PRACTICE GRATITUDE, REVERENCE AND RECIPROCITY: April 22, 2021

“Skywoman bent and spread the mud with her hands across the shell of the turtle. Moved by the extraordinary gifts of the animals, she sang in thanksgiving and then began to dance, her feet caressing the earth. The land grew and grew as she danced her thanks, from the dab of mud on Turtle’s back until the whole earth was made. Not by Skywoman alone, but from the alchemy of all the animals’ gifts coupled with her deep gratitude.”

Robin Wall Kimmerer, from Braiding Sweetgrass

“When we braid sweetgrass, we are braiding the hair of Mother Earth, showing her our loving attention, our care for her beauty and well-being, in gratitude for all she has given us. Children hearing the Skywoman story from birth know in their bones the responsibility that flows between humans and the earth.”

Robin Wall Kimmerer, from Braiding Sweetgrass

RECEIVE AND GIVE BY LISTENING

“The relationship of gratitude and reciprocity thus developed can increase the evolutionary fitness of both plant and animal. A species and a culture that treat the natural world with respect and reciprocity will surely pass on genes to ensuing generations with a higher frequency than the people who destroy it.”

Robin Wall Kimmerer, from Braiding Sweetgrass

“Deeply rooted in cultures of gratitude, this ancient rule is not just to take only what you need, but to
take only that which is given.”

Robin Wall Kimmerer, from Braiding Sweetgrass

“I’ve heard it said that sometimes, in return for the gifts of the earth, gratitude is enough. It is our uniquely human gift to express thanks, because we have the awareness and the collective memory to remember that the world could well be otherwise, less generous than it is. But I think we are called to go beyond cultures of gratitude, to once again become cultures of reciprocity.”

Robin Wall Kimmerer, from Braiding Sweetgrass

“One of our responsibilities as human people is to find ways to enter into reciprocity with the more-than-human world. We can do it through gratitude, through ceremony, through land stewardship, science, art, and in everyday acts of practical reverence.”

Robin Wall Kimmerer, from Braiding Sweetgrass

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