The Baltimore Project, 2018
A close friend is leading efforts to reduce violence in Baltimore, Maryland, the city that my heart holds dear. To reduce violence, many focus their efforts on people. What if we shift our focus from people to the land beneath our feet, to the atmosphere that encircles the city, and to the breath that unites all life in ways we can only sense?
I have farmed for the last twelve years using biodynamic practices, an approach initiated by Rudolf Steiner in 1924. Steiner recognized that man and nature are intimately connected. He encouraged us to imagine each farm as an individual living organism. The land receives energy from the sun, moon and stars and releases it through the animals and plants that grow on its surface. It is the flow of life that promotes health and vitality. Each body of land has its own functions similar to the human body: i.e. lungs, kidney, liver, heart. Steiner asked us to think of land as a diaphragm. He suggested ways to strengthen the life forces on the farm. After ten years of using those practices, I felt my farm breathing.
I shared my images of land breathing and my desire to help Baltimore with Steve and Terry Klunk, skilled dowsers who live in Hanover, Pennsylvania. They counseled me that dowsers always ask, “may I, can I and should I” initiate a dowsing protocol. We received a “yes” to those three questions and asked for sites that were amenable to receive our focused attention. Some places, they said, may be too raw for immediate attention. We identified three points in Baltimore close to where my friend lives, created a triangular area on a map, and identified two sites within that triangle for our work.
We invite you to become involved. Initially, we will focus our efforts on those two sites. As other people want to be involved, we plan to form teams of at least three people and identify other areas and sites appropriate for this work.
Once a day, preferably at dawn, we ask you to focus your imagination on these sites (I will send you a map) and send them thanks. Then breathe deeply at least three times and imagine the sites breathing. If you cannot do this at dawn, just intend that your energy join that of the others working on these sites.
After you have completed this simple practice, be still and open to getting a response—an image—a sense of something else to do. You may feel sadness, anger, grief or rage. Express it out—in movement, in writing, in art. Share your experience with your other team members. Notice whether you experience changes in energy, feelings or emotions as you do this work.
This practice acknowledges land as a living being. Just as one approaches a new acquaintance with respect for boundaries, so it is with a body of land. Just as listening well to others helps them identify and express energy, acknowledging a body of land as a living presence and breathing with that land helps establish a flow of vital energy—between land and atmosphere and between land and people. Notice whether this work changes your awareness of land, its energies and the subtle forces that flow through life.
We hope this practice will bring greater awareness of a living land, the vital atmosphere and the flow of life energy! It may bring healing and balance to the city. At the very least, we will do no harm. May this indeed be a Happy New Year as we work together to bring light and love to our living spaces!