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Posts Tagged ‘Inspiration’

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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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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Yes, that’s essentially what this amounts to.

No need to sit like a Yoga for years. No need to renounce the world, or read scriptures. Unless that is how you want to live your life.

The highest spiritual path is life itself. It’s not about your career, who you want to marry or whether you want to seek God. These are projected outcomes. They are manifestations.

Every manifest thing has a life cycle of newness, change and eventually decay. That new car, phone or piece of clothing you bought will eventually lose its appeal over time. You will eventually opt for something to replace it. Or not. This is simply the life cycle of something that exists in space-time as we know it.

In the end, you can throw out all the possible outcomes, because they are impermanent.

You actually only have one core, underlying decision in your life: “Do you want to be happy, or do you not want to be happy?”

It’s really that simple. Once you make THAT choice, your path through life becomes completely clear.

Mot people don’t dare give themselves that choice because they believe it’s out of their control. One might say, “Well of course I want to be happy, but my car just broke down.” In other words, they want to be happy, but not if their car breaks down. But that wasn’t the question.

The question was, put quite simply, “Do you want to be happy or not?”

If you keep it simple, you will see that life is really about your own inherent power of choice. It’s just that you have a deep-seated set of preferences that get in the way. Learn to use them as guidelines rather than “must-haves.”

This is not about whether happiness is under your control. It is. And, the conditions you create and then impose upon yourself actually limit your happiness.

Life-situation-vs-life-in-u

The stock may crash, a loved one may die, your car might break down in the rain, the kind of house you dream of living in may never become affordable. This all may happen between now and the end of your life. You simply aren’t going to be able to control things and keep them the way you want them without totally burning yourself out. Billions of things could happen that you haven’t even thought of yet.

The truth is, events don’t determine whether or not you’re going to be happy. They’re just events. You determine whether or not you’re going to be happy.

Essentially, your answer to the question of being happy must be unconditional. That alone may take a bit of work. But, what are the other options? What is most important?

Anything circumstantial can be done with joy and ease IF you allow yourself to experience that.

If you decide that you’re going to be happy from now on for the rest of your life, you will not only become exponentially happy, you will actually become enlightened.

Unconditional happiness is the highest and simplest technique there is. This doesn’t mean that unpleasant events will never occur. It simply means that choosing inner happiness is where you choose to be with yourself no matter what is occurring around you.

Like a tree, you become an eternal witness to life and experience balance in return.

~ Part 1 of a series on Simply Living. Enjoy and discuss!

telling the truth

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When conversation turns to what’s not working within western culture, conversations invariably turn to entitlement. If you’re a parent–or soon to be–this article could help. In fact, it’s the parents of the world that are raising the issue of entitlement to a higher level of awareness for all of us.

boywithworm

So, what’s the big deal about entitlement?

 

Entitlement, in and of itself, is simply the sense that one has a right to something. As human beings sharing this planet with 7 billon+ of our own species and 8.7 million of all other species, all members of planet earth have a right to live safe, happy and healthy lives. Such lives are built upon the foundation of individual and collective well-being.

 

Where entitlement goes sideways is when our IDEA of what we’re entitled to becomes disconnected from the reality of what it means to cultivate individual and collective well-being. This is a holistic perspective in that it considers the whole of life–not just in orbit around oneself.

Sharing Nature with kids-Devon-England 001

Imagine truly living from such a perspective. It’s a game changer.

 

Everything–every action, every thought, every decision–gets re-evaluated based on what the greatest good might be. This is the place in your consciousness where your sense of fairness, wonder, beauty and tenderness come into play. Anyone who’s a parent or a teacher knows this perspective well.

 

As important as individual expression, creativity and autonomy are, so is a greater sense of caring, of purposefulness, of understanding the whole and one’s relationship to thetwo-girls-sharing-insun rest of life.

 

When astronaut Edgar Mitchell saw the earth from a distance of nearly 200,000 miles away, there was a shared sense of awe, a sudden gut feeling that something was vey different. Upon seeing the earth in a purposeful flow of energy, space and time orbiting the sun amidst the cosmos, Mitchell stated, “Suddenly, there was a non-rational way of understanding [life] that had been beyond my previous experience.”

When you go out in nature, as far away as possible from human structures and forms, you can experience your own personal version of wonder, peace, comprehension, connection and contentment and inspiration.

THIS is the experience to which we, our children and future children–are richly entitled.

Collecting material possessions beyond what we actually need is a phenomena of western culture. There will never be enough new stuff to fulfill anyone. Fueled by a distorted sense of entitlement, it cultivates a craving, an emptiness, a lack of fulfillment–the very opposite of what is truly needed by the human soul. It will never be a substitute for living a meaningful life.

It’s not only our human species that are held securely in the living enfoldment of a universal design beyond our rational minds…the entire planet is held in this way too.

Take the time to consider what ideas get in the way of these greater and more nourishing perspectives.

What ideas aren’t serving YOUR greatest good?

What ideas can you replace with more holistic perspectives?

girlhuggingtree

 

If you’re feeling empty, drained, or aren’t experiencing the meaningfulness of life, that’s your cue. Discover what ideas are in the way of the personal joy and fulfillment you’re entitled to.  Don’t be fooled by the red herring of western culture media.

 

These are the perspectives to which we are richly entitled.

 

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The Explorer's Path

The Explorer’s Path

Wow, life has been fairly intense and full of change lately. Have you noticed this in your life?

 

Since February rolled in, it’s as though we’ve been placed right at the center of some of the most intensive drama our individual lives can bear…perhaps so that we can burn through our own inner challenges and come out somewhat purified in these challenging zones.

 

Fortunately, with the onset of March, a considerable lightness has been ushered in relative to the dark bits we’ve been struggling through. ‘To compassionately discover oneself in the other’ has been an apt theme for the first half of March.

 

As March comes to a close, you may have noticed a feeling of ‘breathing room,’ where truth has revealed itself and your sense of direction has once again become clear…where simplicity has emerged from what had once been so complex. In other words, a re-balancing has taken place.

 

The intrinsic yet deeply complex balance of nature mirrors this process beautifully. Despite storms, meteorites, ice ages, human destruction and rising Co2 levels, nature consistently demonstrates grace and resilience. No matter what happens, nature is poised gracefully for resurgence–the ability to heal, restore and flourish.

 

Balancing in the Rain

Balancing in the Rain

What can we learn from nature about re-balancing?

 

Any bit of nature will do just fine as a medium for discovery. My daughter once told me, ‘I love what trees have taught me about balance.’

 

That comment really grabbed my attention.

‘Say more about that,’ I responded.

‘They’re rooted in the ground way beyond what we can see. They watch the whole world wake up, buzz around and go to sleep every day. They give us food and stay centered in the same place for their whole lives and are always reaching for the sky and growing no matter how old they are,’ Marlene said casually, conveying that her perceptive comments were likewise rooted in long-term observations.

 

A sublime joy pervaded my entire being. What Marlene shared was amazingly perceptive and astute. Beside feeling happy within, I felt hope for the future. In that moment, I realized that the ripple effect of an honest statement can literally change the future.

 

Together, we pondered trees…nourishers of the soil through a complex mycellian-root communication system largely invisible to us…providers of relief in the form of shade, not only for us humans but for the world’s canopies of rainforest and ecosystem life…preservers and sequesterers of water, refreshing the air, creating oxygen and giving us something magnificent to be in awe about…reaching for the sky every day, just because that’s how they live.

 

Connecting with Trees

Connecting with Trees

Imagine what it would feel like to be reaching for the sky every day–just because. Imagine striving to grow and evolve your entire life–for the sheer joy of it. What if you loved your life or your career so much that these impulses just happened naturally within you? Would your life feel more in healthy balance? Would you feel closer to authentic happiness?

As Marlene says, “Wow, nature’s good to us!”

In wildness is the preservation of the world.     ~ Thoreau

 

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2 charis loopez island beach

Lopez Island

After almost three months to the day of a very special collaborative genesis, I’m back with Part 2 of the ‘Edge Effect,’ one of my favorite explorations of all time for a wide variety of reasons. Hang in there, this is going to be a bit more scientific than my typical blog.

Permaculture, TEK and Pattern Literacy

Permaculture design at its core is about creating right relationships amongst living things.  As humans, we do this by creating meaningful connections with the flora and fauna of our environment.  And, naturally, with one another.

TEK (traditional ecological knowledge) at its core, is about cultivating a deep connection with the land that supports us so as to carefully tend it for long-term fructification.  So where do the edges come into play?

When we observe patterns in the landscape, we can recognize that edge ecosystems (my favorite type of ecosystems) perform and demonstrate the same extraordinary functions as the ‘Four Bs’ of the earth’s flora fertility do—that is, birds, bats, butterflies and bees.  Like the Four Bs, edge ecosystems offer opportunities for cross-pollination so that plants have the resilience they need to weather change, and have the fertility they need to reproduce, grow and create food.  The end products of plants and animals are what we’re generally most familiar with, but don’t let that stop you from connecting these dots…

Here is a convergence of human intelligence with nature’s intelligence.  It is the ultimate expression of life.

Like fertile seeds, these connective patterns are absolutely key to creating a healthy future.

What comes alive in edge ecosystems is deep ecology in action.

Deep Ecology in Action

One of the greatest things about the natural world is that it is a reflection of our thinking.  Where healthy ecosystems exist, so do its caretakers.  Where it doesn’t there is unawareness of impact—and therefore room for personal and, by extension, planetary growth of a healthy sort.

For example for some, war is analogous with humanity.  For many of us, war is an anomaly—a reflection of our species’ inability to move beyond the limitations of our own thinking.  It’s where ‘taking the higher road’ means acting out of the recognition that “…the distinction between ‘life’ and ‘lifeless’ is a human construct. Every atom in this body existed before organic life emerged.”                      (Joanna Macy, The Council of All Beings)

300px-Tropical_hardwood_hammock_on_Everglades_National_Park_Mahogany_Hammock_Trail

Hardwood hammocks, Everglades, Florida

Fructification and the Edge Effect

Diving back into the world of ecosystems, consider this fascinating example of edge ecosystem fructification: the coastal forest hammocks, like those that grow in the Everglades of Florida, a 2-hour drive from where I spent my childhood.

Shaped by the slow-moving brackish waters of the Everglades, these coastal hardwood forests exemplify a beautiful blend of stability and complexity found in these hammocks. Like most forests, coastal forests not only prevent erosion via the web of tree roots, but also by slowing wind speeds to reduce wind-caused erosion.

Each tree acts as a sediment collector, wind break, apartment house for birds, food source, and…my favorite…a nursery for literally hundreds of thousands of water-born creatures including amphibians and naturally, their predators, like raptors and virtually all reptilian descendants of oceans and rivers: birds, insects, alligators and a host of other water-loving flora and fauna.

Given these components—and we’re not even touching on the special and unique talents of the mangroves themselves; nor the bacteriological or atmospheric aspects—the fact that our species has sent people to the moon and back, put satellites into space and instantly communicate anywhere in the world—why is our human impact on the earth so ecologically destructive?

The Exquisite Beauty of Non-Linear Thinking

I believe it has to do with four aspects of the human mind:

  1. Our minds—both individually and collectively—must develop the ability to flex with complex, non-linear systems.
  2. From this, we must discover and acknowledge the intangible (as well as the tangible) aspects of how ecosystems assemble themselves.
  3. Through this, the qualitative aspects of life reveal their fragile value, leading us to…
  4. Engage our hearts so as to inform the head.

Of course, coming from your heart doesn’t need to go in this order!  This is simply a connective arrangement to illustrate the deeper aspects of nature we can find meaning within.

The beauty of engaging both heart and head in the direction of earth-centric healing is that the mere existence of complex, non-linear ecosystem functions requires mechanisms of stability.

We can become that mechanism.  We can change the way we think to support the health of our planet.  Just imagine the benefits….

Got some ideas?  Let me hear from you!

Want more inspiration?  Check out what my colleagues at Odyssey Earth are up to!

never let reality get in the way

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