Sunday, February 26, 2012

Everything is Connected to Everything Else

I was just thinking about this earlier this morning -- well, not about the Pauli exclusion principle, but about how everything is connected to everything else and about how when we do harm to Other, we do harm to ourselves. If we truly understood that concept, wars and eco-destruction and exploitation would be unthinkable.

All You Need is Love

I've received more guidance related to my last post. As I am travelling at this time, it has taken me a while to post the expanded version -- in the meantime, I'm finding out how difficult it is to follow the advice I've been given. I guess any new skill needs practice!

'Send love.’ It’s such a simple message -- one that has been around forever. It is the message of every major religion in the world -- from Paganism to Evangelical Christianity. It is the subject of innumerable songs; the Beatles did it well -- two of their songs have been singing through my consciousness all morning long. The message is so pervasive as to be trite, and in this case, trite is oh so true. It is a message that transcends all cultures, all walks of life, all economic classes from the poor and starving to the mega rich. It is the message of the 100%. It is a message that I have always understood but I never got until now, and now that I have it, it has changed the way I see everything. I no longer see my neighbors as shallow sheep of the consumer industry, wreaking unknowing havoc upon generations yet unborn, I see them as beings with great capacity for love. Even the moustache-twirling executives of Monsanto and Exxon are beings with great capacity for love.

I not only see people differently, I now know how to talk to them, even those with very different value systems and interests -- just ask them about the people and pets and things they love. Ask them about the music they love or their favorite time of the year. Ask them about their favorite places in nature, or about the nicest thing anyone ever did for them, or about their favorite teacher or vacation or childhood memory. Ask them about what they most love to do -- and if what they most love to do is shop for shoes, ask them about that. Love does not judge. It is not about changing others -- it is not about changing their minds or opening their eyes, it is about keeping the focus on love, and love does not judge. Bring the focus to love every chance you get, not only in your own internal mind chatter, but in every place and time, in every conversation, in every interaction. It is about that eliciting that special expression -- the sweet smile, the gentle glow -- that one has when talking about the Beloved. Should you find yourself confronted with negativity, in yourself or others, greet it with compassion and look for the Love from which it springs. “I know you must be worried about your grandson. You love him and want the best for him.” “It must be frustrating to work for someone like that. You are so dedicated to doing what’s right for the customer. You must really love what you do.”

We all have the capacity to love but that capacity is rarely fully realized; the ability to send love is something that improves with practice. So send it every chance you get. Send it until it becomes as natural as breathing and as constant as the beating of your heart. Send it to people and plants and the food you eat and the sheets on your bed.

As I made the bed this morning, I sent my love to the cotton plants from which those sheets had been made. As I did that, I realized that not only had the cotton plants contributed to those sheets, but a long list of humans as well -- the farmer who grew and harvested the cotton, the truck driver who took the cotton to the mill to be processed, the mill workers, the factory workers who wove the cotton into sheets, the dyers who printed the sheets with flowers, the workers who packaged the sheets, the truck drivers who drove the sheets to the store, the stockers who put the sheets on the shelf, the cashier who rang up the purchase. Then there were all the machines involved -- machines designed and made by man -- and all the fossil fuels expended -- fossil fuels created through a partnership of Mother Earth and Father Sun. In sending my love, I caught a brief glimpse of the miracles that surround us disguised as humble sheets and other everyday objects. Love, it seems, is not only for the beneficiary -- it is the gateway to joy and a course in miracles.

When I finally realized the impact of this message and its corollary -- that by bringing more awareness of love into the world, we change everything, I wanted to shout it from the rooftops. And then I realized that the guidance I received is being sent to every soul upon this planet -- the secret of 2012 is that this is the year when Love lifts us all to the next level and we begin to heal. It is not my task to spread the word; it is my task to send Love.

Here is to all of us, human and otherwise, who inhabit Mother Gaia; here’s to humble sheets, to everyday objects, to joy and miracles, and to Love.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

With Love from Me to You

Yesterday, I watched a video by Guy McPherson, The Myth of Sustainability. It's long, but well-worth the time. McPherson talks about the challenges we face in terms of climate change, peak oil, and other apex moments. I haven't kept up with the latest in the climate change department, so this video came as a real shock -- it brought home to me just how dire things really are. The models that predict how hot the world is going to get and how soon have changed dramatically in the past couple of years -- while they were originally predicting 2 degrees by 2100, they are now saying we could heat up to something like 6 degrees by 2050. I may not have the numbers right, but the risk of human extinction is alive and well and growing exponentially. That reality, if the predictions are correct, puts anything I personally might do into the context of futile, or so it might seem. So I am hoping with all the hope that’s in me that the mystics are right and that we will experience an evolutionary jump this year -- a jump that enables us to heal the wounds we have created.

Last night as I channeled Reiki through my heart chakra, I thought about the challenges our world faces. If an evolutionary jump is our only real hope, then what is my role in all of this? Why am I even here? The answer that came to me was, "To aid in the transition by raising your own vibrations." “And how does one do that?” I wondered in frustration. And the response was immediate and clear, “Through love. Love is the higher vibration you seek. Focus on love. Send love to your children and your grandchildren. Send love to the trees and the mountains. Send love to the people who are so ignorant and misguided that they do not understand the damage they do. Send love to the people who are being sacrificed in the name of industrialism and progress. Send love to the politicians who are sleep-walking our world into chaos. Send love to the dirty, polluted places of earth. And send love to the beautiful, pristine places that remind you of what a fantastically wonderful planet you are fortunate enough to live upon.”

Send love.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

This and That

Just a few this's and that's that deserve to be passed along:
With a stockpile of salvaged, old growth redwood fencing, he [Jay Nelson] recently built a tiny studio for his friend, and neighbor, Lana to use as a home office. It's just under 100 square feet and that means it's small enough so that San Francisco doesn't require a permit.

This via Hank Wesselman
Introduction to Sacred Numbers & Creation by Hawaiian Kupuna Hale Makua. Filmed in June 1998. Produced by the Worldwide Indigenous Science Network.

Just for fun, the Swedish chef of Sesame Street fame makes popcorn.

And last but definitely not least, There's No Tomorrow -- a comprehensive overview of the challenges we face presented in a thirty minute animation. I DO wish they had come up with a different title and I DO wish they had spent more time on what the future may look like . . . and presented it in a more positive light. I'm optimistic about our future. I don't believe we are going to be sentenced to lives of hard labor -- I believe that as we reconnect with nature and community, that as we find ways to live sustainably, and that as we transition from the virtual lives most of us now live to lives of engagement, we will find that we are happier and more alive than we have been for generations. I believe we will awaken as if from a hypnotic state and find that life is good.

That's not to say that the transition won't be rough . . .

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Coming Soon to a Neighborhood Near You

Something revolutionary is happening these days. I can't quite figure out what it is, or where we are going with it, but I smell it in the air like a storm on the horizon. Maybe we're just coming of age, or maybe we're finally waking up and realizing that we don't have to follow-the-leader. Maybe things have just gotten so muddled that there's no choice but to admit that we're lost and need to take our bearings and head in a different direction. Whatever it is, I am glad for it. Whatever it is can be glimpsed here.


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

An Amazing Time to be Alive

The last time I posted, I was really depressed and angry about the irreparable anthropogenic destruction of our amazingly beautiful, abundant planet . . . but that isn't the whole story. There is a lot of good stuff going on, too -- and it heartens me every time I turn on the computer and read about another individual or group that is out there working toward a better future. So today, I'm sharing a few of the 'positives.’ Some of these are repeats, but well-worth the revisit.

Peak Moment TV is one of my favorites:
An online television series featuring people creating resilient communities for a more sustainable, lower-energy future. Programs range from permaculture farms to electric bikes, ecovillages to car-sharing, emergency preparedness to careers for the coming times. As of May 2010, over 170 half-hour programs are available online.

Peak Moment highlights the people here and now who are changing the world. The change we need is not going to trickle down -- it is going to come from the people themselves -- living more sustainably, more authentically, more joyfully, and serving as the role models of a new paradigm. Peak Moment gives us a preview of what that life could be. is another favorite. Paul Wheaton, the self-described dictator of the empire, oversees a network of forums, videos, articles and podcasts. There is more information at Permies than I could absorb in a lifetime, and a wealth of people who have been there and done that and are willing to help anyone who asks. As a resource, it can be a bit overwhelming, but if you want to know about rocket stoves, Hugelkultur, or WOFATI's, this is the place to go!

Then there is the Transition Initiative:
Whether we like it or not, over the next decade or two, we'll be transitioning to a lower energy future - essential because of climate change and inevitable because of diminishing supplies of fossil fuels (particularly oil). There are a variety of possible outcomes depending on whether we stick our heads in the sand or whether we start working for a future that we want. Transition Initiatives, community by community, are actively and cooperatively creating happier, fairer and stronger communities, places that work for the people living in them and are far better suited to dealing with the shocks that'll accompany our economic and energy challenges and a climate in chaos. And here's how they're doing it...

The Transition Initiative brings people together to do what individuals alone cannot do -- transform entire neighborhoods, towns, and even cities. It addresses concerns such as zoning laws and codes, the commons, public transportation, and local government.

Some of the good stuff has been around for some time, now. An old-time favorite of mine is Michael Reynolds, the Garbage Warrior who builds beautiful, self-contained living spaces that provide their own energy, water, and food, and are built of cast-off materials. If Earthships are not your thing, Dan Phillips at Phoenix Commotion can show you how to build a house from rescued building materials and what others consider junk. Be sure to check out his Budweiser and Bone houses. Then there is Sunray Kelley who has been creating soaring, whimsical structures for a life-time. And Lloyd Kahn, former contributor to Whole Earth catalog, a seventy-something skate-boarder and homesteader in his own right, is a chronicler extraordinaire of the alternative shelter movement, or Roger Dean who envisions fantasy homes that would not look out of place in a sci fi setting. (There seems to be something about gray-headed men with long hair -- perhaps they are the real embodiment of mythological wizardry).

There is a growing network of organic farmers, farmer’s markets, CSA’s, co-ops, restaurants, and natural food stores. Check out Local Harvest for a place near you. Or go to Global Ecovillage Network for a list of ecovillages, co-housing projects, and sustainable start-ups the world over.

I won’t go into the long list of individual bloggers out there -- people who are documenting the changes in their own lives, both physical and spiritual -- there are just too many. The wealth of inspirational books, DVD’s, CD’s, artwork and photography, is astounding. This is an amazing time to be alive and today, I feel thankful and privileged to be a part of this incredible moment of history.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Forgive Me My Trespasses

I don't know if I am trespassing on forbidden lands by copying and pasting the following article in its entirety, but somehow, I don't think Derrick would mind me giving his words another nudge. I thought about copying just a few lines and providing a link to the longer article, but which lines to choose? Rarely have I read anything more true . . . and so, I am passing this along whole cloth:

The Occupied Wall Street Journal

We hold these truths to be self-evident:

That the real, physical world is the source of our own lives, and the lives of others. A weakened planet is less capable of supporting life, human or otherwise.

Thus the health of the real world is primary, more important than any social or economic system, because all social or economic systems are dependent upon a living planet.

It is self-evident that to value a social system that harms the planet’s capacity to support life over life itself is to be out of touch with physical reality.

That any way of life based on the use of nonrenewable resources is by definition not sustainable.

That any way of life based on the hyper-exploitation of renewable resources is by definition not sustainable: if, for example, fewer salmon return every year, eventually there will be none. This means that for a way of life to be sustainable, it must not harm native communities: native prairies, native forests, native fisheries, and so on.

That the real world is interdependent, such that harm done to rivers harms those humans and nonhumans whose lives depend on these rivers, harms forests and prairies and wetlands surrounding these rivers, harms the oceans into which these rivers flow. Harm done to mountains harms the rivers flowing through them. Harm done to oceans harms everyone directly or indirectly connected to them.

That you cannot argue with physics. If you burn carbon-based fuels, this carbon will go into the air, and have effects in the real world.

That creating and releasing poisons into the world will poison humans and nonhumans.

That no one, no matter how rich or powerful, should be allowed to create poisons for which there is no antidote.

That no one, no matter how rich or powerful, should be allowed to create messes that cannot be cleaned up.

That no one, no matter how rich or powerful, should be allowed to destroy places humans or nonhumans need to survive.

That no one, no matter how rich or powerful, should be allowed to drive human cultures or nonhuman species extinct.

That reality trumps all belief systems: what you believe is not nearly so important as what is real.

That on a finite planet you cannot have an economy based on or requiring growth. At least you cannot have one and expect to either have a planet or a future.

That the current way of life is not sustainable, and will collapse. The only real questions are what will be left of the world after that collapse, and how bad things will be for the humans and nonhumans who come after. We hold it as self-evident that we should do all that we can to make sure that as much of the real, physical world remains intact until the collapse of the current system, and that humans and nonhumans should be as prepared as possible for this collapse.

That the health of local economies are more important than the health of a global economy.

That a global economy should not be allowed to harm local economies or land bases.

That corporations are not living beings. They are certainly not human beings.

That corporations do not in any real sense exist. They are legal fictions. Limited liability corporations are institutions created explicitly to separate humans from the effects of their actions—making them, by definition, inhuman and inhumane. To the degree that we desire to live in a human and humane world—and, really, to the degree that we wish to survive—limited liability corporations need to be eliminated.

That the health of human and nonhuman communities is more important than the profits of corporations.

We hold it as self-evident, as the Declaration of Independence states, “That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends [Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness], it is the Right of the People to alter or abolish it. . . .” Further, we hold it as self-evident that it would be more precise to say that it is not the Right of the People, nor even their responsibility, but instead something more like breathing—something that if we fail to do we die.

If we as a People fail to rid our communities of destructive institutions, those institutions will destroy our communities. And if we in our communities cannot provide meaningful and nondestructive ways for people to gain food, clothing, and shelter then we must recognize it’s not just specific destructive institutions but the entire economic system that is pushing the natural world past breaking points. Capitalism is killing the planet. Industrial civilization is killing the planet.

Once we’ve recognized the destructiveness of capitalism and industrial civilization—both of which are based on systematically converting a living planet into dead commodities—we’ve no choice, unless we wish to sign our own and our children’s death warrants, but to fight for all we’re worth and in every way we can to overturn it.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

America the Ugly

Last night, we watched the documentary, "Gasland." It was filmed by a young man who lives in the woods of Pennsylvania and whose very way of life, the woods and streams he loves, may be destroyed if the gas and oil companies have their way. He set off on a journey across America, visiting others who have had to deal with the threats to health and home, the devastation of the environment, the ugliness and pollution of gas extraction. I knew that fracking was a terrible problem, but I didn't know how widespread that damage already is. It is a heart-breaking story -- and the images of America the beautiful being transformed into America the ugly and toxic are really hard to take.

It's not just fracking that is destroying the few pristine places we have left and leaving a polluted mess in their wake. It's mountain top removal in the Appalachian mountains.

And it's laying waste to the ancient boreal forests of Canada to squeeze oil out of the tar sands.

It's thousands of miles of vulnerable pipeline across the heartland of our country and risky oil drilling thousands of feet below the waters of our oceans. It's putting people and nations at risk with dangerously lethal nuclear power plants. We are making changes to this world that can never be undone and we are leaving an incredibly toxic, impoverished world for generations to come. We are like the drug addict who is so hooked that he will do anything -- lie, cheat, steal, murder his own children if he has to -- to support his habit. People are literally dying now to support our energy habit and yet we show no signs of remorse, no inclination to enter rehab.

I don't understand it. I really, really don't. We are turning our earth into an ugly, toxic wasteland. Dick Cheney, who engineered an exemption for gas and oil companies from the clean water and clean air acts, is a human being, and a reasonably intelligent one. Gas and oil executives have to live on this planet, too and I assume they all love their children and grandchildren. Can they not see what they are doing? Have they no concerns for the death and destruction that is their legacy?

I feel like we are living in a bad sci fi movie and there's no way out.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

You've Got to Have a Dream

I like to play the What If? game every once in a while. What if I had a magic wand and could create any kind of future I wished, what would that future look like?

In my fantasy future, permaculture would be the norm -- from its concepts of living simply, working with instead of against nature, and recognizing the interconnections of the natural world -- to its ethics of sustainability, respect for all life, human and otherwise, and culture of sharing. Urban and suburban neighborhoods would be transformed into human scale villages and communities. Existing homes would be retrofitted with straw bale wraps, earth plastered walls and/or living roofs. Recycled bottles and bits of discarded materials would be artistically incorporated into the transformed living spaces, while the ingenuity of creative minds unleashed would find inventive uses for old ‘junk.' Parking lots and driveways would become urbancrete and the liberated land put to better purposes. Malls and big box stores would be dismantled for their building materials or converted to community gathering places. In wooded areas, tree houses connected with aerial walkways and zip lines would free up the forest floor for nature to reclaim its own, while in cleared areas, stone cottages or hobbit houses would gradually be surrounded by food forests and disappear into the landscape. Some people would live and travel in variations of gypsy caravans, facilitating trade while spreading news from one locale to another. Others would travel the coasts in sailing ships or ply the interior waterways in their houseboats. There would be a richness and diversity to life -- no two communities would be quite the same, and solutions, while local, would be respectful of the greater environment.

Okay, it’s just a fantasy -- but it seems to me that the first step in creating a better world is imagining what it would look like. In the words of Rodgers and Hammerstein, "You've got to have a dream, if you don't have a dream, how you gonna have a dream come true?"

Today, I am thankful for the power of creative imagination and for dreams of a better world. And who knows, dreams do sometimes come true.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Life on a Small Boat

Oriah Mountain Dreamer had an interesting post yesterday, one that I think will be worth recalling in times to come. She talks about not being able to find solid ground under her feet with all that has happened to her in the past eighteen months. Then she came across a passage in a book by Pema Chodron about the futility of trying to do just that. Oriah concludes:

I’ve been thinking of moving through life as less about finding solid ground and more about learning to walk across the deck of a small boat on the open seas. Sometimes the waters are rough, sometimes they’re calm. Sometimes you keep your balance. Sometimes you fall overboard, and hopefully a fellow seafarer is there to throw you a line, as you will throw one to them when the time comes.

Hoping and trying to control the weather or the sea is a futile waste of energy that can wear us out. Learning to walk and rest, dance and dream on a rolling deck is a far more useful skill.

I really like that image -- and so, for today, I am thankful for Oriah, for Pema, and for the bits of wisdom shared across the miles of cyberspace.