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Archive for the ‘Environment’ 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.

kenwood-mini-waterfall

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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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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evening people at beach dinner

Last night, while my partner and I were preparing food for a group of friends, the subject turned to things that we would rather not know about—like how many animals were euthanized at the local shelter this past year; the huge sadness of discovering that the already fragmented rainforest ecosystems are still being destroyed at the rate of 60.7 hectares (150 acres) a minute, or why my interest-bearing checking account yielded only 17 cents interest at year-end.

Although I did find out about the 17 cents (the interest rate was exceedingly low), the real subject was that we were both aware of topics we’d rather not get into. Why? Because basically it would bring down our mood. And it was Friday night…

What I noticed was a theme emerging.

What if, I wondered, instead of dropping the subject, we allowed ourselves to experience the pain that sat just behind the undesirable topic? The pain of injustice…of making a colossal mistake…of cruelty…or even simply the pain of aging. It was at that moment that I reacquainted myself with the frailty of life–something I’m not particularly keen to hang out with as my tendency is often to bring sallow subjects to a higher vibe and then hang out there. Yet…

There was some learning to be had there…I could feel it coming in…like a cloud drifting closer.

The Willingness to Look Into and Beyond

That a single hit of emotional pain can trigger resistance, avoidance, fear, self-criticism or just plain negativity—reminded me that what lies behind fear is a valueoften more than one—that re-connects us to our wholeness.

In that sense, what first strikes us as some form of pain (emotional or otherwise) reveals something in need of healing…of care rather than avoidance…of action rather than inaction… In fact quite often, the greater the pain, the deeper the passion. That 17 cents pales in comparison to an ecosystem extinction, but it’s nevertheless an indicator of something not right. It’s really just a question of magnitude.

On what order of magnitude is the issue really?

Mary Oliver-one wild and precious life quote

Solid As Air

The distance we put between ourselves and whatever we don’t like is actually the activity of creating space. And the ability to create space is a skill that us westernized, 21st century humans have nearly lost the ability to do. I’m not talking about resistance–that’s a pushing back of energy. I’m talking about how to step back and view a situation with objectivity, a cool head and a warm heart. This requires the ability to create space, something I’ve referred to in previous blogs as ‘creating pockets of peace.’ Inherent in the ability to create space is room for a broader perspective, new ideas and a regenerative sense of well-being.

Isn’t that what we all really want deep down?

Think about that scene in The Abyss where a sense of wonder and curiosity for connection brought the crew to make an amazing and unexpected connection with a higher intelligence manifesting as autonomous ocean water. A sense of wonder, openness and curiosity is what creates the space for new ideas to emerge. To ground oneself with space is also the ultimate personal freedom. No one can take that ability away from you.

Without mental or physical space, there is no room for growth.

new-zealand-fern koru

A Regenerative Renaissance

Creating space has both a regenerative and a productive purpose. Changing what you’re doing and the context you’re doing it in activates different areas of your brain. It comes from eliminating stuff in your life that isn’t actually that important to you. In the process, you re-acquaint yourself with the essence of who you are.

The biodiversity of ecosystems that still exist are infinitely precious, particularly since they have taken over two billion years to manifest in just the right way to support life. Think about who would do well if we were to become dependent on government and big business for our clean air, clean water and healthy food. Not you or me. And certainly not any living creatures who are perceived as ‘less than’ by humans.

Imagine a holistic scale, where something given a ‘1’ contributes to creating the greatest imbalance and fragmentation of life. At the other end, a ’10’ indicates something that contributes to creating the greatest balance and wholeness for all living things.

Where does your idea land?

New ideas, set against the background of early 21st century technology, should be explored in terms of their contribution to creating greater wholeness for all living things. From a common-sense view and one of personal passion–this is ultimately a win-win perspective. It’s the widest lens we can optimize, so nothing is left outside of this equation.

Use your free time to live out your passion, no matter how small the seed seems right now. Allow it the space to germinate and grow.

Choose to look at whatever you have resistance or fear about. Just behind it will be one or more values you cherish and probably yearn to re-connect with. Let discomfort become the ally that it truly is.

Sometimes it’s hard work, true. But consider why you might otherwise feel ‘too busy’ in such moments. Feeling ‘too busy’ is a clear indicator that you’ve run out of space, and are therefore making decisions from a place of scarcity. You don’t deserve that. And neither do your kids.

Go ahead, release what doesn’t serve your greatest good and watch what happens.

Yes, you can create miracles. Just do it.

how-precious-life-is-quotes-2

 

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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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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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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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