February has been a whirlwind of highs and lows! The parenting journey can feel like an emotional rollercoaster ride at times. I’m grateful for the opportunity to return to this space every month for stability, learning, and growth.

This month’s topic of exploration is reciprocity and, with all that is going on in my world and the world around us, it feels like divine intervention! I am choosing to return my attention to the practice of reciprocity. I hope you may be inspired to practice with me.

What is reciprocity?

In the dictionary, the definition of reciprocity is the practice of exchanging things with others for mutual benefit. For me, I like to think of reciprocity in terms of exchanging love with others, not things, for goodness, not benefit. In other words, reciprocity is the practice of exchanging love with others for the goodness of all beings.

The term reciprocity is derived from the Latin word, reciprocus, meaning alternating. The meaning implies back and forth movement. This is interesting to note considering that our need to give and receive love changes and alternates depending on the hour, the day, and the situation. Often, we think of reciprocity as a give and take with fairness in mind; however, the practice is more spiritual in nature. It’s about an exchange of love with goodness at heart.

Paying attention is a form of reciprocity.

In the book Braiding Sweetgrass, Robin Wall Kimmerer writes, “Paying attention is a form of reciprocity with the living world, receiving the gifts with open eyes and open heart.”

After reading Robin’s book during the pandemic, I was inspired to return to nature as a way of connecting with other beings. Specifically, I was interested in paying attention to the ways the more-than-human world offers love and how we offer love in return. It was such a profound experience for me to remember that nature is alive and that, as humans, we are a part of nature. Every living being depends on nature’s gifts to thrive.

As a way of showing my gratitude for the gifts of the natural world, I signed up to be a forest therapy guide to share the practice of reciprocity with others. I am excited to share with you that I became a certified guide in October! If you are interested in joining me for a forest therapy walk, you can reach out to me by email or through the Forest Therapy page on my website.

In Braiding Sweetgrass, Robin Wall Kimmerer also writes:

“Knowing that you love the Earth changes you, activates you to defend and protect and celebrate. But when you feel that the Earth loves you in return, that relationship transforms from a one-way street to a sacred bond.”

These words land on my heart every time I read them. They are like a prayer; a daily devotion to what is sacred in life. I am choosing to focus on relationships that cultivate sacred, loving bonds.

Over the last two years, the greatest awakening for me has been the opening of my eyes and my heart to the gifts of nature and how nature (in all forms) shows me that true love is a two-way street. If you feel inspired by the practice of reciprocity, please join our newsletter community to receive ideas and simple ways to practice. Thank you for being here. Next month, we’ll explore the topic of humility.

Let’s journey together.

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With love,