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Once We Were On Earth; Once We Were in Body

purple lines on black circle, a family tree of all living beings




  • Materials to write on and with, or a device to record your voice.


  • A timer.


  • Something to ground and resource yourself with: a stone, something someone you love made for you, a memory of an experience or sensation that is strong enough you can return to it easily for resourcing, a cat, a dog etc.


  • Somatic tools/toys that you can use during this practice. Here is a description of a couple of practices so you have something to play with. (I am not a somatic facilitator and recommend working with professional facilitators to develop your own somatic practice).


At any point if you find yourself spinning out or being flooded, return to your breath, a grounding object or memory and use a somatic tool.

You can step away if you need to and come back later if you want to.

This practice is also available as audio.


The Exercise


Take a moment to bring yourself into the exercise space.


Tell yourself:


There are no deliverables, there are no answers. There is no narrative.

There is no good or bad in this practice.


I. Now


Contemplate: Breathe.  With eyes open or shut, feel yourself in this moment. Feel the near certainty that you do not share the earth with many, if any, of the non-human beings at the heart of Delisted 2023.


Be gentle. What comes up for you? What emotion or sensation? What images or messages or impulses? Where are they in your body?


Record (2 minutes): Write, draw, note, voice memo what comes to you.


II. 375 years Ago—We Were Together On Earth


Contemplate: Imagine your human body 375 years ago.


Where is your body? Are you on your ancestral lands? Are you on the lands where you are doing this exercise?


If you are in the northern hemisphere, sense the cold of the little ice age.


Imagine that you are in an ecosystem in which you feel you belong, maybe near the ocean, or in a forest, or a desert.


Imagine something larger than you, a boulder, or the ocean, the earth beneath you or something else that helps give you that sense of grounding and belonging.


You and members of the Delisted 2023’s collection of non-human beings are together on earth.


Breathe in and out for three cycles and feel yourself together with these beings in an ecosystem where you belong.


Record (3 minutes): Write, draw, note, voice memo what comes to you


III. 800 Million Years Ago—We Were Together in Animal Body


Contemplate: Imagine yourself in the ocean in the single-celled body of the common ancestor of all animal species.


Imagine yourself sharing the sea with the single-celled bodies of the ancestors of land plants.


 Your body does not have specialized organs or necessarily even specialized cells. Your body is crowded with potentiality of all of the animals that will be, from humans to the tuberculed blossom pearly mussel to the bachman’s warbler.


Your body is not so different from your siblings, the unicellular beings that are the ancestors of plants, including the ulihi phyllostegia.


Meteors violently hit the surface of the water and sink into the ocean. The air and water are very warm.


The world is oxygenated because of the billion years of photosynthesis by older beings than yourself.  


Most of the earth is the sea, and the land is just a collection of small continents clustered around the South Pole.


What does it feel like in this aquatic body, in company with the potentiality of all animal species including humans and non-human Delisted 2023 species?


Record (3 minutes): Write, draw, note, voice memo what comes to you.


IV. 1.6 Billion Years Ago—We Were Together in Body


Contemplate: Imagine yourself a microbe in a turquoise and black sea.


You are in the ocean in the body of the single-celled common ancestor of both plants and animals. In this world, oxygen is far less available, and the ocean passes in and out of a sulfidic state because so many beings with whom you live photosynthesize using hydrogen sulfide rather than water.


Your relationship to other bodies is permeable. Your descendants at some point, will contact other microbes and come together to create the engines that drive plant photosynthesis and oxygen-reliant cellular respiration.


Soon, the ancestor of all plants and the ancestor of all animals will emerge separately.


We are all in this body together.


What do you experience in this aquatic body? What does it feel like to be in our very ancient grandparent’s body together?


Record (3 minutes): Write, draw, note, voice memo what comes to you.


V. 3.5 Billion Years Ago—We Were LUCA or the Progenote


Contemplate: Imagine that you are in the ocean in the body of the last common ancestor of all present life on earth.


The earth is young. Life is so new.

The earth is transitioning from a gaseous hot changeable place to a planet with oceans, a crust, and tectonic plates. There is no ozone layer. There is next to no oxygen. The air is full of nitrogen and methane.


You are in the sea. Your body is the container for all life to come.


You are in a community of microbial bodies.


What do you experience as you imagine yourself as LUCA, the Last Universal Common Ancestor?


Record (3 minutes): Write, draw, note, voice memo what comes to you.


VI. Coming Back 

Pause and breathe into your body. Breathe into your feet and hands, and out. Breath into your arms and legs, and out. Breath into your belly, and out. Breath into your heart, and out. Breath into the top of your head, and out. Breath into your neck and your jaw.


Breath out. What do you experience—what do you feel or sense? What impulses, emotions, visions, messages are you receiving?


Record (3 minutes) Take note of what comes to you.


VII. Time Travel


Contemplate: You are in the present moment.


Time stretches out before you like a line or pathway.


Imagine yourself moving along the line into the future.


First you move slowly.  But you speed up, fast as light, then faster, and you are now 375 years, in the future, 800 million years in the future, 1.6 billion years in the future.


The line or path is not straight but it arcs. Imagine yourself moving faster than the speed of light, along this arc to 3.5 billion years into the future.


Pause here.


Imagine the strange future planet and its life, the earth’s constant and ongoing rotation about the sun, and the moon’s consistent movement about the earth.


Record (3 minutes): Write, draw, note, voice memo what comes to you.


VIII. Cyclic Time Travel


Contemplate: You are 3.5 billion years in the future.


Imagine yourself moving forward along the arc, again, faster and faster until you are faster than the speed of light. Notice your pathway curving towards the start of the line or pathway, the other end of the circle.


This point that you are approaching is the start, the origin of the earth around 4.6 billion years ago. You are before life.


Move forward along the circle, as the earth takes shape in orbit around the young sun and find yourself 3.5 billion years ago. You are back in the body of LUCA.


Keep moving and you are 1.6 billion years ago, back in the shared microbial body of all plants and animals.


Move again and you are 800 million years ago, when all animals shared a body and animals and plants shared the earth.


Move again and you are 375 years ago when some members of all of our species, subspecies, and morphs, all of us in Delisted 2023, shared a planet.


Pause. Then move back to this moment.


Tell yourself


All of these moments are now and always.


Perhaps you write this, perhaps you say it.


Record (5 minutes): Write, draw, record.


IX. Transition Out


Transition out of this practice gently. Ask yourself if you need to use a somatic tool or spend some time with your breath or resting before you move into something else.


It may help to exercise or spend time with a nonhuman being.


You carry with you the experience of this practice and your discoveries. You can return to what you created during the practice and perhaps create more, or perhaps sit with it longer and discover what else emerges.


Feel free to modify this practice and the timings. You can divide it into two or three shorter sessions as well.


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