“We have forgotten that we ourselves are dust of the earth (cf. Gn 2,7); Our very bodies are made up of her elements, we breathe her air and we receive life and refreshment from her waters (LS, 2)”

praised be 02-09

When something happens to us we say:  “I’m all at sea”, “I felt the earth move”, “I cried a river”, “I feel under the weather”.  Similarly when we feel fine, we assimilate our bodies to the stillness of a sunrise or sunset. All these popular expressions that we use to express how our body feels, and the fact that everyone of us can understand clearly what is meant, shows that we possess a close connection between our body and the elements, the geography and cycles that we observe and live on Earth and in nature.

Furthermore, the respiratory cycle which delivers oxygen to our blood and gives us life proves unequivocally that we are made up of the elements of nature.  Biology has already shown this- for example, we all know that our bodies are made up of 70% water. Also this beautiful association, and the need to understand that we are in relationship with our own body, with each other and with Creation, reaffirms that we are part of a living and dynamic union that is constantly nourished by nature, and that in our country, this is expressed by the popular sayings already mentioned above.

We are part of the land upon which we live, and this deepens the relationship even further.  In Chile, we live and organize our daily lives around this relationship in different ways, given our varied, wonderful and challenging Chilean geography, and this is expressed through how we speak, how we identify ourselves and what we use to cover our bodies, right through to the numerous forms of nourishment that give us life, as well as ways to give thanks for what has been received from creation in festivals, rituals, celebrations and parties, which puts us right in the midst of relationships that confirm that we are Earth .

For me, one way to remind us of this union, this relationship, from our bodies to our interior selves and vice versa, is through the medium of dance. And as the dance AS ONE describes it: “We are one with the earth, she and I form a single entity”, we dance to feel and express with our words and our movement that this union is reciprocal, inalienable, irreversible and complete: In a women’s dance circle, a townswoman, who struggles each day to live with dignity expressed it in this manner: “I felt the rhythm of the music lift my body, I was no longer in control, something was lifting me, but I didn’t feel afraid even without being the one directing my movements…it was perfect”  In this moment I saw that “ as it is on the outside, so it is on the inside”.

Certainly, every experience we live, whether in a natural way (through bodily sensations) or an elaborate way (such as dance) we are reminded of the reciprocity and oneness of creation. The elements that make up both of us, the geographical places we inhabit, are air, fire, earth and water.  Bless you sister Earth, you who dwell with and in each of us!

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