Living Close to the Earth: 1 — Stretching Toward Radiant Health

This series of articles, the Light Morning Renewal Pages, is an attempt to clarify and communicate the vision and core values which anchor us here. “Living Close to the Earth” (which includes Stretching Toward Radiant Health; Working Close to Home; and Embracing the Earth) is followed by “A New Kind of Family” (which includes The Underlying Assumptions; Five Core Social Skills; and A Social Covenant) and “A Transformational Journey” (which includes The Soul Is Not Human; The Four Cairns; A Prayer Bead Necklace; and The Gift of Beauty). The series concludes (at least for now) with the account of a harrowing mid-winter pilgrimage, called “The Three-Legged Stool.”

Stretching Toward Radiant Health

Pink radiance
Pink radiance

Transformational journey, a new kind of family, living close to the Earth–simple phrases, subtle connotations. Living close to the Earth, for example, implies more than mere physical proximity. It suggests emotional intimacy. An intimate relationship with the Earth, therefore, would be one marked by, “a warm friendship developing through long association.”

What are the personal and global consequences of not having developed such a friendship with this planet, and how might we nurture one? A good place to start is close to home. For those who live at Light Morning, home is the wooded hills and valleys of the Blue Ridge mountains in southwest Virginia. We learn to love the Earth by learning to treasure this one, small, precious portion of it.

Even closer to home, we cherish the Earth by loving our bodies. For our body is the closest, most intimate connection that any of us will ever have with the living Earth. No one will truly care for the planet, or for the special place they call home, any more than they care for their own body.

We demonstrate our caring and affection for our bodies by stretching toward higher octaves of health. If we’re in poor health, we strive to get better. If we’re blessed with what passes for good health, we aim for radiant health.

Can you recall a time when you were really sick? How hard it was to remember, while lying in bed, what good health felt like? How far away it seemed? There’s a comparably vast distance between normal health and radiant health.

Perhaps the greatest obstacle to optimal wellness is that we have so few models for it, and that we have experienced it so rarely ourselves. It’s hard to stretch toward something if you don’t even know it exists.

In a recent dream, a future Hall of Fame cornerback for the Washington Redskins named Darrell Green was talking about the field of work he was planning to enter after his retirement from professional football. “It’s a field for which I am well-suited,” he said, “and the demand for it is growing exponentially.” He called it motivation training.

Motivation involves cultivating an evocative image of who and what we want to be. The image has to be personal and visceral, and it must be purged, gradually, of all hidden doubts and fears. Our motivation is, literally, what moves us to act. It is the want-to that precedes and energizes the how-to’s and makes them sustainable.

So what might motivate a person to craft such an evocative image and stretch toward radiant health? One compelling reason for doing so is that higher octaves of health yield higher octanes of energy. And since energy determines mood, and mood determines perception, and perception determines reality, then enhancing our health is one direct way of changing the world.

The how-to’s of optimal wellness are self-evident and hardly need elaboration. A healthy body requires sunlight, pure water, fresh air, and wholesome food, as well as sufficient rest and exercise. Living close to the Earth gifts us with direct access to these essential nutrients. If we are not fully utilizing them, we are likely suffering from a case of inadequate incentive and could probably use another round or two of “motivation training.”

Finally, there’s a direct correlation between a healthy body and a healthy mind. We can’t have one without the other. Excellent health, therefore, necessitates clarifying the mind. At a still deeper level, the duality of mind and matter is nothing more than an entrancing illusion. For energy is iridescent, the body/mind continuum is seamless, and the universe is playful. We experience radiant health by allowing this one, playful energy to move through us freely.