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Posts Tagged ‘Nature’

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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You have a favorite piece of clothing.

One day, you notice that a button is loose and some of the fabric’s weave has unraveled, leaving some threads dangling.

If you really like this piece of clothing, you’ll probably try to fix these imperfections so they don’t get worse.

If however, you don’t care for it enough to expend the energy to fix it, you might tell yourself that it can be replaced—or that you can find something similar, or better. If you lived in Cuba or the DRC, replacing it wouldn’t actually be an option.

Another possibility is to do nothing. Just let it unravel, missing buttons and all, until it eventually becomes unwearable. Maybe use the remaining fabric for an art project.

Relative to your lifestyle, would you do what’s sensible? Or are you more inclined to do what’s easy?

What if this piece of clothing was a space suit or something you actually couldn’t survive without in a region like say, the Arctic tundra?

Keep Asking Lots of Questions

Does the average first-world person prefer to replace a worn garment with something new? Are there too few seamstresses and tailors in the western world? Why do people who can sew and repair garments primarily work for in third-world sweatshops or for the wealthy? Why is this skill-set so absent and relatively undervalued in America? There was a time—in Europe, in my parent’s generation—where sewing was on par with driving as a valuable skill.

Why does an internet search for “world’s poorest island communities” reveal absolutely nothing? Why does a search for “world’s poorest islands” reveal only a scant handful of bloggers, some of whom comment on the ‘obscene disparity’ between say, Haiti, and the tourists who pay to be disgorged there from a Royal Caribbean cruise ship that sits quietly in the distance awaiting their suntanned return for unlimited food and booze?

Haitian disparity-on-the-beach

For that matter, why is there unlimited access to booze on a finite planet while 783 million people don’t have access to clean water? Are we not aware enough that the present ways of our culture are unsustainable?

 

 

Where am I going with all this, you may wonder…

Those of you who understand the art of the metaphor and the unmistakable theme of my work, know all too well where I am taking you.

The Biosphere (aka., Life on Earth)

Despite our (collective) limited understanding of what creates a healthy, sustainable world, we are nevertheless aware that all of life depends on the health and well-being of our planet.

Helen_Christiansonsaving ecosystems

We’re talking about an organic living system. The planet is an organic living system that our singular species (7 billion of us) share with 8.7 million OTHER species.

What we know with surprising certainty is that it is the web of life as a whole that has made it possible for our species to exist. Like your favorite piece of clothing.

As David Suzuki states, “To tear at the web in such a massive way with so little regard for our own future is a kind of collective insanity that is suicidal.”

Come on now, why would you tear up your favorite piece of clothing?

 

A Fertile Future

A fertile future rests on three things:

  1. Organic, thriving uncompromised ecosystems;
  2. Wise, compassionate stewardship of said ecosystems;
  3. The re-creation of human systems that unequivocally reveal the long-term value of the first two.

You can quote me on this.

Yes, your children are equally precious. So are mine. What kind of world do we want to see them grow up in? Being a parent opens our hearts to ongoing, unconditional love. What would it take for the planet that supports us unconditionally to experience that love too?

If this single statement of what I believe a fertile future rests upon contributed to the foundation of entirely new human systems and thus, ways of thinking that were based upon sustainable ethics, we would be able to turn things around. Maybe not in my lifetime, but maybe in our children’s lifetime.

Please don’t wait for another spark of inspiration. Join a group that’s actually doing something to make the planet healthier.

Share your and others’ ideas far and wide.  Talk with me on this blog.

Move out of your comfort zone and speak for that which does not have a human voice but needs yours to survive.

Every act and expression of thought has the power to change things.

Happy family

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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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The breeze at dawn 
has secrets to tell you.

Don’t go back to sleep. 



You must askfor what you really want. 



Don’t go back to sleep. 



People are going back and forthbetween the door sill

where the two worlds touch. 



The door is round and open.

Don’t go back to sleep.

 

 ~ Rumi

 ImageThis time is ripe to discover, be and continue to become yourself completely.

Yes, this is an inside job.

It has little to do with being the best or greatest at something based on another’s standards.  This is the work of unfurling—sometimes slowly, sometimes radically—the inspiration of your soul.  It begins with listening to your inner guidance—your own personal intuition.

The more we see life as a series of interactive experiences, the more these experiences will inform our sense of life and well-being.

If your sense of someone or something makes you feel wary, distant or withdrawn, realize that these feelings can be fear-based.  Realize also that there could simply be no energy in your world behind the interaction.  How to determine what’s true?

Be honest and kind with yourself.  Where IS the energy in this particular experience?  Is it coming from someone else?  Are you meeting that energy with your own?  Do you genuinely feel you were being yourself in the process?

Most importantly, what was your residual experience?  How often was your head, heart and whole self tuned in?

Did you feel: Inspired?  Curious?  Energized?  Flat?  Bored?  Concerned?   Dig deep to find out what veins of interest were indeed sparked.  What were you inspired about?  When did you feel energized?  If you felt nothing at all, then it’s probably time to practice more self-integration.

My past two year’s blogs—and no doubt a bounty of others, from Oprah and Dr. Phil to zen and the art of zoning—all present nuggets of wisdom to distill.

Now, when you let all these thoughts go…what do you know for sure?

Despite what we may think our lives are about; despite how selfless or self-absorbed we believe we need to be to survive, our lives are actually a journey of authenticity and self-care.  Net-net?  When our inner world connects meaningfully with our outer world, we experience life as being precious.

A change of heart is the best barometer of authenticity.  It informs the mind meaningfully and pervasively.  Only then can lasting, positive change occur.

What experiences have been most meaningful for you?

Drop me a line and let me hear from you…and enjoy this first day of the Year of the Horse!

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Mahalo Kalani!

 

 

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An alchemist is somebody who knows, with infinite passion, patience and care, to distill the best from themselves and everything, mixing emotions and substances, experience and courage till they discover what they did not know before. … Every woman and man [has the ability] to learn the profound secrets of nature, in order to grow and transform oneself into a work of art, and have fun in the process.

                                             ~ preface to Tales of An Alchemist, by Falco Auradi

My Godmother had moxie.  Behind the moxie was also a hefty dose of pragmatic intelligence and a deep reverence for nature.

Katie came to the US via New York after WW2 along with thousands of other European immigrants from a rich diversity of cultures.  Knowing only one person—a university professor who was her key contact—Katie made her way to Chicago, got a job with the Music dept. of DePaul University, and shared a flat in a brownstone with a music grad who played with the young Ramsey Lewis.  Once settled, she wrote to my mother in Luxembourg, “Alles ist in Bereitschaft. Sie mag diesen Ort. So viel Lebendigkeit hier. Hier ist eine Welt voller Möglichkeiten.  Alles liebe, Katie.“ (‘All is in readiness.  You’ll like this place.  So much life here.  Here is a world of opportunity.  All my love, Katie.’)

My mother joined her shortly thereafter, arriving in the same way—aboard a post-WW2 emigrant ship.  Once the two re-united, their favorite times were spent walking through Lincoln Park and visiting what was then called the Chicago Academy of Sciences, a nature museum that had been around since the late 1800’s.  It was here where the two met William Beecher, a visionary nature and science educator, who at the time spent many hours contributing his discoveries of flora and fauna to the academy and loved sharing his findings with anyone who expressed an interest.  He showed them taxidermied birds that no longer exist today, such as the Ivory-billed Woodpecker.  I’m told he had a knack for sharing his findings with a ‘brilliant enthusiasm’ that regularly attracted Katie and my mother to the Academy.  William later became the Academy’s director.

Katie and my mother were flat-mates for some years, carefully saving their money for the bright future they envisioned.  Over dinner with friends one evening, the conversation turned toward the philosophical, and each person took turns ‘gift giving’ to one another—but not in the material sense; in the philosophical / intuitive sense.

Each expression that was shared was a reflection of the beauty, the budding talents and the genuine value—in the deepest sense of those words—of each person.  Sharing these incredibly close insights revealed a resilience that mirrored nature—something these friends shared with a deep reverence.  Here are some gems of pure alchemy that came out of that special night in 1952 ~

What if people recognized trees as the lungs of the world?

What if people recognized rivers, streams and lakes as the lifeblood of the world?

What if the ocean was viewed as the womb of the earth?

What if it was more important to ask questions than to answer them?

What if your education was not about what you know, but what you discover?

Image

In those times, there was much newness to learn and much creative energy to forge in what was perceived as a new and vibrant world.

It was a movement of human consciousness to turn away from the horrific experience of war and towards the engagement of constructive energies of creation.  Yet the gemütlich (relaxed, unhurried) sense of the natural world was for these people, a vital link to the ‘new world.’

Today, these questions come alive with profoundly relevant and timely meaning.  Please share this blog with your friends and family.  Like Katie, my mom and her friends, we must do what we can to raise awareness in our lifetime while enjoying the gift of life.

~ * ~

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