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Celebrate Your Mother and Your Mother Earth
Spring’s renewal makes us grateful for the presence of both nature and nurture. We celebrate Mother Earth for her ability to fade winter’s cold darkness into the sunrise of a new season. In this time of rebirth, we also celebrate our own mothers, remembering those who planted our roots, tended our soil and watched us grow.
Just as mothers help provide nourishment, care, shelter, guidance and inspiration, it’s important to remember that Mother Earth offers these things and more every day as well.
“If we truly take a day out of the regular routine to examine how much we get from the natural world — the water we flush with, the sun that wakes us up, the food we eat, the wood used to build our house — we’ll recognize just how dependent we are on ‘Mother,’ no matter how much we think we’ve grown up,” says writer and Gaiam Life contributor Leslie Garrett. “It’s easy for us to lose sight of the fact that Mother Earth is our home. Time to pay her some overdue homage.”
“Given that spring is about rebirth, and we have our moms to thank for that birth, why not consider activities that celebrate the creation of life,” suggests Garrett, author of The Virtuous Consumer: Your Essential Shopping Guide for a Better, Kinder, Healthier World and the children’s book EarthSmart: How to Take Care of the Environment.
With Earth Day earlier this month and Mother’s Day coming up this weekend, here are some ways to honor Mother Earth and the women in your life — the mothers, grandmothers, sisters, wives and friends who are nurturing to you and the people you love:
Plant a garden or a tree
Spring is the season for rejuvenation, so what a perfect opportunity to give life back to the earth. Spend an afternoon gathering your materials, preparing your plot and working in the soil. Gardening can be meditative and therapeutic, but also lends itself to teamwork, teaching and learning. Learn time-treasured green thumb techniques from your mother, and teach her a few of your own organic tricks. Show her some of the new and green methods that you have tried or heard about. Don’t have a desire to dig in the dirt? Save a tree instead. Instead of buying books, magazines and newspapers, utilize your local library to borrow and share with your community.
Cook a local and seasonal meal
A trip to the famers’ market on a Saturday morning is all the inspiration you will need to put together a healthy and fresh spring brunch or dinner. Get some new menu ideas from the farmers, or get inspired to reinvent an old family recipe. If possible, enjoy the meal outside and let every part of the season create an experience for all your senses — how do the cherry blossoms smell, and what do they look like against the bright blue sky? What does the breeze feel like and how soft is its whisper? Now, what does your food taste like?
Take a walk and pack a picnic
“In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.” The words of John Muir are still true today, especially when you take time to get away from life’s busy occupations and surrender yourself to the serenity and wisdom of Mother Earth. On a nice day, pack a picnic of fresh bread, sliced tomatoes, cheese, nuts and some refreshing fruit. Choose any combination of food that will leave you feeling satisfied yet light and energized. Pack sustainable plates and utensils to enjoy an eco-friendly meal. Find a trail and walk. Slow down, stop frequently, enjoy. Once you come upon a place that invites you to sit and rest, stop and lay out your picnic blanket.
Get inspired together
Nature is known for its gifts of solace, imagination and inspiration. Getting outside with someone and sharing creativity will foster more and more of the same enthusiasm for expression. Go somewhere beautiful in nature with someone you love. Paint a landscape. Photograph a flower. Fill pages of a blank book with poetry or quotes that you share with one other. Listen to or play music that resonates with your surroundings. Lie on your backs and discuss the shapes of clouds. Close your eyes and breathe in the moment.
Embrace green living
It can be overwhelming to commit to a more sustainable way of life. It’s important to be aware that people have different habits, depending on their location and generation. You can help everyone around you become more mindful of taking care of Mother Earth, and others can help you. If your children or your parents don’t know how to recycle properly or don’t understand what composting is, share your knowledge with them. Help each other create a more sustainable living space for a more natural and light existence. Buy safe and environmentally conscious household goods to keep your home healthy, clean and green. Save earth’s resources and your money with energy-efficient lighting systems. Allow others to show you new and innovative ways of green living in your home, at work and with daily tasks.
Turn memories into new treasures
Creativity doesn’t have to be made from scratch. While you may be mastering the practice of reducing and recycling, pay attention to new ways that you can be reusing. If your mother kept boxes filled with your childhood clothes, craft projects or stuffed toys, take some time to go through them with her or someone you can reminisce with. It’s fun to be reminded of your childhood memories, and you can decide what you want to keep, what you are ready to get rid of, and also what you can turn into something else. This way you can simplify while being innovative. Why buy something new when you already have it? That old sweater has the potential to be a pillow. Reuse and revive.
Give conscious gifts
Whether they are for function or comfort, give gifts that keep on giving. Comfy shirts, cozy robes, soft linens and thick towels are some of the small pleasures of daily living and central pieces of personal care, but not all fabric is created equal. Try to buy organic and fair-trade materials whenever possible to support the resources and people of the earth. Commit to giving green for the earth and for the ones you love.
Adopt an area
You don’t need put your name on the side of a highway to commit to clearing away its trash. Pick a spot that means a lot to you. Maybe it’s a favorite hiking trail that you used to take with your mom or a city park where you played with your sister. It could be your grandmother’s backyard or your friend’s family lake house. It could even be a road, to anywhere. Once or twice a year, commit to visiting that place and removing its impurities. Share this endeavor with others and vow to do your part in keeping Mother Earth as pristine as possible.