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Earth Rise (View of Earth from space)

Spirituality as a Practice of Awareness

“Dear Mother, wherever there is soil, water, rock or air, you are there, nourishing me and giving me life. You are present in every cell of my body. My physical body is your physical body, and just as the sun and stars are present in you, they are also present in me. You are not outside of me and I am not outside of you. You are more than just my environment. You are nothing less than myself.

I promise to keep the awareness alive that you are always in me, and I am always in you. I promise to be aware that your health and well-being is my own health and well-being. I know I need to keep this awareness alive in me for us both to be peaceful, happy, healthy, and strong.

Sometimes I forget. Lost in the confusions and worries of daily life, I forget that my body is your body, and sometimes even forget that I have a body at all. Unaware of the presence of my body and the beautiful planet around me and within me, I’m unable to cherish and celebrate the precious gift of life you have given me. Dear Mother, my deep wish is to wake up to the miracle of life. I promise to train myself to be present for myself, my life, and for you in every moment. I know that my true presence is the best gift I can offer to you, the one I love.”

This excerpt from the late Thich Nhat Hanh’s letter “Beloved Mother of All Things” from his Ten Love Letters to the Earth reminds me of the power of the connection between spirituality and environmental education. It is through spirituality that I believe we can remember over and over again to be aware of our connection to creation, that we can “wake up to the miracle of life.” Through each of our own spiritual practices and beliefs, we can all “train [ourselves] to be present for [ourselves], [our lives], and for [Mother Earth] in every moment.”

I am Jenna Hoover, a K-12 water educator on Tongva land (colonized as Montclair, CA) and one of your three moderators of the new eePRO group Spirituality and EE. Through my work, I am committed to creating spaces of belonging, connection, and mutual care with the community of creation. I am also committed to learning and growing in the expansion and application of my faith through the work of Liberated Together and Reclaiming My Theology.

Along with my fellow moderators, I am excited and grateful to dig deeper into how we can all grow as environmental educators and people as a whole through discussions, resources, and virtual and in-person meet-ups. If you haven’t already, we’d love for you to join the group so you can see the discussion posts and contribute.

Excited to walk with you all as we learn and grow together.