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Archive for the ‘Cosmos’ Category

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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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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Accept each minute as an unrepeatable miracle–which is exactly what it is. 

                                                                                           –Storm Jameson

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Arch Rock, Etretat, France


Aahh, January…the month of lull.

In case things haven’t changed much—but you believe they ought to—take heart!

We’re still deep in the season of winter, but the Gregorian calendars tell us it’s a new year, so many of us believe it’s time to change things up…make resolutions, do things differently.

Yet there’s an inertia…a gentle pull from the still-slumbering earth that reminds us that the earth’s energy is still dormant—attune to this reality and you will acknowledge a pattern within yourself.  If only we could hibernate with her!

What most of us here on the western hemisphere forget is that it’s not really a new year yet—it seems so only by Gregorian standards.  Many on the eastern hemisphere don’t even celebrate New Year’s until early February. In Tibet, for example, Losar-–which pre-dates Buddhism—is celebrated from January through March, where gratitude for the abundant earth—her waters, her soils, her atmosphere, her natural ambiance, her fertility—is expressed daily and performed in myriad ways.  This is abundance.

The 10th of February is actually the time we begin to feel a difference—when both hemispheres are tracking with the core idea: New Year.

Our innate sense of harmony with the earth literally becomes re-kindled through a slow awakening around this time…how great to be in tune with the earth’s rhythms this way.  Keep a journal and discover what you’re all about just under the surface of our pervasive societal ‘norm.’

Year of the Snake

The Year of the Snake—which begins 10 February—is all about surrendering old forms and patterns to make space for the new.  Watch any snake.  The snake is all about being inside of and under things—just under all the surface activity.  Its monthly sheds are a visible example of releasing old patterns to prepare for the new.

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Marlene at the Ecological Staircase

To ‘make space for the new’ is really the key phrase here.

As we approach this synchronizing New Year date, let’s consider what we want to shed.  If you haven’t considered this at all, get ready for an intense transformation that you didn’t expect.  Depending on our individual transits (astrosophy-speak for personal transformation cycles), some of us have already experienced our own version of catastrophe in 2012.  Some of us have glided through on a thin blade of survival.  Some of us have remained relatively untouched.

Regardless of where you find yourself, be prepared to surrender normal routines and patterns for what is coming—whatever that looks like. For example, I switched this blog from being ‘copyright protected’ to being part of the Creative Commons license–a much better fit in attunement with the spirit of sharing.

Best way to deal?  Consciously choose to open your soul, heart, mind, eyes and arms to change that comes your way. Then decide–yes, more of this–or no thanks.

In other words, change is guaranteed.

Next:  Authenticity and the Consumer Mindset

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Photosynthesis and the Art of Sound

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Ask any physicist.  There is no ‘thing’ at the root of life and livingness.

The tiniest subatomic particles are described as ‘interference patterns of various sound frequencies’ otherwise known as ‘nodes of resonance.’  This got me thinking.

In many non-westernized cultures, a commonly held, tacit belief is that sound precedes manifestation of all forms and energy.

That sound plays a catalyzing role in creation—that sound itself is a continuum spanning the macrocosm through a hierarchy of iterations that range to the infinitesimal microcosm…

Creation is a beginning.  Something becomes where there was previously non-existence. How can such concepts be made evident in this culture?  There seems to live within me a deep purpose for connecting that which does not have an obvious connection.

photosynthesis

What has the power to create has the power to heal.  And so I began some weeks of reflection on the relationship of photosynthesis to sound. 

 

It came to me one night around 3AM as a profound question for which I initially discovered there is little commonality other than this: sound and sunlight are both wavelengths that impact life on earth.  The next morning I realized, that’s a fairly good start.

As a naturalist, I couldn’t help but then wonder—what of nature’s plant, atmospheric and oceanic worlds that quietly regulate our daily lives?  All create sound.  All aspects impact life on earth—not just human life.

So at November’s annual Daily Acts’ fundraiser breakfast, I discussed the relationship of photosynthesis to sound with friend, wise teacher and dear colleague, James Stark.  He reflected on this for a few moments, and in his inimitably savvy way, pointed out that outside of photosynthesis, the dawn chorus was a living example of the relationship between light from the sun that activates photosynthesis and…the activation of dialogue…of meaningful connection…of life.  The dawn chorus is nature’s daily symphony of news–what an exuberant way to start the day!

DawnChorusAnd so at a macro fundamental level, light activates sound which catalyzes life.  I’d love to extrapolate beyond this with more living examples.  Got an example?  Know someone who does?  Reach out and connect—I’d love to hear from you.

What an awesome way to see the roots of a new earth…

ClarkLittle-golden-waveLooking forward,

Catrina

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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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Spiral galaxy M74, courtesy of HubbleSite

In the long golden sunset shadows of the first day of September, I sat in bed writing about a fairly intimate experience.

As I wrote, I noticed my consciousness rolling through layers and layers of thoughts about why stars and planets are still moving rapidly away from us.  It seems like they’ve been doing that for as long as I can remember ~ or at least as long as telescopes have been around.

Simultaneously woven in with these thoughts were other thoughts having to do with peak experiences as well as a whole stream of unique childhood memories.  These weren’t just any sort of childhood memories, but specifically those that were glimpses of intimate conversations and events with people from my past.

Forestville, CA

Forestville, CA

There were many.  Dozens of events with my parents, neighbors, school chums, their families, places we visited—intimate experiences of all sorts—rolled through my awareness.

Funny thing was, I wasn’t consciously thinking about peak experiences or past events, I simply noticed that they would pop up with greater frequency as I pondered why everything outside our galaxy would be moving away from us.

I wondered whether or not we are also part of that universal expansion or whether our yearly spin around the sun is about as expanded as most of us get?  And now why—at the same time—was my mind taking a serious stroll down memory lane AND popping in with peak experiences?

Palpable Peaks + Intimate Vignettes = Something New

What was really palpable was how I felt from all of this pondering.  The best word I can come up with is ‘gemütlich.’  It’s a German word that means warm, pleasant and love-filled.   (An avowed word nerd, gemütlich has some very cool Indo-European roots that revolve around an inspiring blend of spirit, mind and joy.)

An experiential believer of universal consciousness, I recognized something big was dawning on me.  It seemed to revolve around the groovy feelings of love, unfettered freedom of expansive thoughts, coupled with this sense of warmth and intimacy.  I was feeling joy and delight throughout my being.

From this, I could see clearly that happiness is an outcome of circumstance, while joyfulness is more of a good mood of soul that is generated on the inner plane, having little to do with outer circumstances.

I recognized that the precious memories of my childhood were borne out of ordinary moments.  Ordinary people like me, experiencing ordinary moments of closer-than-average connection ~ a deep or special connection ~ provided the ingredients for something very valuable. These moments became the precious and sacred memories of my past.  And yet, despite being in the past, they were right here, right now, finding resonance in the present with entire streams of thought that somehow shared the same frequency—the same wavelength.

Like tuning into a radio station that has music you enjoy.  Once you find it, you seek it out.  You tune in to it.

Without consciously knowing what was happening until a bit later, I recognized that by tuning in to the delightfully deep curiosity of how our cosmos came to be, ALL the moments of my life where joy bubbled forth, where delight and curiosity reigned, where my heart led the way—were spontaneously magnetizing themselves in a sort of mellifluous mélange of harmonizing interconnections—much like how music spontaneously arises through open airspace to combine in endless forms of harmony.

And, just like in a peak experience, where all of our senses are heightened and our conscious suddenly transcends ordinary awareness—I saw and experienced the activity of awakening on a huge scale.  I was in awe, despite having had many ‘aha’ moments along the way–this one was of a universal magnitude.   I wanted to pick up the phone and call a handful of my closest metaphysical friends to tell them….but honestly, that would have compromised the experience.

What I discovered was this:  the ‘aha moment’ looks and feels like a burst of light.

Starburst cluster, courtesy of HubbleSite

And then, there is a bunch of nothingness.  Which is a GOOD thing.

At the moment of the ‘aha,’ thought particles—particularly the denser ones—previously surrounding one’s consciousness move rapidly away from the center of the burst of awareness.

 

 

 

 

Out of Nothingness…Somethingness

Then, a big idea took shape—a peak experience of the light-bearing kind, you could say.

It was this:  That the earth is waking up to itself, and we—along with all the other life forms on earth—are waking up too.

This IS the activity of life.  Life naturally, continuously, spontaneously, beautifully and elegantly—gives birth to new life.

And here’s the corollary:  To make life meaningful, we need to tune in to our CREATIVE capacities.

What does this mean for human consciousness and the future of the earth?

 

Get Creative

As far as I can tell, whatever you yearn or desire to do that exists just beyond the everyday—do it.  Notice how life changes as a result.

As Brené Brown expresses it, there are 5 key facets that re-connect us to what is uniquely meaningful to each of us.  The gifts of Brené’s years of research are right here for us to dive in to and explore.

Key #1:  We all have gifts and talents.  When we cultivate those gifts and share them with the world, we create a sense of meaning and purpose in our lives.

Key #2:  Squandering our gifts brings distress to our lives.  As it turns out, it’s not merely benign or ‘too bad’ if we don’t use the gifts that we’ve come into the world with; we pay for it with our emotional and physical well-being.  When we don’t use our talents to cultivate meaningful work, we struggle.  We feel disconnected and weighed down by feelings of emptiness, frustration, resentment, shame, disappointment, fear, and even grief.

Key #3:  Sharing our gifts and talents with the world is the most powerful source of connection with God.  Many who are searching for spiritual connection spend too much time looking up in the sky and wondering why God lives so far away. God lives within us, not above us.

Key #4: Using our gifts and talents to create meaningful work takes a tremendous amount of commitment.  Why?  Because in many cases, the meaningful work is not what pays the bills.  Some folks have managed to align everything—they use their gifts and talents to do work that feeds their souls and their families; however, most people piece it together.  I’m one of them.

Key #5:  No one can define what’s meaningful for us.  Culture doesn’t get to dictate what it is.  In fact, in our western culture, the majority of what world medias purport create precisely the opposite effect.  Like our gifts and talents, meaning is unique to each one of us.

(Excerpted from The Gifts of Imperfection, by Brené Brown)

Important note:  Be alert to self betrayal—or subtle sabotage—of your own creative urges.   Betrayal of yourself—or a friend or family member who trusts and looks to your integrity for their own self-development—is a pattern that can be re-routed, but only after first looking deep within for the place where your taproots wound themselves around someone or something outside of your own truth.

So, we can cook, write, draw, knit, paint, dance, sculpt, sing, build or re-build something—it doesn’t matter.  As long as we’re creating, we’re cultivating meaning.

Handmade paper tree collage, C Walker, 2011

Creativity is the expression of our originality.

Creativity is the act of waking up to ourselves.

Creativity is spontaneous joy in action.

“The only meaningful contribution we will make in this world will be born of our creativity.”          ~ Brené Brown, Ph.D.

AOE author on location in Portland, OR

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