Last Wednesday my daughter-in-law asked her two boys, 8-year-old Jules and just-turned-5 Theo, what they did in school that day. The voices from both ends of the table piped out, "Earth Day!" Theo added, "Mother Earth takes care of us, so we need to take care of her."
I thought it was a good time for GranMillie (that's what the grandkids call me) to enlarge their world a bit, so I said,
"When I lived in Cochabamba, Bolivia, the people there always took some food off their plate and gave it to Pachamama before they began eating."
Older-brother Jules: "Who's Pachamama?"
GranMillie: "It's their name for Mother Earth."
Jules: "Where did they put the food they gave her?"
GranMillie: "You know, I really don't remember."
Theo: "I'd dig a hole and bury it. That way the animals wouldn't eat it, and it would really give food to Mother Earth. Yep, I'd bury it."
So much for me enlightening them. The kids made it real.
I know that even today the Quechua people revere Pachamama as the powerful queen of nature. They know that she can cause problems when she is not treated well. When we take too much from her and do not give to her, she can make the earth quake.
The 7.8 earthquake in Nepal brings Pachamama front and center to me. True, Kathmandu is on a fault line, and there have been predictions of impending quakes. But I wonder...
Does the flapping of a butterfly's wings in Texas truly affect the weather in Brazil? Is fracking in Pennsylvania upsetting Pachamama?
I am not a physicist nor a seismologist, nor am I Quechua, so I don't know.
Maybe I'll ask Theo for his wisdom.
Mindfulness. What is it, anyway -- The latest buzz word to get us ahead? In upcoming blogs, I'll write more about mindfulness and about two ways of being more present to ourselves and to our immediate situation. Look for CSEE's (Center for Spiritual & Ethical Education) work with teachers and teens and for Anne Jolles' GRACE Trail.