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Posts Tagged ‘Earth’

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.

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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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I’ve been interpreting nature and the living earth through art and the written word for over 30 years.

Marko has been collaborating with the spiritual energies of nature, creating lithopuncture healing artforms for over 30 years.

This blog is nearly two years old. Its birthday is—as one might surmise—on Earth Day.

Our message is simply this: The earth is a magnificent living, multi-functional, interconnected, self-organizing whole system of a divine nature. Each and every living creature on this planet is a uniquely different, yet thoroughly interconnected part of this whole. With a single decision, you can discover ways to align your own energy with the creative, restorative and healing powers of nature. To live into and embody this knowledge is self-actualization.

As Brian Swimme puts it, the beginning and end of human existence is awe.  So why settle for less?

In my upcoming book, A Naturalist’s Perspective: Reflections on a Living World and the Spirit of Nature, I share six essential secrets to the earth’s well being with which we are already interconnected. Yet in western cultures, because such information is rarely brought to one’s attention, it becomes forgotten.

As a culture, most people suffer from nature deficit disorder.  And as ancient wisdom repeatedly reveals, the most effective remedies are rooted in the natural world and reflected back in the cosmos.

Our deep interconnection with nature is based on approximately 33 additional senses that most people have simply lost touch with because of assumptions that we make about how to ‘do life.’

Many of these assumptions are based on what big business and big media tell us.  Here’s the upshot of a particularly poignant conversation several friends and I had some years ago:

“At first, in your teens and 20’s, it seems easy. In your 30’s, you may be so busy with work and family that you don’t have time to question your life too deeply.  By the time you’re in your 40’s, if you haven’t questioned your life deeply enough, and in the process, established your own value-based philosophy, you’re in for a rude awakening. It’s mind-boggling how ‘asleep at the wheel’ our culture is.”

The six secrets I’m referring to are quintessential cycles and flows that work together, allowing the earth’s (and our) systems to function as a whole.  Each of these aspects is a cornerstone of a living system, yet are often overlooked.

As you cam imagine, the most overlooked ones are the most fruitful for you to explore, because they offer tremendous potential for the human mind to dance and create with.

Next: Excerpts from A Naturalist’s Perspective: Reflections on a Living World and the Spirit of Nature.

*DIY-T stands for Do it Yourself-Together.

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Les choses qui s’écroulent sont une sorte d’épreuve, mais aussi une sorte de guérison.                                                               ~ Pema Chodron

(English translation)

Things that fall apart are a sort of test, but also a kind of healing.

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Two weeks out from the Spring Equinox and the air is ripe with life.

Some mornings, I feel a thrill run through my body as the birds’ dawn chorus inspires me to rise and step outside to stretch in the cool morning air.

Spring has gently yet powerfully moved in, bringing new life and longer days of light.  And to think that a season as lovely as Spring is borne out of the cold, wet darkness of winter.

One of my favorite permaculture design principles is:

‘Use Edges + Value the Margins.’

Edges in nature are transition zones—the places where the composition of the terrain, flora and fauna change.   Edges and margins are also the places in our lives where real change occurs—where we are sometimes tested far beyond our comfort zones.

In nature, edges and margins can be where a forest gives way to a field of wildflowers, or where the firm footing of solid ground begins to soften and goosh, filling with dense ferns and mangroves before giving way to a riverbank.   It could simply be where crunchy beachfront sand yields to undulating clumps of sedge, tall grasses and scrubby brush.  It’s where life yields to life, and recombines to create new environments.   Each environment provides habitat for plants and animals that have adapted over millenia to that particular arrangement of life.  These are the earth’s ecosystems.  And they are incredibly precious.

This same perspective applies to each of us.

When we find ourselves thrust into experiences that we didn’t ask for—or would never consciously choose—you can count on those situations as opportunities to be stretched—to move beyond predictability into unfamiliar terrain.  In such situations, our primal instinct to survive sheds light on our life as a whole. Recognizing aspects of our lives that are out of balance—those that don’t truly serve our greatest good—end up defining our future.   This is the human version of edge.

Edge forces us to grow—to reassess.  Real growth happens when that which no longer serves our greatest good is released.  Real growth actually moves us to become more symbiotic—with ourselves and with all of life around us.

We instinctively know that solutions to big problems are found beyond the familiar boundaries of our self-prescribed lives.  When we are willing to embrace larger actions—lifestyle changes that reflect a holistic way of life—we rapidly become more symbiotically interconnected with life.  In this way, you could say that our lives parallel the edges and margins of an ecosystem.

John Francis, also known as Planetwalker—rediscovered rhythms in nature that western culture has nearly forgotten by walking the continent of North America in silence for 17 years.  In his book, The Ragged Edge of Silence, John shares that the single most valuable thing for people to know is this:  The basis of nature is cooperation and democracy. 

Indigenous peoples have long since recognized that each unique ecosystem yields it’s own unique set of bio-restorative offerings.  It requires only that we are able to distinguish the unique qualities, characteristics and properties of the plants and creatures living therein.  It’s worth repeating that this same perspective applies to each of us.

There is infinite possibility within the natural world to restore itself as well as what ails humanity.

Through our senses of wonder, curiosity and inquiry, our individual connection with the natural world has the direct capacity to restore ourselves as whole human beings at all levels.  Our greatness, our compassion and our authenticity become buried beneath the parts of ourselves we’ve become disconnected from.

Exploring your edges will take you on a journey to your most authentic self.  A place where you feel at home with who you are; where you recognize your weaknesses and your strengths, admit your imperfections and bask in your gifts.  In honoring this most human of journeys, we automatically honor the earth that has silently supported us all of our lives.

Making peace within our inner ecosystems, we become capable of restoring lasting peace for the earth as well.

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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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