Posts Tagged ‘Life’

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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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.


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.


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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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.


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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Greetings!  We are now officially into the New Year of 2012, with powerful, fearless and conscious choices that release our attachments to what no longer serves our highest good.

In so doing, a light joyful balance rolls in to wash through the old crevices where we’d kept old ideas held tightly, thinking that they would serve us.

Strengthening our vision and dream of what is possible in our lives—despite all outward appearances otherwise—continues to emerge.  This life force dawns each day with divine right alignment.  When we are aligned with the truth of ourselves, it becomes apparent that a harmonious pattern of divine intelligence is already in place—just waiting for each of us to wake up to its presence.

There is a sort of primal intelligence within every living being—animal, plant, insect or human—that experiences itself as an integrated co-creative part of this larger design.  So let the old pass away is it must, and embrace the fluid, life-filled cosmic blueprint of what is yet to be.

Give yourself permission to feel exhilarated for no reason whatsoever.

Give yourself permission to speak your truth compassionately.

Delight in the newfound space of your expanding being.

Begin to live the life you have always dreamed of.

When we ALLOW the old beliefs to fall away, and get right down to our essence, what else is there REALLY?

So, just be.  Just dream.  You’ll know when the moment is right to say YES with all of your being. 🙂

Beach mandala, courtesy of Sparrow Queen

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

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

Divided Consciousness wants Wholeness

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

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

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

It’s totally an inside job.

Reflect, Relax, Remember

How am I BEING in this world?

What would I like to see be?

What do I love and value?

How can I connect with like-hearted people?

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

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

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


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

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

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

So here’s the cool thing…

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

Consider your Gifts Super Powers

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

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

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

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

This activity is the unfolding of your creative genius. 

Create Space, Trump Time

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Lasting, Loving Friendships ~ Life's Sweetness

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

        — Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

What a wonderful week to feel change in the air!

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

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

Because forgiveness is our own psychological and emotional healing balm.

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

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

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

What happens when we don’t?

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

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

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

Lily Pond at Retreat Home, Kenwood, CA

Rebirthing Wholeness: The Fruits of Composting One’s Karma

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

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

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

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

It comes down to this:

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

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

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

Magical garden, Kenwood, CA

The Happiness Effect: Life as an Art


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

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

Imagine surrendering to loving ourselves unconditionally.

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

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

Facets of Nature's Art, C. Walker

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

Instinctive Stewardship

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

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

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

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

You are life manifesting as (your name here).

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

Now combine these concepts.

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

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

The Sensuous Rose, C. Walker

Questions to Explore

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

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

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

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

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

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Spiral galaxy M74, courtesy of HubbleSite

In the long golden sunset shadows of the first day of September, I sat in bed writing about a fairly intimate experience.

As I wrote, I noticed my consciousness rolling through layers and layers of thoughts about why stars and planets are still moving rapidly away from us.  It seems like they’ve been doing that for as long as I can remember ~ or at least as long as telescopes have been around.

Simultaneously woven in with these thoughts were other thoughts having to do with peak experiences as well as a whole stream of unique childhood memories.  These weren’t just any sort of childhood memories, but specifically those that were glimpses of intimate conversations and events with people from my past.

Forestville, CA

Forestville, CA

There were many.  Dozens of events with my parents, neighbors, school chums, their families, places we visited—intimate experiences of all sorts—rolled through my awareness.

Funny thing was, I wasn’t consciously thinking about peak experiences or past events, I simply noticed that they would pop up with greater frequency as I pondered why everything outside our galaxy would be moving away from us.

I wondered whether or not we are also part of that universal expansion or whether our yearly spin around the sun is about as expanded as most of us get?  And now why—at the same time—was my mind taking a serious stroll down memory lane AND popping in with peak experiences?

Palpable Peaks + Intimate Vignettes = Something New

What was really palpable was how I felt from all of this pondering.  The best word I can come up with is ‘gemütlich.’  It’s a German word that means warm, pleasant and love-filled.   (An avowed word nerd, gemütlich has some very cool Indo-European roots that revolve around an inspiring blend of spirit, mind and joy.)

An experiential believer of universal consciousness, I recognized something big was dawning on me.  It seemed to revolve around the groovy feelings of love, unfettered freedom of expansive thoughts, coupled with this sense of warmth and intimacy.  I was feeling joy and delight throughout my being.

From this, I could see clearly that happiness is an outcome of circumstance, while joyfulness is more of a good mood of soul that is generated on the inner plane, having little to do with outer circumstances.

I recognized that the precious memories of my childhood were borne out of ordinary moments.  Ordinary people like me, experiencing ordinary moments of closer-than-average connection ~ a deep or special connection ~ provided the ingredients for something very valuable. These moments became the precious and sacred memories of my past.  And yet, despite being in the past, they were right here, right now, finding resonance in the present with entire streams of thought that somehow shared the same frequency—the same wavelength.

Like tuning into a radio station that has music you enjoy.  Once you find it, you seek it out.  You tune in to it.

Without consciously knowing what was happening until a bit later, I recognized that by tuning in to the delightfully deep curiosity of how our cosmos came to be, ALL the moments of my life where joy bubbled forth, where delight and curiosity reigned, where my heart led the way—were spontaneously magnetizing themselves in a sort of mellifluous mélange of harmonizing interconnections—much like how music spontaneously arises through open airspace to combine in endless forms of harmony.

And, just like in a peak experience, where all of our senses are heightened and our conscious suddenly transcends ordinary awareness—I saw and experienced the activity of awakening on a huge scale.  I was in awe, despite having had many ‘aha’ moments along the way–this one was of a universal magnitude.   I wanted to pick up the phone and call a handful of my closest metaphysical friends to tell them….but honestly, that would have compromised the experience.

What I discovered was this:  the ‘aha moment’ looks and feels like a burst of light.

Starburst cluster, courtesy of HubbleSite

And then, there is a bunch of nothingness.  Which is a GOOD thing.

At the moment of the ‘aha,’ thought particles—particularly the denser ones—previously surrounding one’s consciousness move rapidly away from the center of the burst of awareness.





Out of Nothingness…Somethingness

Then, a big idea took shape—a peak experience of the light-bearing kind, you could say.

It was this:  That the earth is waking up to itself, and we—along with all the other life forms on earth—are waking up too.

This IS the activity of life.  Life naturally, continuously, spontaneously, beautifully and elegantly—gives birth to new life.

And here’s the corollary:  To make life meaningful, we need to tune in to our CREATIVE capacities.

What does this mean for human consciousness and the future of the earth?


Get Creative

As far as I can tell, whatever you yearn or desire to do that exists just beyond the everyday—do it.  Notice how life changes as a result.

As Brené Brown expresses it, there are 5 key facets that re-connect us to what is uniquely meaningful to each of us.  The gifts of Brené’s years of research are right here for us to dive in to and explore.

Key #1:  We all have gifts and talents.  When we cultivate those gifts and share them with the world, we create a sense of meaning and purpose in our lives.

Key #2:  Squandering our gifts brings distress to our lives.  As it turns out, it’s not merely benign or ‘too bad’ if we don’t use the gifts that we’ve come into the world with; we pay for it with our emotional and physical well-being.  When we don’t use our talents to cultivate meaningful work, we struggle.  We feel disconnected and weighed down by feelings of emptiness, frustration, resentment, shame, disappointment, fear, and even grief.

Key #3:  Sharing our gifts and talents with the world is the most powerful source of connection with God.  Many who are searching for spiritual connection spend too much time looking up in the sky and wondering why God lives so far away. God lives within us, not above us.

Key #4: Using our gifts and talents to create meaningful work takes a tremendous amount of commitment.  Why?  Because in many cases, the meaningful work is not what pays the bills.  Some folks have managed to align everything—they use their gifts and talents to do work that feeds their souls and their families; however, most people piece it together.  I’m one of them.

Key #5:  No one can define what’s meaningful for us.  Culture doesn’t get to dictate what it is.  In fact, in our western culture, the majority of what world medias purport create precisely the opposite effect.  Like our gifts and talents, meaning is unique to each one of us.

(Excerpted from The Gifts of Imperfection, by Brené Brown)

Important note:  Be alert to self betrayal—or subtle sabotage—of your own creative urges.   Betrayal of yourself—or a friend or family member who trusts and looks to your integrity for their own self-development—is a pattern that can be re-routed, but only after first looking deep within for the place where your taproots wound themselves around someone or something outside of your own truth.

So, we can cook, write, draw, knit, paint, dance, sculpt, sing, build or re-build something—it doesn’t matter.  As long as we’re creating, we’re cultivating meaning.

Handmade paper tree collage, C Walker, 2011

Creativity is the expression of our originality.

Creativity is the act of waking up to ourselves.

Creativity is spontaneous joy in action.

“The only meaningful contribution we will make in this world will be born of our creativity.”          ~ Brené Brown, Ph.D.

AOE author on location in Portland, OR

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