Survive or Thrive? Choices at the threshold of a new world.

Birthing A Mature Humanity

WHAT THE HELL IS HAPPENING?

EVERYTHING IS CHANGING.

I CAN’T DEPEND ON ANYTHING.

NOTHING MAKES SENSE ANYMORE.

I’M TOTALLY COMING APART.

BUT…

STRANGELY.

IT ALL SEEMS TO BE OK.

I FEEL HAPPY AND CONNECTED.

LIFE IS REALLY VIBRANT.

EVERY DAY FEELS LIKE A NEW OPPORTUNITY.

…SOUND FAMILIAR?

SOMETHING REALLY RADICAL IS HAPPENING:

The world and society as we have known it is coming completely unraveled.  As without so within ~ almost every person I talk to these days is in the midst of massive change, transition, upheaval and re-creation.

Are you?

It’s time to make a MAJOR CHOICE:

Are you here to SURVIVE or are you here to THRIVE?

We are currently rewriting the patterns and programs through which we manifest our lives, our relationships, our work and our love.   It can be pretty disorienting.  But, it’s THE ONLY THING IT MATTERS.  It’s the Path of Awakening.  IT’S THE PATH TO THRIVING.

It’s THE CHOICE as stand at the threshold of a new world.  Choose contraction or choose expansion.  Choose protection or choose co-creation.  Choose “the box” of the old behaviors, old personalities, old stories, or open to the wild, super-engaged vibrancy of SOUL.

We’re entering the AGE OF SOULVIVAL.

Sowing New Seeds of Self

You in?

A Practice:

Can you name one pattern in your life – like resistance, judgment, arrogance, neediness, isolation, showing-off, protectiveness or distance – that you are ready to let go of?

What is this patter GIVING YOU?  In other words, what DO YOU GET by holding onto it?

WHAT WILL YOU GET BY LETTING IT GO?

Chances are, letting go will allow you to be more in harmony with YOUR SELF, with life, love and CHANGE.

Can you name a new, more harmonic and higher functioning pattern to replace an old one?  Can you support this new pattern through an affirmation of your new world-view and/or a mindfullness practice?  This will help you to cultivate not only a new STATE of being, but a new and permanent TRAIT OF BEING that will affect long-term shifts in the ways you behave, make choices and engage relationships.

Example: My resistance has been a way to stay safe within the narrow confines of my own experience.  It has helped that introvert in me to maintain her aloneness, but it has also prevented me from SO much growth, connection and learning.  This shows me that I could choose to be more curious.  I now meet resistance as a wise friend who lets me know that I need to move slowly with awareness and openness.

Example: My arrogance has been a way of protecting myself from “being wrong”.  It has trapped me in a stance of invulnerability where I feel like I need to defend being right in order to maintain control.  When I RELEASE arrogance and the need to be right, a lot of amazing things happen.  I get to be more connected, curious and intimate with a lot of people.  I get to be equal.  I get to LEARN.  I get to follow.  I get to be “a part.” And, I get the vast PLEASURE of being changed by the love and intelligence of my fellow community members, friends and colleagues.  WOW!  New traits: engaged humility and curious fellowship.

Please post comments and share your insights.

Next Blog:

Where The Rubber Hits the Road in Transformation, or Why TRAITS Matter.

Love,

~ss

Enough: What Is Most Essential?

What is enough?

What is too much?

It is immensely tempting, in this age of racing time and systems-wide failure, to get caught in urgency, to try to fix everything. We are powerfully called to DO, to ACT, to “be the change”. We are called to engage social and spiritual action in every direction and dimension of our lives – from recycling, to gardening, to political action and citizen lobbying, to supporting schools, to fundraising for Haiti, Chile and the rainforests.  Indeed, all of these sectors and more need help, but in reaching out to all of it, can we be truly effective at giving back to the world what it most needs?

We are called to become integral spiritual beings, to map our inner worlds in totality, to hone our mental, emotional, physical and spiritual selves. Great idea. But, where is the ground? We measure ourselves against the achievements of activist giants like Paul Hawken or Lynn Twist, and we feel inadequate to the task at hand.  So, we become generalists. We become greatly skilled at navigating an integral playing field, but we become less connected to the specific dimensions of our own experience that inform the shape and tone of our greatest service.

In expanding to hold the ALL, the temptation is to take it ALL on. Isn’t this just another excess? If we make ourselves responsible for engaging the total system, working to change the whole by engaging all the parts, we loose track of the simple sufficiency of our unique gifts and inspirations. The shadow here is that nothing we do, nothing we give, nothing we are can actually be enough if we have to “do it all”. We end up recapitulating one of our deepest human wounds – the myth that “I am not enough.”

Yes, it is more than time to “be the change we want to see.” It is time to step up like never before. It is time to give. It is time to serve. It is time to fearlessly engage. But, isn’t it also time to step down, to relax into our humanity, to cease our seeking and finally, actually ARRIVE home to the simple grace, abundance and meaning inherent in our lives and relationships.

It is our “not enough-ness” that causes us, after all, to seek so ceaselessly to expand, be more, get more, do more. It motivates endless consumption loops and a reflexive grasping towards what we do not have. It is our not-enough-ness that causes us to place the value of the dollar above the value of our relationships, our moment to moment states of consciousness, and our connection with the earth and the animal worlds – things that are available to us all the time. It is part of the root sickness that generates the degenerative cycles of global capitalism and human addiction.

No human is designed to be everything. And this is a key point. As long as we are trying to do it all, we recapitulate the core wounds of inadequacy, self-loathing, jealousy, greed and insecurity that perpetuate our addictive behaviors, poverty and despair.

It seems to me that we need to restrain this impulse. Instead, we need to get specific, humble, anchored and real about what it is each of is specifically here to be and to do. We need to align our actions meaningfully with the SHINE of our SOULS, with our passion and our joy – in ways that are both powerful and calming. We need to root into the fundamental sufficiency of our hearts and spirits and our capacity to CHOOSE this enough-ness in every moment.  This is foundational for alignment within the greater harmonic of evolution happening at this time. No one of us can or is meant to do it all. Rather, we are here to co-cre-activate a personal, cultural and spiritual ecosystem of wholeness within which each of us is uniquely designed to fill a specific niche and play a specific role.

You are enough.

Soulvival: A Preface

Soul-vival:

The Listening Universe

The Praying

Everything, every-Thing is real.

Love.

Thing.

No thing.

I am real,

and no

long-er

dreaming

that there

is anything other

than

re-ALL-ity.

– s.s.

“The entire Universe is condensed in the body, and the entire body in the Heart. Thus the Heart is the nucleus of the Whole Universe.”

-Sri Ramana Maharshi

Once upon a thought, long, long ago, the universe was born in the breath and flurry of God understanding herself.  Long, long ago in a meta-verse not unlike your own heart, conscious life began, coursing with the life-blood of light and energy, beating the rhymes of time, condensing through the forces of love and gravity.  Once upon a desire, spirit birthed soul and was found in the arms of her own creation.

This creation expanded and grew.  It formed and furrowed.  It danced and wiggled and learned about spirals.  It seeded and sprouted and grew flowers that became fruit that fell to the ground and became seed again.  It composted.  And one fine, star-filled day, it listened.  It opened its innate sensitivity to receive itself and began to understand it’s own heart.  It reflected on its own music, and on that sweet day, consciousness became aware of itself.

Eons later, on a crisp, late autumn day in the Earth Year 2009, somewhere in the Northern Hemisphere, an activist, a mystic, a scientist and a social entrepreneur sit down to counsel.  Each from their own angle is deeply engaged in the hard and heartful work of Climate Leadership.  Each has lived enough life and looked far enough into and out of themselves to see the integral confluences between their individual work and worldviews and those of their colleagues.  They agree that they all share one fundamental reality: “Everything now is at stake and everything is possible.”[1]

From this foundation, they begin to ask questions.   “What is a conscious life?  How does one live it?  What is soul and what does it have to do with the evolution of consciousness?  What is pain, and how does it motivate evolution?  What is the connection between our capacity to survive and our capacity to thrive?”  They settle into their chairs a bit deeper.  “How are survival and soul entwined in the process of planetary emergence?  Could soul be a key to surviving the fires of Global Warming, Economic Collapse, Species Decimation and Overpopulation?  What motivates a whole and soul-filled approach to being, becoming and participating in a world on fire?”  Falling silent for a moment, they arrive at one final question: “What ignites compassionate action?”

“Perhaps,” says the activist, “it is the sheer compression of suffering.”  “You could say that it is the quantum increase in turbulence is revealing new capacities for resonance and synergy,” says the scientist.[2] “Yes,” says the activist, “But that compassionate ignition comes through something mysterious, something bigger than movements or parties or creeds.  It comes through some deep response to the world, to humanity, to the planet.  It descends like grace and flows like water.  I don’t understand it, but I see it everywhere, particularly in the youth.  It’s a force for collaboration and innovation bigger than anything you can wrap your mind around.” “It could be that we are learning how to listen, and that what we are responding to is the calling of the World Soul to the hearts and minds of individuals,” chimes the mystic.

“This pressure cooker we are in is the greatest opportunity ever to choose to love what is. That’s the beauty of it; it’s not easy so we are confronted with the choice to suffer or embrace, to resist or to co-create with material reality as it is.  No one has ever done this before.  All our previous models were based on what seemed expedient and profitable at the time, leading to dominance and expansion at the expense of people and planet.  Now we are learning how to work and play soulfully, how to include people and planet in our value systems and bottom-line equations and thus transform what is from a greater space of inter-relatedness.  We are learning how to do this by working within – not separate from – broader ecological, social and structural contexts and exercising our capacity to choose sensitively,” says the social entrepreneur.  Taking a breath and looking around the circle, the mystic offers, “We are learning to collaborate with everything.[3] In the emergent context, the motive for living with soul meshes with the innate desire of life to seek conditions favorable to life.”[4]

“Yeah, I love to quote Janine Benyus on this one,” says the scientist.  “’The answers to the questions are everywhere… The important thing is that these are solutions solved in context, and that context is the earth – the same context in which we are trying to find solutions.’[5]

“Let’s back up.  What is soul, anyway?” says the activist.

“Recently, in my work, I have been exploring the mathematic reality of the singularity contained within every atom.  This singularity is a mini-black hole within the nuclei of every atom in the universe.  The same is true for the heart of every sun, and for your own human heart.  It’s unbelievably beautiful.  I believe it proves the existence of soul.[6]”  “It’s what Celtic wisdom teacher John O’Donohue calls ‘the point of absolute non-connectivity with everything else’”, says the mystic.  “But, what’s so cool,” replies the scientist, “is that each and every one of these points is connected to each and every other point in the fabric of space and time.  That means that everything is both completely distinct and interdependently linked with everything else.” “Exactly.  Dependent co-arising.”

The activist pipes in, “So, that’s what Lovelock was talking about in earth terms when he published the Gaia Hypothesis?”  “Sort of, yes.  His work described, a profound inter-related intelligence that manifests through the biologic cycles and systems of the Earth,” says the mystic. “This interdependent intelligence is what ecologists, biomimics and neurobiologist know intuitively, and it is what the eco-psychologist Bill Plotkin writes of in Soul Craft and Nature and the Human Soul.  For him, and for most indigenous peoples, soul is a category inseparable from All of Our Relations.  It is both a suchness unique to each and every created thing and a divine field of intelligence arising through the interconnectivity and intersubjectivity of all things.  It is real, and it is in, and runs through, everything – not transcendent or ephemeral, but actual and profoundly manifest.  It can be contacted through the senses, through the body and through the heart.  One cannot find it through thought alone.  One must find it through dedicated engagement in the World and the More Than Human World.”

“Have you done this?” asks the activist.

“Well… yes.  And you?”

The circle takes a collective pause, a breath, and another breath.  All at once, all four people realize that each of them has passed through the valley of fire more than once and come to the other side more loving, compassionate and committed than before.  All at once, a kinship is born that can move mountains.

All four hearts start to “think” together.  The social entrepreneur softly offers, “When I live in accord with my soul, when I listen to the world as the greater Field of Soul, then everything I see and experience, everything I sense and feel, becomes a living foundation for my responsivity and action.  Everything speaks to me of its rich capacity to collaborate and share value.  What I do as a businessperson is not separate from what I do with and for the earth, with and for my daughter, with and for my community, with and for the Divine.  When I, and thousands of others like me, start to aggregate this kind of thinking and action, markets become a function of natural limits and intelligent flows of energy.  This is how I apply my passion.  This is how I want to work and play with each of you.  I experience it both as my joy and as my duty.”

“So, here is hope,” says the activist.  “The soul is the key motive, the deep voice within and through all things, that can empower our survival and our eventual thrival in the next evolutionary spiral for humanity.  Conscious living is the outcome of an ongoing practice of sacred activism arising from this felt sense of compassionate connectivity with all that is.”

Talking late into the night, they coin a new word: Soulvival – survival and thrival emergent through a deep and engaging relationship to the animate soul within all things.  Soulvival means the capacity to survive and to thrive through the continuous practice of living in accord with soul.  Soulvival means engaging life through the fierce grace of loving what is and choosing to act as a force for regeneration, beauty and justice.  Soulvival means asking the hard questions, doing the home work and the due diligence, and then collaborating with other humans, with nature, and with everything, to create a life engaged in a net-positive, creative, cogeneration of the evolving world.  It is the ultimate prayer – a non-secular invitation to engage every aspect of life as sacred.   It is an invitation for us to reconnect with that far off (and near) impulse of the universe to listen to itself and so become conscious.  It is us becoming the universe evolving as it listens to and co-generates itself.

Postscript:

In and Beyond Time

Words Fall

In oneness, through me.

Words fall on my side of the cosmic divide between this “one”

and “everything else.”

It is for me to hear through my soul channel,

As it is for you to hear through yours.

We are not alone in the hearing

Because the listening itself is a fabric,

a connective

act,

a verb that is a tissue,

a structure,

a promise

of gossamer connectivity between all things

In all time

In now.

I no longer forget.

I no longer remember.

I act or be

Be and act.

Noun into verb,

Verb into noun

All object.

All subject.

All subject to the rulership of divine harmony,

divine

chaos.

All in service to the sweet channel… of love.

And, in this, I have chosen.

I choose to dance the violet pentacle at the center of the flame,

At the center, where all hands grasp through the fire,

I choose a creativity

Which is uniquely peace.

I chose embodiment that is universally peace.

That is what is.

No more.

No less.

We are bowls of water.

Always full

Always empty.

Half and half is for beginners.

Take it all and leave it all.

And, still…

Don’t forget skillful maybe –

the open portal to what is beyond imagining.

But,

leave ambivalence at the door.

In this fierce storm of yes,

this sweet autumn of wind,

this quiet knowing of the path:

Begin in the Body.

Let it live.

Let it breath.

Let it feed.

Let it be soft, animal, instinctive and

Unavoidable.

Begin in the body, and connect.

This is where peace lives.

Peace becomes.

Peace acts, one gesture at a time.

Begin in the body.

Live in the heart.

This is not a choice.

This is a fact.

ACT from this fact.

And through this align in and beyond – space and time.

~s.s.

Bibliography

Benyus, Janine. “Janine Benyus Shares Natures Designs.”  TED, filmed February 2005, Posted April 2007, http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/janine_benyus_shares_nature_s_designs.html (accessed November 24, 2009).

Casey, Caroline. Making the Gods Work for You: The Astrological Language of the Psyche. New York:  Three Rivers Press, 1998.

Gore, Al.  Our Choice: A Plan To Solve the Climate Crisis. Emmaus, PA: Rodale, Inc., 2009.

Harvey, Andrew. The Hope: A Guide to Sacred Activism. Carlsbad, California: Hay House, 2009.

Hawken, Paul.  Blessed Unrest. New York: Penguin Books, 2007.

Haramein, Nassim. “The Schwarzschild Proton,” Paper presented at the Mystic Garden Party, July 27, 2009.

O’Donohue, John.  Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom. New York:  HarperCollins Publishers,  1997.


[1] Andrew Harvey, The Hope: A Guide to Sacred Activism (Carlsbad, California: Hay House, 2009), 61.

[2] This thought is echoed throughout the work quantum theorist Nassim Haramein. http://www.theresonanceproject.org/ (accessed frequently, most recently November 28, 2009).

[3] Visionary Astrologer and Jungian Scholar Carolyn Casey speaks with great consistency of the mystical, shamanic choice to “partner or collaborate with EVERYTHING.”  I have been to over 10 of her talks over the last fifteen years at Bioneers, Greenfest, Harmony Fest, in bookstores and at community performances, and this is one of her most consistent messages.

[4] An often shared quote from Janine Benyus, founder of Biomimicry

[5] Janine Benyus, “Janine Benyus Shares Natures Designs”  TED, filmed February 2005, Posted April 2007. http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/janine_benyus_shares_nature_s_designs.html (accessed November 24, 2009).

[6] Nassim Haramein, “The Schwarzschild Proton,” a peer reviewed and award winning paper presented at the Mystic Garden Party in Ashland, July 27, 2009.  Here I paraphrase both the basic thesis of the paper, that there is a mini-black hole within each atom, but also Nassim’s larger theory on the implications of this for how we understand soul and resonance.