Creating connections through the arts and across cultures

Earth Hour Blog Duet with Susan Tweit: Why Symbolic Actions Matter

Symbolism is the tool of the poet, the visionary, the dreamer, the prophet, the priestess, the medicine woman, world healers and healers all over the world, ritualists, ceremonialists, performance artists, theater folks, and...yes, activists!

Susan Tweit and I have been continuing our conversation on returning reverence and creativity to your daily life. Particularly, we've been chatting about why symbolic actions, like earth hour, have power and meaning...why symbolic actions matter and are part of the change we seek.

As Susan says on her blog, Community of the Land:

Such "Earth Moments" can nurture our heads and hearts, and fill our souls with peace. With grace, with joy. To observe an Earth Moment is to engage in living prayer, as the poet Mary Oliver writes in Thirst,

. . . the doorway
into thanks, and a silence
into which another voice may speak.

It's like falling in love with life all over again.

Gateway Canyons Casita Western Colorado Folks and Richard (left)
Gateway Canyons Casita where Susan Tweit & family spent the night of Earth Hour. Her folks are on the right and her husband Richard is on the left. The snowy top of the Uncompahgre Plateau is in the background and part of Sewemup Mesa on the right. (Photo by Susan Tweit)

I love Susan's grounded wisdom and lyrical nature. The casita is heart's desire with it's tinyness next to the rising mesa.

We both believe that symbolic actions have power and meaning. Symbolism is the tool of the poet, the visionary, the dreamer, the prophet, the priestess, the medicine woman, world healers and healers all over the world, ritualists, ceremonialists, performance artists, theater folks, and...yes, activists!

Chatting by email, Susan agrees that symbolic actions have power "because in the doing them, we shift our own way of seeing the world and the habits we practice."

In Susan's Earth Hour with her family in remote Western Colorado which she describes fulsomely on Community of the Land, they communed with red rock mesas and "myotis bats fluttering through the night air in search of early spring insects, and three ravens in croaking conversation that echoed off the cliff walls, and a screech owl called once from down by the Dolores River. There's a kind of magic that happens when we stop to listen to the pulse of nature and the sounds of other species." Without cellphone of internet connection, they could focus on this magic and emerge refreshed and renewed.

I recall long stretches of time in Africa where the only lights were stars, piercing into our souls from the darkest of night skies. Once, around a campfire with a truck broken down in the desert, we looked up at that night sky, all worries about repair and rescue quenched, singing!

Yes! Keep a poem in your pocket. Read a poem a day. Step outside to breathe in our connection with all beings. Remember that symbolic actions matter, inside and outside.

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2 Responses »

  1. Janet, I love the image of you in Africa singing around the campfire under the stars, never mind the truck that needed repair, living in the moment the universe gave you! It's your ability to take in the moment and revel in it, to make connections fearlessly and with love, that makes Riehllife such an inspiring and rich blog. Thanks for including me in your village of wisdom!

    Susan
    http://susanjtweit.com

  2. Janet,

    I enjoyed reading the article your father submitted about my Dad in this morning’s Telegraph. I talked to Dad this afternoon and let him know it had been published. He seemed to get a real kick out of reading it.

    Please pass my thanks along to your father.

    Dennis

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