Follow, if you will, your own roots, down into darkness and rich Earth, part of a rhizomatous system of connection to all the persons, human and otherwise, with whom you share your life. Breathe in deeply, through your belly, pulling that life giving energy deep into, then through yourself, down through the Earth, where life is fed into the soils, and through that rhizome fed also to every other life. Allow that energy to nurture you and then travel through that system where it is most needed. Give freely of what feeds you, that all may be fed.
Consider, too, the way that your rhizome, that branching rootedness of and communication between lives, connects to your dead, your many ancestors. Feel that connection, and allow your breath, your drawing in of nurturance, to be released into your lineages, back and back and back, offering healing and wholeness to those who need it, feeding the life from which your life arose. Give freely of what feeds you, that all may be fed.
Explore the ways that your rhizome touches those who people the worlds, those who share in our living and in our belonging but are not themselves human. Sense into those shared spaces, the places and patterns that bring us into relationship, the complexities we may only dimly sense in what it means to be the oak outside our door, the waters rushing over the cupped Earth, mutually shaping, the microbiota inhabiting our own flesh. Breathe deep and allow that nourishment to flow into those connections, to offer well-being and honor your shared personhood to all those who are other than human who make up your world, and thus, in some ways, your own self. Give freely of what feeds you, that all may be fed.
There are so many, many ways we enrich and are enriched in turn through our participation in the cycles and communions of living and of dying. We are gifted such riches, and give of ourselves in return, simply by breathing in the air, drinking the waters, giving voice to what fills us. It is but a moment’s thought to extend a hand in gratitude, in kindness to another; perhaps a little bit harder sometimes to do so genuinely to ourselves and to those who wear our own shadows behind which it is harder to see their person. This cycle means accepting freely, too, as we are able to give to others the same space to share as we have taken for ourselves. Give freely of what feeds us, that all may be fed.
In my heart it is a murmur now, gently rising and falling as the leaves of the lilies that inspired it do in the edges of the waters on which they rest. There is a gladness in it, and a sorrow, too, just as there is in abundance and in life. I feel it take root in me like hope does, deep and branching, and I offer it as prayer and as gift. For I must also give freely of what feeds me, that all may be fed.
It is with deepest gratitude that I acknowledge that this writing and the practice it describes would not be without Robin Wall Kimmerer, of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation and botanist, for what I share here was inspired by The Consolation of Water Lilies in her gorgeous book Braiding Sweetgrass. I am so thankful for the beauty and wisdom and feeding of my own soul and life and roots. I encourage you all to read this book, or listen to the Audible version, which she narrates gorgeously herself. I thank her for her inspiration and her teaching.