as the ritual itself brings our minds to a state of calm. It is the same when we take the time to be in nature.
I used to hear it often while spending time with Native Americans: “The Earth is your Mother. The Earth is your true Mother. Go to Her.” Clueless at the time, I thought, “Nice romantic notion, but how is She really my mother?”.
I got that answer from my experiences hiking the same trail in Topanga Canyon several times a week…. for ten years! (Thoroughness is definitely the means by which I learn.) I used to think it was insanity that compelled me to drive nearly an hour each way in L.A. traffic, but I came to find out I was heeding the summons from one of the greatest teachers we have and, through Her limitless gifts, was given true understanding of a mother’s love.
I walked alone and at night, beginning at sunset with a prayer and an offering at the trailhead. I called myself “Runs in Fear” because initially I would spend the entire hike doing just that. But in time, I came to know the night creatures and they came to know me. I adapted to shadow and darkness and learned to trust the life all around me through my sharpened instincts and heightened perception – and the messages I was given.
When facing a mountain lion I immediately heard a clear and reassuring voice say, “her stomach is full”, and moved aside to watch her slowly amble by. When my friends grew tired of my stories as a hospice volunteer, I spoke them out loud as I walked the trail. From behind dark, impenetrable clouds, miraculous warm rays of sunshine would wash over me and I was comforted. Late one evening, I gave in to an annoyingly persistent message to go to the mountain, cursing in resistance all the way there. After hiking until nearly midnight, I came upon two women who had been lost for over eight hours. I was able to give them water and direct them to the proper trail to reach their car.
Through the years, I came to understand what Native Americans were teaching me. I learned that Mother Earth is an alive Being and teaches us everything we need to know about existing in the physical. She shows us the true nature of Creation and ourselves as part of Creation, and there is not anything you can take to Her without receiving a reflection of truth and love, and a nurturing hand to guide your way.
These days, technology and the subsequent changes in our lifestyle, keep many of us from connecting with our true Mother. In one of the decks I use for readings, there is a card called The Drum, that speaks to the need to slow down and find our internal rhythm and timing through our connection to the heartbeat of Mother Earth.
By doing so, we remember ourselves as infinite beings having a temporary physical experience. We can see the greater Whole we are a part of and how it is all connected. We glimpse the Great Mystery as we gaze into the cosmos and realize there is a greater intelligence that we can yield to and co-create with.
For the moment, my daily tea time with Mother Earth is a walk in a nearby neighborhood that is lined with amazing old-growth trees of all varieties. (Native Americans call trees the Standing People.) And each time I go, I continue to receive the joy, peace, insight, confirmation, and inspiration that re-sets the karmic wheel of my day and lovingly returns me to the beauty and possibility of this world. For this, I am deeply grateful.