Spirituality & Health / Cheryl Leutjen
November 13

Spirituality & Health / Cheryl Leutjen

Julie Peters, author of Pleasure After Assault, and Cheryl Leutjen, author of Love Earth Now, discuss ways to connect and honor the Earth via Spirituality & Health Magazine:https://spiritualityhealth.com/articles/2019/11/12/love-earth-now#


Cheryl Leutjen is a writer in Los Angeles with a background as a geologist and an environmental attorney. Her book Love Earth Now chronicles her attempts to do her part to honor the earth as a wife, mom, and human being. Delightfully written, always earnest, and often funny, the book explores ways to connect with and respect the natural environment while managing the stress of living in what sometimes feels like environmental apocalypse.

S&H: Where did the inspiration for this book come from? 

Cheryl Leutjen: There are at least two ways I can answer that. The easy response is that it was inspired by a one-day writing workshop. I tell the whole story in my book, but the themes of Love Earth Now poured out that day. I was stunned. I was sure I lacked the patience to write an entire book, and I had no idea what I could say about the monumental environmental problems we face. Yet something I experienced at the end of that workshop inspired me to begin writing regularly. And to do it out in nature.

The second answer is that this book is a culmination of all my years of life on this earth. I was a child of the 1970s: the energy crisis, the discovery of the hole in the ozone layer, songbirds dying from DDT, and polluted rivers catching on fire. It was not an environmental picnic back then, either. 

I took it all in. I adjusted our home thermostat to President Carter-recommended levels to save energy when my parents weren’t looking. I taped my bedroom light switch in the off position—until my mom stubbed her toes on the junk on the floor in my dark room too many times. (Being a mom who has stepped on Legos in the dark, I get it now.)

I felt I had to do something. I also believed that more sophisticated answers would appear—like the mountaintop emerging through the fog—as I got older. I went on to study interdisciplinary ecology, environmental geology, and environmental law, ever searching for the class or the career that would help me do my part to stem the tide of ecocide. 

And still, that mountaintop remained shrouded. It was only after I made that commitment to writing in nature that the pieces of the puzzle that became this book came together. 

I consider my relationship with Earth like a relationship with a beloved parent. It’s complicated. Sometimes, it’s a shouting match, and other times, we aren’t on speaking terms. No matter what, it’s rooted in love.