Inspiring Change

Tuning to Our Instinct for Reciprocity
Owl peeking out from behind a tree in the forest

When our line of connection to other living beings is dimmed, our access to the understanding of the relationships and joy available to us in nature becomes limited. Inherent in connection is the possibility for reciprocity and thus for mutual enhancement, mutual enchantment, and mutual healing. The essence of reciprocity is each giving the other something in return, with both parties enriched in some way. It can be a person helping a dolphin ensnared in a net who then returns to thank the person who freed it. It can be a chance meeting in the forest where human eyes meet those of a wild one. It can be a whale mother bringing her baby to meet humans. Beneath the specifics of any such encounter, there is an energy exchange that moves us profoundly, adding meaning to our lives. An exchange that gives us the feeling of awe, wonder, delight, and most importantly, the urge to protect.

Many of us experience this reciprocity with our dogs and cats, each contributing to the well-being of the other. Caressing our pets has multiple positive effects; a sense of companionship, decreasing heart rate, increasing immune functions and more—on both sides. What our acculturation prevents us from realizing and tuning to is that some form of reciprocity or energy exchange is available between us and any other life form, with similar effects. A solution to our current problems is to spend more time, resources, and education promoting reciprocal relationships rather than transactional relationships based only on our own needs. They don’t really nourish us, and they also don’t work in the long run. We have seen the results. Conversely, if we support a major change in how we see our relationship with nature, that would provide a path out of our environmental problems—in addition to helping us become infinitely happier.

Once we are opened to the potential for connection, we can begin to explore it and bring it into reality. Without knowing something is possible, we can’t even imagine it. It is the mission of Earthfire to shine light on the endless, rich, exciting connections available to us in nature, and what that means for our personal lives, our health, our joint environmental decision-making, and our future.

All of us have had experiences of reciprocity between ourselves and nonhuman beings. Often, when we turn our attention to them, we remember more and more. This is the food of Life; what brings us joy and meaning. It is good to move those experiences from the background of our awareness and let them live in the forefront; to allow them to infuse us with the sense of the beauty in life and have them guide how we live and the choices we make.

We would love to have you share your experiences. Do contact us.

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