Carbon, water, nitrogen, oxygen—the same materials that comprise the Earth, also make up our own blood and bones, our breath and our brains. Our shedding hair, skin, tears, and eventually our entire bodies are all returned to the Earth where they break down again into these same materials.

Interestingly, we can see this basic knowledge reiterated through an etymological inquiry. The modern English word Earth shares its root sound –er with other words in our Indoeuropean language family for “to exist” and “to be.” We may recognize this sound in the Old English word eart or art, as in “thou art,” or the Spanish word ser which means “to be.” Over time, the extended roots -ergh and –orgh evolved into the Greek word for orkheisthai—“to dance”—and the word orchestra in English. (Chambers Dictionary of Etymology, 1998, American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 1969.)

Thus, when we utter the word for the planet upon which we make our home, we are speaking aloud all that linguistic history, affirming the knowledge that our very existence is intimately related to Earth. When we dance and make music, we are actually describing, reflecting, and participating in the processes of Earth.

It becomes more and more apparent each day that human beings will be required to deepen our understanding of Earth’s processes, and harmonize with these processes if we are to thrive on a long-term basis. We can do this simply by consulting our own bodies.

Since the our bodies are quite literally made from Earth, we can use them directly to gain an understanding of the way Earth works. And this type of understanding is not reserved for just a select few “experts.” Just as each and every one of us has a body, each and every one of us has the opportunity (and responsibility) to access this deep knowledge through the practice of bodybased arts.

We must now summon our body wisdom to balance out the inefficiencies and myopia that has accompanied thousands of years of exclusionary use of technical and rational thought. Only when we have absorbed wholistic, natural “law,” and ecological principles thoroughly into the entire bodymind system—not just the frontal lobe of the brain—will we truly begin to innovate solutions to mounting ecological and societal problems.