When I started training to become a Nature Therapy Guide one word that came up on a frequent basis was “reciprocity”. The mutual exchange between two parties. In the context of my training it’s been about the relationship had with the more than human world and looking at what I, or indeed any of us, receive from nature and what we can offer back in return.
I once read that if we were to eliminate every insect on the planet today, at best, mankind would have 50 years left. If, however, every human were to be eliminated today the natural world would go on indefinitely. What that suggests is we take far more than we give from the planet and more than human world. It isn’t a balanced, reciprocal relationship.
The state of the planet is a scary one and can seem overwhelming and daunting. Big numbers get quoted and as individuals we cower away in corners. I mean what difference can little old me make? Actually quite a big one. Our charity partner, the Global Wildlife Rescue Project, has some fantastic advice on their Making A Difference blog. Check it out ….
Frequent readers of this blog will know that, living by the coast, I spend a lot of time walking along the beach and talking to the sea. When people let me down, she never fails to be a constant source of support. She has given so much to me and I often question what I can do in return? The answer she offers is to just look after her. As I walk along the beach each day I’ve now set myself the small challenge to collect at least 3 pieces of litter and put them in the bin. The good days are when I don’t see 3 pieces to pick up … on the bad days I feel like I turn into Orinoco or Great Uncle Bulgaria! It’s a little thing – but I know it makes a difference and I know it is appreciated by the sea.
Reciprocity isn’t just something for your relationships with the more than human world. It goes for all relationships that you have. Maybe there are some that you give with little reciprocity in return? I know for sure I have some of those. Maybe there are some that you receive more than you ever offer in return? I know I’m guilty of some of these too. It’s something that has been playing on my mind a lot recently. The need to achieve balance in the give and take in life. Let’s be clear – I’m not saying you should always expect something in return for a good deed. I know that’s not the case. But these is a need for self care. The need to sometimes say “no”, to put your own needs first. To look after you because, as L’Oreal says … you’re worth it.
Invitation: Think of the relationships in your life – with the human and more than human world. I wonder how you can seek to make them reciprocal?
If you feel moved to take this invitation, I invite you to share what you are noticing below.