I watched a fascinating show a few months ago called How the Earth Was Made, produced by the History Channel and available on YouTube. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FOW5A7t5-Zo). This 90-minute program captured beautifully the evolution of the Earth from its inception 4.4 billion years ago to the present day. It was a vivid reminder of the fact that we human beings have been on this planet for such a very, very brief time. When I’m reminded of this I realize what a true privilege and blessing it is and has been to be a guest on this fair planet.

It also prompts some considerations about this year, which has been on our minds largely due to interpretations of the Mayan calendar and related prophecies. There are several websites and even a Facebook page dedicated to this year and the prophecies. One site that you may find of interest is http://www.2012predictions.net/maya.htm. It gives several different viewpoints as to the meaning of these predictions and prophesies.

Though I haven’t studied this extensively, there seems to be some agreement that we are at the end of an era and a new one will begin following December 31, 2012. It’s obvious that there are lots of changes going on, evidenced by the unrest and turmoil in the Middle Eastern countries, the Occupy movements worldwide, unusual weather events, the concerns about the economy (particularly in the Eurozone), and the waves of the collective angst that we all experience from time to time, to name but a few.

Yet in another sense, 2012 is just another year.

Particularly in light of the age of the Earth and the minute amount of time we as humans have lived on our Earth Mother’s skin. Big changes? You bet! Changes in the Earth and in human consciousness. For sure! Everything seems to be speeding up. Our relationship with this planet and all the beings here is going through a much needed evolution. There are efforts on several fronts to find creative ways to live more harmoniously with the land and its inhabitants and address the severe imbalance in our relationship with the Mother of us all.

The foundation that is essential during this time of such dramatic shifts taking place is a strong spiritual philosophy and practice, one that is inclusive rather exclusive and incorporates the practice of the universal principles of compassion, love, gratitude, and forgiveness. It’s time that personally and collectively we become more intimately acquainted with the beings that reside with us, both plant and animal, and respect the fact that we are all intimately and intrinsically related. Through the common ancestry we share at the most fundamental level of existence, our DNA, when we go back far enough in our ancestry we realize that we human beings are related to every other being on this planet!

There isn’t going to be some apocalyptic event at the end of this year. The shifts that are increasingly evident have been building for some time, with the massive increase in human population, misappropriation of the earth’s resources, and the greatest loss of all—the deep ancestral memory of our relationship with the land and all other beings that share this awesome piece of creation upon which we live.

As Turtle spirit told me in a recent shamanic journey, “Everyone should slow down. 2012 is going to be a year of—get ready—change! Of course every year is change, every millennia is change. You human beings need to learn that it is part of life, so get used to it. Learn to live with the land and receive the gifts the land has to offer with humility and gratitude.”

Simple and wise advice from Turtle, but how do you “get used to it” as he stated? He wasn’t suggesting to be passive, but letting us know we must learn to adapt and not stay in reaction to events around us. Not always easy to do, but here’s some suggestions of things to do whenever you get overwhelmed or stressed due to the sometimes dramatic changes taking place.

1)    Limit the amount of time you spend with television, computers, smartphones, and other electronic devices. Particularly for children, there’s an increasing body of research that indicates how harmful excessive use of these devices can be to the still developing minds of children. When you do this it opens the space for something else to take place. Read, paint, dance, play music, write, or engage in some other creative expression.

2)    Slow down and breathe! Try experimenting with moving at about 80-90% of your usual pace, making sure you consciously breathe deeply and slowly. Drive slower. Remind yourself there really isn’t any emergency unless there truly is an emergency.

3)    Get outdoors! This is essential in order to get acquainted with the land and other beings who dwell in the natural world. Sit by a tree, go out and look at the stars, take long walks or bike rides. Discover what you most enjoy about the natural world. See the world with open eyes and an open heart

4)    Develop a consistent spiritual practice. Meditation, yoga, qui gong, shamanic journeying, prayer, consulting divination tools, or joining a community such as a church where you can share your spirituality with others. Any of these types of practices encourages your compassion, love, gratitude and forgiveness.

This list is by no means exhaustive and I’m sure you have other ideas that will help you feel balanced or find it again when you feel off balance. Let’s all do our best to take good care of the trees, rivers, oceans, plants, and the animals.

“…the care of the earth is our most ancient and most worthy and, after all, our most pleasing responsibility. To cherish what remains of it, and to foster its renewal, is our only legitimate hope.” Wendell Berry

Author and teacher Steven D. Farmer

About The Author:  Dr. Steven Farmer is the author of the several best-selling products including Children’s Spirit Animal Cards, Earth Magic, Animal Spirit Guides, Power Animals, Earth Magic Oracle Cards, Power Animal Oracle Cards, Messages from Your Animal Spirit Guides Oracle Cards, and Sacred Ceremony. He is a shamanic practitioner, ordained minister, hypnotherapist, former college professor and retired psychotherapist.  Steven offers workshops and presentations on a variety of shamanic healing and earth-centered spirituality topics and also offers private shamanic healing and divination sessions.  To learn more about his workshops or to contact him, please visit www.EarthMagic.net.

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