Midpoint: Winter to Spring

Decompressing after a long day of passionate work, promoting a client’s upcoming seminar series, I stumble on an article and video and step through a window in time…

Twenty-eight years ago I was singing these songs in a living-room folk band with the man I would later marry. Today, seven years and a few weeks after his death, I listen to these songs as I have so many times before, and remember exactly the feel and taste and smell of those days…the feeling of being young, newly on my own, intoxicated with freedom and love and music and art and a liberated, bohemian lifestyle after a so-conservative childhood.

A new friend, another widow, said to me recently that when her husband died, “the technicolor went out of her life.” I know what she means, as I work now to regain my zest, confidence, intentionality, sense of living from my heart.

Unused memberships in singles networks still occasionally beckon – do I want to go out on nervous, hesitant coffee dates, hoping I will recognize a kindred spirit across a crowded room as I did once, 29 years ago? Not really. I’m still looking for someone whose powdered bones I and a group of family and friends sprinkled into a river seven years ago.

Work is the best medicine now, as spirit and serendipity guide my copy writing business into new directions and new clientele… changemakers serving Spirit and creation. Still emerging from a deep dark period, I simply follow the energy, discovering tools for growth and transformation, finding new confidence in my inner resources, witnessing miracles taking place in magical connections and undreamed-of developments. We’re a week past Imbolc, ancient turning-point from winter toward spring. The daffodils’ greenery has emerged and buds are forming; some enterprising forsythia are already blooming.

Awhile back I posted an invitation to a support circle for widows who are transitioning from deep loss into finding their voice and purpose for living…that invitation hasn’t been forgotten. In keeping with a circle of empowerment to honor our inner knowing and the wisdom gained from our scars, I’m looking toward the week of spring equinox, March 16 – 22. Bring flowers to hold the intention of your blossoming, eggs for the promise of new beginnings.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0YuaZcylk_o]

Our Responsibility, Our Power

I shut down another conversation the other day on Facebook. Didn’t intend to do it…but my comment was one of those that are met with embarrassed averted eyes and even more embarrassed silences.

No, I wasn’t sharing the intimate details of my health,  sex life, or bathroom habits. I wasn’t evangelizing or objecting to the exclusive holiday greeting “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Easter” or what have you (though I do object to such exclusivity, early and often).

So what taboo did I break in this supposedly taboo-free society? I responded to a friend’s posting of Elaine Boosler’s comment: “When women are depressed, they eat or go shopping. Men invade another country. It’s a whole different way of thinking.”

I pointed out that even if women hold ourselves aloof from macho male militarism, as long as we are purchasing goods that are kept artificially cheap by American companies’ outsourcing to regions with lower standards of living, extracting fossil fuels, minerals, tropical woods and other resources from impoverished nations that are happy to sell off their virgin ecosystems for desperately needed cash, and employing workers in sweatshops at below-living wages, that we, the nonviolent women, are morally responsible for the militarism that protects the companies that provide these goods.

It’s the truth that nobody wants to acknowledge. It’s so much easier to blame somebody else – Extremists in Congress, the Military,  the unchecked Corporations otherwise known as The Bigs – Big Oil, Big Coal,  Big Agro, Big Pharma, Big Insurance, Big X – Big Y – Big Z  – when the truth is that none of these powerful perceived villains would ever have gotten their power or grown to their cancerous size without our buy-in…our votes (or non-votes)…our taxes…our energy and dietary and health care choices…our “therapeutic” shopping…feeding them.

But what other choice do we have in our society, we ask? Surely we need oil to run our cars, warm our houses, make the uncountable numbers of plastic and resin and synthetic-fabric products that fill our homes and offices and hospitals and …well, you get the idea…our society is based on petroleum products! Surely we need coal to keep our lights on and our appliances and  computers running – how can a few (hundred) mountaintops and valley ecosystems and species compare to the importance of keeping the power on? Surely we need industrial agriculture to feed our families – not to mention the hungry of the world, isn’t Monsanto solving the problem of world hunger with their genetic tinkering? And pharmaceuticals keep our symptoms at bay, and insurance pays for the rising costs of modern healthcare…well, some of them, anyway…

It all comes down to the core belief that we don’t really have any other options. We’re not in a position to argue – we just have to make the best of the godawful, toxic situation we’ve got, with the Bigs getting bigger every day, the planet getting more compromised every day, more ecosystems and species failing every day, while our balances of money – and hope – grow smaller every day.

And the popular solutions? Work! Shop! Eat! Watch television! Go to the movies or the casino!  Pump up that flabby sixpack at the gym or on WII Fit! Invade another country on World of Warcraft!  Ingest narcotic substances! Reality is a nightmare, so let’s go virtual, or numb out completely! And maybe before it all goes down, science will have found a way to get us off this planet to embrace mankind’s Destiny: despoiling other planets, having trashed our Mother Earth.

What a grim scenario…no wonder nobody wants to talk about it! With our eyes myopically fixed on the situation-as-it-is, our energy and our brainpower enmeshed in our jobs, we’re frantically scrabbling to save what we have, make small changes  (sure, we say, I’m eco-conscious! I’ve swapped all my lightbulbs and I’m a real nut about recycling!).  But God forbid we challenge any core certitudes (least of all our own) or consider making deep changes in our lives….

….because we can’t.

But what if we do have other options? Maybe, as theologian Matthew Fox proposes in Original Blessing, this apparent hopelessness, this paralyzing “I can’t-ism” itself stems from a self-negating certitude* that needs challenging: the certitude that we, ourselves, are somehow insufficient, powerless, not capable of self-motivation, self-management, direct connection with the Divine. The certitude that we need others, more powerful,  richer, more authoritative, more degreed, more ecclesiastically accredited, to employ us, direct us and control things for us.  The certitude that we are isolated individuals who cannot change our own lives… much less our society…much less our world. The certitude that we, alone, personally need to control and drive any change we initiate, and that this is a crushing, impossible responsibility.

As Betty Friedan wrote – “Men are not the enemy, but the fellow victims. The real enemy is women’s denigration of themselves.” Or rather, make that humans’ denigration of ourselves….

But what if we can come up with other solutions…or notice the solutions that already exist, right under our noses…solutions that might start with lightbulbs and recycling, sure, but go much, much deeper….? What if we start to believe that our imaginations, our intent, our love – not just our anger and frustration – can move mountains?

What if, when we (metaphorically) pray for rain, we start carrying umbrellas?

Awhile back I attended an afternoon symposium called Awakening the Dreamer, Changing the Dream, and just recently trained as a facilitator. It’s a multimedia, interactive program developed by the Pachamama Alliance, bringing together the best of millenia-old indigenous wisdom with the most visionary concepts of the modern scientific worldview to create an environmentally sustainable, socially just, spiritually fulfilling culture on the Earth.

In one portion of the symposium, we gather together with others in our community to discuss and discover what we are already doing – and can do. We link up our ideas, campaigns, organizations. Most important, we discover that we are not alone…that there is a groundswell of likeminded people stirring at the grassroots level, group after group arising to save one aspect of the planet, or to care for one group of the People…and another…and another…

We watch Paul Hawken’s “Blessed Unrest” speech and realize that millions of such organizations are working today around the earth…as the Achuar people who initiated the Pachamama Alliance say, it is the spirit of the conscious planet taking action to protect herself, and her life forms…inspiring people to do the work that is needed, guiding them along the way to find the right connections and resources…

We. Are. Not. Alone.

I could quote Goethe at this point, about the Universe acting to support us once we commit ourselves…but instead, I’ll close this post with a story.

Last week I went on a two-day retreat with a very wise and unassuming holy woman. I was struggling with my own forms of confusion and “I can’t-ism” – moving from work with one Teacher to seek a stronger connection to the Light within. In our conversations, she urged me to ask for inner guidance, and listen not only with my mind but also with  my heart and body…to sit in “eyeball to eyeball” conversation with Spirit, however I experienced Spirit, and seek the inner voice, not in desperation or begging or presumptive problem-solving, but in silence.

After our conversation, she sent me to seek and follow inner guidance for the day – whether  to sit indoors and read, meditate, and journal, or go outside to walk the grounds and connect with the Earth for grounding and direction.

So I went outside, asking for direction, noting the springs that arose from the ground and cut across the fields toward a wetland at the bottom of the property. Drawn to follow them, I stood at the bank of a small stream, barely a foot wide, and felt led to step over it, onto a small island completely surrounded by small separate streams. Ahead of me, two trees called to my attention. I approached, and between the trees found a pile of rusted metal junk, and felt the inner calling to remove it.

“How?” I asked, and the inner leading directed me back to the house…where my hostess was talking with her neighbor, a farmer who had been working  for years on cleaning up and restoring the wetland. He was delighted to provide a wheelbarrow and practical advice for the job.  My hostess provided work gloves and boots, and thus supplied, I had the pile cleared within a couple of hours, receiving further guidance in every quandary.

The message was clear: ask for guidance and it would come, step by step…if I consciously remained focused and aware. Whether I chose to say it came from God, Goddess, the Earth, the Universe, the Unified Field, what have you, the guidance came. I was not alone – guided by the Divine, the Earth, and helped by the People, and I could create a change. Yes, a small change…but a change, a beginning.

I believe that this is the key to real and lasting change, not on behalf of the planet, but in partnership with Spirit, the People, and the sentient Earth….and that each of us is capable of that partnership.

And I would like to invite your stories of similar experiences, if you are willing. If you feel called to share, please add them in the Comments below, or email them to me at phila @ soulpathsthejourney.org. Together we can create an empowering affirmation of partnership that goes beyond our individual abilities.

Thank you!


* Matthew Fox, Original Blessing (Santa Fe, NM. Bear & Company, 1983) p. 120

Joining to Help Mend the Hoop

Ultimately this is more than a Canadian struggle. It is a global struggle to protect the Earth against the cannibalizing “extraction” of oil, gas and minerals by mega-corporations. The Elder peoples, the Indigenous nations of the world who hold the sacredness of the Earth at the heart of their culture, are leading the way, but ultimately the survival of life on this planet depends on all peoples of all nations and races following their lead.
I would like to offer an open invitation here: Do you feel called to participate in an energy circle supporting the work of Idle No More – the protection of the land, the water, the People and all beings, the honoring of treaties and the preservation of sacred sites – not only in Canada but also around the world?

538461_10151177571980592_223848733_nI was reading Starhawk’s Truth or Dare this morning, feeling vast blocks of “Aha” falling into place, when I came upon this paragraph, and stopped short…

The ethics of immanence are based on the recognition that all is interconnected. When the earth lives in us, as we in her, our sense of self expands until we can no longer believe in our isolation. When we practice magic – the art of seeing the connections that run deeper than the visible surface – we know that no act is out of context. If we participate in a native American sweat lodge, we are obligated to aid their struggles for land and treaty rights and their battles against forced relocation. We have sunk a spirit root into the living soil of their community. They have fed us. But to be fed without feeding, to take without contributing, is not a road to power-from-within. We cannot grow in strength through being parasites. If we adopt ritual trappings without concern for the daily realities of those we learn from, we become spiritual fungi. But power-from-within derives from integrity, from our recognition of the context of every act, from a consistency between what we say, believe, and do.

It was not a new idea – my husband had been a Pipe-carrier and Sundancer, and supporting his Lakota spiritual family had been an accepted part of our life. But since his death, as I have been seeking my own path as a non-Native woman living in modern-day suburbia, incorporating the teachings that he and I had practiced, the implications have rippled outward…

At the last Sundance we attended, there was a strong presence of the American Indian Movement, reclaiming the ritual for the Lakota people and winnowing out the non-Native Dancers….as they reached the completion of their four-year commitment, it was understood that they would participate in other, mixed Dances. As a clearly non-Native supporter, I was in a minority. I remember one AIM Dancer asking me, not as a challenge but very seriously, “Who are your grandmothers and grandfathers? Where are your sacred sites?”

I could only respond hesitantly – while my known genealogy was Italian and Lithuanian Catholic, digging back into our cultural history revealed Baltic paganism and the ritual healing Graeco-Roman trance-dance tradition of tarantelle. While both traditions had gone underground, pressured first by Catholicism and then (in Lithuania) by Communism, I knew that my ancestors most certainly knew how to relate to the Earth as a sentient being, knew how to connect with the conscious energy in each living being. I could still feel that knowledge in my bones…but how could I honor that knowledge and both sides of my cultural heritage?

This bone-level instinct was what drew me to the Native traditions of this land…the cellular awareness of a time when all the peoples of the world danced in relationship with the living Earth. And today I continue to teeter at the lip of the divide between Then and Now as a family dissident, an outlier seeking a place of balance between the Earth-centered practices of my husband’s spiritual family, my ancestors and the current-day Teachers who inspire me, and the modern, materialist, commercialized, mainstream practices of this culture.

As I watch friends on similar paths, I am realizing that this chasm is one that each of us face at some point if we embark on any sort of journey toward consciousness…there is the attraction to cosmic oneness, to a sacred physical world, to “magic” perhaps, or to altered consciousness and mystical or shamanic practices.

But in this culture of smorgasbord spirituality, there’s no moral imperative to connect with the actual present-day cultures at the source of those mind-altering practices….at least, not until one connects with a teacher of integrity.

Then the awareness comes – that the knowledge in which we’ve been dabbling givewiselyarose through centuries of arduous tradition…and that the people who still practice those traditions have been decimated by massacre, poverty and disease, bereft of their land and natural wealth, and very nearly bereft of their culture and spiritual traditions. And that to honor those traditions requires that, in some way, we give back.

The divide between the cultures in which all was (is) sacred, and those in which nothing is sacred, has never been described so heart-wrenchingly as in the words of Oglala Lakota holy man Black Elk following the massacre at Wounded Knee, 122 years ago yesterday:

My people’s dream died there. It was a beautiful dream… the nation’s hoop is broken and scattered. There is no center any longer, and the sacred tree is dead.

In a global sense, not only the hoop of the Lakota nation has been scattered, but the sacred hoop joining all nations in conscious Earth connection. The human and cultural genocide we have seen in North and South America, Africa, Asia and Australia through recent centuries is a modern replay of the genocide that wiped out European indigenous traditions.

And the oppression continues……and with it the resistance.

Most immediate, of course, is the struggle of Idle No More, led by Chief Theresa Spence and supported by Indigenous and non-Indigenous people around the world as she hunger-strikes for a meeting with Prime Minister Stephen Harper to honor Canadian treaties with its Indigenous nations against the expropriation of the land and waterways for resource extraction. Now in the 20th day of her fast, she has received no response from Harper.

Ultimately this is more than a Canadian struggle. It is a global struggle to protect the Earth against the cannibalizing “extraction” of oil, gas and minerals by mega-corporations. The Elder peoples, the Indigenous nations of the world who have held the sacredness of the Earth at the heart of their culture for millennia, are leading the way, but ultimately the survival of life on this planet depends on all peoples of all nations and races following their lead.

All of us, waking up out of our separation from creation and cosmos and rejoining the family of consciously connected beings.

All of us, helping to mend the Hoop of all Nations.

I have been posting news of Idle No More on this blog and on Facebook…and I would like to offer an open invitation here:

Do you feel called to participate in an energy circle supporting the work of Idle No More – the protection of the land, the water, the People and all beings, and the preservation of sacred sites – not only in Canada but also around the world?

If this speaks to you, whatever your spiritual tradition, and you would like to join your  intention with others through prayer, meditation, energy work, drumming, or ceremony at a set time every week, please add your voice in the Comments below:

  • your name
  • the day of the week that would work best for you
  • the way in which you would like to participate, and if you’re willing to connect with others locally to do so
  • your general location (if you’re willing to connect with others locally)

There are many prophecies that address this time in human history…but the one that speaks to me most just now is this, from the Anishnabe tradition:


More than Survivors

I wrote this article after staffing a veterans’ healing weekend called The Bamboo Bridge, just after the attacks of 9/11/2001, when we knew that the world would never be the same, but didn’t  yet know the depth of the change.

I’m posting it today as new evidence continues to emerge regarding the truth of what happened that day…to honor the sacrifice of those who shipped out to serve in the Middle East on the strength of the information our government presented.

While the Bridge weekend no longer exists in its original form, it has been reshaped and is now called Vets’ Journey Home (download their brochure here ).

To all who have served, whether as combatant or noncombatant in a combat zone, and who are still struggling to heal –


Veterans’ Weekend Offers Homecoming of Honor

The veterans were approaching.

This was not a Fourth of July or Memorial Day parade, though with the electricity in the air it might have been. We waved no flags, heard no drums. There were only 20 of us on the Bamboo Bridge staff to welcome these veterans home. They, in turn, were coming to tell their experiences and be heard and honored for their service, perhaps for the first time since their return to the U.S.

This was my first time staffing the Bamboo Bridge weekend: eleven days after the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon, with the specter of war in the air, it was the most poignant timing possible.

The Bamboo Bridge is a homecoming and healing weekend for any veteran of any conflict, whether a combatant or not: it is enough simply that he or she served.

Among the graduates – some of them the staff members that stood waiting with me that day – were artillery soldiers and special operations officers; decorated veterans of many tours of duty and noncombatant medics; stateside supply officers and front-line triage nurses. Each of them had experienced the inability to describe their wartime experience in normal society, except in the most banal terms. Each had seen friends’ and family’s faces go blank with incomprehension if they attempted to share what they had seen and done.

Two men, four women and I were the civilians of the staff: some spouses of vets, some conscientious objectors, some war protestors. I was one of the latter: as a post-Boomer, I was a child during Vietnam; as a Quaker, I had protested Desert Storm. My two strongest memories of encounters with veterans dated from 20 years ago: one had been high on pot and whisky, having a post-traumatic stress flashback as he sat next to me on the bus. He’d been shaking, crying uncontrollably, babbling incoherently that he hadn’t wanted to machine-gun women and children. Other passengers on the bus had looked away, shielding themselves from his grief; I was paralyzed by his outpouring. For years I could not speak of it without tears of horror and empathy.

The other was a Green Beret who told of his bloodletting in Vietnam with vicious delight. I had never believed in monsters until I met him: though I purposefully wiped his stories from my mind, his glee was unforgettable. For years afterward, simply seeing a veteran in similar headgear triggered reflexive terror.

I’d known other veterans since then, kind, sane, moderate men, successful in their work and leaders in their communities. These memories, however – stereotypes, other vets complained – were the images that returned as I watched the four men approaching us. Was that why I was here – because my experiences tapped into a cultural stereotype that I felt compelled to overcome?

No. From those two encounters I’d learned rage against the inner devastation that war leaves in its veterans, and grief at the sacrifice of their hearts and souls in the combat. One thing I knew was certain: with the aftermath of the September 11 attack, there would soon be many more veterans, from rescue workers to combatants. To understand their experience and support their healing was essential.

The four veterans entered the sunny conference room, dressed casually, normally, no fatigues or camouflage or combat boots…or berets. Their wars…Korea, perhaps, or early Vietnam? Another, younger-looking…possibly the Gulf War? We introduced ourselves: I looked carefully into each man’s eyes as we met. A monster? Surely no addicts here. A phrase returned to my mind from one of the veterans on staff, describing himself before he experienced the Bridge weekend: “dead behind the eyes.” In each of these men’s eyes there was an…emptiness, a wariness.

Christan Kramer, founder of the Bamboo Bridge, had warned me: For many of the participants, the toughest moment is simply coming through the door to be welcomed by both veterans and civilians. Some respond with hostility: “What are these damned civilians doing here?” one once demanded of Christan, and spat on him. It was not the first time, nor the last, Christan said. Another vet was incredulous at the presence of civilians on the staff: “I can’t believe so many people care,” he exclaimed. This was the reaction I saw in the vets coming to this weekend: wonderment at the sheer number of staff supporters and civilians, particularly women.

And that, Christan told me, is part of the idea. “When a veteran says to another veteran, ‘Welcome home,’ there is a multitude of things going on,” he said, speaking from experience. “I’m aware that it’s valid, as one vet to another. I’d also expect that of course he’d say it, he’s a vet. When a civilian says it, though, there’s skepticism, cynicism, because of that first homecoming. There’s a wry smile — oh yeah, well, screw you! If you as a civilian say, ‘No, I mean it seriously,’ and let the vet see that you mean it — if the vet is willing to take it in as genuine, let down the barriers and admit the welcoming — your welcome as a civilian carries more impact than that of a veteran. It speaks for the 235 million civilians who didn’t say it.”

This effect is compounded when a woman welcomes a veteran home, he added. “When you add the nurturing aspect of women’s energy, when a woman says ‘Welcome home,’ even to a cynical, skeptical vet, that veteran has a greater likelihood of hearing it,” he said. “There’s a mixed response still — often the first person to scoff at a returning veteran was a woman. At the same time, women as nurses had a tremendous impact in the war zone. When a nurse says she was in Vietnam, I’ve seen vets choke up. That nursing energy is part of the package.”

Out of that nursing energy, the Bridge was born. In 1984, Patricia Clason was the owner and director of the Center for Creative Learning in Milwaukee, presenting a weekend of personal growth and healing called Taking It Lightly. The daughter of a high-ranking non-commissioned Army officer, she had seen her boyfriend go to Vietnam and return profoundly changed; another friend had committed suicide during his service in Vietnam. “These men (Vietnam veterans) were showing up in my course room, ” she said. “It was hard to present the viewpoint of hating what they’d done and loving who they were. They had been children in an insane situation, doing what they had to do to stay alive.”

The veterans’ weight of guilt from those actions, along with their inability to communicate them, was compounded by civilians’ inability to understand. “The pain of war is the most horrific any human can experience,” said Patricia. “The only thing close to it is emergency room or paramilitary work; no one else understands it. The combat zone veteran is doubly isolated by the experience and the inability to communicate it.” As a facilitator, she struggled with these issues each time they arose.

In the fall of 1987, her perceptions crystallized when Christan participated in Taking It Lightly. The program directly touched his issues from the war, and he left with a mission: to help other veterans as he had been helped, by developing a workshop geared directly to their needs. When he shared this with Patricia after the weekend, their mutual concerns forged the foundation of The Bamboo Bridge.

To create a safe space for veterans to voice their experience, be heard nonjudgmentally, and receive the homecoming that had been lost the first time around: this was the vision. A safe space that no veteran should pay money to enter: they had already paid the price.

Step by step, Christan built this vision, presenting the first Bamboo Bridge weekend in Milwaukee in 1993. As the program grew, it was funded by the nonprofit Bridge Foundation, and the donations of grateful veterans and their families and friends.

Al Fletcher, now National Coordinator of the Bamboo Bridge, was one of the first to go through the training. As a company commander in Vietnam, he had been severely wounded and still dealt with disabilities stemming from his service. Emotional healing, also, had been long and difficult. When he heard of the new Bridge weekend shortly after participating in the New Warrior Training Adventure (a men’s initiatory training), he contacted Christan.

When they met in 1993 at a New Warrior conference in Chicago, Christan approached Al with his hands over his heart. Looking deep into Al’s eyes, he said, “I want to apologize to you, on behalf of myself and every other soldier who was a young punk kid angry at his father.” He spoke briefly and with grief about the guilt that he’d carried from being a “little bastard” to his commanding officer in Vietnam. Tears rose to Al’s eyes.

Now, Al brought that intensity to this Bridge. Meeting him for the first time in camouflage, with a beret cocked over one eye, I suppressed a reflexive shudder…until he emotionally thanked me for stepping up in service to the veterans. His sincerity rang in every word, his voice shook with conviction; I found my own eyes misting in response.

The student-vets were in the conference room now, with Al welcoming them. We staffers filed up to introduce ourselves. And the weekend began.

I worried: what if I couldn’t give the support they needed? Suppose I told my story and it sounded petty? How could my secondhand grief and horror mean anything to these men who’d been through hell? What right did I have to be there, anyway, a war protestor who knew nothing of the front lines? A veteran acquaintance had told me that I should stay in the background, that my issues would make me, at best, ineffectual, at worst, a hazard. I shared these worries with Pat Fletcher, Co-National Coordinator, who mentored women staffers through the weekend: she shook her head, no.

“With your issues, honey, you need to be right up in front,” she said. “You know everything you need to know. You will find that on this weekend your issues and your feelings will be your greatest strength: you can show these vets how to open their hearts. And you’ll be surprised at their response.”

So here I was, one of a closely choreographed team, each of us responsible for empathetic support to the student-vets and other staff members.

We sat in a circle on Saturday morning, and the stories began. First the staff told their experiences: tales of stateside service and survivor guilt; anti-war marches; singlehandedly maintaining a home and welcoming a returning spouse who was no longer the same person who’d left. Tales of lost connection, lost years, divorce. And war stories: inflicting death; holding dying friends; going AWOL; returning to an uncomprehending family and unrecognizable homeland. Our instructions had been to let the feelings flow, not provide pat answers, let the questions stand. Tears flowed; Kleenex boxes were passed from hand to hand.

Suddenly it was my turn, and I started: the memories were as fresh as the day they’d been imprinted, and the feelings equally strong. As I spoke of the grief, fear, and outrage this time, though, there came a fierce protective anger for these men. No one should have to live the way I’d seen those two vets living. There had to be a better way.

And then the student-veterans’ stories began: ambushes, hand-to-hand killings, terrorist bombings, uncountable triage deaths. It was painful to witness them as they worked through their old traumas: grief, guilt and shame over losing men in impossible situations. Shame at throwing up over the stench of an enemy’s innards. Shame at wanting to die when surrounded by horrors.

So much shame at the natural responses of their own hearts.

As I listened and supported the veterans in voicing their traumatic memories, I realized the truth of Pat’s words: by opening my heart to stand with these men in their healing, I was making use of my own feelings, allowing my wounds to become my strength. And I saw the same thing happening in them: by hearing one another’s pain, opening our hearts to support one another, we could connect in empathy, shared humanity, acceptance and caring.

How strange, I thought as the weekend went on: here I was, a war protestor, getting misty-eyed as the flag was unfurled and then folded again to the sound of Taps. Feeling heartache again as I played taped songs of veterans’ experiences and remembered the vet on the bus. “There’s not a veteran here,” Tom Porpiglia, one of the facilitators, told me during a break, “who isn’t against war. They know it’s hell.” And here they were, struggling to reclaim their pride in their sacrifices for their country.

Just before the graduation ceremony, as families and friends milled about, I was standing outside, watching the sunset. One of the student-vets approached me…one who had struggled hardest with his feelings of shame as he told his story. A military plane flew overhead, audible but barely visible, reminding us of the war clouds darkening in the world outside. He identified it for me without a second thought: he’d flown in one, seen what it could do.

He rambled on for a few minutes, then turned to me. “Do you still fear veterans?” he asked. I was startled: I had not said this, somehow he’d picked it up. I looked in his eyes: still wary, but they looked frankly into mine, questioning. Waiting for judgment. I felt a pang. “No,” I said gently. “I don’t think I was ever afraid of veterans, really. I was afraid of their wounds.”

He looked at me: that had touched him. Sadness in his eyes now. “Yeah, well,” he said after a moment, shrugging, “we’re afraid of our wounds, too.”

We hugged.


A Personal Invitation…..

I’ve been silent here for quite awhile…mainly due to client copywriting projects…but there has been one project that has been very dear to my heart, and I’d like to share it here. Unabashed promotional spot, and the topic stands at the core of the perspective that drives this blog.

So you might say it’s “a word from our sponsor…”

I’ve written a good bit about Creation Spirituality and the work of theologian/author/activist Matthew Fox, Ph.D. Two years ago I spent four months walking through his most famous book, Original Blessing, experiencing the four paths (experiences of the Divine – awe and wonder; grief, loss, and emptying; co-creation; and working for cultural transformation).

It was a journey that brought – and continues to bring – deep healing and change to my life, feeding my need for a mature spiritual approach that supports inward connection to the Divine rather than hierarchical authority…

  • a creation-honoring approach that sees the Divine in all things and all things reflecting the Divine…
  • a healing approach that honors the dark night of the soul as an organic part of the spiritual life and a step toward wisdom, compassion and strength…
  • an empowering approach that affirms the ability, right and responsibility of all people to fulfill their creative gifts…
  • a challenging approach that calls for action toward justice based on conscience.

Untold thousands have shared similar deep shifts through Original Blessing and Dr. Fox’s 29 other works, not to mention the two graduate programs and university he established, which have changed the culture and are reflected in today’s Occupy movement. Creation Spirituality communities have sprung up around the world, offering a fresh new approach to communal spiritual practice and support for evolving spiritual circles.

And from July 27-29, in Rockville, MD, Dr. Fox will be offering a keynote and workshop at Awakening Imagination for Transformation, a Gathering of Creation Spirituality Communities.

Hosted by Evolve Chesapeake – the Annapolis-based Creation Spirituality Community where I have found deep acceptance, affirmation and support toward healing – and the international network of Creation Spirituality Communities, the radically inclusive weekend will also feature workshops on community-building, spiritual activism, art as meditation and body prayer.

Building spiritual community is the focus of the conference on Friday, with speakers from regional Creation Spirituality communities sharing stories of celebrating awe and wonder, navigating pain, conflict and loss, co-creating new solutions, and bearing witness for social, environmental, and gender justice.

Dr. Fox’s Friday night keynote is followed by Saturday workshops on developing a mature, mystical, creative, and socially engaged spiritual practice in the age of Occupy. The day climaxes with “Dancing with Dragons,” the first-ever D.C.-area Cosmic Celebration ritual, inspired by the famous post-modern Cosmic Mass, which Dr. Fox developed 16 years ago to incorporate multi-media audio/video streaming, interspiritual mythology, and dance-based worship. First offered in Oakland, CA, the Cosmic Mass is now celebrated internationally.

The gathering ends with a colorful and reverential Sunday visit to the Martin Luther King, Jr., Memorial, followed by a picnic and Sacred Gathering at Evolve Chesapeake, the Chesapeake Creation Spirituality Community, located at 351 Bestgate Road in Annapolis, MD.

The planning committee has worked hard to make the weekend financially accessible to all; you can attend only Dr. Fox’s Friday night keynote ($15), the Saturday workshops and Cosmic Celebration ($95) or the full weekend ($225). Work study is available if needed!

For more information,  check out the event website at http://www.awakeningimagination4transformation.com.

Hoping to see you there!

Grandmother Tree

These photographs memorialize a grandmother tree, a tulip poplar that stood near the chapel of All Saints Convent in Catonsville, MD. She was taken down in January 2012 due to advanced decay; most of her wood has gone to warm the disadvantaged in Baltimore. The more spectacular pieces – I believe – were taken by a local artist to serve as playground props (yes, they were that big).

Her colors, patterns, and energy – days after the cutting – were still passionate…vibrant…fiercely present. I can envision that spirit bringing warmth and beauty to the places and people who benefit by her bequest.

Letter to My Son, the Energy Engineer

Dear Bear,

It’s Easter Sunday and I have the windows open to let in the sunshine, warm breezes, and the sound of a squirrel squalling in the Chinese Elm in the front yard. The ceiling fan – powered by electricity that your employer distributes to my house – is humming softly.

This is a watershed day.

Last night you responded to a video I posted on Facebook – Dr. Helen Caldicott’s assessment of the scope of the Fukushima nuclear disaster in the light of 25-year data from Chernobyl. To put it mildly, a frightening video….and I’m not sure you actually saw the whole thing. I know I found it hard to watch.

This was your response:

I believe that nuclear power needs to be EXTREMELY tightly regulated, but mom, you have to realize that most of europe, and many other areas are primarily powered by nuclear energy. As an environmentalist I would think that you would understand – the only alternative forms of energy generation that are even remotely environmentally friendly are solar, water, and wind – all of which have problems with consistency. If we were completely powered by these methods there would be periods of time where we had no power whatsoever. Clearly governments are understating the dangers of nuclear waste to the public, but to say that nuclear power should be discarded because it has risks is just as questionable…

I’ve been sitting for hours with this, trying to work out a response that comes from my heart and presents data that you’ll understand as a engineer.  With the  black/white, either/or, us/them perspective that’s becoming the rule in this society,  Earth-based environmentalists often paint Big Energy as the greedy, rapacious, planet-destroying enemy….just as Big Energy paints environmental advocates as eco-terrorists, potential if not actual.

Bear-bear, I know you’re not going to work every day with plans to destroy the planet. Your job is keeping the lights on, so to speak…literally, at times, in the BG&E storm center! You and I have been through enough tough discussions that I know you’re reaching out to come to a shared, complex, understanding of a complex issue…and that means a lot to me.

If you’ve read my posts and poems on this blog at all, you know I’m painfully aware that we’re all the problem…it’s not a matter for simple finger-pointing. Sure, I’ve chosen 100% wind energy through WGES…and the house is still heated by oil, so my hands are not clean.

On your side, I know that, given the sources of the energy your company provides – in 2009, at least, 33.6% was nuclear (according to the BG&E website) – they’re likely to minimize the risks of nuclear power and not encourage employees to inform themselves further. In terms of job and income security, it’s perhaps safer for you not to question the company line too closely or to look at too much of the opposing data.

But I also know the fierce integrity of my son, who looks at all sides of an issue and makes up his own mind based on the information he has…so here’s some of the data that’s being supplied about nuclear energy post-Fukushima, not by anti-nuclear advocates or environmentalists, but by people in the field, and by international investment advisors.

UBS AG international wealth management analysts concluded in a report released earlier this month – “We believe the Fukushima accident was the most serious ever for the credibility of nuclear power.” In a nation as technologically advanced as Japan, one would think that steps would have been taken to avert such a disaster – and the plant did indeed withstand the quake, as Dr. Caldicott said in the video. What caused the disaster was not the quake, but the tsunami.

As Fukushima is many orders of magnitude greater than Chernobyl, the health impact globally is near-incalculable – the figures on Chernobyl-related cancers alone are just coming out, not to mention assessments of the post-disaster environmental impact after a quarter century.

Horrific as it is, Bear, the ongoing meltdown at Fukushima (and the years projected until full control of the situation is achieved – years in which radiation will continue to be released into the air and water of the planet) is the real-life unfolding of just one of the nuclear disasters that are quite reasonably possible.

For one thing, nuclear power plants around the world are aging. According to a 2010 report by the U.S. Energy Information Association – “higher capacity utilization rates have been reported for many existing nuclear facilities, and it is anticipated that most of the older nuclear power plants in the OECD countries and non-OECD Eurasia will be granted extensions to their operating lives.”

Even if you leave deterioration due to age out of the equation, however, the quake at Fukushima was not an isolated risk. In the U.S. alone,  according to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, “each year, at the typical nuclear reactor in the U.S., there’s a 1 in 74,176 chance of an earthquake strong enough to cause damage to the reactor’s core, which could expose the public to radiation. No tsunami required. That’s 10 times more likely than you winning $10,000 by buying a single ticket in the Powerball multistate lottery, where the chance is 1 in 723,145.’  Multiply the damage from one nuclear disaster by the number of reactors at risk and…well, you can do the math.

The truth is, Bear – as Dr. Caldicott pointed out – that the risks associated with nuclear power stand fair to leave this planet uninhabitable, not only for future generations, but for our own. That’s not an acceptable risk for any gamble.

While nuclear power is certainly a primary source of power in Europe (I would question whether it’s the primary source, based on the data I’ve found), the Fukushima disaster is prompting a worldwide step back. Just in the past few weeks, Italy, Germany, and Switzerland, for example, have moved to ban nuclear energy.

Other energy sources are gaining attention as a result: according to the UBS AG report, “Natural gas producers OAO Gazprom and Woodside Petroleum Ltd. are among companies set to benefit as countries shift away from nuclear power.” So I wouldn’t be surprised to hear that in Maryland, BG&E may be gearing up in that direction also…or that we will be seeing both an increase in fracking for natural gas, and fracking disasters such as the recent one in Pennsylvania.

As you say, Bear, “the only alternative forms of energy generation that are even remotely environmentally friendly are solar, water, and wind, all of which have problems with consistency.”

You’re right in saying that if we went 100% to clean energy sources today, there would be periods without any energy.  The technology, not to mention the infrastructure,  to support a 100% switch doesn’t exist. The problem, however, is that instead of ramping-up research and development of such technology (as we were briefly), this country’s government appears to be pushing for new ways to expand extraction of fossil fuels and production of nuclear energy.   Earlier this month Republican-led bills passed to continue and expand offshore drilling in the Gulf of Mexico as well as the Atlantic, Pacific and Arctic oceans. Not too long ago the headlines in the news were on tar sands extraction in Utah; just a few weeks ago I was seeing stories on uranium mining in the Grand Canyon.

As global energy consumption demand – and the demand for an American-style standard of living – continues to grow, regulation and oversight of fossil fuel producers is likely to dwindle (truth be told, it already is dwindling, witness Deepwater Horizon) with environmental impact increasing exponentially. And the U. S. is  leading the world in a race of regression.

Bear, you and I both know that the picture isn’t good. Sure, swapping lightbulbs, turning off lights, cutting consumption, etc. etc., helps, but in the end, deeper solutions are necessary, both for consumers and providers. Our choices today, on both sides of the fence, have unimaginable consequences, today and in the long term.

Yes, your company does have renewable energy initiatives. I am hoping that my boy, the engineer, has an opportunity to move into one of these…

…and no matter what, I’m proud of you, I love you, and I hope we keep talking…..


Welcome to the Real World

I knew of a physicist at the University of Chicago who was rather crazy, like some scientists, and the idea of the insolidity, the instability of the physical world, impressed him so much that he used to go around in enormous padded slippers for fear he should fall through the floor.

— Alan Watts, Nothingness

Most people would laugh at such a scientist. But as new science steadily addresses realities far beyond the reach of our so-called “common” sense –  I find myself wondering about the craziness of those padded slippers.

After all, what would you do if the theoretical science that formed the framework for your world view suddenly turned out to be visibly, tangibly verified by your everyday sensory experience? If, for example, instead of seeing a floor,  you saw a million swirling points of energy?

I suspect you might be just a little….well, freaked out.

Indigenous cultures have taught such concepts for millennia – for example, that we are all energy beings, and that we are all connected – but despite popular movies like What the Bleep and corroborating data from institutes such as HeartMath Research Center, modern society has a great deal of difficulty accepting the empirical reality of such concepts.

We’re deeply conditioned by our secular-materialist culture to believe that we are isolated individuals, that the boundaries of our minds do not extend past our skulls, that a solid floor is a solid floor, that…well, you get the idea. Even if we  subscribe to the belief that we are all connected, and that we can communicate energetically, a core of skepticism  may linger: without direct personal experience, how can we be sure? And we file the quantum concepts away in an agnostic cubbyhole.

For example, I’ve always held the belief that all beings, from stones to trees, from viruses to gorillas, from crickets to skunks, from krill to whales – and oh yes, also including humans – are sentient, thinking and feeling in their own unique way. These beliefs are woven into indigenous faith and practice around the world, in shamanic cultures from the Amazonian rainforest to the Siberian steppes.  And they’re core beliefs that I’ve held, and tried to act upon, since long before the days of my husband’s deep involvement in Traditional Native American practices.

But it wasn’t till this past weekend, when I was out following the guidance of a coach/nature mystic, that I received a firsthand experience of exactly what these beliefs mean in real life, outside the heady realm of cherished certitude. And I’ll admit – I was mind-boggled.

I was walking a path on sacred land near my home, and intentionally stopped to connect sensorially and at heart level with two trees along the way, as I’d been taught in the first class.  Connecting with each tree individually, I received very different impressions of personalities and attitudes toward humankind (or rather, human(un)kind in one case…passing two-leggeds had not been kind to that Standing One).

I responded politely to the input those trees were giving, and then stepped a little further down the path…and had the mind-boggling sense that every tree in the park was aware of me and assessing me – my intent, my attitude, my reasons for connecting and communicating with their two siblings.

Have you ever stood at a podium in front of a thousand psychics, all of them “reading” you? That’s roughly how this felt. I’d read old folk tales of people wandering into a forest and experiencing the spirit of the wood, panicking and fleeing – I’d never been able to understand such a reaction; forests had always felt like sanctuaries for me.

Now, however, I could understand. While the gaze of these uncountable trees was in no way hostile, it was wary, cautious, penetrating, evaluative…and overwhelming. I responded to the unspoken questions – “Who are you and what are you doing here? What do you want with us?” by explaining that I was a beginner trying to learn the right way of being in relationship with nonhuman beings, and asked them to ease up a little – they were scaring me! And they did. The contact broke, the sense of intense attention faded;  I could breathe again, and continued on my way.

I have been sitting with the aftershocks of that experience for the past week. Even though I’d hugged and talked (privately) to trees for years, even though I’d experienced individual trees as sentient beings in class as well as in the two conversations before the encounter with the entire forest, even though I’d had every reason to expect such a response from the forest as a whole,  the experience of trees en masse, as a crowd of individual personalities, was beyond any of my imaginings.

I remembered the response my husband used to give to such experiences: “Welcome to the Real World”....that is,  however much I believed in interbeing, the interconnection and sentience of all things, I couldn’t know this as reality until I stepped past my conditioning to experience it directly.

And the implications were staggering….

Imagine living in a world where energetic communication not just with other humans, but with every other being was not only possible, but also acknowledged fact…not a fantastical delusion to be treated with antipsychotic drugs, but the foundation of uncountable indigenous cultures. We know this to be the truth…and yet this real-world daily communication has been dismissed by this “enlightened” culture as pagan superstition.

Imagine living in a world in which plants, animals and humans consciously coexist in a delicate dance of balance that leaves their environment largely intact for millennia. We know that this also is true – it shows up in one account after another of intact indigenous cultures, even today.

Just sit with those images for a moment. Imagine being a consciously participating element of a living, communicating, mutually supportive environment, gaining wisdom from every other element.

Now picture our world, with humans isolated from all other beings by an assumption of superiority and dominion, exploiting or eradicating those other beings while we debate their level of sentience and dismiss what knowledge cannot be gleaned by instrumentation and metrics.

Is it any wonder that this culture is crazed and soul-starved? And what is there to be done about it?

I have only just completed my second lesson of the apprenticeship, so I am hardly the one to advise wholesale solutions. However, the old childhood rule for crossing the street does come to mind:

Stop.  Stop assuming, stop numbing out, stop objectifying…

Look. Try looking at everything around  you as a sentient being. What would it be like to get the perspective of an oak…a deer grazing in your garden…a polluted river?

Listen.  Next time you’re about to prune a tree, for example, tell the tree politely what you’re planning to do and why, then ask permission. And wait to see what you hear or sense inwardly.

If nothing else, ask – what if? Even if you already believe that we are all related and all beings are sentient in their own unique way, what if these trees, for example, are not simply standing passively in the earth, waiting to serve the purposes of humans, but are observing and participating in their environment in ways we can’t even imagine – and quite capable of communicating their perspective?

You may be familiar with the Gaia theory of a conscious, self-regulating planet. For many of us it ties in with the Earth-centered values we have carried for many years. Now take it a step further: what if that theory describes not only a living system of interacting organic and inorganic elements, but also a living system of interacting individual consciousnesses – consciousnesses with which we can communicate and interact to heal the wounds this world has suffered?

What if?


The Right to Own Our Mental Health

I heard it again at a recent Christmas party, as my girlfriends from high school were sharing the “whatever happened to…” of the last 30 years. Another friend had suicided, the second in our class of barely 30, and this one by an overdose of antidepressants.

I came home heavy-hearted. Not just at the tragedy of a life needlessly lost, but the means of her going: during the hormonal uproar of my 30s, I’d attempted the same thing. It took far too many appointments with far too many psychiatrists whipping out scrip pads the moment I sat down in their office, far too many descents into pharmaceutical hell, before I finally found people who would teach me to manage my turbulent thoughts and emotions, not manipulate my brain chemistry.

Evidently, my high-school friend had not been so blessed.

So what I am about to say is rather passionate – and there have been those who have told me it is uncompassionate. I hope not…from personal experience I have profound empathy toward women suffering in these circumstances….and a great deal of anger regarding what I see as destructive and disempowering patterns in addressing their suffering. And I am speaking specifically of some – many, I believe – women’s experience, based on my own history and that of women I know, not to imply that men have no mental health issues, but simply because I cannot represent their experience.

First of all, the physiological facts. Let’s face it – the environment in which we find ourselves is growing steadily more toxic, loaded with chemicals known to disrupt hormonal activity. Add this to the imbalances of the Basic American Diet (a.k.a. B.A.D.), high in chemicals and low in genuine nutrients, possible food allergies or sensitivities, along with the high stress of daily living (whether working at an outside job or inside the home), topped off with the hormonal ebbs and flows that a woman’s body normally undergoes during her childbearing and peri/menopausal years….

The truth is that all – yes, all – of these factors can affect the mind, and are rarely if ever looked at in an initial psychological workup (or often in the average medical exam).

That’s not even touching on the silencing wounds that women may experience in the family, in school and in church, wounds that cannot be verbalized because they go to the level of profound feelings of shame and unworthiness – even unworthiness of life. How many women, suffering these wounds, succeed only in describing the most superficial emotional symptoms, and feel ashamed even of admitting those? And how many psychiatrists, running on a ticking clock, diagnose only on the basis of those superficial symptoms, and miss the core of the problem completely?

That was certainly my experience….and from talking with other women, I know I was not alone in this (though I certainly believed I was at the time).

Instead of an exploration into all the factors that might be causing a woman’s suffering,  however, she receives a new diagnostic identity (“clinically depressed,” “bipolar,” “depression/anxiety disorder,” or what have you), a scrip pad is whipped out and the latest drug is prescribed for the perceived pathology… sometimes, theoretically, to dial down the symptoms until she can learn to do it herself through therapy.

More often, however, therapy is severely limited or left out of the equation entirely, based on insurance restrictions: it’s costly and uncertain, dependent on the therapist’s skill and the patient’s willingness to heal. Now, so far from empowering the patient to take any personal, active ownership of her own mental health,  supplementary drugs (with side effects including suicidal ideation even in adults) are being promoted in case the original antidepressant doesn’t solve the problem!

And with the message being subliminally repeated again and again – doctors and drugs make you better, your experience is chemically based or pathological, you are sick and we have the cure – there is nothing to suggest, instead, that the client has control of her mind, that she can choose her thoughts, that she can imagine more than one interpretation to an incident or a conversation, that she can reframe and heal from past or present traumas, that she can own her feelings and perceptions and intuitions and deep wisdom,  that her mind is her sacred territory and not a chemist’s test tube. In fact, the very people who claim to be helping her are, instead, leading her deeper into disempowerment and dependency.

As James Hillman points out in The Myth of Analysis, the roots of this pattern go back to the beginning of psychiatry as a science, back in 1817, when psychiatric pioneer Jean-Etienne-Dominique Esquirol equated visions with hallucinations, thus effectively placing matters of soul on a par with pathology. The pattern, driven by the rationalist French Enlightenment, continues to influence psychiatry even now…and while psychospiritual therapy is gaining ground, psychopathology and psychopharmacology still have a firm grip on insurance payouts.

All of this, of course, is light-years from Jung’s view that the patient held the keys to his or her own process, that s/he had the intuitions and connection to Spirit/Source necessary to effect healing from within; the therapist’s role was to support the work. Or even from the Buddhist technique of contemplative therapy, using meditation as a tool to become aware of and rein in rogue thoughts and emotions. Both of these are facilitated approaches; both place a high value on the client’s own inner awareness and guidance system.

I’m not saying I  believe the brain can’t have organic or chemical disorders; certainly the boundary between physiological, psychological and spiritual affects appears to be very porous: autism is being linked to environmental toxins and extreme depressions to postnatal hormones; thoughts are known to affect brain chemistry;  and psychologists from C.G. Jung to Dr.  Maureen B. Roberts have reported remarkable results in treating schizophrenia without anti-psychotic medications. For this reason, I believe that chemical treatment as the default  serves the insurers’ and pharmaceutical companies’ bottom lines at the expense of the client’s true healing.

And frighteningly, as Big Pharma gains an ever-tighter stranglehold on health freedoms, this default appears likely to become more the norm, not less.

I fired my last psychiatrist for that pharmaceutical default, and was blessed – and driven – in pursuing healing on my terms. My late husband’s work with an international men’s organization led me to a women’s personal growth community that provided my first taste of Jungian deep-process work. From there I went on to experience healing insights through Earth-based spirituality, shamanic paths, Five Elements acupuncture, Reiki, mystic spiritual traditions,  diet and supplement changes, and have been blessed with the help of rare and wise healers and teachers all along the way …..it’s been a long and continuing mind/body/spirit path, with plenty of twists and turns and switchbacks and heights and depths and detours.

I’m recognizing now that that ongoing experience has not only been a life-saving process of personal healing, but also a process of claiming my mind and soul, my right to my life and self-determination, from a grossly dysfunctional culture that cynically fosters a half-life of profitably marketable distractions, addictions and dependencies rather than placing a value on personal awareness, aliveness, and inward and outward responsibility.

It’s a process necessary and unique for each of us…not just a self-indulgent exercise in achieving  personal wholeness, but a culture-saving process that makes it possible for us to take an effective role in healing our society and our world.

If we do not recognize the patterns that bind us psychologically, how can we work to change them, or recognize the impacts (good or ill) of the patterns that guide other cultures? If we’re not awake to our culture’s (and our own) blind addictions and dependency on outward solutions and outward scapegoats, how can we stand for responsibility in ourselves, our communities, our nation, or our planet?

Looking from this perspective, my friend’s death is not just a tragedy for herself, her family, and all who knew her – but also for the world. And the conditions that led to her death – her death, and that of how many others? –  represent the grossest possible social injustice.

Deep questions for a bright morning

Pondering questions springing from a disconcerting conversation last night (trying to phrase these in the most open-ended manner possible):

  • Does the overlap between  new theories of quantum science and ancient metaphysical and shamanic principles  lead you to a perspective focused on personal desires, intention and goals, and/or to a mystical experience of awe, wonder, relatedness?
  • What point on the spectrum of and/or resonates as a personal place of balance?
  • What is the impact of that point on personal consciousness and action? On others, human and nonhuman? On the planet?
  • How does this experience shape personal choices regarding responsibility and action?

Comments, thoughts, insights invited!

(As a p.s. – Thank you, Angela Blueskies, for your beautiful and profound meditation on these questions! )