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Archive for the ‘Ecology’ Category

raindrops on stemAt this autumnal equinox we tip into Fall, heralding a second season of transformation in the northern hemisphere (Spring being the first).  In the southern hemisphere, you’re welcoming the advent of Spring.  My theory is that those of us who love Spring and Fall usually enjoy change.

With change, there is regeneration and transformation–no matter how apparently simple or complex.

Did you already know that the earth is a complex self-organizing, regenerating and self-balancing living planet? Did you also know that your own well-being depends on the health of the earth?

No matter where your belief barometer is on these concepts—and even if you haven’t thought about it before—there’s a part of you that probably senses that it is in fact, true.

sabine-fern-aroha-love

Virtually all native stories and mythology are based on the life of the earth. One of my favorite reads is a book written by Rudolf Steiner entitled ‘Intuitive Thinking as a Spiritual Path,’ where he states, …’for the contemplation of the whole-world process, there is no more primal starting point than pure observation.’

Erich Jantsch and Rudolf Steiner, whose lives didn’t overlap in time, both introduced concepts of a living, self-organizing planet during their own lifetimes. Steiner introduced these ideas in the 1800s; Jantsch continued in the early to mid 1900’s. Then, in the 1960’s, James Lovelock and Lynn Margulis re-introduced the idea as a hypothesis called Gaia—the living earth. That nature is at the core of these universal conversations should be of no surprise.

What did these philosophers and scientists see and experience that made each of them bring forward the common principle of self-equilibrium that governs all living things?

Nature as Ultimate Model

Let’s look at a river: When a river takes the path of least resistance, it isn’t being ‘lazy.’ It’s actually optimizing flow. There are trillions of self-regenerating activities that take place in a moment of water rushing from one place to another. Unseen chemistries chaotically collide during these moments that actually refresh and re-balance the water molecules while sending them on their journey.

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That said, whatever water came out your tap, showerhead, local stream or watershed this morning is the same water that  re-circulated itself when dinosaurs walked the earth. All bodies of water on this planet self-regenerate through a process known as the water cycle.

And it’s no mistake that our bodies are composed of nearly 75% water.

Our bodies and minds offer complex sets of input and output processes, revealing the activities of life. Just like the earth, we—and all other forms of life that are part of it—represent complex, self-organizing systems.

Going with the Flow of Change

Rather than spending time reading the news or diverting our time with technology, how can we increase our experiential awareness of a living earth?

How is your one precious life connected with the earth’s support system?

How often do you practice self-regeneration by connecting with nature?

What special talents or gifts do you have that can be used to create positive change?

Thank you for all the wonderful and heartfelt emails Marco and I have received since 2011.  So many of you are seeing and exploring your own unique gifts and discovering ways of bringing them forward–I love it!!  That’s what life is all about!!

Yes, move with the rythm of the earth. Your dance will be joyous and integrity-rich!

In gratitude to the harvest of change,

Catrina (Catherine)

 

 

 

 

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treetop viewsoftrees

The non-schedule.

Where peace of mind trumps everything.

Where doing is replaced by being.

And where your state of being is preceded by a clear and empty mind.

Loving what we do in the world is so thoroughly integrous with living a fulfilling life, it cannot be overstated. There are so many ways to get to this state–and stay there most of the time.

Internet-noosphere

From an expansive perspective, you can begin to see your life as an experiment. An experiment in how to cultivate joy for yourself at every turn. This is not even remotely selfish…in fact, it’s quite the opposite. Your inner joy spills over into everything–and everyone.

As incredibly long as the universe has existed….(some 13.8 billion years by current estimates) life has been unfolding for aeons–billions of years before our species ever showed up. It is in fact our species–and quite possibly all life forms on earth–that are experiencing a planet-wide bump up in consciousness.  (So that we’re all on the same page, consciousness is defined here as a “pure sense of awareness.” It exists as a field of awareness that focuses down to a point by concentrating on a particular set of objects through the vehicle of physical form.)

It’s just that more and more of us are collectively awakening to the unfolding nature of life itself. Examples of the unfolding nature of the universe have existed since the Big Bang.

Yes, things are changing. They have been changing all along. We are spiralling upwards in consciousness on a planetary scale, only to discover that our collectively awakened consciousness is unfolding on a macro level.

And the more we attune our listening, the more we discover that Nature is Speaking.

For specific steps to the Art of Allowing Space into Daily Life, you’re warmly invited to explore this handy guide.

Boy-playing-violin-to-doves

Change is most definitely the flavor of the aeon.

Move and think with grace.

Feel your way into the noosphere.

Communicate from the heart…

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A year and a half into it’s life, I’ve finally had the pleasure of reading The Signature of All Things, written by Elizabeth Gilbert.

Courtesy of Yosemite Conservancy

Courtesy of Yosemite Conservancy

This elegant tale reveals a riveting slice of life during the Age of Enlightenment, a time when humanity began looking at the natural world scientifically to better understand and explain life. Alma, the book’s main character, is an engagingly credible, intellectually ambitious 19th-century woman who has exactly the kind of mind—and patience—to appreciate the world of plants.

Her special passion is mosses: their primitive bodies, sturdy habits and peculiar reproductive modes. She loves the beauty they hold in reserve, unlike showier plants that attract other botanists. She finds previously unknown taxa just beyond her doorstep as dried mosses were once used for packing material. Rummaging through empty crates at local shipping docks turn up enough unfamiliar specimens to occupy her indefinitely. Over decades, Alma measures their growth in millimeters, and her days are happily consumed.

Dedicating her entire life to learning about the world through nature, Alma eventually discovers that only outside the protected domain of her family home can she glimpse vaster and more dynamic mechanics of creation. From unpredictable oceanic turbidity to living whirlpools of luminosity, to realizing the inner nature of life and what makes us complex humans do what we do…Alma’s world expands geographically.

Unfortunate misunderstandings that ensue following Alma’s first-ever-middle-age marriage to Ambrose—an extraordinarily candid and exquisitely gifted painter of orchids—later reveals a myriad of unseen connections within the context of love and life itself. In the back of my mind, I confess that I waited rather endlessly for Alma to have amazing sex. Ah, well….

helix nebula

More fascinating questions are raised that are still being explored today:

Is it one’s inner world that causes manifestation in the outer—the world we call reality?  Or is it the outer world that triggers curiosity, exploration and new ideas in the individual? Or is it that what seems new to the individual has simply existed all along, waiting to be discovered? If so, whatever the cause agent, it occurs in relationship to something else, no matter how seemingly insignificant that something else may be.  One could say that we live in a multiple-reality universe of infinite possible realities.

The Signature of All Things is a refreshing homage to the many natures of genius and the inevitable progress of ideas in a world that reveals itself to curious and patient minds.  Have you read this book? If so, let’s hear your constructive perspectives!

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divine-masculine-divine-feminineDuring these challenging times, we’re witnessing the end-game of a patriarchal value system that has gripped our collective consciousness for over 5,000 years. This phase of our species has been marked by domination, control, aggression, hierarchy and centralization. Its end-game reveals a greater movement towards feminine values.

It’s important to be aware that masculine and feminine values alike are guiding principles in their own right. Too much (a saturation) of one or the other (hyper-masculinity or hyper-femininity) creates a systemic imbalance which, over time, activates movement into the opposite direction as a natural inclination toward dynamic equilibrium. We can see this in a person who is scared about doing something, yet must do it anyway. They overcompensate with false confidence or exaggerate some bravado to mask their insecurity. It’s simply designed to maintain an inner equilibrium.

 

Active Receptivity

Listening to others or receiving from one another are often considered ‘passive’ characteristics, yet the key here is that they are apparently passive. In the act of receiving or listening, one responds silently or verbally—both internally and externally. In so doing, the receptive plays it’s own activating role in co-creating the future.

Women typically hear more than what is simply stated because they’re hard-wired to process complex information. In so doing, women are more likely to be attuned to larger dynamics that are in play.

 

Evolution and the Greater Good

The very essence of life is about growth and change. Women—at any stages of their lives—are literally hard-wired as evolutionary change agents in that they are designed to adapt, respond to alternating demands and nurture/support others. Men are typically taught to live up to the highest values in their societies—upholding and maintaining family and cultural status quos.

Three core qualities of a leader reveal someone who is dynamically adaptable, capable of holding and articulating a vision, and who can motivate others to not only share that vision, but find their own inner motivation within that vision to strengthen the vision and simultaneously build their own sense of identity and confidence. These are all inner activities that receptively respond to both inner and outer impulses such as dialogue, activities, results, symptoms, causes and naturally, new developments.

 

Constructive Co-Creation

The ability to respond thoughtfully and constructively to change is inherent in all living species. Some species take more time to adapt than others, depending on the cause agents of change. Depending on one’s species and on one’s survival perspectives, a cause agent is experienced on a tonic-to-toxic scale, principles that polyculture permies consciously embrace.  If, for example, each member of a colony of bees suddenly loses their ability to smell, navigate and communicate, a cause agent that is far more toxic than tonic is creating colony collapse.  Because 97% of our food sources require pollination by bees, such a loss has devastating results not only for the bee colony, but also nearby colonies and by extension, the food sources of our human species.

Taking this to a simple level, the flower is the receptor of the bee’s pollination, while the bee is the receptor of the flower’s pollen. Both hold a position in space (have a meaningful existence), and both receive from the other in different ways.

Public domain image, royalty free stock photo from www.public-domain-image.comThe ability to receive, to adapt, and to be an integral part of something larger (a greater dynamic at work) connects our species more meaningfully to one another through interdependence (have you ever doubted it?) and a mutual desire to thrive.

Next month: Thoughts on the Signature of All Things.

 

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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.

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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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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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2 charis loopez island beach

Lopez Island

After almost three months to the day of a very special collaborative genesis, I’m back with Part 2 of the ‘Edge Effect,’ one of my favorite explorations of all time for a wide variety of reasons. Hang in there, this is going to be a bit more scientific than my typical blog.

Permaculture, TEK and Pattern Literacy

Permaculture design at its core is about creating right relationships amongst living things.  As humans, we do this by creating meaningful connections with the flora and fauna of our environment.  And, naturally, with one another.

TEK (traditional ecological knowledge) at its core, is about cultivating a deep connection with the land that supports us so as to carefully tend it for long-term fructification.  So where do the edges come into play?

When we observe patterns in the landscape, we can recognize that edge ecosystems (my favorite type of ecosystems) perform and demonstrate the same extraordinary functions as the ‘Four Bs’ of the earth’s flora fertility do—that is, birds, bats, butterflies and bees.  Like the Four Bs, edge ecosystems offer opportunities for cross-pollination so that plants have the resilience they need to weather change, and have the fertility they need to reproduce, grow and create food.  The end products of plants and animals are what we’re generally most familiar with, but don’t let that stop you from connecting these dots…

Here is a convergence of human intelligence with nature’s intelligence.  It is the ultimate expression of life.

Like fertile seeds, these connective patterns are absolutely key to creating a healthy future.

What comes alive in edge ecosystems is deep ecology in action.

Deep Ecology in Action

One of the greatest things about the natural world is that it is a reflection of our thinking.  Where healthy ecosystems exist, so do its caretakers.  Where it doesn’t there is unawareness of impact—and therefore room for personal and, by extension, planetary growth of a healthy sort.

For example for some, war is analogous with humanity.  For many of us, war is an anomaly—a reflection of our species’ inability to move beyond the limitations of our own thinking.  It’s where ‘taking the higher road’ means acting out of the recognition that “…the distinction between ‘life’ and ‘lifeless’ is a human construct. Every atom in this body existed before organic life emerged.”                      (Joanna Macy, The Council of All Beings)

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Hardwood hammocks, Everglades, Florida

Fructification and the Edge Effect

Diving back into the world of ecosystems, consider this fascinating example of edge ecosystem fructification: the coastal forest hammocks, like those that grow in the Everglades of Florida, a 2-hour drive from where I spent my childhood.

Shaped by the slow-moving brackish waters of the Everglades, these coastal hardwood forests exemplify a beautiful blend of stability and complexity found in these hammocks. Like most forests, coastal forests not only prevent erosion via the web of tree roots, but also by slowing wind speeds to reduce wind-caused erosion.

Each tree acts as a sediment collector, wind break, apartment house for birds, food source, and…my favorite…a nursery for literally hundreds of thousands of water-born creatures including amphibians and naturally, their predators, like raptors and virtually all reptilian descendants of oceans and rivers: birds, insects, alligators and a host of other water-loving flora and fauna.

Given these components—and we’re not even touching on the special and unique talents of the mangroves themselves; nor the bacteriological or atmospheric aspects—the fact that our species has sent people to the moon and back, put satellites into space and instantly communicate anywhere in the world—why is our human impact on the earth so ecologically destructive?

The Exquisite Beauty of Non-Linear Thinking

I believe it has to do with four aspects of the human mind:

  1. Our minds—both individually and collectively—must develop the ability to flex with complex, non-linear systems.
  2. From this, we must discover and acknowledge the intangible (as well as the tangible) aspects of how ecosystems assemble themselves.
  3. Through this, the qualitative aspects of life reveal their fragile value, leading us to…
  4. Engage our hearts so as to inform the head.

Of course, coming from your heart doesn’t need to go in this order!  This is simply a connective arrangement to illustrate the deeper aspects of nature we can find meaning within.

The beauty of engaging both heart and head in the direction of earth-centric healing is that the mere existence of complex, non-linear ecosystem functions requires mechanisms of stability.

We can become that mechanism.  We can change the way we think to support the health of our planet.  Just imagine the benefits….

Got some ideas?  Let me hear from you!

Want more inspiration?  Check out what my colleagues at Odyssey Earth are up to!

never let reality get in the way

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