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Archive for the ‘Authenticity’ Category

sleeping on the grass

I had so much fun writing this article! Thank you to Travis Bradberry and Jean Greaves for providing my own kick-start!

  1. Get enough sleep. Inaction is the #1 thing you can do to bring your 33 senses in alignment with the planet itself. Yes, you read that right!

 

  1. Stay present. Notice, notice, notice as much as you can. Until you’ve become good at taking note of your thoughts in order to let them go, they will drift like clouds across your mental plane—or like gnats on your windshield. This is fairly difficult for many people because technology is extremely dominant in our world. Find your way through this constructively. A friend of mine takes a walk most evenings just before sunset. A fellow PDC student has made a personal practice of lying directly on the ground (snow angel style) after coming home from work. Maximum contact with the ground is key, she says. If bugs or dirt are a concern, change your clothes and remove your shoes—weather permitting. There’s nothing like unwinding and feeling your daily pressures melt away.

 

  1. Make your physical, mental and emotional well-being a lifetime priority. I’ve been a single mom long enough to know how challenging this can be. Yet, if you make it your goal to be well within, your happiness barometer can soar. One of the coolest things about this is that you begin to feel a kinship with nature—with the life that swirls around us moment to moment. A likely outcome is that nature eventually is into this priority, signaling an inner shift from ‘just me’ to ‘me and my environment.’

 

  • Get curious about nature. Years ago—despite my busy day-to-day life—I learned that even 15 minutes seated in a frayed patio chair in our tiny backyard watching birds had a regenerative effect on me. Have your kids do it too, together or separately. Silence matters. Keep a journal if you like. Walking, exploring or sitting are all valid vehicles of curiosity. Ask yourself: “I wonder…”
  1. Look for patterns. During the first year of my PDC, we learned that understanding patterns (pattern intelligence) is almost exclusively a trait of the first four regenerative actions above. Climate change, for instance, is a global reflection of long-term patterns unraveling.

 

  1. Live constructively out-of-the-box. This means—live your values. Not sure what they are? Find out. Schedule time in your week to learn cool green topics like:

“No matter how difficult and painful it may be, nothing sounds as good to the soul as the truth.”   ~ Martha Beck

 

  1. Identify your contribution. What can you do? Can you plant some (non-GMO) herbs, a fruit tree or veggies? Can you build a compost bin? Inviting your kids, partner or friends to get involved makes it fun. Post your project on Facebook or Nextdoor or create a Meetup out of it. Small things often lead to bigger ones. If you feel overwhelmed, repeat steps 1 – 4.

 

  

  1. Take ‘living constructively’ to the next level. Maybe you’d like to add a new skillset to your career by taking an instructional design course or becoming a mentor to a young person. You could find a local non-profit that does something you feel good about and volunteer to help. Connecting with like-hearted people is key to personal growth and renewal.

 

  1. Take one radical step. Then take another. Our world may be messed up, but when we do something radical from the heart we create a powerful antidote. We cultivate authenticity, fairness and integrity. As we move away from actions and habits that don’t align with our core values, radical new steps begin to appear, if only in the form of an idea. Allow them. Everything that is a reality now was once an idea.

Let me know how you’re doing or share a question. I love hearing from you!

“When you are living the best version of yourself, you inspire others to live the best versions of themselves.” —Steve Maraboli

 

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You have a favorite piece of clothing.

One day, you notice that a button is loose and some of the fabric’s weave has unraveled, leaving some threads dangling.

If you really like this piece of clothing, you’ll probably try to fix these imperfections so they don’t get worse.

If however, you don’t care for it enough to expend the energy to fix it, you might tell yourself that it can be replaced—or that you can find something similar, or better. If you lived in Cuba or the DRC, replacing it wouldn’t actually be an option.

Another possibility is to do nothing. Just let it unravel, missing buttons and all, until it eventually becomes unwearable. Maybe use the remaining fabric for an art project.

Relative to your lifestyle, would you do what’s sensible? Or are you more inclined to do what’s easy?

What if this piece of clothing was a space suit or something you actually couldn’t survive without in a region like say, the Arctic tundra?

Keep Asking Lots of Questions

Does the average first-world person prefer to replace a worn garment with something new? Are there too few seamstresses and tailors in the western world? Why do people who can sew and repair garments primarily work for in third-world sweatshops or for the wealthy? Why is this skill-set so absent and relatively undervalued in America? There was a time—in Europe, in my parent’s generation—where sewing was on par with driving as a valuable skill.

Why does an internet search for “world’s poorest island communities” reveal absolutely nothing? Why does a search for “world’s poorest islands” reveal only a scant handful of bloggers, some of whom comment on the ‘obscene disparity’ between say, Haiti, and the tourists who pay to be disgorged there from a Royal Caribbean cruise ship that sits quietly in the distance awaiting their suntanned return for unlimited food and booze?

Haitian disparity-on-the-beach

For that matter, why is there unlimited access to booze on a finite planet while 783 million people don’t have access to clean water? Are we not aware enough that the present ways of our culture are unsustainable?

 

 

Where am I going with all this, you may wonder…

Those of you who understand the art of the metaphor and the unmistakable theme of my work, know all too well where I am taking you.

The Biosphere (aka., Life on Earth)

Despite our (collective) limited understanding of what creates a healthy, sustainable world, we are nevertheless aware that all of life depends on the health and well-being of our planet.

Helen_Christiansonsaving ecosystems

We’re talking about an organic living system. The planet is an organic living system that our singular species (7 billion of us) share with 8.7 million OTHER species.

What we know with surprising certainty is that it is the web of life as a whole that has made it possible for our species to exist. Like your favorite piece of clothing.

As David Suzuki states, “To tear at the web in such a massive way with so little regard for our own future is a kind of collective insanity that is suicidal.”

Come on now, why would you tear up your favorite piece of clothing?

 

A Fertile Future

A fertile future rests on three things:

  1. Organic, thriving uncompromised ecosystems;
  2. Wise, compassionate stewardship of said ecosystems;
  3. The re-creation of human systems that unequivocally reveal the long-term value of the first two.

You can quote me on this.

Yes, your children are equally precious. So are mine. What kind of world do we want to see them grow up in? Being a parent opens our hearts to ongoing, unconditional love. What would it take for the planet that supports us unconditionally to experience that love too?

If this single statement of what I believe a fertile future rests upon contributed to the foundation of entirely new human systems and thus, ways of thinking that were based upon sustainable ethics, we would be able to turn things around. Maybe not in my lifetime, but maybe in our children’s lifetime.

Please don’t wait for another spark of inspiration. Join a group that’s actually doing something to make the planet healthier.

Share your and others’ ideas far and wide.  Talk with me on this blog.

Move out of your comfort zone and speak for that which does not have a human voice but needs yours to survive.

Every act and expression of thought has the power to change things.

Happy family

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As February emerges in the South Pacific right now, it seems like a good time to thank January for its many  gifts–particularly for the rain here in California.

Sharing Nature with kids-Devon-England 001

Ever since completing a 3-year Waldorf teacher training program to practice the art of integrative teaching, it has become a personal practice of mine to be particularly conscious about the daily rhythms and energies preceding Epiphany (January 6).

 

I experience a sense of timelessness, where my awareness flows fluidly with the natural shifts of light and dark. There is a more heightened awareness of the present moment, coupled with an expanded effortlessness to remain fully present. In this state of awareness, Life’s paradoxes reveal hidden purpose and meaning. A brilliant constellation of ideas–as few as two or three and as many as dozens I’ve attempted to document–that had previously not arisen in my mind in such an interconnected way.

 

What surprised me was the unexpected paradoxical nature of the ideas that came into view, which are shared verbatim below. If a big part of you revels in collaboration and togetherness, realize that the flipside is to revel in–and actually yearn to–experience quality alone time with yourself. It’s vital for self-balancing. So, here’s what came in:

yin yang earth“It is your lack of commonality that will free you. It is your commonality that binds you. It is your freedom of choice to connect or not–or to be bound or not.”

In other words, “the variables that make each of us utterly unique are also what frees us. You could also say that freedom is a vast commonality, depending on how you view it.”

 

Another way to look at this is that the world could be your oyster…or it could be your jail cell…depending on the broadness of your perspective.

12-12-12 image Vasumi

It was sort of thrilling to realize for the first time a new dimension to my career that hadn’t occurred to me of before: the idea that connecting cultural / linguistic anthropology with sovereign food system restoration of island communities would be an absolutely banging way to immerse my career into the realms I love most. Naturally, this is my own unique spin on life based on what truly rocks my world. Highly recommended…

 

Prior to the gnarly communication discord of this most recent week (17-24 January), the altitude of awareness has been at an all-time high—available for the reaching to anyone w ho reaches for what really matters.

 

cosmos_from_earth

Our cosmos as seen from earth

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When conversation turns to what’s not working within western culture, conversations invariably turn to entitlement. If you’re a parent–or soon to be–this article could help. In fact, it’s the parents of the world that are raising the issue of entitlement to a higher level of awareness for all of us.

boywithworm

So, what’s the big deal about entitlement?

 

Entitlement, in and of itself, is simply the sense that one has a right to something. As human beings sharing this planet with 7 billon+ of our own species and 8.7 million of all other species, all members of planet earth have a right to live safe, happy and healthy lives. Such lives are built upon the foundation of individual and collective well-being.

 

Where entitlement goes sideways is when our IDEA of what we’re entitled to becomes disconnected from the reality of what it means to cultivate individual and collective well-being. This is a holistic perspective in that it considers the whole of life–not just in orbit around oneself.

Sharing Nature with kids-Devon-England 001

Imagine truly living from such a perspective. It’s a game changer.

 

Everything–every action, every thought, every decision–gets re-evaluated based on what the greatest good might be. This is the place in your consciousness where your sense of fairness, wonder, beauty and tenderness come into play. Anyone who’s a parent or a teacher knows this perspective well.

 

As important as individual expression, creativity and autonomy are, so is a greater sense of caring, of purposefulness, of understanding the whole and one’s relationship to thetwo-girls-sharing-insun rest of life.

 

When astronaut Edgar Mitchell saw the earth from a distance of nearly 200,000 miles away, there was a shared sense of awe, a sudden gut feeling that something was vey different. Upon seeing the earth in a purposeful flow of energy, space and time orbiting the sun amidst the cosmos, Mitchell stated, “Suddenly, there was a non-rational way of understanding [life] that had been beyond my previous experience.”

When you go out in nature, as far away as possible from human structures and forms, you can experience your own personal version of wonder, peace, comprehension, connection and contentment and inspiration.

THIS is the experience to which we, our children and future children–are richly entitled.

Collecting material possessions beyond what we actually need is a phenomena of western culture. There will never be enough new stuff to fulfill anyone. Fueled by a distorted sense of entitlement, it cultivates a craving, an emptiness, a lack of fulfillment–the very opposite of what is truly needed by the human soul. It will never be a substitute for living a meaningful life.

It’s not only our human species that are held securely in the living enfoldment of a universal design beyond our rational minds…the entire planet is held in this way too.

Take the time to consider what ideas get in the way of these greater and more nourishing perspectives.

What ideas aren’t serving YOUR greatest good?

What ideas can you replace with more holistic perspectives?

girlhuggingtree

 

If you’re feeling empty, drained, or aren’t experiencing the meaningfulness of life, that’s your cue. Discover what ideas are in the way of the personal joy and fulfillment you’re entitled to.  Don’t be fooled by the red herring of western culture media.

 

These are the perspectives to which we are richly entitled.

 

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hammock ocean view

 

Short Distance …

                  Long Journey

 

 

 

He sees the universe in a grain of sand

She sees the universe in a flowery bloom

Here is a constellation in the making

Here is where the geometry of love

Lives in unbound movements

Just beneath the surface of daily time

 

Many years in the making this…

An undaunted intertwining

Of co-creative threads

Steadily finding their way

Together once again

 

Hitherto…

Her secret garden

dwelt quietly in the inner light of love

The seeds of what was to come

lay dormant in the belly of the fertile earth

 

Until the nourishing elixir of his love

Stirred them to grow and bloom

 

Sisters, let me tell you

How blessed I am

That such an unmistakable grace

Has settled so gently into my life

Like the first rain of autumn…

 

Together

We save seeds for a vital future

 

Together

We plant seeds

and wax of dreams eternal

 

Together

We pull weeds and smile

Knowing that every effort

Every thought

Every action

 

Infuses that vital elixir

In its slow drip

Into the fertile soil of love

With a nourishing fluidity

That feeds the root system

Of the matrixed network

That entwines our souls

like strands of DNA

That have been activated

By a single breath

Of the expanding cosmos

 

May we succumb to the warmth of our hearts

May heart and hearth be one for us

Where eternal, divine fire glows

 

Where according to our readiness

Everything opens

Hibiscus-opening

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The Explorer's Path

The Explorer’s Path

Wow, life has been fairly intense and full of change lately. Have you noticed this in your life?

 

Since February rolled in, it’s as though we’ve been placed right at the center of some of the most intensive drama our individual lives can bear…perhaps so that we can burn through our own inner challenges and come out somewhat purified in these challenging zones.

 

Fortunately, with the onset of March, a considerable lightness has been ushered in relative to the dark bits we’ve been struggling through. ‘To compassionately discover oneself in the other’ has been an apt theme for the first half of March.

 

As March comes to a close, you may have noticed a feeling of ‘breathing room,’ where truth has revealed itself and your sense of direction has once again become clear…where simplicity has emerged from what had once been so complex. In other words, a re-balancing has taken place.

 

The intrinsic yet deeply complex balance of nature mirrors this process beautifully. Despite storms, meteorites, ice ages, human destruction and rising Co2 levels, nature consistently demonstrates grace and resilience. No matter what happens, nature is poised gracefully for resurgence–the ability to heal, restore and flourish.

 

Balancing in the Rain

Balancing in the Rain

What can we learn from nature about re-balancing?

 

Any bit of nature will do just fine as a medium for discovery. My daughter once told me, ‘I love what trees have taught me about balance.’

 

That comment really grabbed my attention.

‘Say more about that,’ I responded.

‘They’re rooted in the ground way beyond what we can see. They watch the whole world wake up, buzz around and go to sleep every day. They give us food and stay centered in the same place for their whole lives and are always reaching for the sky and growing no matter how old they are,’ Marlene said casually, conveying that her perceptive comments were likewise rooted in long-term observations.

 

A sublime joy pervaded my entire being. What Marlene shared was amazingly perceptive and astute. Beside feeling happy within, I felt hope for the future. In that moment, I realized that the ripple effect of an honest statement can literally change the future.

 

Together, we pondered trees…nourishers of the soil through a complex mycellian-root communication system largely invisible to us…providers of relief in the form of shade, not only for us humans but for the world’s canopies of rainforest and ecosystem life…preservers and sequesterers of water, refreshing the air, creating oxygen and giving us something magnificent to be in awe about…reaching for the sky every day, just because that’s how they live.

 

Connecting with Trees

Connecting with Trees

Imagine what it would feel like to be reaching for the sky every day–just because. Imagine striving to grow and evolve your entire life–for the sheer joy of it. What if you loved your life or your career so much that these impulses just happened naturally within you? Would your life feel more in healthy balance? Would you feel closer to authentic happiness?

As Marlene says, “Wow, nature’s good to us!”

In wildness is the preservation of the world.     ~ Thoreau

 

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The breeze at dawn 
has secrets to tell you.

Don’t go back to sleep. 



You must askfor what you really want. 



Don’t go back to sleep. 



People are going back and forthbetween the door sill

where the two worlds touch. 



The door is round and open.

Don’t go back to sleep.

 

 ~ Rumi

 ImageThis time is ripe to discover, be and continue to become yourself completely.

Yes, this is an inside job.

It has little to do with being the best or greatest at something based on another’s standards.  This is the work of unfurling—sometimes slowly, sometimes radically—the inspiration of your soul.  It begins with listening to your inner guidance—your own personal intuition.

The more we see life as a series of interactive experiences, the more these experiences will inform our sense of life and well-being.

If your sense of someone or something makes you feel wary, distant or withdrawn, realize that these feelings can be fear-based.  Realize also that there could simply be no energy in your world behind the interaction.  How to determine what’s true?

Be honest and kind with yourself.  Where IS the energy in this particular experience?  Is it coming from someone else?  Are you meeting that energy with your own?  Do you genuinely feel you were being yourself in the process?

Most importantly, what was your residual experience?  How often was your head, heart and whole self tuned in?

Did you feel: Inspired?  Curious?  Energized?  Flat?  Bored?  Concerned?   Dig deep to find out what veins of interest were indeed sparked.  What were you inspired about?  When did you feel energized?  If you felt nothing at all, then it’s probably time to practice more self-integration.

My past two year’s blogs—and no doubt a bounty of others, from Oprah and Dr. Phil to zen and the art of zoning—all present nuggets of wisdom to distill.

Now, when you let all these thoughts go…what do you know for sure?

Despite what we may think our lives are about; despite how selfless or self-absorbed we believe we need to be to survive, our lives are actually a journey of authenticity and self-care.  Net-net?  When our inner world connects meaningfully with our outer world, we experience life as being precious.

A change of heart is the best barometer of authenticity.  It informs the mind meaningfully and pervasively.  Only then can lasting, positive change occur.

What experiences have been most meaningful for you?

Drop me a line and let me hear from you…and enjoy this first day of the Year of the Horse!

Image

Mahalo Kalani!

 

 

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