Spraying pesticide may be one way to save the pine trees of Rim country, but a recent gathering of concerned residents in Pine explored another possibility. Brooke Medicine Eagle, renowned spiritual teacher and author, led a prayer dance workshop at the Pine community center, encouraging the use of spiritual means to heal the mountain.
"There are physical ways to heal our dying forests, but we wanted to try a spiritual approach," said Billie Grace, Owner of Jane of all Trades, one of the businesses sponsoring Saturday's event.
More than 30 concerned citizens spent their day listening to the wisdom of many spiritual leaders and scientists and being instructed on Native American prayer dance technique.
With drums beating, participants stood in a circle and then stepped in rhythm, focusing their thoughts on healing the earth.
"The circle has enormous power to spin energy and form an energetic presence that will manifest in something," Medicine Eagle said.
"When we all can focus our energy on one thing, such as healing the earth, our prayers, energy and vibration will make something happen."
Medicine Eagle believes that humans have the capacity to harness their energy and apply it toward positive change. She states that this positive energy translates to intent, her definition of power.
"My definition of power is not force, control or manipulation, but positive intent to achieve unity, harmony with the whole life around us," Medicine Eagle said.
She spoke to participants about ways to harness their personal power.
"A barrier to utilizing our power is language -- all the chatter that is going on in our minds all the time," Medicine Eagle said, "Thoughts of the past and the future."
"The way we can reach our unlimited intent is to quiet the chatter and stay in the present," Medicine Eagle said.
With that statement, she led the participants in some exercises that focused their attention on the moment and made them cognizant of how much chatter is going through their minds.
Medicine Eagle instructed the students to cover their ears and close their eyes and focus on listening and quieting their minds.
"When you are listening, you are not talking," she said.
In her book, The Last Ghost Dance, Medicine Eagle writes, "With impeccable devotion, we must listen to the voices of the larger life around us -- learning, awakening, tuning in - so that each step forward is one of harmony."
As a part-time resident of northern Arizona, Medicine Eagle has witnessed the wrath of drought, fire and the bark beetle on the forests. The state of "mother earth" is of grave concern to her.
"I believe we create our own challenges and the challenges we are facing now have pushed us to the edge of this sphere," Medicine Eagle stated. "Now we need to learn a different way of using our power, a way that is in harmony with nature and the flow of life."
A prayer dance, according to Medicine Eagle, is one way to harness the energy and intent of a unified force of people who desire the same outcome.
"The power of one individual's intent and vibration can be amplified when many people are joined in focus on the same intent, expressed in prayer," Medicine Eagle said. "When you dance into the ground, you will be heard. You are transmitting a vibration."
Medicine Eagle and the participants hoped to make a difference by gathering in a joint effort to focus energy on healing the Rim.
"We can't be divided and do the things we need to do," Medicine Eagle said. "Together is the only way to accomplish this."
"We wanted to bring the community together, people of all faiths, to pray on behalf of humanity, for healing," Grace said. "I believe in the power of prayer and when you put your energy towards positive things, you can make an impact."
"Whether we are ready or not, great changes are coming to our plane of existence," Medicine Eagle wrote, "Our only choice is in how each of us responds."