Here, for a break from heavy duty green psychology and heady reflections on climate change, is a story from the heart by Elizabeth Tjader. I met Elizabeth through the green web of DotEarth, and was so impressed by the authenticity of her search that I asked her to share it in a BlogAct on La Marguerite. Elizabeth shows us yet one more path to green-ness. We each have our own. May her tale inspire you to find it.
My green quest began quite literally some 20 years ago when I embarked upon a cleansing of my body, mind and spirit to become clean and sober from drugs and alcohol. A literal “greening”, if you will. “Green” is the color of the heart chakra. I am not surprised. For it will be our hearts that ultimately lead us to make better, conscious choices for healing our Earth. Mary Anderson, author of ‘Color Healing‘ assigns attributes of balance, peace and harmony to the color green. And once again, it will be these aforementioned characteristics born from our green heart chakras that will ultimately lead us to a greener, healthier Earth.
Until I became sober, you might say I’d been living in-authentically, fraudulently, polluted. Sobriety cleaned me up. It enabled me to hear the voice of my soul, the voice of nature. Perhaps they are one in the same; the voices of God. (don’t run, hear me out!) One day at a time, one plant at a time, I was pulled to tend the Earth, investigate it with my fingers; squishing it, tilling it, loving it, massaging it. Layer upon layer of clay and sand and loam revealed earthworms, cocoons, centipedes, and myriad other earthly treasures. I heard buzzing, trilling, wing fluttering. Those utterances would become, I would later discover, the chorus of a healthy and pulsating green earth. Then, quite unexpectedly one day, a butterfly hit my forehead, or, as the butterfly might tell the story, “and then, quite unexpectedly; smack! A woman walked right into my probiscus!”.
However it happened, it was no coincidence. No other creature embodies a greater metaphor for transformation historically, artistically and literally than the butterfly. The gift of metamorphosis. The power to change. I learned to listen, to see, to hear, to touch, to notice. There has been no greater gift to the health and well being of my own spirit than that of the butterfly. As it teaches all of us so gracefully through its own miraculous journey from egg to caterpillar to chrysalis to the grandest of winged creatures; we must never, ever give up our quest to live fully. Never.
If I could entice, seduce, lure, beg, plead or even infect all of you with one passionate request, it would be to plant a butterfly garden filled with color and free of pesticides, herbicides and fungicides for the benefit of all species. One of the greatest risks to wildlife and our Earth today is poisoning. Poisoning by the backyard gardener whose shed is filled with the above mentioned toxins. Poisoning happens many ways, as we who love this planet continue to discuss. But by becoming “greener” in our gardens, our home tended sanctuaries just might ripple the tiny steps needed to build the gigantic wave of synergistic healing ameliorating our biosphere.
Prevention is the premise upon which a healthy garden is cultivated. Just like with our own bodies and taking care of them nutritionally, the greatest gift you can give our Earth and all its inhabitants is to build a green and sustainable garden foundation by incorporating compost, seasoned manures and leaf decay. Whether a tiny plot of land, several configured pots, a town park, or a great big backyard, we can create personal and community garden sanctuaries filled with greens, purples, yellows, oranges, pinks, reds, blues, whites and lavenders, giving pause to even Monet for the purpose of creating joy. Butterfly gardens benefit every sentient being. It will change your life course forever. I promise.
Butterflies remain one of the greatest indicators of a healthy environment. Did you know the word ‘psyche’ means both butterfly and soul in Greek? In her book ‘The Spirit of the Butterfly‘, Maraleen Manos-Jones celebrates, “We need butterflies to remind us that positive change is possible, that there is magic in life, that we have to be mindful of our surroundings, because if we destroy nature, we destroy ourselves. Butterflies awaken our spirits and open our hearts. They give us a sense of hope and the possibility of our own transformation and evolution”.
They’re waiting for you, the Monarchs, Swallowtails, Skippers, Gossamer Wings, Fritillaries, Blues, Painted Ladies, California Sisters, Lorquin’s Admirals, Sarah Orangetips. Along with the honeybees, hummingbirds, song birds and dragonflies, all bringing hope, and change, and peace.