Gordon Hempton defines “silence” not as quiet, or no sound, but as the absence of man-made noise pollution. He believes that “silence just might be on the verge of extinction and that even the most remote corners of the globe are impacted by (this) pollution.

Do we even realize the prevalence of this “noise”, do we notice it in our everyday lives or is it so “normal” that it escapes our consciousness?

How does this impact our bodies, our psyches, our souls? What are we missing by being plugged in all the time or distracted (or perhaps assaulted) by sirens, traffic, jack hammers, airplanes, horns, boom boxes, motor boats, ski mobiles, ring/text tones, construction and more construction and on and on? How telling that we should need “sanctuary.”

I believe that the Earth is always speaking. I believe that other species and other beings are always speaking. Maybe in “words”, maybe in metaphor or synchronicity, dreams, callings, or in so many ways. I believe that one of the requirements of this Great Turning is to slow down and listen. Slow waaaaaaay down, step away from the “noise” and listen.

In Sanctuaries of Silence, join Hempton on an immersive listening journey into Olympic National Park, one of the quietest places in North America.” Learn how his work has been life-changing for him. The home page of this film’s web site (scroll down a ways) offers a five-step practice of listening that can get one started in slowing down and, well, listening….

 

“What should I do?
Who should I be?
How can one celebrate and love this glittering world, even as it becomes a sickened and dangerous thing?
What can be said in response to the arrogance and illogic of those who would wreck the world?
What are the words to say to people who deeply care, words that will help them move forward with new joy, courage, and integrity?
How did human decisions create the climate emergencies, and how might new thinking take advantage of this last chance for civilization to start again and get it right this time?
And this most important question: How can people come together in the one thing that has the power to change history – a great rising wave of moral outrage at the plunder and the wreckage, and an affirmation of a better way?”

…ARE WHAT BEING CHANGE IS ALL ABOUT. LET’S COME TOGETHER AND RISE.

Thank you Kathleen Dean Moore for articulating them so beautifully.
(Questions are from “Great Tide Rising”, page 11.)

Please read this important book and I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Ilarion Merculieff is the the founder of The Global Center for Indigenous Leadership and Lifeways and is an Unangan (Unungan), Aleut, raised in a traditional way. He’s on my bucket list of people I want to meet someday but, for now, I want to share this beautiful wisdom with you:

“Ilarion’s belief is that without changing consciousness, we are doomed to continue repeating past mistakes in dealing with the environment and our relationships with all life. Key to this effort is to help people to restore their sense of the sacred feminine personally and collectively.

Indigenous prophecies, particularly from the Hopi and Maori say that women will be restored to their place as original healers during this time, and that women will lead the way into a higher consciousness. The role of men is to protect the sacred space of women so they can do their work.”

What if women rose again? ….What if we could reclaim, somehow, that power and respect which women had lost? What if we could somehow dismantle this planet-destroying patriarchy and recreate a world in which we lived in balance? (1)

THIS is a question that is foremost on my mind. For many years I’ve been asking what is required of us as human beings to step up to the challenges of the times and, more and more, I believe that women are key.

The time is now for every woman to stand in her power, speak with her true voice, live her vision in the world. We do not have a moment to waste. For our children, grandchildren, and the seven generations, bring your heart, mind and soul-fire to the remaking of the world. (2)

This vision of resurrecting the wild, archetypal, historical, divine feminine and breathing life and soul and balance back into our selves and our world has become the most compelling vision for me. In all my searching and wandering, I see this being called for over and over again. So, if resurrecting, reclaiming, and re-embodying the archetypal feminine is necessary for any hope of a viable future, how do we step into that powerfully?

Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing. (3)

In all my wandering and searching, I see so many women, and men, who are doing it: exploring and embodying ways to “dismantle” the old paradigm to make way for something ancient and new. I’m doing it, Being Change is doing it. You’re probably doing it too.

The wild feminine is not only sustainable in all worlds, it sustains all worlds. Let’s admit it. We, women, are building a motherland; each with her own plot of soil eked from a night of dreams, a day of work. We are spreading this soil in larger and larger circles, slowly, slowly. One day it will be a continuous land, a resurrected land come back from the dead. (4)

Stories. Stories about nights of dreams and days of work. Indeed, there are so many out there that I fail to see how, together, we can not prevail over the darkness that seems so overwhelming. In a former post I wrote that I wanted to share these people I’m finding who are embodying this feminine energy to witness to and transform the world. I want to re-commit to that intention, starting with the next post. Please stay tuned.

  1. Sharon Blackie
  2. Marilyn Steele
  3. Arundhati Roy
  4. Clarissa Pinkola Estes

Art by Phebe Allen Gustafson

Last October I attended the final gathering of the Council of the 13 Indigenous Grandmothers in Phoenicia, New York. I was at the first gathering, also in Phoenicia, when they formed their Council twelve years ago and I had followed their progress all along the way. About halfway through their time together, they came to Ithaca, New York, where I live. They accomplished much during those twelve years and I feel forever grateful that I was able to walk some of their walk with them.

These are very powerful women. Their ceremonies, stories and spiritual presence infused the entire four days of each retreat with an energy and consciousness that I drank in like I was dying of thirst. I felt like I was Home in ways I rarely feel otherwise. And, it held up a mirror to how colonized my western (patriarchal, industrialized, rational, homogenized) mind really is. Despite years of attempting to undo all that.

I feel very strongly that I most resonate with nature and spirit, with something far wiser and deeper and larger than the cultural energy and consciousness that is destroying everything in its path. I need to trust this. I feel like there is a way for me to be most powerful if I can trust this and ground in this.

100_7429I want to build a sanctuary, for myself and for others where I can hold the space to nurture and empower peace, beauty, awe and gratitude, love and compassion, creativity and conscious evolution. And a deep, deep relationship with Earth and all beings.

It’s not that I want to ignore or run away from what’s happening in the world. It’s that I don’t want to give it any of my life force beyond being awake and engaged with it in a way that feels true and of service to the greater good. I literally want to be the change I want to see in the world.

A Council of Women has recently formed in the area where I live. The response has been extraordinary; women have been organically stepping up and mobilizing around issues of interest such as political action, education, health care, environment and more. Naturally, the one I’m most drawn to is “healing and spirituality” and I’m excited to see how it will unfold. I imagine it will provide much fodder for this blog. Stay tuned!

This video moved me to my core. It felt like a calling so deep and profound that my very cells and bones resonated. Took away breath, made tears flow, heart wide open.

Women: watch.
Men: watch with your women.

Recently I had some of my huge, crazy impossible questions.

What if hundreds, thousands, millions of women Just Said No to everything that does not serve life and the welfare of all beings? What if we said No to war, abuse, hunger, violence against and destruction of others and the Earth? What if we said No to the Monsantos, Nestles, and Exxons of the world? What if enough women did this we could shut it all down, turn it around, and work to say Yes to love, compassion, beauty, peace, cooperation, creativity, health and healing? What if we brought back to the forefront heart, soul, and spirit, ceremony, indigenous mind and a deep, experiential relationship with Nature?

Of course there are many women doing just that, but what if we put all our efforts and energies into making Yes our priority over everything else? For some, even over our jobs, even our families, even our comfort zones, our safety, our fears. What if our future depended on it?

And, of course, there are many women doing just that.

When I started asking these questions, things began coming my way: stories about the Wild Woman, the Divine Feminine, the Sacred Mother, powerful female archetypes from all over the world and across time representing a fiercely protective, regenerative energy for all of life. This is an energy we must embody and manifest in any outrageous way possible and what if, as many voices are asserting, it is the unique role of wild women to lead the way?

I want to be one of those women. I want to create relationships with other such women. I want to create relationships with men who resonate, who carry that archetypal energy in their own hearts. I want to share these people, and how they’re embodying this energy to witness to and transform the world, with you. Let’s walk this road together for a while and see what emerges. I would ask that whenever a person or project particularly resonates with you, get involved! Help them out. Contribute to the YES. Then share your experiences with me; it may end up as the next blog post.

So let’s start with Margaret Klein Salamon. If she isn’t a bodacious Wild Woman, I don’t know who is. She wants nothing less than to mobilize the Planet to “confront the climate crisis” and turn it around. An impossibly insane attempt to midwife a new world. Right? Take a look and send me your thoughts.

 “I am not interested in being hopeful
or optimistic or
working diligently to reverse the2014 Lifetime Achievement Award Winner Meg Wheatley
patterned path of history we tread
so reliably toward collapse
I am interested in being able to stay
in the midst of this terrible travesty
that degrades the human spirit
or denies we have one
caught on the balance beam of
meaningful work and terrifying times
I want to walk steady in the world
learning what balance feels like…”
Margaret Wheatley

I have been on a virtual walkabout for a while now, searching fora community of people intent on doing good work, trying to keep their hearts open, wanting to make a meaningful contribution, aspiring to stay and be of service even as situations become increasingly more difficult and disheartening.*

I have found that there are many such people out there; I want to start introducing them and sharing their stories in these pages. Who are these people searching for ways to balance beingfully engaged with the world with an open, breaking heart?* Who are these living examples of Edgewalkers: hospice workers to what is dying and midwives to what is wanting to be born?

Margaret Wheatley has made a career in pursuing the questionWho do we choose to be in service to this time?More than a career, I would say, but a spiritual journey, a quest. One that she has clearly put her heart and soul into for many years.

She has written and spoken extensively on how we degrade the human spirit when we devolve into fear and violence and self-interest, on how we have forgotten who we are and ourgreat human capacities of generosity, caring and creativity.* She asks over and over: how do we persevere in bringing forth the very best of our human capabilities despite the formidable tides pushing against us? How do we not succumb to exhaustion and despair?

Her answer to these questions was to name herself a Warrior for the Human Spirit.

She defineswarrior,in this context, assimply a decent human being who aspires to be of service in an indecent, inhumane time. We want to be of service without adding to the confusion, aggression and fear now so prevalent (in our world.) In Tibetan, the word for Warrior, Pawo, means one who is brave, brave enough to never resort to aggression or fear to accomplish their purposes.*

This, she says, is what she wants to spend the rest of her life pursuing. And she wants company. So she created the year-longTraining as Warriors for the Human Spirit.

This Training is designed to form our identity as Warriors for the Human Spirit, provide us with the skills required of this role, and create a strong and supportive community of companions whom we can rely on far into the future. This new identity either will strengthen us to do our present work or support our discernment to find new work.   Wherever we choose to use our Warrior skills, we will remain actively engaged in the world, supported by new capacities and a strong community, in dedicated service to the human spirit.”* Take a moment to learn more here.

The first cohort is just beginning, assuming she got a critical mass to make it a go. It’s a huge commitment in time and money for many, but I have a friend who signed up so I can get the inside scoop as it progresses.

Bottom line, this is an incredibly brave and beautiful effort on behalf of all beings and the Earth, and an example of someone walking their talk or, as Rilke said, living the questions. I encourage all of us to take being a warrior for the human spirit to heart and ask ourselves how we can embody this in our own lives. Margaret, I wish you the very best.

…and the point is to live everything.

Live the questions now. Perhaps then,

someday far in the future, you will gradually,

without even noticing it,

live your way into the answer.

Rainer Maria RilkeLetters To A Young Poet

* From Margaret’s web site

I have been silent for a while – again. I have been grappling with some very deep and challenging stuff – still.

I have been “stuck between the impossible and the unthinkable”* and it has been trying hard to render me speechless.

Clearly, sometimes succeeding.

The “unthinkable,” to paraphrase David Roberts, is the future into which we are heading if we continue on our current path – especially regarding “the brutal logic of climate change”.

The “impossible” refers to what appear to be insurmountable “forces that retard or prevent (necessary) change.”

In other words, the ultimate rock and hard place.

But when I ponder being between the impossible and the unthinkable, what gives me a spark of meaning and purpose, what makes me want to get up in the morning, is

the word

“between.”

 

I’ve been pondering this for some time and I am finding that “between” is vast and it is timeless; it conjures up soul and presence and healing and possibility. It implies mystery and awe, and energy, and creation….

I have been pursuing for years the question of how we are being called as human beings in this planet-time. I think there are clues in the “between” if we can free ourselves enough from the impossible and the unthinkable to discern them.

A key, for me, is “essence.” What is essentially mine to seek, to know, to give? What is uniquely mine to live? What will empower me to not give up on life, on the future, on the mystery, no matter what? “There may be no better time to learn the inner story that our souls carry and find the ways we are intended to be in this world of uncertainty.” **

The BeingChange mission is, essentially, to bring together people who feel this call to discover and live their soul story in service of the Great Turning. This year I will be searching for more and better ways to make this mission a reality. I invite you to join me in whatever way you can.

*  From “Hope and Fellowship” by David Roberts

The following link takes you to the article and a Ted Talk by David called “Climate Change is Simple.”

If the link doesn’t work, email me and I’ll send you a copy of the article.

Hope and fellowship

** From “Fate and Destiny – The Two Agreements of the Soul” by Michael Meade (pg. 9)

Photo by George Hodan

Tree

 

I think I’ve been afraid to speak my deepest truth. Especially since, when I have, it hasn’t been well received. People don’t want to talk about changing and dying, even though that is the nature of all things, even though changing and dying can lead to healing and initiation and rebirth. And even though I believe with all my heart that being able to talk about changing and dying is profoundly necessary for guiding us into the future.

 I started to touch on this in previous posts and since then I’ve discovered that I’m not alone.

Consider this from The WorldWe Have by Thich Nhat Hanh: “The wisdom offered in the Buddha is that we accept impermanence – our own death and the inevitable death of our civilization. And after having accepted that, we will have peace and strength and an awakening that will bring us together. Then we will have the opportunity…to save our beloved planet.” (pg. 56)

Or this from Coming Back To Life by Joanna Macy: “Pain is the price of consciousness in a threatened and suffering world. It is not only natural, it is an absolutely necessary component of our collective healing…Pain has a purpose: it is a warning signal, designed to trigger remedial action. The problem, therefore, lies not with our pain for the world, but in our repression of it. Our efforts to dodge or dull it surrender us to futility – or in systems’ terms, cut the feedback loop and block effective response.” (pg. 27)

In The Green BoatReviving Ourselves In Our Capsized Culture, Mary Pipher talks about the Trauma-To-Transcendence Cycle – a process which “requires us to face the truth, feel the pain of (our) experience, and ultimately transform that pain into action and authenticity. As we move through this cycle, we can acquire the skills we need to overcome our sense of doom and discover our own capacities for transcendent coping…we can find deep within ourselves new strength, deeper courage, and an enriched capacity to love the world.” (pg. 4)

In So Far From HomeLost and Found In Our Brave New World, Margaret Wheatley writes: “If we fully accept the world as it is – in all its harsh realities – then we can develop the very qualities we need to be in that world and not succumb to that harshness. We find our courage, morality, and gentle, non-aggressive actions by clear seeing and acceptance. As we accept what is, we become people who stand in contrast to what is, freed from the aggression, grasping and confusion of this time. With that clarity, we can contribute things of eternal importance no matter what’s going on around us – how to live exercising our best human qualities, and how to support others to discover these qualities in themselves.” (pg. 11)

Mary Pipher, in another of her books – Writing To Change the World – tells this story:

In September 2003, when I was fifty-five years old, I visited the Holocaust Museum, in Washington, D.C., to view the Anne Frank exhibit. I looked at the cover of her little plaid diary, and at pages of her writing, at her family pictures. Meip Gies, Otto Frank’s employee, who brought food to the family, spoke on video about the people who hid in the attic. She said that Anne had always wanted to know the truth about what was going on. Others would believe the sugar-coated version of Miep’s stories, but Anne would follow her to the door and ask, “What is really happening.?”

Even though Anne Frank ultimately was murdered, she managed (through her writings), in her brief and circumscribed life, to tell the truth and bequeath the gift of hope. She searched for beauty and joy even in the harsh, frightened world of the attic in which her family hid from the Nazis. Her writing lived on to give us all a sense of the potential largesse of the human soul, even in worst-case scenarios. (pg. 20)

We are now facing a potential “Worst-case Scenario.” If pain is the price of consciousness in a threatened and suffering world then perhaps these are the gifts: peace and strength and an awakening that will bring us together…new strength, deeper courage, and an enriched capacity to love the world…(becoming) people who stand in contrast to what is, freed from the aggression, grasping and confusion of this time… the potential largesse of the human soul….

Is it possible? It sounds so compelling I’m willing to go there. And it looks like I’m in good company.

*In the dark times, will there be singing?

  Yes. There will be singing about the dark times.

– Bertolt Brecht