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Posts Tagged ‘Culture’

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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harvestmarch bounty

Nature in her burgeoning biodiversity informs us about much more than sustainability. Sustainable living is a god start, but not if it includes an unsustainable GDP. Nature points us to regenerative practices that have the power to turn around climate change.

If that sounds impossible, think again.

A single, uninterrupted half-hour dedicated purely to something that is actually regenerative is enough to plant the seeds of self-growth.

Why is this part of an optimum process?

Because self-growth—as any therapist or life coach will tell you—is unlimited. And that is the greatest hope for the future of our planet. How we evolve matters. Why not benefit everyone and everything around you in the process?

Dana-Wilson-Meme-Map-2WEB-980x600

Here are 3 core lifestyle practices that can immediately make you feel happier, create inner balance, and bring you closer to your own ideas for living regeneratively.

  1. Spend time observing nature’s patterns.

This first step is crucial to understanding on multiple levels: emotionally, intellectually, physically and spiritually. Spending time in nature and observing nature’s patterns has been found to build neural pathways between both hemispheres of our brains—a critical part of our human evolution if we are to create a genuine paradigm shift.

  1. The problem is the solution.

How does the problem reveal the solution?

If this is the only question you ask yourself in the relatively small half-hour window (or more!) that you’re carving out, you’ll make surprising progress. As indigenous cultures have known for generations, the whole of nature embodies solutions to its own problems and our maladies. Recent resurgence in ethnobotany and biodiversity research have brought these concepts into mainstream awareness, also revealing many new species of insects and reptiles that play critical roles in maintaining ecosystem balance.

  1. Each element (of nature) performs many functions.

When plastic manufacturers set their production bars in 1947, millions, billions and eventually trillions of single items were produced to meet human needs. While this was initially a boon to postwar countries and their monetary-based economies, it was done for a core reason: to make money. Yet this practice, coupled with an old school GDP—is utterly unsustainable. It’s still being done today for the same reasons. We view it as ‘normal’ because it’s all around us. Yet that doesn’t make it OK. It’s actually an abomination.

Plastic shit everywhere

Changing your thinking away from this ‘trance of normalcy’ to seeing consequences of these actions on a global scale is a game changer.

Why not make regenerative living your bigger game?

Next month: 9 Regenerative Actions to Kick-Start the Environmentalist Within

Like abstract art?

Art logo

 

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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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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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