If only we are willing to step into reciprocity
As I opened the backdoor to our garden I was greeted with the most beautiful birdsong. The regular neighbourhood blackbird had taken its usual position on top of a tree a few doors down and started welcoming the sunset.
The fresh air filled my lungs as I stood there and listened to its chatter of the day just gone. Pastel pink clouds were slowly sweeping over the tightly packed terraced streets making their way southward. I wondered where they’d end up and if there would be someone there to greet them.
I glanced at the small patch of herbs and wild strawberries that were looking rather neglected. My usual spring clean has been postponed as my leg is still going through its own wintering process.
“I will get to you, I promise,” I whispered to them.
Suddenly it hit me — is this what reciprocity is?
“Reciprocity — mutual dependence, action or influence.”
I had recently finished Robin Wall Kimmerer’s book Braiding Sweetgrass — an invitation to explore a new way of being in this world. The deeper I dove into her words, the more I realised that what Robin was actually suggesting was nothing new, rather it was a homecoming — finding our path back to our natural way of being in this world, noticing the splendid wonders surrounding us, and taking in what everyone here has to offer.
Our needs are so entangled in our wants that we keep on consuming out of fear of running out of stuff.
Earth is loving us unconditionally, providing us with these little moments of beauty and awe, yet all we do is just take and take and take. We keep rushing from one thing to another, barely taking time out to give back a piece of ourselves. Our scarcity mindset is constantly locked on that next thing that we think we need to get to.
And Mother Earth keeps on providing us, barely sustaining our greed.
She keeps nurturing us even when we’re pushing that knife deeper into her back.
Mother Nature keeps caring for us even as we storm up the stairs and slam our doors shut when we don’t get our own way.
She keeps on loving us even through all the ungratefulness.
Earth is basking us in her forgiveness for all the atrocities we’ve put her through.
Yet, she keeps on gifting us these small moments of splendours.
“Paying attention is a form of reciprocity with the living world, receiving the gifts with open eyes and open heart.”
-Robin Wall Kimmerer-
It is time for us to nurture, to give back, to take care of her, to love her and extend a deep gratitude for her continuous forgiveness. It is time to break the spell of greed we’ve been under and gift her with our undivided attention.
If each of us started as small as opening that door to our own backyard and giving nature the gift of noticing. To stand in awe in front of a blackbird and grace him with our presence. To look up and spend a few moments with the clouds making their way over our cities, wishing them well on their journey across our lands. To acknowledge the plants in our garden who are now waking from the long winter slumber and welcoming them back into warmer and brighter days.
Reciprocity is unconditional love. Giving as well as being given to. Gifting as well as being gifted to. Noticing as well as being noticed. Nurturing as well as being nurtured. Loving as well as being loved.
Being loved back is the sweet reciprocity that will keep on loving.
How can you step more into a reciprocal way of being?