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Archive for the ‘Inspiration’ Category

Have you ever lived through the aftermath of a fire?

 

In the northern California tri-county areas of Medocino, Sonoma and Napa, the powerful fires that raged through our communities six months ago gave rise to a new kind of collaboration between people and organizations. Near-term and long-term solutions could only be achieved by the combination of parts that would best serve the creation of a new whole.

 

No single reference existed to guide communities of land, its inhabitants and people through recovery steps and at the same time, provide sensible systems thinking to re-imagine everyday life.

 

 

Tonic or Toxic?

 

The fires heightened community awareness to an off-the-charts level. Many, many organizations and people worked together to facilitate and document recovery practices, revealing two things that became very clear: every action was either more beneficial (tonic—improvements that heal) or less beneficial (tending towards toxic—unsustainable practices that need re-envisioning). For example, a key reason not to re-build is that it was revealed that this particular area is actually a fire pathway, having burned everything along the same path in the Hanly fire of 1964.

 

The point of re-thinking what was, is to identify actions that are beneficial to the land and biodiversity upon which our lives and communities rest.

 

Here in Sonoma, Napa and Mendocino counties our people and environments still face a time of recovery. Trees are beginning to flush with new growth, blackened soils are greening up with tender sprouts, and nourishing winter rains have come.

 

These powerful images contain the seeds of resilience and recovery that nature inspires in all of us if we notice and listen. Learn more about regeneration via this blog and other resources like The California Native Plant Society’s new Fire Recovery Guide and Daily Acts’ Every Action Matters.

Photo credits: California Native Plant Society and Saxon Holt

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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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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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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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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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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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