Since the beginning of 2020 it has felt for many that humanity and the earths balance is at an extremely fragile state. The moment a highly contagious virus took the hurried pace of our lives and slowed it down we started to pay attention. One area where this kinetic sense of connection is palpable is with our relationship to the earth.
One way we can immediately ground ourselves to the earth and feel a sense of admiration towards it is by creating an earth altar. Everything we witness in nature has remarkable texture, color, shape and nuance. By transporting oneself to a place of childlike wonder and carving out time to explore, a treasure can be manifested. Below are the steps to create a living work of art.
Step 1 Roam with Curiosity – Go to the park or find a space in your backyard where you can slow down and pay attention to natures palette. A rose bush might have dropped some petals on the ground or a single blade of grass might hold intrigue. As you roam equipped with a basket or bag cultivate gifts from the earth with care. The preference is to have most items be what has fallen to the ground. There might be isolated times when cutting a leaf might compliment the majority of items you procured from earth’s droppings.
Step 2 Create a Canvas – Find an open space where there is room to clear the ground of debris using a brush or your hand. Lay out all your findings and separate them in their groupings.
Step 3 Create Your Work of Art – The universe is constantly arranging itself into a work of art. Now is your time to create your artistic arrangement. This is similar to the act of creating a mandala which is an impermanent sacred space upheld in the Buddhist culture originating over 2,000 years ago. During this time remember “nature never hurries and everything gets accomplished” so take your time during this meditation in motion.
Step 4 Step Back, Share and Say Goodbye – Honor what you have created, take a picture to share with another and then walk away knowing that at any moment a wind or the stirrings of the world will wipe away the beauty you created. This experience cultivates the quality to embrace change.
John Muir said that everyone needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul alike. This practice of designing earth alters creates the conditions for communion with nature.