If you want something to reveal its secrets to you, love it. Cherish it so dearly through the intimacy of your attention that the world begins to spill out her secrets through the willingness of your presence. Only when you truly value what you wish to become, will the world, in turn, give herself to all your longings for the simple fact, she is so intimately loved.
I once was a land. I was made of it, and it was made of me. We were mud - a course mix of rain and dirt.
As a child, I became the acreage I lived on.
I became the mulberry bush and the wild silk moth. I became the skinned snake hung over the oil drum and the life-saving bushfire that cauterized the Land. I became the fuzzy-skinned peach tree and the vampire-toothed bullfrog. I became the bleached felt and the velvet dog who ribboned through it. I became the lightning-split Jacaranda and the borehole.
At the end of the day, there was very little to distinguish me from Land; both of us were sun’d, rough-soled, and fiercely self-willed.
We giggled as we threw helicopter seeds from treehouse platoons and hid from toothbrushes and tuck-ins behind jasmine bushes. We carefully nursed doomed birds in airless boxes with puddle water and worms and wandered too far too many times. We winked at each other like the only pair of jokers in a pack and watered the dry earth with our tears when dogs died.
And because I loved her, my land, she gave away all her secrets.
Land showed me that life and death are seamless; one folds in while the other simultaneously spills outward. She showed me how small I was - but also how the pith of the universe could fit inside the tiny rind of my body.
Years later when I returned, the farm I had grown up on had been shaved to leave only the bare prickled skin of a cancerous land, scarred with burnt tires and rusted cars. The land had been dilapidated by a lack of care and intimacy.
It became the person who inhabited it; a soulless junkyard where despair made all vegetation grow downwards.
Still, that lush land lives - its memory is not air but earth inside of me, directing my feet towards wonder and awe - towards a deep desire for union.
We become what we are intimate with. We are fleshed out by the skin grafts of our values and our intentions.
And ultimately, what we observe, in return, observes us.
The mineral in the stone sees the mineral in us - as does the water, the amphibian, the empty space, and the wild animal see itself in what we still are.
Everything is given life by our attention - and in return, we are given life by it. Life is a continual process of osmosis, pulling what’s outside, inward – making what’s inside manifest.
We seamlessly collapse in upon ourselves at the very same time we are blossoming out into the world.
In Aboriginal culture, to be Whole means to be in an intimate relationship with Country - but within that physical landscape lives non-matter elements; law, ecology, spirit, ancestors, songlines, sacred maps, and medicine - which then become metabolized by frequent visits to that land.
Without being able to return to Country, many First Nations people cannot return to the essence of who they are (which is why colonialized ‘land rights’ have felt like physical dismemberment to many Indigenous cultures)
Just as we revisit places we love, we meat-out that place with our love and attention. We are offered gifts in return for our presence. But what we often forget is that those places too, put flesh on our bones and we are loved by them in return.
This is no different from our psychological landscape. The thoughts, beliefs, concepts, and emotions that we visit most often are what make life either a dire struggle or a lighthearted curiosity.
So, when we want life to reflect our Wholeness or the essential nature of who we are - but we spend most of our attention on lack and separation, on anxieties and judgments, on past traumas and resisting what is – we become caught in a conflict between wanting change and needing to accept that we are the ones in need of it.
How can our world reflect what we are when we do not know what we are -when we do not spend time frequenting what we are, or loving ourselves into openness?
Living from our separate self gives us a life, a mind, and relationships that are closed and unreceptive. From this place, we choose belief systems that are governed by our inner orphan. The world then becomes unlovable, untouchable, and unwanted.
We avoid things because of our anxieties and depressions, we bend and contort into shapes that externally match our internal arid land. Suffering becomes an endless milestone by which our healing journey becomes measured. Questions are all we possess, and we seek to quench their insatiable thirst in spiritual practices that further parch, split, and ultimately, tame us.
Attention is reciprocal. It is relational. It is familial - and knows us.
So, go to places and create an intimate relationship with the beliefs you want to keep alive - and in return be brought to life by them.
Because the world opens doors to that which is deeply loved.
Questions for this week: What will you deeply value today? What kind of Land is creating you? What in the external world is reflecting an internal belief you have about yourself?