Beautiful words from María Sabina (b. 1894 – d. 1985), a Mazatec sabia (“one who knows”) or curandera (medicine woman), who lived in Huautla de Jiménez in southern Mexico.

Cure yourself with the light of the sun and the rays of the moon.
With the sound of the river and the waterfall.
With the swaying of the sea and the fluttering of birds.

Heal yourself with mint, with neem and eucalyptus.

Sweeten yourself with lavender, rosemary, and chamomile.

Hug yourself with the cocoa bean and a touch of cinnamon.

Put love in tea instead of sugar, and take it looking at the stars.

Heal yourself with the kisses that the wind gives you and the hugs of the rain.

Get strong with bare feet on the ground and with everything that is born from it.

Get smarter every day by listening to your intuition, looking at the world with the eye of your forehead.

Jump, dance, sing, so that you live happier.

Heal yourself, with beautiful love, and always remember: you are the medicine.

 

 

 

 

 

 

These five vows were created by my beloved mentor Joanna Macy. They are so “simple” yet so profound that I’m still trying to imagine what it would be like if we could truly embody them in our lives. The beauty of these words moves me greatly and they could be a powerful spiritual practice in themselves. See how they resonate with you:

  • I vow to myself and to each of you to commit myself daily to the healing of our world and the welfare of all beings.
  • I vow to myself and to each of you to live on Earth more lightly and less violently in the food, products, and energy I consume.
  • I vow to myself and to each of you to draw strength and guidance from the living Earth, the ancestors, the future beings, and our siblings of all species.
  • I vow to myself and to each of you to support you in your work for the world, and to ask for help when I need it.
  • I vow to myself and to each of you to pursue a daily spiritual practice that clarifies my mind, strengthens my heart, and supports me in observing these vows.

As most people, I’m trying to wrap my head around all that’s gone on in the world of late. Not to mention the years previous! It’s so easy to get sucked into the quagmire and become blind to a bigger picture. I want to keep dedicating Being Change to focusing on the possible and how women can be positive change-makers on behalf of life. This little clip featuring Clare Dubois, founder of Treesisters, gives a quick pep talk, jump start, reminder of the importance of saying NO to what is no longer “acceptable” or “normal.” While the new administration in the US is making the world more hopeful, it’s still well within the old paradigm and business as usual. Clare tells it as she sees it and she is truly one of the femine avatars of our time.

 

This short film is so inspiring that it needs no further comment from me. Let’s do everything we can to bring forth this vision.

 

Do we have a right to be hopeful? With political and ecological fires raging all around, is it irresponsible to imagine a future world radically better than our own? A world without prisons? Of beautiful, green public housing? Of buried border walls? Of healed ecosystems? A world where governments fear the people instead of the other way around? “A Message From the Future II: The Years of Repair” is an animated short film that dares to dream of a future in which 2020 is a historic turning point, where the lessons of the Covid-19 pandemic and global uprisings against racism drive us to build back a better society in which no one is sacrificed and everyone is essential.

 

I’m taking part in an extraordinary summit called Humanity Rising which “represents a global movement of people and organizations coming together to take counsel on how to start shaping the world beyond the pandemic. It’s creating an ongoing global dialogue and coalition of activists and organizations which will consider ideas and take action on proposals to create a world that is more socially equitable and ecologically regenerative. It also has designed a platform as a global commons for all speakers and participants to come together to share blogs, videos, generate discussions and engage in all sorts of collaborative activities together.”

The Summit will continue for as long as the pandemic lasts and beyond.

The opening of this summit was two and a half hours long and it felt like being home, being with my family, my tribe. Present were people such as Jane Goodall, Vandana Shiva, Osprey Orielle Lake, Lynn Twist and many other powerful speakers – and participants – from all over the world. Please visit the web site, sign on and listen to the recordings/join future summits.

Of all the take-aways from this gathering, the one I most want to share is this:

Jim Garrison, of Ubiquity University and who hosts this summit, told this story. He asked himself what would he choose if he could pick and manifest the most powerful action on behalf of the future he could imagine. First he thought it would be the ending of all fossil fuel extraction and use. Or the ceasing of deforestation…. But what he decided was the most powerful action he could imagine was that every government, every corporation, every institution, all executive leadership

be transitioned to women.

And then he proceeded to dedicate the first ten days of the summit exclusively to women’s voices.

Imagine!

We are experiencing a global pandemic called COVID-19. This is not a surprise but a logical consequence of our behaviors, as are extinctions, climate change, societal collapse and on and on. The future (as always) is unknown. This much I know.

I don’t like to expend too much energy anymore on speculating on how, or whether, humans will, or won’t, respond to these crises/opportunities…

(It’s possible that we can learn, it’s possible that we can change, it’s possible that we can rise.)

… I want to focus on this question: what world do I want to dream into being? And then be that. Then do that.

Geneen Marie Haugen, in an essay for Animas Institute, asked a similar question: How can (we) cultivate aliveness now? For all beings.

I’ve been studying people’s deep reflections on these questions and there are common themes that are emerging that I would like to explore in our sanctuary. These themes have been very much embedded in the Being Change process all along, I’m finding, and now it’s time to revisit this process in the context of our present reality. It’s time to revisit and live the intentions because, I believe, they’re more relevant and necessary than ever.

Being Change has been all about hospicing what is dying and midwifing what is wanting to be born. During one powerful summit I participated in recently, an indigenous elder said there’s not much point any more in trying to change the minds of those who simply will not “let go of the shore.” While there still may be some point, I want to put all my heart and soul into creating whatever audaciously beautiful future I can imagine. And embody it in the present. No matter what. Are “we the one’s we’ve been waiting for?” I guess we’re going to find out!

 

 


Art by Jayleigh – All rights reserved

I recently took part in a Friday night through Sunday afternoon “Work That Reconnects” workshop. This is one of many times I’ve done some iteration of the work and it never gets old. I could say much about this process but the following is what’s most up for me right now.

There is an exercise called “The Truth Mandala” that allows people to speak to four or five different emotional responses to our times: fear (a large, heavy stone), anger (a stick), grief (dried leaves), emptiness or despair (an empty bowl), and guilt (a spilled glass of water). People go into whatever quadrant(s) they feel called to and speak/emote to whatever depth they feel moved. Often that depth is, well, hold onto your hats.

When I entered the circle, closely surrounded by the other participants, I went first to Fear. Even though I have great faith that humankind is heading toward the necessary shifts in consciousness and behaviors to survive total extinction and continue to evolve, I fear the ecological devastation is too great – it’s too late.

And that makes me angry! Enraged! We’ve known what we were doing. We’ve known what’s coming. We can see the consequences of our choices, yet we keep on, business as usual. And on and on….

And that makes me feel guilty. I am not immune or blameless or often even courageous enough to do what I know is right. I know no one can be perfect; the system puts many roadblocks in our way, but there’s more I could be shifting or letting go of.

And all this comes down to grief. I picked up the dry leaves and cried. And cried.

The beauty of this is that all of it is done in a container of such empathy, compassion, and support that one leaves feeling that they have literally “been through the wringer.” All that sludge has been squeezed out and transmuted, at least for the time being, into something cleaner, lighter – refreshed. Especially as we were reminded that there is a flip-side to these emotions.

The other side of fear can be the trust and courage it takes to express it.
The other side of anger can be a passion for justice.
The other side of grief can be love. We only mourn what we deeply care for.
The other side of emptiness can be space for the new to emerge.
The other side of guilt can be motivation and perseverance.

And it is from this renewed grounding that I ponder these words from Joanna Macy, the originator of “The Work That Reconnects”:

“This is a dark time, filled with suffering and uncertainty. Like living cells in a larger body, it is natural that we feel the trauma of our world. So don’t be afraid of the anguish you feel, or the anger or fear, because these responses arise from the depth of your caring and the truth of your interconnectedness with all beings.”

For those who don’t already know, Project Drawdown is a “world-class research and communication organization which serves as a non-partisan, non-commercial, highly-trusted source of solutions to reverse global warming.” They came up with 100 such solutions; the relevant point for this conversation is that the three solutions relating to women, taken together, comprise the number one most empowering solution of all! This is according to Paul Hawkin, the head of this project. They are:

Educating Girls – providing equal quality of and access to education to girls/young women currently being denied access, leading to improved livelihoods, delayed onset of marriage, delayed childbearing, and fewer children than peers with less education.

Family Planning – scaling-up voluntary family planning efforts, including access to contraception and reproductive health resources, especially in countries where the unmet need for contraception is high or current demand is low, leading to the decline in total fertility rates.

Women Smallholders – providing resources, financing, and training to women smallholder farmers around the world, leading to improved agricultural yields and therefore reduced deforestation rates.

I encourage you to create opportunities to parse this with your circles, networks, gatherings of friends, faith groups, etc. See what you can come up with as far as how you can support these efforts. Let me know what you learn.

Also, The Drawdown Initiative is a series of on-line workshops that “supports you in finding your unique contribution to reversing global warming.” Please consider signing up.

Recently I took part in a gathering called “The Fierceness of the Mother Global Conference” hosted by Jocelyn Mercado of Sacred Planet. Jocelyn is a lovely, wise woman who cares deeply about the planet and the future of all beings. She produces many quality webinars and other teachings and I’ve come to appreciate her work greatly. Check out her web site and support her however you can.

The final gathering of the global conference featured Clare Dubois, founder of the extraordinary organization Treesisters. All I can say is that hers was a truly brilliant (and fierce!) call to action on behalf of Mama that can’t be resisted. Clare has had a remarkable journey and she walks her talk with courage and humility. You just have to watch this video to see for yourself.

 

“Women are coming together across struggles, borders and cultures to help build a new world.”

This is an excellent article by Osprey Orielle Lake, founder and executive director of The Women’s Earth & Climate Action Network (WECAN.)

It paints a comprehensive picture of the interconnected issues – political, cultural, economic, spiritual – facing women who are working passionately for the future of our planet.”

We are either going to have a future where
women lead the way to make peace with the Earth
or we are not going to have a human future at all.”
Vandana Shiva

Follow the links in the article to go even deeper. I learned a lot; we have so much work to do. Take a look at WECAN’s web to see how you can get involved.