Steps on the Pathway of Service.

'All our relations' is a famous phrase. It comes from the Lakota tribe of North America and invokes a profound truth our own culture has forgotten.

We are one big family. All of us who live on this Earth are brothers and sisters, whether we are human, animal, plant or mineral.

All of us are made out of atoms and molecules that came form the biosphere of this planet. Nothing about us is alien to this place. We didn't come into this world, we came out of it. We belong to this stunning marble in space, and so do all the other beings who live here with us.

Over centuries, perhaps millennia, we humans have got a little big for our boots. We have imagined that we are somehow separate from the Earth. We think the resources of our planet are here for us to use as we see fit. We believe that our big brains make us somehow superior to everybody else.

But we're not. The way we are treating our planet, our home, our Mother, is causing so much damage we are putting ourselves and many other species in danger. We are learning, rather late in the day, that everything is connected. When we destroy a habitat, a species, a landscape, we destroy a part of the planet's ecology, part of the living Earth, part of ourselves.


image posted by 'Aurora' on

We need to turn the course of history around. We need to find a way of living with each other and with all our relations. For the sake of all beings, we have to stop hurtling towards destruction and start moving towards life. We have to work towards the well being and the flourishing of all our relations.

I was discussing the badger cull with my husband just yesterday. He felt that the plight of the badgers was a small problem in comparison with the greater challenge of climate change, which is potentially vastly more destructive. My feeling is that both are a symptom of the same problem: we are using the Earth for monetary benefit rather than working for the good of all of us.

When we make decisions from the aim of maximum well being for all, the way becomes very clear. The choice between culling badgers and vaccinating them against bovine TB is simple. With vaccination, the badgers stay alive, the cows don't get sick, and the farmers can sell their beast at the market rate. The well being of all concerned is served.

The same goes for sinking oil or gas wells in pristine natural environments, whether that is the English countryside or a stretch of the Amazon rain forest. Destroying a landscape is not good for its plants, animals or humans. And the fossil fuels gained will cause problems on a vastly wider scale. The choice to leave the stuff in the ground should be obvious.

What would happen if we all began to live by this simple principle: to make decisions that will enhance the well being of all? What would our world look like? What would your life look like? What would you be doing with your time?

At this time of great need, we all need to think about this. Unfortunately, the work that allows us and our world to flourish doesn't usually bring any great returns. Artists and ritual makers will tell you this. But all our relations, all of life on this planet, needs for us to make the right choices.

Can you dedicate at least some of your time to helping the world flourish? I firmly believe that the best way to do this is to find the work that helps us flourish, too. What makes your heart sing? What work draws you? What is your passion? And how can you use that for the wellbeing of all your relations?

We flourish where our talents and the needs of the world meet. - after Caitlin Matthews.

Other resources

Finding meaningful work: 10 ways to recover a sense of calling in your life. Tips on how to listen for your own passions and preferences.

How to find your purpose and do what you love. Seven short pieces by well-known people about finding your purpose in life. See if any inspire you.

Jennifer Louden. This woman is responsible for much of my spiritual journey over the last 20 years. And she gets me through the nitty gritty of living from the heart day by day. The link goes to her blog.