The Empathic Way of Needs and Feelings
The Universe consists of two kinds of beings:
those we call Living….
and those we call Living, Growing.
Everything in our community, Rock, Tree, River, Sky, Dandelion, Fox, all of them pulse with Life.
All beings that Live, have Needs. All beings that have Needs, have Feelings.
When you need rest, you feel tired. When you continue on to exhaustion, you may feel despair, annoyance, sadness. Your feelings and emotions tell you about your needs, alert you to them. Without feelings we would die.
In order to Court all our nonhuman relatives surrounding us, and the sacred places that all together make the one great mythic-story body of the Earth Mother, we have to have empathy for them. We have to recognize our kinship with them as living beings.
When our bodies need water, we feel thirsty, until we drink, and then we feel joy.
When a oak tree needs water, it feels thirsty, until the oak drinks, and then feels joy.
When we need companionship, we feel lonely, until we meet a friend, and feel relief and happiness.
When a wolf needs companionship, he feels lonely, until he finds a pack, and feels relief and happiness.
Take care to not project human needs onto our nonhuman relatives. Know instead, that they have their own needs, each according to their natures. Learn their needs, by observing their feelings. No one can tell another what to feel or what to need. This understanding applies to all life
Can you do it? Can you take the mask of dumbness and blindness off of our nonhuman family, and hear them cry, hear them laugh, see their fear, their anger?
Try it. Next time you look at a stone, a tree, a lawn, a bird, the sky, ask yourself: what does it feel right now? And what need does that feeling point to?
Or go in the other direction – what need does it have, and how might it feel about that need? A leaf with a hole chewed in it, a songbird singing in the dawn, a cat staring out a window.
So goes the empathic way of needs, and feelings.
Anthropomorphize, v.: to ascribe human characteristics to things not human.
[American Heritage Dictionary]
Anthorpomorphize, v: to ascribe human values to things not human.
[Mythic Cartographer’s definition]