I was recently interviewed for a brief peice on herbal medicine for our local radio station. Of course, I spoke of the role of invasive species in nature and herbalism because they are at the forefront of my study and practice these days. Without doubt, my acceptance of these plants in our environment raised a small bit of controversy among those who feel we should try to eradicate these plants in order to restore our native ecosystem here in the Southeast where invasives are especially problematic.
Our romantic notion of an untouched native ecosystem is but a snapshot, a single moment in time. How did the same ecosystem manifest 1000 yrs prior? Before that? We accept those changes as the Earth's natural cycles, but once Western Man hit the scene the changes become much less acceptable to most. I think our ego requires that we be more than just part of the plan and that we have much more control over our environment than we really do. The moment Europeans hopped off of their boats onto this continent, bringing with them scads of foreign plants (whether intentional or on boot heels), the native ecosystem disappeared. It became the past.
The past...as much and as often as I like to visit that place in time, I can not turn myself towards it, trying to force it into reality once again. Nature isn't looking back. She is not trying to recreate or preserve her past, but moves forward on a winding path. One that we can not see the end of, if it indeed exists. We are on the same path, and can we not move forward with her or will we be left behind?
Our ideas and desires can not hold the universe static. Neither can our anger and indignation. No matter our involvement, or how much to "blame" we may be, the Earth is using these so called invasives for her own purposes. We fear the loss of the ecosystem we know. We fear the loss of species. Our fear rises into anger.
Anger can be a great motivator, but turning that anger on ourselves or Nature's intentions can only bring harm, so we must not stop there. As emotions travel up the energetic centers of the body they are transformed. As primal fear turns into visceral anger, so must it continue to move up through the heart center to be transformed into a more positive and healing emotion. Call it Love. Before emotions become action or intention they MUST move through the heart. Too often, this essential alchemy does not take place, and we find ourselves thinking and acting from the "bowels" of our conciousness, fear and anger. What greater good can we do ourselves and our planet than turn our negative emotions into healing love? Has anyone or anything ever been healed by anger or fear?
May the invasive plant species play a healing role for the heart of the Earth as well as our own. Their presence is a moment of choice for us, war or acceptance. A meditation on Love in practice.
Note: i do not want ot leave the impression that i do not acknowlege the damage, to man and earth, of the agro-military-industrial complex. I can not sit in a place of blame and anger, but try to look at the biggest picture I can see, and move forward into a place of healing and peace. This space must be created in our hearts before it can be manifested in the material world.
Find info on chakras, the energetic centers of our bodies I refer to, here.