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Having a “place” is easy to take for granted.
Many of us move all around our place (and indeed, many places!) for work, school, life’s necessities, and even leisure and relaxation. We are clearly a species that moves around a lot—and to many different places.
But what really is place? What is our connection to place?
In researching and writing Y on Earth, I became convinced that our connection to place is essential to cultivating a culture of sacred sustainability. That is, a culture in which we cultivate health and well-being in our lives and homes, and care about—as stewards of our environs—our impacts on all of the people living on this beautiful, sacred planet, our home, Earth.
Try this with me:
Close your eyes for a few seconds and envision your home.
What are you seeing? Is it your house, condo, or apartment? Perhaps a room within it? The yard or gardens near it? Are you picturing your region? Your continent? Perhaps even the entire globe?
Here’s the thing—our home is all of these: those individual abodes we call “home,” the neighborhoods, towns, and cities we call “home,” the regions we call “home,” and yes, the entire planet Earth.
All of it is our home.
Oikos, in the ancient Greek language, also means home.
And, it’s the root word from which we get the words ecology and economy. Oikos, we could say, is all about us, and occupies nearly all of our thought and activity, one way or another. And, as it turns out, it is exactly in our work of regeneration and stewardship, at the nexus of ecology and economy, where the key lies to a sustainable future.
It is our work at home.
So how about our place in all of this? How is it that cultivating a deep, deliberate, and caring connection to our place is essential to getting smarter, feeling better, and healing the planet? How is it essential to creating the culture and future we really want—of sacred sustainability?
How, you might ask, do we deepen our connection to place?
There are too many strategies, techniques, and life-hacks to enumerate here, in this short article.
But to be sure, contemplating where our drinking water comes from—how it gets to us—is one. Walking in the woods and parks, beneath towering, living trees is another. And digging our hands into the dirt is essential to this practice of connecting with place. It’s a deliberate and delightful practice.
I hope you’ll continue deepening your relationship with your place—your oikos—as we work together to cultivate a culture of sacred sustainability.
Or, as that great nature-mystic-poet-sage Gary Snyder tells us:
“Find your place on the planet. Dig in, and take responsibility from there.”
For more life-hacks and culture-cracks for health, well-being, and sustainability, check out Aaron’s new book, Y on Earth. Available at yonearth.world in both paperback and ebook formats.
Author: Aaron Perry
Image: Author’s Own; Ivana Bugarinovic/Flickr
Editor: Catherine Monkman