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A Joyful Path, Year Three – Week 33: Healing Self And Planet — Story: How Can We Heal?

For Classroom or Home School



Week 33: Spring
Lesson 27: Healing Self and Planet

I bring healing to myself and Earth

Getting to the Heart of the Lesson

IMPORTANT: This lesson is intended for teachers and students who are in white bodies and identify as white. If this is not you, you may wish to skip this lesson and find something fun and healthy for your bodies — a picnic, a dance party, painting a mural or visiting a favorite park, etc. Alternatively, please choose any lesson you wish to visit again and share the activity/exploration activity you did not select the first time.

In Lesson 7, we talked about honoring and listening to Ancestors. We explored ways of welcoming and receiving a more conscious connection with our ancestors (especially if this was a new practice for us). In this lesson, Healing Self and Planet, we are focusing on times when our actions – as a human species – have caused harm. We know when one lashes out to do harm, it is most often rooted in a memory of being harmed. A strange cycle unfolds when, because we experienced pain, we inflict the pain on someone or something else.

You may be intimately familiar with this cycle in your own family of origin. At its most personal, this pain cycle is treated through practices such as twelve-step programs, stress reduction, anger management and other programs to raise awareness and end domestic violence. In this lesson we will be looking farther back, exploring the historical complexity of our ancestors and ways we can bring healing to ourselves in the present and for future generations, thereby healing Earth. A Joyful Path, Year 3 repeatedly invites us to embrace our relationship with Life and with Earth. This divine kinship, despite centuries of schooling suggesting otherwise, cannot be held as separate.

Many of us are looking for ways to acknowledge our ancestors’ wrong-doings and make reparations. Across cultures and countries, the colonizers are pursuing healing and reparations with Indigenous

people. Citizens of the United States are asking for reparations for the African-American people who were enslaved, lynched and who, years after the civil rights movement, continue to experience oppression on many levels.

This is painful and complicated work. This work would not be happening right now if humans were not ready for this monumental task of reflection and action. In all of it, we can trust that our ancestors are present. Earth is present. Spirit is present. It is through their nudges and insistence that we are being called to listen, reconcile and strengthen our bond with one another on Earth, as well as with our ancestors in the realms Beyond. Let us come home to the deep love Earth has for us and we have Earth, our home!

Teacher Reflection/Activity

Some reading and a 10-20 min exercise (more if you have time and wish to take it) so you are able to experience the teachings offered through this lesson.

Below are two ways to carry yourselves, through a process to arrive more informed and prepared to talk with your class about a social reality that carries a great deal of emotion. If you only have time for one, please consider the reflections in Option 2. If you have time and interest, please do both exercises. For this week’s Classroom Exploration/Activity One, you will need to familiarize yourselves with Option 1.

For Both Exercises —In a way that feels right and comfortable for you, request the support of benevolent ancestors. They do not need to be your biological relatives, or even fellow humans. Call on the ones who inspire you, the beings you feel can offer the most guidance and support right now. You might create an altar or other space that honors and welcomes them.

Option One:

There are many thoughtful and instructive resources for making reparations or building new relationships in your community. Depending on your own social location, this will take different forms. Consider how this could look differently given the social locations of your group (Lesson 24). Whether at the community level with anti- bullying efforts or in larger reparation campaigns happening at the national or global level, there are lots of ways to educate ourselves and participate in the greater healing of this time. Interfaith organizations, community land trusts, and restorative justice groups are a few resources about which you may feel called to learn.

Option Two:

Now the harder part. Consider the ways your ancestors were part of wrongdoing – colonizing, perpetuating wars, enslaving, or causing separation. In what ways do you feel ready to engage in mending what has been broken – for yourself, for others, for Earth?

Sacred Text Quotes

Christian Scriptures. Luke 6:32-36 (NRSV)

If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. If you lend to those from whom you hope to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to receive as much again. But love your enemies, do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return. Your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High; for he is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.

Hebrew Scriptures. Leviticus 25:10 (NRSV)

And you shall proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee for you: you shall return, every one of you, to your property and every one of you to your family.

Wisdom Quotes

Action on behalf of life transforms. Because the relationship between self and the world is reciprocal, it is not a question of first getting enlightened or saved and then acting. As we work to heal the earth, the earth heals us. — Robin Wall Kimmerer, Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants

There is no king who has not had a slave among his ancestors, and no slave who has not had a king among his. — Helen Keller

I had assumed that the earth, the spirit of the earth, noticed exceptions – those who wantonly damage it and those who do not. But the earth is wise. It has given itself into the keeping of all, and all are therefore accountable. — Alice Walker, Living By the Word

Be sure to click here to download the Teaching Introduction and Instructions.

Review & Commentary