My life, and the work I do, is inspired by my connection with Nature — entraining in her cycles and rhythms, living in right relationship with Mother Earth, healing physically and spiritually through that connection, sharing Earth Medicine and wisdom with others, and learning how we can live and thrive from the Principles of Nature itself (the latter being a core concept in both PSYCH-K® and PER-K®).
Today I heard an amazing example of the extraordinary restorative power of Nature, which demonstrates at least two of the Principles of Nature: resilience and adaptation.
We have all seen how quickly Nature can rewild and restore after devastation and disaster: the lodgepole pines that quickly grow after forest fires; the native grasses, plants, and fungi that flourished after the Mount St Helens eruption… or even this small example from my own neighbourhood, where an old railway track (soon to be dismantled and converted to an urban greenway) is an abundant source of wild plants and shrubs. Many of them are edible and/or medicinal, such as blackberry, horsetail, salal, wild mustard, plantain, St John’s Wort and dandelion.
Many plants are known to be healers of the soil itself, such as Scotch broom and many other scrappy plants we see in rough barren areas, restoring nutrients and acting to preserve the soil. And some are known for their phytoremediation abilities, i.e. decontamination of soil, such as various brassica, corn, and ragweed which can reduce lead content in the soil.
But what of man-made disasters? How does Nature demonstrate resilience or adaptability against catastrophic change and contamination? How does Nature heal the devastation of chemical pollution, of nuclear waste? How can it detoxify radioactive soil?
And then I heard about efforts in Chernobyl and Fukushima which fill my heart with hope and joy.
Nature can help us in ways we can’t even imagine.
“Koyu Abe, chief monk at the Buddhist Joenji temple has been distributing sunflowers and their seeds to be planted all over Fukushima. The plants are known to soak up toxins from the soil, and patches of sunflowers are now growing between buildings, in backyards, alongside the nuclear plant, and anywhere else they will possibly fit. At least 8 million sunflowers and 200,000 other plants have been distributed by the Joenji Buddhist temple. “We plant sunflowers, field mustard, amaranthus and cockscomb, which are all believed to absorb radiation,” Abe says.”
Hemp is another plant known for its phytoremediation qualities, as demonstrated by successful trials in Chernobyl following its 1986 nuclear disaster.
And while I have to believe the way forward is to AVOID these types of disasters in the future through careful and mindful stewardship of our environment (including other ways of generating energy through natural sources such as solar, water or wind power), there is some comfort in knowing that the resilience and adaptability of Gaia — Pachamama, Mother Earth, Mother Nature, Mama Earth, Spirit, Flow…. whatever name we choose to call Her — can find a way to heal and restore our blessed planet after we humans have made a mess of things.
Thank you Mother Nature for the restorative gifts and beauty of the sunflower, field mustard, amaranthus, hemp, cockscomb and other plants.