Sustain-ability: Looking Down at your Own Ground

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I grew up in the US Desert Southwest. That means that I'm used to huge skies and really wide open desert vistas. Dramatic mountains and rock formations and few trees to block the view. As the song goes, I can see for miles and miles. However, when I moved near the coast, I found the ocean a lot less easy to deal with. It's as huge and wide, but it's not as familiar or comfortable. So for the first couple of years of visiting the ocean, I would find myself inevitably staring at my feet, looking at pebbles and sand and shells. I'd have to force myself to look up and out at the massive crazy sea. I'm better now, but I wonder if water to the horizon will ever feel as normal or natural as sand.

My old stomping grounds...
When you need to push your boundaries, expand your consciousness, think bigger, you need to look up and away -- to take the wide and long view. What you see might be familiar and comfortable or new and strange, but to look out to the edge of what you can see is a powerful tool for magical and personal growth.

But when you want to accomplish stuff, you need to look right down at your own patch of sand.

Oceans and deserts are inherently beautiful. I recommend looking at both as much as you can. But the long-view social and political landscape isn't in nearly as good shape. There's a lot to worry about and a lot to complain about. And let's be honest, you're not going to change it. Just like you can't clean up the ocean or protect the entire desert all by yourself either.

Yes, I know, change starts with a single step. But you take that step on your own ground -- where your feet are. You make a tiny local change and then get other people around you involved. And yes, it can grow bigger, big enough to change the whole world... but it may not. Not everyone gets to be Rosa Parks (or Gavrilo Princip for that matter -- there are all kinds of change, you know).

Still if you can change your own world that's a lot. Here are some things that I did or do to change my tiny corner of the world:

  1. Changed from a big bank to a local credit union (and considering recent headlines, I'm doubly glad we did).
  2. Buy from and cultivate relationships with local farmers.
  3. Cast enchantment over my family and our little patch of earth at every available opportunity.
  4. Grow things.
  5. Reach out to all kinds of entities in my environment to create relationships.
  6. Donate money to combat homelessness and make offerings to local spirits for help.
  7. Work magic for local criminal cases (to get criminals caught or for justice).
  8. Enchant for local candidates and legislation that I support (the key is local).
Is that as glamorous as averting the invasion of the Nazis? Maybe not. Though I'd participate in that if asked. Still, it's the change you can actually make and it's change that really matters. The people on your local school board, the arsonist who hasn't been caught, the folks sleeping on the streets, the money that goes back into your community, the farmers who nourish your town -- all of these matter to your and your family and your PLACE.

So look up and away to the far distances. But when it's time to act, you might do better looking down at your own ground.

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  1. Thank you Ivy for bringing responsibility to the discussion. My offerings to Spirit of Place are often simply to pick up trash. 💚🌎

    1. That's a great one. There are also park and river front cleanups around here. Lots of great ideas to connect with the place you live!

  2. Thank you Ivy for bringing responsibility to the discussion. My offerings to Spirit of Place are often simply to pick up trash. 💚🌎

  3. I like that you did not just write a definition,but actually illustrated your relationship with the spirit of place. Especially the practical applications, one of the things I have learned through my own spiritual relationships is that the division between this and the "other" is permeable.

    1. Thanks! To me the practical is a window to the spiritual (which is why in my world offerings needs to be real and words spoken aloud).


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