Good news: We live in a world that's alive. Not a flat, dead environment filled with mechanical objects bumping in to each other, but a living orchestra of form and spirit.
And everyone who is here--literally everyone, from stones to dandelions to congresspeople--comes from somewhere. Every being who is represented at this moment in body is fed by a watershed of those who proceeded them, those energies and beings and patterns that came before. Not just humans, but the whole world is ancestored.
Many beings, I would say most beings, outside of many groups of humans, know well how to be in this reality. When a fox walks in a forest where their people have walked and hunted, an individual fox knows how and when to open to collective foxness--to access that broader watershed. And fox survives because of it. We've all had experiences of trees, animals, birds, where we suddenly felt like not only a single crow, but All Crows were looking back at us.
Knowing how to access the energies that feed us comes naturally and essentially for most beings. The stones never try to be separate from the many eons that created them, the earth in which they came to be.
However, many humans, most deeply Europeans and many others who we've poisoned or traumatized, can no longer remember how to tend or relate with the spirit that feeds us in a good way.
This is true for relating directly with our human ancestors in spirit, and it's also true for relating directly with the many beings who we share life with, the land where we are, and all those to whom we're inextricably tied.
Beginning to re-enter consciously the hoards of relationships we're already in, to all the beings, can be overwhelming, too. And we may feel at a cultural loss for how to even speak when so much has happened, so much gone wrong. When the disconnect feels so great.
But no matter our discomfort, there is a growing imperative that we re-awaken to the reality that the world is alive. That we learn, painfully if needed, how to thank the waters for the gift of life. How to bless and thank our food. How to hear the communications of others, of our more-than-human kin who we (again, mostly European humans) have put in such dire straits.
So I want to offer a frame here, a frame for prayer. Into which can be woven anything that is true for your heart, any true longing or grief.
Prayer is one way that we can re-enter the conversation, that we can show up to the table of this Alive World and begin to remember how to be in more conscious relationship.
We show up, and we want to speak respectfully. We also want to speak honestly. Honesty, respect, and tender listening are some of the best ingredients to bring to any new relationship, no?
Wherever you are on your path of remembrance, relationship building, here is a frame for prayer you can try on.
To pray to an energy or being you'd like to be in relationship with, or whose help you need:
1. Greet/Lovingly give thanks
3. Share intention
4. Ask for help
5. Make commitment
6. Pause and listen
7. Give thanks again
This might sound like:
Hello, oak, this morning. Thank you for being here.
You are so good, you are so steady, and your presence so old. I can tell you know a lot. I'm honestly nervous to even speak to you! Because you seem to be such an elder.
I'm renting this house near where you stand. I am endeavoring my best to remember how to be a whole human, in this time of great sickness, with which you are undoubtedly familiar. I am trying to remember how to be in relationship.
Could you help me? Will you relate with me, allow me to praise and speak to you?
Could you, even, possibly, bless and protect my house and my family from where you stand? I can tell that your power is great.
I devote myself to helping you with any messages you can get across to me, any favors you ask. I will let your duff and acorns accrue, I won't sweep them away, because I imagine you don't like to be naked like that. I'll do my best to live by whatever you honor me with as teachings.
(Listen. Try not to stress about hearing things or making them up or not. You just make a space for a response in case there is one--there may not always be one, or you may not be able to perceive it for awhile, that's okay).
Thanks for talking, wishing you health and goodness.
There are many ways, but the best prayers come directly from the heart. So okay to show up and just cry for awhile, or come to an interaction and feel at a loss for words. Just as with a human, how different does it feel to have someone say to you: wow, I am feeling so many big feelings I'm not even sure how to express myself to you. Instead of keeping things corked up and just moving on without acknowledgement.
We're in the long game. Relationships take time, and effort, and love, and devotion. But beginning them may be simpler than you think.