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Health and Wholeness


To be creative is only to have health: to keep oneself fully alive in the Creation, to keep the Creation fully alive in oneself, to see the Creation anew, to welcome one’s part in it anew.
The most creative works are all strategies of this health.  ~ Wendell Berry

In What are Humans For? Wendell Berry emphasizes over and over the notion that human beings are embedded in a larger, natural, creative process. Health exists only in the context of this whole. When we try to step outside of this creative process, and see ourselves as separate, we fail. We fail creation, which is to say we fail life itself.

This idea is central to ecospirituality, and really to ecology. Scientists would limit such failure to physical forms and not imbue it with Berry’s deeper significance. But even the limited language of science cannot help but reflect the deep truth that reality is about participation and relationship. Ecology is the left-brain understanding that nothing exists on its own. The Buddhists would call this dependent co-arising. Wendell Berry calls it health.

How does one “keep the Creation fully alive in oneself”? What does that look like? I suspect it has something to do with groundedness. A certain quality of presence that arises from belonging to a place and to a process. I think it’s about knowing we have company in the other creatures that surround us.

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