You are a beneficial organism on the Earth. Like the trees that hold private conversations underground, in secret correspondence with the damp and living mycelium. The trees know how to shift resources to the ones who are ill, they know how to communicate the name of an intruder. The Tree People know they are beneficial, and will gift nourishment to the species that do their growing early in the season, knowing they will be nourished in their time of need. They are defined and sustained by their relationships, by their giving and receiving. You are a beneficial organism. You presence is not a mistake. Your task, uniquely your own, part of the greater whole. Somewhere along the line (we can trace it back if need be) you stopped defining yourself by your glorious creation. When did it end-showing people the insides of your mouth to demonstrate the amazing nature of your teeth? What was the moment of fracture that impaired your view, causing anxious critique of your work instead of celebration and laughter? When did you begin to shape your sense of self by your deficits rather than your aptitude? And for certain, I know that you have many moments of honest self-praise and recognition. I also understand that we would never ever say yes to schedules that failed to respect our bodies’ genuine needs, we would never settle for the passion draining out of our lives, we would never modify a calorie count nor would we artificially hold something in or bar something out unless we felt that, at some level, we were on treacherous ground. And so what is needed is to come home to that ground, to get to know that She is full of life and wisdom and void of treachery. Almost universally, when I begin my work with women, they don’t see themselves as beneficial to the Earth. “How do you know your value,” I ask them, “in the absence of anyone there to reflect it back to you?” It’s not an easy question. Most of us who came up through Western culture were not taught that the Earth is alive, that She is a sacred, living other with whom we have the privilege and possibility of making deep and magical relationship. What I can tell you is this-in my experience, forming a genuine relationship with the Earth not just as a ‘thing’ but as conscious as you or I, is the healing and joy we are so starved for. Within her, we find our Original Self. And so my gesture today bears a request: that you find a bit of Earth and make it a place of loving, ritual exchange. Bless it by bringing seed for the winged ones, by picking up trash that happens to land there. You can sing the song of your heart or leave a strand of your hair. Tell Her your story and listen for Hers. When making your offerings, it is so very important that you allow yourself to receive. When we go outside, our energy fields are cleansed by the benevolent nature spirits that are found everywhere. Similar to when you receive a hug from a human-there’s a way to receive the hug that has you sort of absent and in exit, and there is a way to fully allow yourself to open, to let it sink it. Let the song of the Earth sink in to your being, let fill the depths of your belly and the mystery of your womb. Let your soul become one with hers. Arrive home to the natural symbiosis of your being. Once you form this deep, love relationship with the Earth, your Spirit will never carry a doubt about how beneficial you are, and how much your particular medicine is needed here.