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Archive for the ‘Art’ Category

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I’ve been interpreting nature and the living earth through art and the written word for over 30 years.

Marko has been collaborating with the spiritual energies of nature, creating lithopuncture healing artforms for over 30 years.

This blog is nearly two years old. Its birthday is—as one might surmise—on Earth Day.

Our message is simply this: The earth is a magnificent living, multi-functional, interconnected, self-organizing whole system of a divine nature. Each and every living creature on this planet is a uniquely different, yet thoroughly interconnected part of this whole. With a single decision, you can discover ways to align your own energy with the creative, restorative and healing powers of nature. To live into and embody this knowledge is self-actualization.

As Brian Swimme puts it, the beginning and end of human existence is awe.  So why settle for less?

In my upcoming book, A Naturalist’s Perspective: Reflections on a Living World and the Spirit of Nature, I share six essential secrets to the earth’s well being with which we are already interconnected. Yet in western cultures, because such information is rarely brought to one’s attention, it becomes forgotten.

As a culture, most people suffer from nature deficit disorder.  And as ancient wisdom repeatedly reveals, the most effective remedies are rooted in the natural world and reflected back in the cosmos.

Our deep interconnection with nature is based on approximately 33 additional senses that most people have simply lost touch with because of assumptions that we make about how to ‘do life.’

Many of these assumptions are based on what big business and big media tell us.  Here’s the upshot of a particularly poignant conversation several friends and I had some years ago:

“At first, in your teens and 20’s, it seems easy. In your 30’s, you may be so busy with work and family that you don’t have time to question your life too deeply.  By the time you’re in your 40’s, if you haven’t questioned your life deeply enough, and in the process, established your own value-based philosophy, you’re in for a rude awakening. It’s mind-boggling how ‘asleep at the wheel’ our culture is.”

The six secrets I’m referring to are quintessential cycles and flows that work together, allowing the earth’s (and our) systems to function as a whole.  Each of these aspects is a cornerstone of a living system, yet are often overlooked.

As you cam imagine, the most overlooked ones are the most fruitful for you to explore, because they offer tremendous potential for the human mind to dance and create with.

Next: Excerpts from A Naturalist’s Perspective: Reflections on a Living World and the Spirit of Nature.

*DIY-T stands for Do it Yourself-Together.

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I have lately been pondering my human frailties…along with life’s joys.

There seems to be an endless letting go that eventually leaves my world brighter, and sometimes it really takes quite a bit of work.  Yet the simple act of observing myself (sight) in a variety of situations leads to endless insights.  Here’s what I’ve learned so far ~

Sight leads us to insight.  It occurs up close and at a distance.  From looking out, we develop an outlook—a point of view.

There are so many different ways of seeing—directional choices—not just near and far, into and beyond, around and through, with detachment or engagement, disinterest, reverence, affection, awe…wonder.  We can glance glimpse, scan or scrutinize.  We can examine or observe something protractedly—like watching a garden or wildlife area grow over time.

Feelings also inform our vision—we can gaze with tenderness or regard with curiosity.  We can be passionately involved with what we are seeing or detached and observant.

Seeing the distance gives us perspective.  Seeing the distance opens our hearts.  A visionary sees what is and simultaneously, sees beyond what is into what could be.

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It is a precious and valuable quality to be able to see with both compassion and detachment simultaneously.

When another person inspires us, we see into worlds of intuition and imagination—we are actually seeing with our hearts.  In this way, we become intimately involved in creating energy, vision and dreams that give a special magic to our lives.

What looks solid and familiar—when gazed through the heart—reveals shimmering edges of light, whirls of motion, spirals of life moving—life of a dynamic, formative nature that western culture lacks a language for….and which we miss entirely when we are other than still and attuned.

Is it possible that we are all quietly engaged in developing a new language through which to evolve?

Image The Language of Beauty

J. Ruth Gendler, an extraordinarily gifted writer offers us wise counsel and well-crafted prose in her book, Notes on the Need for Beauty.   One passage in particular caught my attention:

“An Ugandan cab driver in Seattle told me that there were 52 separate languages in Uganda; in his language, the world for ‘beauty’ had different prefixes depending on whether you were referring to a beautiful person, tree or car.”

Gendler goes on to say, “Beauty is a blessing, a gift from the senses to the soul.  Beauty gives pleasure to the senses and exalts the mind and spirit.

Beauty knows innocence and wisdom, harmony and power, intensity, radiance and coherence.  Beauty is natural, exciting and basic to life.  Beauty, like pleasure, is wild and sweet.  Sometimes beauty is outrageous, and audacious and intricate, sometimes quiet, simple, austere.  The beauty of the natural world is incredibly generous and abundant.”

Beauty is wholeness.

The bud, the full bloom, and the withering flower each reveal a different face of beauty.

What if, every day, you stepped more and more into your wholeness as a human being?  You would have to expand.

Your concept of yourself would bump into—and move beyond—all sorts of limiting beliefs.   Why limit yourself to a role, or two or three?

Why not cultivate unconditional love for yourself and see how you grow?  Would there really be a downside?

Develop your discernment.  Learn to discern what dulls your senses, numbs the soul, and cripples your life force.  Quietly or at any volume, let these bits go.

Seek beauty everywhere. Image

 

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There is a poignant tale of a Native American boy who is upset and goes to his grandfather for advice.

The grandfather tells him, “We have two wolves inside each of our hearts.  One of them is compassionate and understanding.  It lives in harmony and peace. The other wolf is fearful and mean-spirited.  It rages, but the anger changes nothing.  The two wolves sometimes fight inside me to see which is more powerful.”

The boy asks his grandfather which wolf will win the fight.  The grandfather responds, “The one we feed.”

The world needs us to be fully conscious ~ to begin loving ourselves completely and honoring ourselves as stewards of the future…..on behalf of the earth that sustains us and on behalf of ourselves.

Trust that you are here fully equipped with all that you need to live into this global role in your own unique ways.

I wholeheartedly believe that to heal the earth and ourselves will take nothing less than for each of us to live each moment of every day in sustainable harmony with the earth.   That means radical shifts.  It could stir up some fear.  Quite a lot actually.  But being fully conscious HEALS.

And healing creates wholeness.

It goes like this ~

You feel annoyed or troubled by something.  That something is your trigger.

At this point you have some choices that essentially boil down to which wolf you’re going to feed.

You can either look within to learn HOW this event is a trigger and eventually unstick yourself, or you can project and blame the other person or situation for being less than.  You might even get some agreement behind how bad the person or event is.

Mmmm, here’s where it gets sticky.

By making the person or event less than, you are making yourself right, which feeds your ego—and instantly separates you from the event.  You may feel safer, but which wolf has been fed?  Fear or compassion?

If fear has been fed, here is what you will eventually notice ~

Now the space of your own world is reduced by that which you have chosen to not look at.

It is far healthier to choose to look at our own character defects and feel temporarily uncomfortable, even downright jumpy as we stand bravely in our own authenticity—than to reject a person or event that has triggered something in us.  Here’s why~

Emotions have a life span of less than a minute (unless there is a BIG trigger).  We feed an emotion by attaching our ego to it, telling ourselves stories about it and playing out scenarios based on it.  We are essentially nourishing it with our attention.  What if instead we nourished our compassion and kindness right at the beginning?  What if we asked ourselves to release the pain we felt?

For some, it could means stepping out of self-constructed comfort zones to live into choosing awareness over denial.  It could mean choosing to be proactive instead of silent, frustrated or angry….asking for what we would like to see differently in the spirit of wonder and curiosity instead of telling ourselves ‘this is just how it is’ and then avoiding it.

Notice where you direct your attention after the event passes.  How much of your attention is fully available to fullness of the present moment?

Like the two wolves, the one we feed eventually permeates our lives.

The paradox is that life IS just what it is.  At the same time, it is ripe with possibility, potential and creativity to live sustainably.  To nourish compassion moment to moment, every day of our lives creates WHOLENESS.   And yes, it’s an inside job.

True, it is easier said than done.  But what else is more important in our lives…really?  If you say family, consider this.

The earth is our home.  You and your family exist because the earth, sun and oceans support all of life.  What harms the earth eventually harms us.  Good actions that we cultivate and nourish will nourish us and the earth.  Our thoughts and deeds are not separate from the health of the earth.  

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 Imagine standing at the edge of clear-cut former rainforest with your grandchild.  As you adjust his / her air mask, how does it feel to tell them that you and those around you knew what was happening, but were afraid to speak up or live differently? 

Imagine telling your grandchildren that you and your neighbors regularly purchased plastic bottles of water and other products packaged in plastic simply because they were readily available?  That you couldn’t imagine that they were part of the plastic garbage  islands of the ocean’s gyres choking off ocean life and negatively impacting the reproductive capabilities of living creatures in the ocean that we depend on for food?

Imagine telling your grandchildren that you were too busy watching television or playing video games to pay attention to what was REALLY going on on planet earth…..

May we awaken from our trance and begin to love the whole, complete person we really are.  Discover where you are not loving yourself, and let the healing begin.  From this, the earth can heal.

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Greetings!  We are now officially into the New Year of 2012, with powerful, fearless and conscious choices that release our attachments to what no longer serves our highest good.

In so doing, a light joyful balance rolls in to wash through the old crevices where we’d kept old ideas held tightly, thinking that they would serve us.

Strengthening our vision and dream of what is possible in our lives—despite all outward appearances otherwise—continues to emerge.  This life force dawns each day with divine right alignment.  When we are aligned with the truth of ourselves, it becomes apparent that a harmonious pattern of divine intelligence is already in place—just waiting for each of us to wake up to its presence.

There is a sort of primal intelligence within every living being—animal, plant, insect or human—that experiences itself as an integrated co-creative part of this larger design.  So let the old pass away is it must, and embrace the fluid, life-filled cosmic blueprint of what is yet to be.

Give yourself permission to feel exhilarated for no reason whatsoever.

Give yourself permission to speak your truth compassionately.

Delight in the newfound space of your expanding being.

Begin to live the life you have always dreamed of.

When we ALLOW the old beliefs to fall away, and get right down to our essence, what else is there REALLY?

So, just be.  Just dream.  You’ll know when the moment is right to say YES with all of your being. 🙂

Beach mandala, courtesy of Sparrow Queen

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There is infinite vibrance and originality in the spirit of living and seeing the world holistically.

Cape Finisterre, Spain

Something potent within awakens, and moves into  an expansive and deeper way of living in the world.

The impulse to create something meaningful with one’s life is a sacred expression of one’s gifts.

On this journey, we discover every project or new exploration reveals a story to be shared—and a deeper, more alive existence beyond that which is apparent to the eye.

As we move into new beginnings, let’s bring forth what is most alive within each of us and discover how the living earth resonates with it.

Painting by David Nikias, Waldorf teacher

 

Imagine every person on earth tuning into their inborn inner guidance and listening to the heartbeat—the life force of Gaia.

Imagine discovering how alive and interconnected—and in need of healing—the earth really is.  Imagine discovering your truest purpose and living it through.

It might just heal the world.

Santa Rosa Rose

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Spending lots of time in the spirit of gratitude has revealed something wonderful: the more I give and do for others, the more grateful I feel.  Giving /doing for others creates greater happiness on the inside—it actually creates joy!

And yet, we’re surrounded by a business-dominated world that aggressively competes with itself (at our expense!) to suck our attention toward massive quantities of manufactured objects, parlaying two basic human desires—our imagined need, which is often fear-based—and the genuine desire of most people to give, which in most cases, is love-based.

Divided Consciousness wants Wholeness

Unless you are one of those fortunate enough to be virtually untouched by our flagging economy, we can easily find ourselves in conflict on the inner domain for the two reasons I mentioned, unless….

Unless we recognize this calculated puppetization of our humanity for what it really is and live in the consciousness of that awareness.  This in turn creates an expanded way of seeing and being in the world.  To remain with and continue to expand one’s consciousness begets the cultivation of a spiritual practice.

In so doing, BEING becomes the essential driver of one’s life.

It’s totally an inside job.

Reflect, Relax, Remember

How am I BEING in this world?

What would I like to see be?

What do I love and value?

How can I connect with like-hearted people?

How can I BE in the world that reflects living my values?

In essence, the shift is from perpetuating what’s bad in the world to creating a vision of a positive future and living into it.  Our biggest blind spot is in our own consciousness when we don’t realize that we’re perpetuating negativity by thinking and talking about what’s not working.

Taking a conscious leap into actually designing healthier living patterns for ourselves and our loved ones is where the magic lives.  And it takes conscious living to get us there and maintain it.

 

Living a whole and balanced life IS a living demonstration of your values.  Doing so automatically creates inner joy and an expanded sense of being.

If we want to see social and environmental change in our lifetimes, we need fully to step into our own version of it.  I believe this is where the New Earth really begins.

Anyone can live the values of a New Earth right now, there’s no long runway.  It’s a matter of choice.  The more each of us discovers that the past actually doesn’t have power over the present—except in our own minds.

So here’s the cool thing…

As we consciously shift from being at the adverse effect of what we don’t like about the world to being conscious creators of what we do like that bring each of us joy, delight and peace of mind—we ignite our own creative genius.  We discover that we have super powers.  No kidding, we really are gifted with unique abilities—all of which are valid and don’t require drawing skills.

Consider your Gifts Super Powers

When we become adept at balancing study (focused intention), meditation (spiritual practice), and being of service—with service being the most essential—we invoke and use our own particular super powers towards creating a better world, right here, right now.  No waiting for our governments to come to an agreement or an accord.  No waiting for externalities to line up first.  We have the power to ponder and choose new realities, new ways of being for ourselves right now.  Today.

When our physical action aligns with our higher spiritual will, it has a profound effect on our emotions.  This alignment actually has a purifying and calming effect on our emotions as our hearts open and express our soul’s own gifts, unconditional love and intuition.  You’ll find that it’s all about resonance.

In permaculture terms, this is the act of living the permaculture design principle of ‘Design from Patterns to Details.’

Have faith that what you have to offer in the world is exactly what the world needs.

This activity is the unfolding of your creative genius. 

Create Space, Trump Time

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A few weeks ago, my Yaris was getting its 60K mile service.  Usually the wifi keeps me caught up on writing and correspondence, but today was different.

Toyota’s solution for a downed wifi connection on a day they don’t offer shuttle service was nice: the cashier–who had moments before been professing tummy pains due to consuming too much string cheese–saw my wifi need as a solution to two problems: her need to take a break and mine to go where the satellite vibes were stronger.

Her creativity kicked in.  The energy of the space palpably changed—she was motivated by a mission that extended beyond mere wifi.

Formula for Resonance

Following a brief call that amounted to, “send Alex over,” a friendly, agreeable fellow emerged from the mechanics department smiling broadly.  Apparently, he was glad to have a break too.  In those brief moments, all three of us implicitly understood that we were all tuned into the same frequency.  And something good was about to happen, despite the ‘no-shuttle-service-today’ rule.

The collective benefits of what at first seemed like a singular need revealed a spontaneous, mutually beneficial re-arrangement of molecules that delighted all three of us.

If I hadn’t spoken up, and had simply accepted sitting in front of a flat screen TV with half a dozen other customers sipping free watered-down coffee sweetened with chemically processed corn syrup surrounded by paparazzi rags, I would have missed the rich experience that followed.

As it turned out, the cashier freed herself of her role by helping Alex.

Another woman stepped in as cashier, apparently happy to escape her routine counting of small boxes cryptically written in Japanese.

Alex the mechanic—with me walking beside him—continued to smile broadly as he was handed the keys to a midnight blue Infiniti QX that transported us to the nearest wifi hangout—a Starbucks.

Ahh, from lame to tolerable.  Well, at least we were getting somewhere.  And it’s making more than one person happy.

Service with a Smile!

Alex was delighted.  He grinned from ear to ear the whole way there.   Sunglasses riding his tanned nose, Alex occasionally glanced out the window smiling and nodding—quite possibly at imaginary crowds of well-wishers who waved at him in his over-the-top four-wheel moment.  Who can help but smile?   🙂

 

Some options

Rearranging for Resonance

Had I, like most people, been focused solely on my own needs, I would have missed this entire dynamic—or at least would have perceived it very differently.

The culture that most of us have grown up in doesn’t encourage us to live as if we are interconnected.

It encourages quite the opposite.  Furthermore, it doesn’t encourage us to live as part of the natural world.   Instead we often see ourselves as passengers on a ship, outfitted as best we can with necessities and diversions for the journey.  And in fact, outfitted with resources that are often taken for granted, with no heed to their origins, or to the lives that may have been affected or impacted by this inattention.  Think Starbucks.  Think Wal-Mart.  Think floating-islands-of-plastic-debris.

Fortunately, there are people who stand up for their beliefs—who speak out—even in the face of conventional opposition.

We have a loud cry that says, ‘look at the bigger picture, and keep looking at it,’ even if it means we move in a direction that may not be the most convenient, or we may not be able to put as many dollars in our pockets.

Think Occupy Wall Street.  Better yet, think Occupy Earth.

We are growing aware and concerned about lifestyles that take more from the collective pool of resources than they return.  We understand that to conserve—to care for and protect our environment—means giving something up in the present.  Really, it’s the only path of the future.

So we are witnessing the emergence of greater resonance toward localization, community, heartfelt gratitude, slow food, organic gardens, simple beauty in the everyday and the ideas naturally generated by such resonance.

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At the same time we are aware of the fall, or perhaps, the implosion of that which generates dissonance—that which cultivates separation, virtual reality, greed, selfishness, isolation and generally ‘me-against-the-world’ kind of thinking.

There’s a collective creative consciousness here in California that belies conventional thinking and this is fertile ground for artistic creativity.  And if you live here and are reading this, there’s a good chance that your life is one of the threads that weaves this creative consciousness.

To really get creative requires tuning up to a high frequency–a more expanded resonance.

This same high frequency resonance occurs within nature. Nikolas Tesla once said, ‘Nature may reach the same result in many ways.’  The resonance that’s felt when one is inspired, delighted, hopeful, relaxed or receptive reveals just a few of the infinite facets of greater possibility dawning on us.

I love being a part of the vibrancy of this fertile, beautiful land we call California.  So many of the people who live here, with their forward thinking ideas of commerce, are willing to see a better world and to take action.  It’s truly my inspiration—this geography is part of what I bring inside of me and transform into art.

It’s resonance of a high frequency that will get us through.  And it just takes a few moments to tune in.  You’ll know you’re there when a smile emerges on your face spontaneously.  🙂

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