By definition reciprocity is a process of exchange in order to gain a mutual benefit. This action oriented energy plays an important role in the development and continuation of relationships, and it ensures that; people, other animals, the land, our environment, recieve help when they need it and that we too recieve help when we need it.
When I think about reciprocity on a personal level, I find motivation from an innate place of compassion and kindness, knowing that we’re all part of the whole. When we take care of our neigbours and the land we call home we can also acknowledge that we are offering care to ourselves, when our motivation rests in the betterment of the greater good, reciprocity naturally happens.
It’s easy to lose ourselves in the I, sometimes forgeting about our responsiblity to the we.
Have you ever considered gratitude as an offering of reciprocity? Waking up and acknowledging what you’re grateful for in your life, you’re offering the energy of your heart as an exchange, a form of reciprocity, and the wheel continues to spin. The more we acknowledge and give our thanks, the more we also start to care and take action to make sure we continue to have forests we can walk through, oxygen to breathe, soil that nourishes our vegetables, a community to call on when we too need help.
We are all interdependent and I think during this global pandemic we have been given the opportunity to become acutely aware of how interdependent we truly are.
I have a sweet little reflection to share with you, when I think about reciprocity. When we moved out to the country, I started feeding the deers that we share this forest with. Why some of you may ask, becauase I wanted to see the deers, I wanted my children to see the deers. They never came, but I kept feeding them. As I started to develop a relationship with my surroundings, I started to also develop a deeper sense of gratitude for the wonders of the forest, this land, and a relationship with the creatures I share this home with.
Slowly, without even knowing it was happening, things started to change on the inside for me.
One day in my meditation, I looked deeper, considering my intention behind offering food to these four legged creatures. I realized I actually feed the deers because I am grateful they share their home with me. I know they often have a short life, and I want it to be a good life, because all of life is sacred. I want them to know they can seek refuge here, in their home. I still feed the deer, and from time to time they offer me a glimpse and sometimes even peer into our window – as curious about us, as we are about them. When I leave the food now, I give thanks without any expectations, it is my way of saying thank you to the land and all of the creatures for letting me rest here during my brief window of time upon this earth. Reciprocity.
I will nourish the soil so the earth continues to thrive and in exchange that same soil, from the earth, will nourish the seeds I plant for my family to thrive. Reciprocity.
Robin Wall Kimmerer’s book Braiding Sweetgrass goes with me everywhere I go at the moment. Elizabeth Gilbert was spot on when she described this book as a love hymn for the earth. It is a lullabye of reciprocity for all the wonders around us. I strongly recommend you get your hands on a copy and read it, and then read it again.
I commit to nurturing the land, to supporting all of life, to help it to thrive – I know in my heart, it’s my responsibility while I’m here.
The moral covenant of reciprocity calls us to honor our responsibilitys for all we have been given, for all that we have taken. It’s our turn now, long overdue. Let us hold a giveaway for Mother Earth, spread our blankets out for her and pile them high with gifts of our own making. Imagine the books, the paintings, the poems, the clever machines, the compassionate acts, the transcendent ideas, the perfect tools. The fierce defense of all that has been given. Gifts of mind, hands, heart, voice, and vision all offered up on behalf of the earth. Whatever our gift, we are called to give it and to dance for the renewal of the world.
In return for the privilege of breath.
– Robin Wall Kimmerer (Braiding Sweetgrass)
Wishing you a beautiful day,
Don’t ever hesitate to reach out, my support is here holding you in my heart.