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Posts Tagged ‘Culture’

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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Image

As a planet-populated species, we’ve just moved through a powerfully catalytic full moon eclipse (the ‘pink’ full moon of 25 April) that’s ushered in a potent time for being fully present with one’s self and being fully present with others.

Full moons are peak points of brightness amidst the darkness and eclipses are doorways—opportunities to vision, sense, receive and strengthen ourselves through connection. In particular, the feminine principle is growing in strength.

What does this mean?

                                     We’ve entered the 20 Year Make-It-Or-Break-It

                                    crossroads of  human fate and must gird ourselves for

                                    the long haul as we wrestle truth from illusion.

                                                           ~ Mark Borax, Metaphysical Guide

Imagine—as you awake, to fully experiencing the day as a flower—unfolding and opening in this ever-expanding now … offering a lifetime of memories right here, right now—so expansive is this special time as it entwines with our souls …

Notice your response to the images these words evoke. Do you feel attuned, more open? Self-protective? Perhaps doubtful? Do you have to re-read the paragraph to begin imagining the words?

The real question is, will you choose to fearlessly walk a path of beauty that motivates every quadrant of your life? Will you allow the beauty of the natural world to work upon your soul and reveal a world of harmony in which you can co-exist? Or does this seem impossible?

What if your every thought and action was directly related to the well-being of the earth?

The feminine principle is about space and wisdom, which embodies the whole of life, much like a mother embodies her child for nine months before giving birth.  Like a container that creates the space for the content—much like a cup of tea—the container is the feminine principle.

Masculine energy is the skillful means within this space.  Whether you’re a man or a woman, the yin-yang of the feminine and masculine exists in each of  us—on tap as it were—for wholeness. Yet how many of us drink from this tap? How many of us recognize and attune ourselves to this ‘tap’ daily?

When viewed this way, it becomes apparent that as a species, we’ve been in the grips of a sort of ‘tunnel vision,’ focused on activity for the sake of more activity.

When we tune in to the subtle interplay of tangible and intangible elements in our daily lives, we begin to see the bigger picture between what is truly feminine and what is truly masculine. Holding the space for life to grow and evolve is core to the feminine principle.

And at the end of the day, what do we truly need?  Space … peace … unfolding … this is the feminine principle at work in our daily lives.

Where do you find solace?  Peace?  Authentic experience?

Where can we as a species co-create a constellation of wisdom?

Enjoy this beautiful presentation by Jane Fonda on the feminine principle that comes alive in our ‘third act.’

Consider living as a human of radical peace.

 plant-love

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You must first be who you really are, then do what you really need  to do, in order to have what you want.    

                                                                        ~ Margaret Young

The more I let go of what other people think, the more I realize that authenticity is an ongoing practice.  I’m actually choosing how I want to live moment to moment, every day.

When I choose to show up and be real, I’m letting my true self be seen.  I’m not selling myself short to please someone else.  Brené Brown does a beautiful job of describing the anatomy of authenticity—I love the gift of Brené’s presence in the world.

“Authenticity is the daily practice of letting go of who we think we’re supposed to be and embracing who we are.  Choosing authenticity means ~

 

  • cultivating the courage to be imperfect, to set boundaries, and to allow ourselves to be vulnerable;
  • exercising the compassion that comes from knowing that we are all made of strength and struggle; and
  • nurturing the connection and sense of belonging that can only happen when we believe that we are enough.”

(from Brené’s book,  The Gifts of Imperfection)

Sacrificing who we are for the sake of what other people think just isn’t worth it.  Staying vulnerable while sharing an unpopular opinion or idea is really the hard part.  Staying in presence while keeping your heart open—whooo, that is a true act of courage.

Every time we trade our authenticity for safety, we can expect to experience anxiety, unhappiness, resentment, anger, blame and sadness.

So where’s the connection to living sustainably?

Living sustainably—living so as to not compromise the ability of future generations of living beings (human, flora and fauna) to meet their own needs—reflects a holistic understanding of life rather than a surface understanding of life.

Most people settle for a surface understanding and try to get by on that.

But we’re living in a time where entire human infrastructures are imploding and governments (that should actually be governing) are running out of money to artificially prop these infrastructures up.  This has become so obvious that most of us see and feel the need for big change.

 

Yet, every time we trade holistic living for surface living—ignoring our individual impact on the planet no matter how small (remember, there’s 7 billion of us)—we can expect to experience the same range of emotions… anxiety, unhappiness, resentment, anger, blame and sadness.  Wow!

Ah, but when we develop a holistic understanding of life at its very center—when we experience learning in the REAL world (growing food, exploring a watershed, restoring a wetland, making preserves, raising chickens) such learning overcomes our alienation from nature and rekindles as sense of place—a sense of genuine belonging.  Living in harmony with the organizing principles of nature IS authentic living. 

Exploring our natural world

Teaching ourselves and our children that the fundamental facts of life are dynamically interwoven, with living systems nested within living systems—returns us to our wholeness—our authenticity—and revitalizes new ways of thinking and living within the earth’s resources.  Were we ever not part of the earth’s living systems?  Only in our heads.

Deciding, Choosing and Instinctive Values

While it’s true that we don’t need to understand how electricity works to light up a room, we do need to become ecologically literate to understand the principles that govern all living systems—including ourselves—that have evolved to sustain the web of life.  This way, we can truly live in authentic alignment with the world that sustains us.

Did you know stewardship is an instinctive value within the human being?  Joy and compassionate care of the natural world are instinctive in children who spend time in nature.  These behaviors don’t need to be taught except where the connection is lost.  That’s really something to ponder.

At some point you may, like me, prefer to use the word decide rather than choose.  I make this distinction because decision points are turning points.   They are reflected in our daily choices.  Like a fulcrum, decisions drive choices.  Otherwise choices are just choices, and there’s no uber consciousness guiding any given choice.

Blessings on your summer!

Darling Ohana relaxing in nature

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Spending lots of time in the spirit of gratitude has revealed something wonderful: the more I give and do for others, the more grateful I feel.  Giving /doing for others creates greater happiness on the inside—it actually creates joy!

And yet, we’re surrounded by a business-dominated world that aggressively competes with itself (at our expense!) to suck our attention toward massive quantities of manufactured objects, parlaying two basic human desires—our imagined need, which is often fear-based—and the genuine desire of most people to give, which in most cases, is love-based.

Divided Consciousness wants Wholeness

Unless you are one of those fortunate enough to be virtually untouched by our flagging economy, we can easily find ourselves in conflict on the inner domain for the two reasons I mentioned, unless….

Unless we recognize this calculated puppetization of our humanity for what it really is and live in the consciousness of that awareness.  This in turn creates an expanded way of seeing and being in the world.  To remain with and continue to expand one’s consciousness begets the cultivation of a spiritual practice.

In so doing, BEING becomes the essential driver of one’s life.

It’s totally an inside job.

Reflect, Relax, Remember

How am I BEING in this world?

What would I like to see be?

What do I love and value?

How can I connect with like-hearted people?

How can I BE in the world that reflects living my values?

In essence, the shift is from perpetuating what’s bad in the world to creating a vision of a positive future and living into it.  Our biggest blind spot is in our own consciousness when we don’t realize that we’re perpetuating negativity by thinking and talking about what’s not working.

Taking a conscious leap into actually designing healthier living patterns for ourselves and our loved ones is where the magic lives.  And it takes conscious living to get us there and maintain it.

 

Living a whole and balanced life IS a living demonstration of your values.  Doing so automatically creates inner joy and an expanded sense of being.

If we want to see social and environmental change in our lifetimes, we need fully to step into our own version of it.  I believe this is where the New Earth really begins.

Anyone can live the values of a New Earth right now, there’s no long runway.  It’s a matter of choice.  The more each of us discovers that the past actually doesn’t have power over the present—except in our own minds.

So here’s the cool thing…

As we consciously shift from being at the adverse effect of what we don’t like about the world to being conscious creators of what we do like that bring each of us joy, delight and peace of mind—we ignite our own creative genius.  We discover that we have super powers.  No kidding, we really are gifted with unique abilities—all of which are valid and don’t require drawing skills.

Consider your Gifts Super Powers

When we become adept at balancing study (focused intention), meditation (spiritual practice), and being of service—with service being the most essential—we invoke and use our own particular super powers towards creating a better world, right here, right now.  No waiting for our governments to come to an agreement or an accord.  No waiting for externalities to line up first.  We have the power to ponder and choose new realities, new ways of being for ourselves right now.  Today.

When our physical action aligns with our higher spiritual will, it has a profound effect on our emotions.  This alignment actually has a purifying and calming effect on our emotions as our hearts open and express our soul’s own gifts, unconditional love and intuition.  You’ll find that it’s all about resonance.

In permaculture terms, this is the act of living the permaculture design principle of ‘Design from Patterns to Details.’

Have faith that what you have to offer in the world is exactly what the world needs.

This activity is the unfolding of your creative genius. 

Create Space, Trump Time

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Lasting, Loving Friendships ~ Life's Sweetness

“There is almost a sensual longing for communion with others who have a large vision. The immense fulfillment of the friendship between those engaged in furthering the evolution of consciousness has a quality impossible to describe.”      

        — Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

What a wonderful week to feel change in the air!

As we become our most wholehearted selves—as conduits of pure consciousness—we move into a healed and expanded state of being.  In this state, we recognize that nature’s presence has been revealing this to us all along.

Really, one could say that forgiveness is an act of self-love.  Why?

Because forgiveness is our own psychological and emotional healing balm.

True forgiveness emanates from feeling compassion for yourself, which is often inspired by another.

Perhaps on the surface, we are forgiving someone else; a partner or child.  Yet, on a deeper level, we must first love ourselves enough to recognize that maintaining our wholeness is the taproot to greater wholeness.  Perhaps you become the wise adult who now has the emotional maturity to make well-rounded choices that keep your integrity to yourself intact.

When you can touch a wound and it truly doesn’t hurt, you have truly forgiven.

What happens when we don’t?

Our sense of personal importance grows.  And we become more separated from life and other living things in a way that becomes overly self-protective.  Overly me-oriented in ways that don’t truly satisfy, creating a sense of emptiness.

Evident everywhere in the old paradigm that brought us western civilization—the desire to fill that emptiness without care and compassion for the earth creates even more unhappiness.  It reveals that we have forgotten our taproot into wholeness.

We are born with the capacity for forgiveness.  This I know this from personal experience.  Then our thinking changes, probably from absorbing learned behavior.  Happens all the time.  And no one’s immune.  Heck, even Jesus felt betrayed.

Lily Pond at Retreat Home, Kenwood, CA

Rebirthing Wholeness: The Fruits of Composting One’s Karma

Once we get to the point of self-awareness where we realize it doesn’t matter who we learned what from—we need to heal no matter what—that’s the moment we discover we’ve had the power to heal ourselves from within all along.

Seriously, how long do we suffer just to punish whoever got into our head?

And if, like me, you believe in past lives, begin by forgiving everything you believe you did in all those past lives.  By choosing to really forgive yourself for whatever you believe you did or didn’t do that was so bad, you clean the old wounds.  This allows love to enter.

So to break with karma is actually easy, once you get the hang of it.

It comes down to this:

We move forward wholeheartedly and become fully present to the degree we love ourselves.

Another way to put this is—unconditional love IS the remedy for what ails you and me.  We can’t fully express love with another if we don’t first love ourselves.

We can’t share what we don’t have, right?

Magical garden, Kenwood, CA

The Happiness Effect: Life as an Art

 

“Love coming out of you is the only way to be happy.  Unconditional love for yourself.”  ~ Don Miguel Ruiz

This really puts a new spin on the idea of surrender.  Surrendering to love, that is.

Imagine surrendering to loving ourselves unconditionally.

This is, in essence, what happens when we spend time in the beautiful and simply open presence of nature.  In her myriad of forms—from snow-capped peaks to balmy ocean islands—she reveals the simple beauty of her enduring presence.

In nature, we see that life finds a way to show up.  How long it takes is an interesting blend of faith and geological time.

Facets of Nature's Art, C. Walker

‘It’s about finding yourself, and expressing yourself in your own particular way.  That is why your life is an art.”  ~ Don Miguel Ruiz

Instinctive Stewardship

In 1999, Don and other progressive writers of that time foretold us that ‘the time is coming when you will become your own guru.’

Through my own intuition, as well as past, recent and current experiences, I sense that the time is here for us to accept our own divinity.  In fact—like Dorothy’s power to go home—it’s been with us all along.  Perhaps it just needed to build up a head of steam so it would be obvious.

And it’s profoundly humbling, because the same divinity is found in everyone else and every living thing on earth.

Consider this ~ the immortality that is our essence is that of love manifesting as life.

You are life manifesting as (your name here).

Life also manifests as butterflies, oceans, forests, jungles, deserts and tundra while simultaneously showing up as stars, planets and galaxies.

Now combine these concepts.

This is the root of environmental ethics—caring for the earth as you would for yourself.  

Care of the earth is the ultimate form of self-love.

The Sensuous Rose, C. Walker

Questions to Explore

What would it be like to care for the earth as much as you would for a newborn baby?

What is the difference between your earthly life and life on earth?

What would happen if we each decided right here and right now to awaken our instinctive stewardship?  How would the world be different?

Look at the long-term success of sustainable human communities and discover their common threads.  Adopt them as your own.

“At the core of social responsibility is environmental ethics.”  ~ C. Walker

~  ~ ~

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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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Since my last post was so pragmatic, it seems to call for a counter-balance.

This post is about permaculture principles in action from a deeply personal perspective.

My hope is that it reveals the value of working with our baggage in such a way that we develop the ability to compost it, releasing the stored energy formerly resident in it so that it can transform into something else that actually becomes beneficial.

The dross

If you’ve ever had trouble letting go of unpleasant stuff that ails you, perhaps my story will provide a touch of inspiration to compost your karma.

The gold

I was recently talking to a friend who, like many people in our western culture, is living on an exhaustion treadmill of self worth = net worth = level of productivity.

She asked me, “Have you noticed how our western culture is always trying to get us away from something…and into something else?”  It was a fabulous entrée to a wonderful, juicy conversation.

It’s clear that after decades of addiction to this mindset—not to mention growing up within it during our formative years—it’s hard to surrender from go-go-going to just being fully present with what is.

Simply BEING.

Not trying to control it, plan it, design it. ~ just being with what is ~ and noticing.

From the looks of things these days, our western-cultured minds have a hard time with just being.

And I think it has to do with the mother of all emotions—shame; a feeling of not BEING enough.

This came as a big surprise to me just about 10 days ago.  A few days after that, my body got really sick.  As my body recovered, I had a strong sense that the illness had taken hold so that I could surrender to the Dance of Life even more deeply.

I didn’t really like it.

On the surface, it was just a cold passing through.  But the underbelly was of universal proportions.

To surrender to something greater than my individual self has been a vital part of my spiritual practice for decades.  Yet through this brief illness, a curious resistance to being the lead character in my life as it appears right now surfaced, revealing a silent shame.

As I stand at what feels like a precipice, the past four years my life have unearthed a deep sadness and sense of frustration.  What I’m in the process of releasing—and I have no idea how long this will take—seems to be rooted in having witnessed and experienced some family trauma over this four year period.

Tuning in closely, I recognize the dualistic nature of these experiences and how living my values despite all outward events maintained my well-being at a deep level.  The friends who helped me through this long and tough stage are amazing souls who embody values such as compassion, community, diversity, nonviolence, transparency and whole systems thinking.

Although the observations I’m about to share are my own, they reflect the uber process of transcending human experience from personal/subjective to discovering the gems of universal truth embedded in each experience.  Discovering the gem and using it consciously in life reflects a second layer of heightened consciousness.

What happens from that place becomes quite magical.

Arriving at Transparency World

So despite being on a spiritual path that I’ve tracked closely for over three decades, as evidenced by the 44 journals I’ve compiled and only just begun to look back on—despite being raised in a family of international travellers—despite years of spiritual research and practice, years of Waldorf training, coaching training, formal and self education, being a wife, mother, naturalist and artist—I was awash in sadness about how my own life didn’t look or feel the way I expected it to when I was in my 20’s planning it all out.  Ahh, being 20-something ~ full of sparkly enthusiasm, witty playfulness, adequate business savvy and eternal optimism.

Ironically, the beautiful journey of my dear friend Linda, who recently left for 5 months in Italy ~ la dolce vita! ~ was what tipped my inner balancing scales.  As we discussed her upcoming trip, she mentioned that she felt I was a source (one of many I’m sure) of inspiration for her long-planned journey.  Within a week, I was swimming in my own pity party.

But THEN came the gems, one by one.

The Noticings

So here’s how my own series of noticings evolved my awareness past the dualistic nature of ‘Person A did this’ and ‘I, Person B, am still adversely affected by it.’

I began by noticing how certain family experiences put me through a series of shocking, unexpected events that unnerved me deeply.

(Honesty and authenticity with self).

Next, through deepened compassion, I saw how these events cracked open my heart so wide, that the person I am now and the person I am becoming has grown far beyond the butterfly-traveller-life-design I planned for myself in my 20’s.

(Recognition of change in consciousness and it’s impact)

Note: This is not to say that the life plan is out the window, there’s just so much more depth to it now.

More Honesty and Authenticity

Then I noticed how these events deepened my own personal need for solace, temperance and balance.  For me, this amounts to reaching out to close friends, living into free time=quality time, and the amazing practice of extreme self care, aka., taking time to heal.

I notice how, over time, the unpredictable nature of the healing aspect irritates me.   I want it to be over!

I recognize that deepening my support network to maintain inner strength for the long-haul—whatever that looks like—is still a necessary part of my life.

This ALONE is truly une cause célébre!  It has led me to see and feel how love and gratitude truly are the universal elixirs of all life connection.

Despite my social upbringing that tells me ‘it’s not polite to burden others,’ I continue to experience far deeper feelings of love and gratitude around my close friendships.  Amazingly, these deepened feelings act as a bridge that create powerful links to deeper joys and higher resonant frequencies.  These higher frequencies in turn, continue to wash love, peace and meaning through my life, much as waves on a beach soften the stones upon which they repeatedly visit.  These same feelings apply to my mentors and teachers, of which there are both few and many.

In other words, once a deepened sense of self authenticity is activated, it is the ongoing choice of allowing the deepening to continue that attunes one’s consciousness to these higher, resonant frequencies of delight, joy, peace, contentment and flow.

Karma Composting Time is Here

The very last thing I’ve become aware of so far is this:

When we go through a powerful inner transformation, eventually the pains that once gripped us begin to fall away and compost into particulate and energy fragments that are actually beneficial for other life forms.

This was another surprise for me ~ and KEY.  I felt it intuitively, but is has been rare for me to be with the ‘drossing off’ process long enough to feel and see it actually happening.

In this way, less becomes more.

I am not a thing — a noun.  I seem to be a verb, an evolutionary process — an integral function of the universe.                 –Buckminster Fuller

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