Embodied Intimacy, Transformative Inquiry, Creative Emergence

Becoming Fully Human ~ Responding to the Call of the Earth

Posted by on Feb 26, 2019 in Featured Writing, Lifeletters & Articles | 4 comments

Becoming Fully Human ~ Responding to the Call of the Earth

“We are coming down to earth, we will not arrive intact.”
Bayo Akomolafe

I meditate on this phrase of Bayo’s a lot. I have found so many echoes of its truth living in my body, in my heart and in my soul. Coming down to earth is not easy. We have been living in our heads, in the air, for a long time. And the price we are paying now, for this disconnection, this dissociation, is very high. We are being called now, from every direction, to re-inhabit the bodies we have left behind: the physical body, the emotional body, the energy body, and the soul body. Without inhabiting these bodies, we are walking around in a less than human state. Many of our greatest gifts and powers are not available to us. Our hearts are constricted, our greater intelligence radically diminished, as we trudge along, trying to live without inhabiting the body we have been given by the unfathomable love and wisdom of this universe.

Coming down to earth is painful, sometimes shocking. When we come down into our bodies, we start to feel what is really happening here. What is happening to our mother, the Earth. We discover that she is part of us, we are part of her—what happens to her also happens to us. How numb and how out of touch we have been from this magnificent mother of ours. We have done a lot of damage. We have hurt her body. Peruvian spiritual teacher and ceremonial leader, Arkan Lushwala, speaks in this short video of our dysfunctional relationship to the Earth: The Earth is our Mother. Listen to what his voice is transmitting, far beyond his words. This is the voice of a man who feels, who lives in his body, who is one with the earth.

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I talk to a lot of people about our global crisis. I spend many hours a week doing this. I believe that engaging in these transparent and emergent dialogues is one way that we can help each other to emerge from shock, denial and trauma, and begin to respond to what is happening. Hundreds and thousands of people are emerging from the numbness and shock right now, actually beginning to face the extent of our ecological disaster. Human Extinction Cafes are springing up in different places, where people can sit and face what is happening, together. Many people I speak with are feeling enormous grief. I think this is a healthy and inevitable response. And this grief needs to be shared. We simply cannot bear it alone.

I wonder how much we can allow ourselves to feel, without shutting down, or going into overwhelm or trauma. We go into a frozen place, we avoid feeling the depth of this catastrophe, because we really don’t know how to be present without becoming overwhelmed. There is a lot to learn about this, and it begins with noticing the two extremes: how we don’t let ourselves feel very much at all, or we start to drown in waves of grief or fear.

Our nervous systems have not yet evolved enough to face the onslaught of this global crisis. Part of our overwhelm is technologically based. All day long and into the night, we are inundated with a constant flow of information. It’s said that when you order a single cup of coffee these days (organic decaf vanilla latte, extra hot) you make more decisions than your grandparents made in a week. If this is true, ponder the levels of connection that our brains and hearts are trying to digest. In one month, many of us connect with more people, online and in person, than our grandparents did in their entire lives. No wonder we are overwhelmed. No wonder we retreat from the truth of what is happening to this beautiful home called Earth. We have some evolving to do before we can open up and begin to respond to what is happening. And we don’t have a lot of time left for this kind of evolution and transformation.

In the meantime, it’s a very good practice to just notice how much you and the people around you are not allowing yourselves to feel. There are many ways to to shut down our hearts and bodies. Human being are very good at this. Overwork, staying madly busy, is a great way. In my world, a lot of people do it through the spiritual bypass. I believe, at this time in our collective evolution, that the spiritual bypass is dangerous. Gabor Mate, a Canadian doctor and expert on trauma whom I love and respect, and Adya Shanti, the famous American Zen teacher, are collaborating in order to shed light on this: Beyond Spiritual Bypass.

Spiritual practitioners often take shelter in the notion that in terms of the big picture, the absolute cosmic reality, what happens here on earth does not matter. It’s very true that we are floating around inside an inconceivable vastness, which we can easily glimpse if we spend some time under the night sky. Or contemplate the photos from the Hubble Telescope.
We are so small, inside that perspective. But does this mean that we don’t matter? Is this response the way that love speaks? If you were standing in front of something that was really hurting your own human mother, would you be able to say that it doesn’t matter?

The other bypass takes us into the place of helplessness: what can I do? The system is rigged, the politicians are all in the hands of the corporations. This is a child’s response. It is not an appropriate response for a fully grown adult. The same question applies: what would love do?

There is no way we can predict the answer to this question. We have to come down to earth first. And we will not arrive intact. We will be transformed, undone, by our descent.

To be of the Earth is to know the restlessness of being a seed. The darkness of being planted. The struggle toward the light. The joy of bursting and bearing fruit. The love of being food for someone. The scattering of seeds. The decay of season. The mystery of death and the miracle of birth.
~ John Soos from Earth Prayers ~

with love,




Join the conversation and post a comment.

  1. Michelle Wilsdon

    On the high stool
    I shake into a world I do not fit into
    Sliding off the heights
    onto my ground
    I can feel our hearts
    growing stronger

  2. marsha donner

    I feel the call many times a day Shayla I hear your clarity and it feeds my will to keep on going with this dance on the edge….thanks for the straight speaking encouragement….
    Wo Ya Ya

  3. Helen

    Thank you for this post.
    I find myself amazed by an insight I had while reading your post.
    I live in a very populated area, when I look at the night sky there are evenings I only see two o three stars.
    The pollution is so bad I do not see the galaxy around me.
    I am touched by this insight.
    Thank you for helping me see again.

  4. Ruth Beck

    Shayla, this is such healing wisdom for today’s world (and any/all time really). It’s particularly poignant to come into our bodies at a time when we cannot deny the earth’s pain (in addition to our personal triggers, wounds and challenges). I will tell my partner about these Human Extinction Cafes as we talk a lot about how we can process the enormity of what’s happening to the planet and be present and open to love, joy, and connection. He is writing a song that touches on our experiences of so much change and increasingly rapid change. I’ve been coming into my left leg in a particularly deliberate way in the past few months. First, I became aware of irregular energies on the outside my left ankle. I correct them – repeatedly each day – and now they stay regular for longer. I can feel the difference in the energy flow, but I still am sometimes less than 100% in that leg – the foundation of my feminine side. It’s a journey. Thank you for being you and for sharing your deep wisdom.

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