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My dears,

I am happy to be here again to share some of my thoughts with you. Today I propose to start with a little test. Take a moment and observe: What comes to your mind when I suggest the word NATURE?


Many of you have probably thought of a lush meadow, a wild landscape, a shady forest or perhaps a Caribbean beach. Others may have simply thought of a plant, a flower, an animal or a rock.


But how many of you have come up with the image or thought of that incredible and wonderful expression of Nature's intelligence, which is the thing closest to us and which accompanies us everywhere and at all times, namely our BODY?

Personally, I find it very interesting to note that we humans nowadays have mentally distanced ourselves so far from the concept of Nature that we almost always think of ourselves as 'outside of Nature', if we don't even feel superior to it.

 Regardless of whether we are destroying Nature or want to protect it, we often adopt the same attitude, as if Nature were a separate and distant entity from us. We have turned Nature into an object of our will that must be analyzed, researched, developed or saved or that we can use, exploit and rape.

I am thankful that the reality (and therefore the nature) of our bodies is always there to remind us how "the thought of separation" is not only false, but believing it to be true, is also particularly dangerous.


Let's try to examine this contemporary mindset together to see to what extent it is also at work in us: How often, for example, do we not feel or neglect that our bodies need fresh air, hydration, healthy food, movement or a little rest while we are at work? 


How often do we "pollute and poison" our bodies with unhealthy foods and drinks that we know are harmful in the long term?


And how often do we get annoyed by our body's physical needs which, if ignored, demand our attention through increasingly obvious signals such as discomfort, pain and illness?


How often do we compare our body to an "enemy to fight" or to a "machine that needs to be perfected or repaired" because it cannot fulfill our expectations?


Do you think it is really possible to take care of animals, plants and the environment out there if we are not first able to listen to and lovingly respond to the demands and needs of our body, which is the closest thing to us?

And why then does our body have such needs and demands? Certainly not because it is imperfect, as the mind sometimes makes us believe, but because the BODY IS NATURE, and as such follows natural laws, times, needs and cycles.


Personally, I think it is important to ask ourselves these questions and to examine in depth how we are actually connected to nature, to this planet and to the entire universe.

The thought of separation is just a product of our collective thinking. The reality is that there is no difference between us and Nature, we are one, just as the world out there is a reflection of what is going on inside us. 

Only by looking honestly within, investigating how we can "neglect and mistreat ourselves" can we truly understand what we are operating in the world out there.


But why, then, is it so difficult to take care of our bodies, Nature and thus ourselves? 

I often reflect on this question, and one possible answer comes to me from the etymology of a word I hold dear: "RESPONSABILITY."

The term responsibility comes from the Latin respònsus, past participle of the verb respòndere, TO RESPOND. Responsibility therefore means to be present to what is at the moment, outside and inside us, and to be able to find an adequate and conscious response to what the present moment requires.  

To be responsible therefore does not mean to follow "set recipes" or to obey precise rules, but rather to respond in a broader ethical and philosophical meaning, in which one is committed to being accountable, to something, someone and/or oneself, for one's actions and the consequences that follow.


Taking care of ourselves and Nature therefore means to me always being at a crossroads with an open question: now, here in this moment, what does what I am thinking, saying, eating, choosing, buying, using, consuming, throwing away and so on entail?


Engaging in consciously answering this question while always keeping in mind the consequences of responses/choices and actions is an ongoing requires attention, focus, reflection, willingness, determination, courage, and above all, an ever-open mind and heart. 


All of this is not enough to do once and for all, but is a constant practice. It is relentless inner work. An action that requires continuous presence and commitment. Responsibility is an act of love.

And this basically means also becoming adults: becoming aware and responsible for our choices and actions and their consequences.


So, once again: why is taking care of us and Nature, despite such hotly debated issues these days, so difficult?


Continuing to investigate, another aspect of the answer might be because it is so comfortable to remain "in the protected world of childhood," and despite our advancing age we are increasingly seduced by the "childish" idea that we can lightly and immediately satisfy our desires while employing as little effort as possible, heedless of the fact that someone else will answer and pay for us the consequences of our choices and actions anyway. 


Today's consumerist society is based on this simple truth, that if we have a choice, we will gladly choose to stay in our comfort zone, and we will gladly leave the commitment and effort of meeting our physical, emotional and spiritual needs to someone else.  

And so the seductive message communicated to us in all forms is, "Don't bother! Are you hungry, thirsty, overweight, underweight, healthy, sick, tired, hyperactive, angry, sad, frustrated, lonely, etc.? BUY this or CONSUME that, WE will take care of your needs! WE will make you happy!" 

What consequences this abdication of responsibility brings is now for all to see, and it is no accident that society continues to hail youth and staying young (or staying childish?) against nature as an absolute value, without which an entire economic and power system would begin to falter…


With the hope that these questions and reflections may inspire you too, I greet you now with a small invitation: Embrace yourself with affection and thank your body for being exactly as it is. It is a miracle of Nature, worth all your attention, care and love!

A loving hug, Maria-Lucrezia


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