This project explores how we can create a deeper relationship with Earth in virtual spaces and whether this can improve wellbeing. Together with an immersive film director, Kelley Van Dilla and my eldest nephew, Caleb Roberts (13), we’re co-creating an Earth connected process that’s both grounded in my own research on Earth Connection and developed in collaboration with a number of experienced coaches and facilitators who are passionate about our relationship with the Earth.
There’s a deeply personal element for me as the video we’re using to pilot this process is an edited conversation between a friend and my granny about her love of Earth. It was recorded a week before she died. I had the privilege of being my granny’s primary caregiver in her last few months. As we did her life review together, I joked that one day I would use my granny in my work…
Both the ancestral and multi-generational element to this project is also of great interest. In today’s Western world, working with our ancestors can be considered novel. Yet through technology, I have transcended the boundaries of death and been able to step into facilitating a process alongside the wisdom of my granny. That I am also able to honour the younger generation and give Caleb his first experience of facilitating is a gift that as Aunt means a lot.
Bringing in the ancestral element is essential because of the lived wisdom contained within our elders. My granny was the most sustainable woman I’ve ever met in my life. Yet she would have dismissed sustainability as a lot of nonsense. When you embody something, the words become irrelevant. It was only as I spent time with my granny in those last few months that I realised just how much she had taught me all along. The very essence of my work comes from the wisdom she held. My granny’s full name is Elfrieda Herta. It means ‘Elf-strength of the Earth.’ To honour the wisdom she gave me, I named the project after her.
How much more wisdom are we losing because we don’t listen to those who have come before us? And how can we make it easy for people embedded in a Western mindset to embrace working with ancestral energies, so that it becomes the norm instead of an exception?
The world we live in is changing. And the future for our children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews is more uncertain than ever. How do we prepare future generations for the reality that is emerging? And how do we harness their innocence and creativity to solve some of our greatest challenges?
What I’ve learned so far is simply accepting their opinion as valid. To consider their ideas and test them out. To be a 13-year-old and step into a virtual space surrounded by adults is one of the most courageous things I’ve witnessed. To speak up and be heard and to see adults finding your ideas important, priceless. In the first session, Caleb went from holding a board up to say hello and goodbye with his camera off most of the time. By the second session, his camera was on and he joined the process like a professional.
For me, any change has to consider the Earth as a being whose voice needs to be heard. I firmly believe that it is through reconnecting to the Earth that we will be able to catalyse a world where all life in Earth is respected and revered. In today’s time of social and ecological breakdown, the Earth can help us rediscover a new way of being. After all, the wellbeing of humans and Earth are intimately intertwined. From this perspective, it’s not about saving the Earth, it’s about letting Earth save us. It has successfully sustained life for 3.8 billion years.
When we learn from that wisdom, what becomes possible?