The popular expression, “there is no place like home” can echo deep within the fiber of our beings. Remembering our homes intuitively invokes a sense of place for many of us. A sense of place or rootedness can awaken feelings of comfort, love, belonging, peace and security like returning to the familiar surroundings of our family home after a long journey.
In a global society that has virtually gone “mobile,” we often struggle to reclaim this sense of place. People sometimes move from their ancestral homes to seek jobs or experience different cultures with memories of their familial home and the nearby natural landscape remaining a part of their personal and cultural identities.
A sharing of being often happens between places and people. Places transmit the energies of people, Nature, history and culture. Likewise, people carry the energies of places as parts of their being.
When I return to my place of birth, Niagara Falls, I feel compelled to visit my familial home, childhood friends and the state park adjacent to the Falls. While I was growing up, I spent many afternoons sitting by the river in that park. The time that I spent connecting with the river, the wind and the trees became a wellspring of solace. Reconnecting with this extraordinarily beautiful region of the Earth continues to be a mighty source of serenity, strength and purity for me.
Over the past several years, I have been fortunate to participate in ceremonies with the Q’ero elders from the Andes Mountains in Peru. Upon opening sacred space in magnificent natural settings with my indigenous brothers and sisters, I experienced an extraordinary sense of being in a special place that surpassed any experience of being in Nature that I have previously felt.
I have immediately sensed the respect and sacred relationship that indigenous cultures have for the spirits in all places in Nature especially those from their homeland that they have mentioned during the many ceremonies. Resonating with their great appreciation has heightened my perceptions and transformed my sense of place to one of unity and interconnectedness with Pachamama.
Perhaps it is a lack of rootedness and sense of place that leads many people to have feelings of fear, anxiety, isolation, and physical disembodiment from ourselves and the Earth, and subsequently to environmental degradation. It could be that recapturing our sense of place will enable us to undo the “tragedy of the commons.” The tragedy of the commons occurs when a few individuals neglect the well-being of the whole or a large number of people in the pursuit of personal gain.
One of our indigenous partners, the Achuar people in the Amazon rainforest, are an excellent example of indigenous people throughout the world who are working to preserve their deep connections to their ancestral lands and maintain their sense of place. However, we can’t leave it up to indigenous folks to restore this relationship between people and place. Each one of us can contemplate what it means to restore our sense of place on Earth.
Even if it is not possible to return to our places of birth, we can recover our sense of place right where we are. And, we can support our indigenous partners all over the world who live in some of the most biodiverse regions of the Earth sustain their sense of place for the good of all of Pachamama.
A powerful way to recover our sense of place is to register for the upcoming Game Changer Intensive. This seven week online course is designed to enable us to get grounded in who we need to be, what we need to know, and how we need to proceed to be effective, pro-active creators of the future we want. Arm yourself with the courage and resources to stay in the game with power, purpose, partnership, and love.