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Next page End Essay 12: An Ecology of Devotion by Dennis Rivers

animal footstep. Where and how shall we turn toward life and begin (or
continue) the labors of "mending the world," the Tikkun Olam of Jewish
tradition, which would also constitute the mending of our own broken
hearts? As I have experienced the web of life being threatened by the
explosive mix of greed, fear and technology, I have been challenged to
find inside myself a love stronger than all fears, a deeper reverence for
life that could be my compass through the chaos of a world unraveling.
Over the past year, in dialogue with a community of supportive
friends called Turn Toward Life, I have been exploring a kind of mental
rosary of our various loves and devotions, reverences that span the
spectrum from gratitude to care to adoration. Like a garland with five
flowers arranged in a circle, this five-fold rosary holds the various loves
that struggle to be born in me. Here is how I see them, and how I will
discuss them in the pages that follow:
reverence for the life that lives within us,
reverence for the life that unfolds between us,
reverence for the life that surrounds and sustains us,
reverence for all the life of the future,
reverence for the source of all life
1. Reverence for the life that lives within us.
The closest life for which we can have reverence is the life that lives
within us, our breathing, moving seeing, hearing, tasting, hoping, loving,
yearning, and reaching; all the direct experiences of being alive, and those
moments, often out in nature, when we suddenly feel good about being
alive. I remember as a child the thrill, the infinite, bodily well-being, of
running down a long beach near my house.
The Universe has labored mightily that we might breathe, and see the
light of morning. The calcium, carbon and iron that support these
processes were made in the hearts of ancient stars. The caloric energy