Do you find yourself wondering what on Earth you can do about the dire environmental challenges of our time? Do you wish you could do something to make a difference, but doubt you have the time, energy, money or power? Author Cheryl Leutjen’s book Love Earth Now (Mango Publishing, 2018) is a deeply thoughtful, often neurotic, and sometimes comedic exploration of her own efforts to make an eco-contribution. Through personal observation, that she records in stunningly beautiful prose, Leutjen’s ode to our planet is one of the most distinctive ecological books to come along in a generation.
What’s one of your favorite things to eat or drink? Notice what pops into your mind first—whether it be something that’s a daily treat or something you never allow yourself to enjoy because of cost, calories, chemicals, or concerns about how the plants or animals are raised. Imagine yourself holding a plate or cup or bowl of this cherished fare. Breathe deeply, as you look it over, as if you’re considering it for the first time. What do you notice about it? What aromas, sensations, or feelings are aroused? What memories does this image trigger? Steep.
Without rushing to the Internet, consider now what you already know about how this delicacy is produced. Do you know any of the people who planted, raised, harvested, prepared, cooked, or assembled its ingredients? Do you know anything about the land where the food was raised? If so, peer deeply into their faces and look around the landscape.
If not, allow yourself to imagine the people and the places. Allow your memories and imagination to run away, letting go of any doubts that what you envision is not realistic. What activity do you see? What emotions do you feel about anything you see, hear, taste, or smell? Notice how your body is responding to what you see, hear, smell, or feel. Immerse yourself in this experience.
Speak directly, if you like, with the farmer or the tree or the land or the animal that gave of themselves so that you could enjoy this treat. What would you do, offer, or say? Do you shake hands, embrace, prostrate yourself, cross your arms, pet them, stare deeply into their eyes? What do they say or do in return? Give a virtual gift of your choosing, if you feel so called, be it a word of gratitude, an embrace, or something you pull out of your imaginary pocket.
Now return to your cherished food or drink. Does it appear different in any way? Have your feelings about it changed at all? Will your consumption habits change? Consider jotting down any insights. Close this experience as you feel called, including a word of gratitude for your own willingness to be present with this experience.
Excerpted from Love Earth Now © 2018 by Cheryl Leutjen. Published by Mango Publishing.