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Posts Tagged ‘Deep Ecology’

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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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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Third in a series, this article may sound like a spin on the previous article: The Art of Allowing Space into Everyday Life. Savvy readers however, will catch the distinction right away–this article penetrates the taboo-trending topic of self-discipline.

nothing Binds u

Self-discipline is actually a form of freedom. Not just freedom from, but freedom to live into one’s own unique pursuit of authentic happiness. It sits quietly at the core of ANY relationship–beginning with the most basic one: the relationship we have with ourselves.

Our relationship to ourselves—and with the natural world around us—has everything to do with keeping ourselves whole.

Every millimeter and area of the natural world is an ecosystem. Every ecosystem lives in balance with what it needs to stay whole—doing so continually activates self-organizing principles that drive the living systems of our planet and solar system.

So, shifting gears from macrocosm to microcosm: when we need balance in our lives, where do we go?

How do we change our perspective in a relatively short period of time? How do we re-balance from a busy day or otherwise stressful situation?

It requires a form of self-discipline that could initially be described as a yearning, a desire for something different…an urge to ‘bust out’, get creative or just escape…it’s an undeniable need. It’s really about the self-discipline of wholeness, or holistic awareness.

hand-touch-surface

In this world of designed fragmentation, ignorance of self-discipline has profoundly disturbing consequences. Just look around the world at anything that seems out of control, terribly unhealthy, insane or just plain ludicrous. Running through the body of that event, person or situation is—simply put—a lack of awareness.

Kick-start your own awareness.  Look at our planet via Google Earth or as Edgar Mitchell, founder of IONS, might have seen it from space.  Such a difference in perspective changes everything.

Image converted using ifftoany

Earth from space

Our interconnectedness with life is crystal clear. Denial isn’t an option. We are an integral part of the earth’s living ecosystem–and the quality of our lives depend on it.

Your own ability to unplug has everything to do with your ability to transform negative, life-draining energies into constructive, positive ones. The quickest route to unplugging is to immerse yourself in nature on a regular basis.

Want more experience doing this with others? Check out what other awesome people are doing and dive in!

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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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We have a choice to use the gift of our lives to make the world a better place.      -Dr. Jane Goodall

DNA double helixAs we strive to communicate more and more in open and connective ways, we become more skilled at expressing the truth of what is before us…and what is within us.  In this way our communication becomes extraordinarily valuable to those who know us or hear us speak.

Extracting our inner truth, bringing it to light in dialogue and expressing it in a simple and honest way transforms our inner landscape—and that of the other person.  This seemingly simple process is actually a process of transformation.  Here are a few examples: saying something you’ve been wanting to say for a long time; doing something for the first time; expressing a core belief; informing others of a decision.

To illustrate, it would look like a double helix—what’s inner expresses itself into the outer, while the outer absorbs the expression to the inner plane.  The space in between is the edge.  This is where human transformation happens—where connections are made.  This can also be non-verbal.  It’s often what we refer to as growth.  The transformation that takes place on the inner plane is the edge effect.

As an environmental educator who’s raised a child, spent over a decade as a career advisor and strove to meet the challenges life has served up; blended with an intrinsic curiosity and desire to help others, a deep capacity has bloomed…to connect dots in ways most people don’t see…yet.  To impart information in a way that inspires people to think beyond the pre-defined and help the environment is my greatest joy.  You could say it’s what I live for…well, that and an occasional island trip and a meal of yellowtail sashimi…

Did you know the edge effect can be witnessed in nature too?  Just like us, nature is constantly growing.  Growth is what happens in that edge…the edge from inner to outer and back again.

In nature, where one ecosystem meets, intermingles and gives way to a different ecosystem, this overlap is called an ‘edge.’  It is in these edges that unique and emerging life forms can be found.  Where something ‘unlike all the rest’ exists in a fragile equilibrium.  Just like you.

The most apparent edge people often recognize are beaches, lakesides or steep mountains.  Yet the not-so-obvious ones are really fascinating.

orcas island edge

Orcas Island

To connect the dots, our most fruitful links are found in two places:  In permaculture and in the body of native ancestral wisdom and practices, more commonly known as TEK (traditional ecological knowledge).

Next month, I’ll share more about these connections and how they can help you make the world a better place for the future.  Hope you’ll stay tuned and share this blog with anyone who might be interested.

Can’t wait?  For an earlier exposeé on the value of edges, click here.

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