An Excerpt from Mirrors in the Earth

Posted by – July 18, 2022
Categories: Ecology & Sustainability Excerpt Health & Healing Spirituality & Religion

From Mirrors in the Earth: Reflections on Self-Healing from the Living World by Asia Suler

Everywhere on Earth there are mirrors, clear as mica, that will show you your goodness once more. No matter where you are—in the midst of your intricate self- doubt, your spiraling path of self-recognition—there will be welcome reflections, bringing you home like lighthouse beacons. Take a peek into your backyard—stories are there to hold you, comfort you, bring you back into the fold. Go looking for yourself, and eventually you will find mica. Common, spectacular, radiant, and familiar. Something many layered and made to translate the light. A being who is able to withstand the heat of these times and conduct the gifts you have been given into this life. You are so much more brilliant than you realize.

This book of essays that you hold in your hands is a palm stone of mica. Each page is a reflective layer here to help you see yourself. Crafted from stories in the more-than-human world, each essay is an affirmation from the Earth, a small mirror that will show you who you are and how deeply you are beloved. Every day we are handed messages that imply something is unnatural or dysfunctional about us—whether it’s shame over how long it takes us to bounce back from loss, the belief that our sensitivity is a blight, the worry that we are too small to create change, or the fear that our traumas have damaged us beyond repair. Like a mica mirror, this book and the exercises that accompany each chapter are here to reflect back your worthiness, dissolving any man-made shame so you can begin to see how profoundly welcome you are in this world.

At the heart of this book is the belief that seeing our own goodness again is a crucial part of correcting course. The Earth is sharing these reflective stories with us, clear as quartz chips, because self-compassion is a force of ecological healing for the world.

Underlying these stories is an understanding that the central wound of our culture—the hurt that has caused us to distance our-selves from the Earth and create poisonous hierarchies of worth—is not the result of some fault in the human psyche, but the byproduct of trauma and self-judgment. As I once heard the Indigenous scholar and community organizer Lyla June share—paraphrasing the wisdom of her elder Patricia Davis—“[In our culture] we say that people are born not in original sin, but in original beauty.”

So many of us assume that if we want to change the world, we must first change ourselves, but this book proffers the belief that self-acceptance is the missing piece to healing. Only when we approach ourselves with compassionate understanding can we begin to access the latent energy, ideas, innovations, and revelations that will bring us back into communion with the Earth. When we begin to live from our original beauty, instead of the wounds that mire us in self-doubt, we bring the undeniable power of our creativity back into alignment with the wider dream of the world.

In this book we go on a three-part, mica-lit journey. The Glimmer from the natural world catches our eye and invites us to see ourselves more clearly, The Mirror guides this self-recognition into the gleam of self-appreciation, and The Glow enables us to embody a radiating self-compassion, a quality that is key to navigating this time of eco-logical hardship and cultivating the gifts we were meant to bring to this world.

At the center of this book is a question answered more simply than I could have imagined when I first pulled that glowing piece of mica from the ground. In an era of such deep ecological hurt, a time when all the traumas of our disconnection are rising to the surface, what are the gifts that we, as vulnerable, fallible, and incredibly caring humans, can bring to change the tide? Within this book of essays is the answer that this world is reflecting back to us, bright as a constellation of mica flakes within the soil.

Self-compassion is a gift for this world. 

About the Author

North Atlantic Books (NAB) is an independent nonprofit publisher committed to a bold exploration of the relationships between mind, body, spirit, culture, and nature. Founded in Vermont in 1974 and operating in Berkeley since 1977, NAB has been at the forefront of publishing a diverse range of original books in bodywork and somatics, ecology and sustainability, health and healing, Indigenous cultures and anthropology, psychology and personal growth, social justice and engaged activism, and spirituality and liminality. NAB’s Blue Snake Books imprint is one of the largest sources of internal and historical martial-arts books in the world.