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Letting The Body Lead

Chara Armon's picture

Letting The Body Lead

By: Chara Armon, Ph.D.

What if you can’t honor the Earth unless you also honor your own body?  What if Earth care isn’t as much an intellectual numbers game of measuring water pollution or carbon emissions, but a body-centered practice of loving one’s own self, and then relatedly loving the larger Earth self?

I’m not saying that the intellectual or scientific aspects of Earth care are unimportant.  As a scholar married to a scientist, I think science is tremendously important.  But I’d like to suggest that it’s secondary.

Looking at environmental problems is secondary because it’s not effective unless it’s grounded in loving and compassionate concern for the natural world.  We’ve proven to ourselves in the twentieth century that having lots of data on environmental problems doesn’t motivate people to act to repair those problems.  To put it another way, discouraging numbers don’t seem to lead to constructive action.

I’ve come to believe that what can lead to ecological healing is remembering that we care about our own bodies, other people’s bodies, and the enormous, gorgeous Earth body that is our home.  Our intellects haven’t served us entirely well when it comes to prompting Earth-healing action.  Our bodies can serve us better here.  If we listen, our bodies tell us that they desire clean water.  They tell us that smog smells frightening.  They tell us that the companionship of other species warms our hearts.  This is the kind of guidance that truly puts us on the path of protective action on behalf of the natural world.

My point is that, as much as I value science, I don’t think that studying  atmospheric carbon levels  leads many people to tend to the Earth.  I do believe that attending to our own bodies’ needs and communication can teach us to tend to the physical world, our life partner.

So maybe what you can do for the Earth today—for the air and water and endangered species—is to love your own body.  Recognize its needs.  Pledge to do one thing this week on behalf of your body’s wellness and, consequently, the Earth’s wellness.  Perhaps you’ll purchase personal care products made with all-natural ingredients, maybe you’ll buy only organic produce this week, you may drive less and walk more, or maybe you’ll plant a garden.  Whatever you do, lean into appreciating the ways in which self-care intertwines with Earth care.

Chara Armon, Ph.D.



Holly's picture

Earth Connection

Your posts strike a harmonic chord in me. Thank you for your gently motivating words, reminding me of the vital connections between our own well being and the Earth's. I love to read your personal, practical examples of how to find ways to connect your mind and body, and how to take time to slow down within our busy, full lives to revitalize through a simple connection with the Earth.
Please keep sharing your lovely posts!
In gratitude,

Chara Armon's picture

personal and practical

Thanks for understanding, Holly. You are exactly right: it's all about the connecting point between the personal and the practical, what works for oneself and what needs to be done in the world. And revitalization for both the self and the larger world!

Patsie Smith's picture

Heart connection

Beautiful article Chara thank you. I agree, logical mental reasons alone won't be sufficient and powerful enough to affect change. Only through opening out heart space, which includes unconditional love for self, can the reality overflows to our oneness connection with all of life. Well written.

Chara Armon's picture

self love and Earth love

Patsie, I fully agree. I used to think self-love was too squishy a subject for me, but I've come to understand that honoring ourselves allows us to lovingly honor other life forms: people, animals, plants, ecosystems, the Earth. Love for the self seems to always connect to how we treat others, and it's so crucial now to include the planet in our category of 'important others.'

Deborah's picture


Dear Chara-
Thank you for your inspiration to take some small steps each week to create a deeper, more caring connection with our bodies and the world.
Anyone can make small changes each week to lovingly contribute to the health of our planet and our own well-being.
Thank you for spreading your message-

Chara Armon's picture

loving contribution

Yes, loving contribution to oneself and the planet--that is exactly what we need. I hope we can all keep seeing that loving the planet and restoring it to health is a foundational piece of self-love and self-care. Thanks for your comment, Deborah.

Lin's picture

Loving the body and the earth

Loving the body and the earth seamlessly just makes so much sense. In truth we are one, so by taking care of ourselves has to have positive ripples for everyone/everything.

Beautiful article, beautifully written. Thanks.

Chara Armon's picture

a seamless love

Thank you, Lin. Your word 'seamlessly' is just right.

Cydney Mar's picture


Love this article ! I think self care translates into caring for the world around you but never had it put so well into words ... Oh ! Now I get it !
This approach really makes sense , it's like a light went off !

Thank you so much for a bright illuminating idea

Chara Armon's picture

care for the self/Self

Thanks for being open to this, Cydney. I appreciate your appreciation of the connections between our own selves and the larger Earth that is our origin and life support system.

Joslin's picture

Letting the Body Lead

Hi Chara, I've never thought of how connected my own body is to the Earth, and I want to work on recognizing that connection. Do you think this kind of recognizing could have a ripple effect that might help others to do the same?
Thank you for opening my eyes to this,

Chara Armon's picture

ripple effect

Hi, Joslin, and thanks for your comment. Yes, I hope for a ripple effect: if all of us who are engaged in self-care, self-development, and self-help can expand our care for ourselves into care for the natural world we depend on for survival, we'll restore our planet. It's time for the self-help and environmental movements to be in deep conversation together.

Joslin's picture

Letting the Body Lead

Hi Chara, I've never thought of how connected my own body is to the Earth, and I want to work on recognizing that connection. Do you think this kind of recognizing could have a ripple effect that might help others to do the same?
Thank you for opening my eyes to this,

Norma's picture

Your Suggestion


Thank you so much for the much-needed reminder!
I pledge to do as you suggested and wrote it into my weekly calendar so that I won't forget. I feel better already just thinking about the things I might do.


Chara Armon's picture


Thanks for your comment, Norma. I like to do the same: sometimes planning Earth-care actions helps me to actually do them. Right now I'm headed into my gardens for some weeding, mulching, and watering. Planning that a few days ago helped me fit it into my weekend.

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