Intro to Reciprocity

Like jewelweed next to poison ivy, or kudzu proliferating in areas with high instances of Lyme Disease, reciprocity is the concept that Nature/The Universe/PLL will send you the medicine to fulfill your desires and meet your needs. And you become the medicine for others too. We can be more or less conscious of that fact, but that fact is always happening. And if you move away from your medicine or your medicine moves away from you, then a similar yet updated version of your medicine will come to fill in the missing gaps. We just need eyes to see it. It’s not personal, and yet it’s very, very intimate.

Another thing about reciprocity: the more communication lines are up and running, on a personal and global scale, the more information can get through about what you need and what the universe has, and the more specific and helpful the medicine will be. And when I talk about human beings as medicine (much in the way we apply that label to plants), it’s not to dehumanize people (how patriarchal is it, after all, to refer to a person, and especially a woman/AFAB/femme, in terms of their utility)—what I seek to do is renature them. To understand that we are and behave like nature is to restore human beings to their most intimate and integrated ecological potential.

To understand reciprocity is to understand interconnectedness and interdependence. It’s to understand our place in the web of life. It’s to learn how to share our gifts while also receiving the wisdom of the world in equal measure. And it’s to understand that a rejection or refusal of our personal “medicine” is not personal; it’s ecological. It just means that we might be better situated elsewhere, for our maximum interdependent growth.

If we tend to ourselves as we might tend to a garden, or a forest, we will learn to accumulate self-knowledge by observing the role we play in the lives of our loved ones, and the lives that our loved ones play for us. Who brings nutrients into the soil? Who provides much-needed shade? Who is a lattice or support to assist our growth? Who covers the ground to prevent the infestation of parasitic species who unreciprocally take our energy? Who regulates the immune system of our community? And so on.

This is the task of radical nourishment; to permaculture the human spirit and all their relations for the reciprocal benefit of all.

Chloé Rossetti