My four year old child asked several times the other night if he could paint his wooden train craft. I was busy making dinner for the family, and the question kept coming. The answer was always the same, ‘No, not right now,’ but was spelled out in a myriad of ways. Not realizing how absent I appeared to him, I couldn’t understand why my answer was not being received. He was unable to accept my answer until I called him over to me, got down on my knees, looked him in the eyes while gently holding his hand and said, “Do you feel like I’m not hearing you ask to paint your train?” To which he replied, “Yes.” I explained that I was hearing him, and recalled my reasoning for delaying the craft. I then said very clearly, “The answer is no, and will remain no until tomorrow.” He didn’t ask again.
What made the difference? Connection. Tenderness. Presence.
Mother nature needs the same presence as my son. I see the Earth asking the same requests of us over and over again but in different ways. Humans answer back, without stopping to engage in listening. Her story is not really being heard. I want to take the time to listen with my whole self.