I have just returned from a business trip to Britain to arrange a tour for Veronica Women's Theatre. Though I've traveled much in the United Kingdom, I was unprepared for what I saw. Pollution overtakes the island. The villages are enshrouded in eerie smog, and once-pleasant train travel now offers passengers garbage-lined routes. Britain is obviously not alone, our cities here, in Canada, New England, the world over, I understand, cloud themselves in the eerie colors of discharge. Are we in massive denial? Where do we find the spirit, the force big enough to make us SEE what we are doing to ourselves? To SEE that we are out of control; as a society, spiritless, disregarding the care of our Home, and perilously out of balance? Where do we recover gratitude and devotion? The following is my deeply-held response to this question.

"This is our Garden, the one we are given - the only one."

As spiritual beings, as revering our lives and the homeland of our children's lives, we must look at our consciousness, our life practices, and we must remember the mother/child archetype - Earth as mother, you and I as Her children. 

Our common practice is mass compulsive rushing, acquiring, and consuming. What if we could wait a minute. A minute. Long enough each day to remember that the Garden is dying; a minute to ask ourselves what we could do to water and revive our gardens this day? How can a moment of softness, of gentle stillness, of gratitude, inquiry, matter when we have so much to do? 

DO! The task to prove the necessity of a minute's meditation against our frantic lives is immense. Yet now, while we still can, we must comprehend the seriousness of what we have chosen against what we COULD CHOOSE. This, we must DO. 

Hildegard von Bingen, the 12th century mystic and abbess wrote of the "Greening Spirit of God"; that in the spring, when life begins anew, we witness the moist testimony of God's gift, the Garden. But, we have forgotten, and now, right now, the Garden is dying. Our Earth, our Homeland, Dying. We are drying ourselves up. 

God is One with the place inside ourselves that is hushed, child-like, awed, humbly willing to lay bare and open to receive. I would offer that this way of being is the feminine way. Do you shudder to hear Her name? Do you say, 'not Her again!' Why? Does She require your vulnerability, your confrontation with the present moment, the unknown? The probability that you will change? The tense meeting with the opposite? The feminine in us all is the opposite of do, get, go, act. The feminine is pause, wait, breathe, receive. Feminine. 

Things don't survive when they are out of balance. They succumb to the stress of it. They die. Has it been easier to let the masculine overtake? Easier to mindlessly DO? 

I argue that we have the capacity to more notice and appreciate our Garden, our Earth where She resides; that we must call Her in to our places of worship, our churches and temples, in to our daily lives. When one lays bare and waits, a sensitive, balanced God reveals, an embodiment of the masculine and the feminine together. I offer that She comes now, bringing beauty, sensitivity, and care like a Muse, and that She brings with Her more art, sacred drama, music, dance for our halls of worship. Look, She's waiting just at the edge of the Dawn, reaching to us. 

This is our chance. I pray that we SEE Her, that we openly welcome Her in, for though a stranger, She comes to be One with us again in the Garden. Shunning Her is no longer a choice we have. Frederica Chapman, 2000

Frederica Chapman is a speaker, workshop leader, and Founder/Director of Veronica Women's Theatre, an intergenerational, professional touring company presenting ancient music and story for churches and cathedrals and conferences around the world. Ms. Chapman evokes the grace and beauty of the feminine spirit. Veronica Women's Theatre has toured to Ireland, Britain, and has been presented at The Washington National Cathedral to a standing ovation audience of 1200. Frederica presented stories in Rio de Janeiro for The United Nations' Earth Summit celebration, and she produced an work for The Parliament of the World's Religions in Chicago. She is known for her "captivating and evocative" performances.

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Frederica Chapman, Director
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