Monday, February 24, 2014

Book: Circle of Stones, Woman's Journey to Herself

"The issue is not whether woman can achieve, but that preoccupation with achievement may deny a descent into her deeper nature which a woman must make to touch her true strengths.  The masculine must perhaps fly to fulfill a part of its heroic nature.  But woman, pressed to fly, may lose herself and be prevented from descending into her depths, prevented from fulfilling her own feminine nature.  For through her descent, she touches the power of the feminine,  a power that comes of being, not doing ... the power of wisdom in the fac of a very old woman, a face on which one reads, 'I know what I know.'

A woman, through her descent, touches a deeply feminine authority, as different from the authority of the masculine as is the moon from the sun."

~Circle of Stones
Woman's Journey to Herself
by Judith Duerk

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Unspoken Communication, Altruism, and the Force to Change

I try not to get too dogmatic in my approach to personal behavioral change, because it absolutely must come from the depths of one's heart. In my writing, I hope to reach people who are open to change, but perhaps aren't even aware of it yet.  It is almost more important to say something that touches these people than those who are already activists for whatever rouses their passions.  In this post I am asking that everyone takes a few minutes to watch the videos shared, while I make a plea for conscientious decision making.

There is a very simple fact of our livelihood on this planet at the present time, as it has been through all history and will continue in the future. Everything that lives is intrinsically involved in the fate of everything that lives. It sounds rhetorical but think hard on it. Even two creatures who know not of each others' existence can have dramatic effects on each other. Humans have a broader range of effects on the others, and we are, more than any other living thing, causing the most harm - but we hold within ourselves the POTENTIAL to do the most good.

I've chosen these two videos of marine life being rescued by researchers and adventurers for a few reasons.  The first is that the animals who are rescued by humans show a remarkable understanding of their dire situation AND that the human involved is there to assist.  There seems to be an unspoken communication, energeticly transmitted even, that most people would doubt possible.  Watching an interaction like this is amazing, and moves the heart to open in inexplicable ways.

Another reason I've chosen these videos is that humans are risking their safety to do good.  This is altruism.  It's a common ideology to 'let nature do it's thing' and to not interfere. But these people have forsaken what is socially (and scientifically) acceptable in order to do something they know to be right and good.  This stands out to me because the dangerous situations both the whale and the dolphin turned up in are anthropogenic (caused by humans).  Particularly humans involved in the fishing industry.  To be blunt, fisherman, fish retailers, and fish consumers are all responsible for what we have seen happening to sea life.  And here I have only provided two known examples.  If we ponder the sheer numbers that probably die wound up in nets, cut by propellers, or dried out on boat decks to not even be eaten, our minds are likely to be blown.

Now this leads us down a tricky road winding through rights and wrongs and relativism, and can be difficult for an intellectual person to find their way, while an enraged activist will have their own very clear picture and methodology of how to the fix the situation, and the average person will either: 1.not see a correlation between their choices and the effects on non-human living creatures, 2. not consider changing behaviors because it is too difficult or inconvenient, or 3. go on thinking we're all doomed and nothing can really be changed this late in the game anyway. 

I'm here to tell you that each one of us is personally responsible for what is happening to our fellow beings, human, animal, and otherwise.  If you aren't considering your impact on every other living thing, it doesn't matter how you're getting saved or what religious or spiritual system is guiding you toward awakening.  This can be difficult, and I'm not saying it's easy. What I am saying is that we are at a critical place in our history where government, financial systems, and industry are all pretty corrupt, and for the most part we're left to fend for ourselves in a concrete wilderness (except those lucky enough to live in the woods or off grid or in an urban homestead).  We absolutely must begin fending for those around us, too. If we don't take care of in our global community, we're still sinners when we show up on Sunday.

Now I go on and on a lot about personal responsibility and empowerment. My recommendations based on these videos and countless other experiences over the course of my life are: 1. Do your own hunting, fishing, and growing of veggies.  Be kind to the Earth and give thanks to the animals you catch.  If you can't/don't know how/don't have time, find someone you trust 110% to have ethical standards to help you out or trade with you.  Otherwise, follow number 2.  Don't eat fish or meat. It's that simple. If you can't do it sustainably AND ethically, don't do it at all.  The dolphin and whale in these videos got hurt the way they did because of the fishing industry.  Don't eat fish that was caught with nets. If you do, you're supporting the people who leave nets out in the water to injure wildlife.There are a thousand websites dedicated to planning, cooking, and eating a balanced vegetarian diet - it takes a shift in mindset and a little extra time.  (I highly recommend Yum Universe for gluten free vegetarian tastiness.  It is crucial that you do a little investigating to make sure you get all the right nutrients!)

This doesn't mean I don't care about small fishing villages or that I want to destroy a way of life.  I heard this argument made quite a bit by the timber industry in the Pacific Northwest.  The time has come for people to change the way they live and HOW they earn income, and that is across the board something for all of us to think about. 

As always, if you have any questions or would like to engage in a healthy discussion, please comment below. Thanks for reading!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Grace Unfolding

I'm reading a book titled Grace Unfolding (Johanson G. and Kurtz, R.), about practicing mental health counseling from a Taoist perspective.  I am not a licensed mental health practitioner, however much of my client work is based on healing their mental, emotional, and spiritual foundation. Grace Unfolding is a beautifully written yet simple piece of literature that is expanding my understanding of myself in addition to how I approach my clinical work. This last paragraph and quote are from the chapter on Affirming Creation.

"Still, it is hard to have faith when someone seems unbalanced and irrational, even though metabolic factors have been ruled out.  It is hard not to invoke and impose rationally correct, ideal solutions born of accumulated sageness.  It is good to have the affirmation of Lao Tsu who does not have our reticence about shedding conventional wisdom.
     'Drop Humanity, abandon justice,
      And the people will return to their natural affections.' " 
When the author of the quoted line says, "Drop Humanity, abandon justice," at first glance one might have an emotional reaction to what seems absurd.  Every inch of holistic health is about reclaiming and realigning with our misplaced humanity, and its degradation.  The loss of that humanity is what many feel has led to most of the problems we are experiencing on a scale disproportionate to times gone by.  Consider self indulgent behavior, ignoring big picture consequences, blatant destruction of natural places, and so on.

The converse of such chosen ignorance is a state of justice and rigid humanity, political correctness if you will, and the creation of rules by which we must abide in order to be good.  The concern of this chapter is with mental health practitioners refusing to step outside the box in their methods of treating patients.  This is a concept I think applies to everyone's life, every day.  Let me see if I can properly enunciate my train of thought here...The issue is balance.  Affirming creation is allowing things to flow in their own way, rather than blocking, suppressing, or restricting in any manner the natural way in which things move about, specifically in this case, the way in which people heal.

We must make our own decisions as practitioners, patients, and just as people going about our own daily business on what is truly right for us, and for the bigger picture.  This comes only from integrity.  When we struggle with making such decisions and discerning for ourselves, it is a good time to find a support system or person, because it it indicates imbalance. 

So dropping humanity does not mean dropping care of humans, it means dropping the preconceived notions and pre-fab boxes that we often find ourselves pushed into.  Dropping justice doesn't mean stop fighting the good fight, it means stop depending on it coming from outside of yourself.

While each person to some extent needs other people, we don't each need to live in the same way, and sometimes systems need to change. Now, at this very moment, it is time to create your own natural system and way of being in the world...The right practitioner, counselor, doctor, sage, guru, or whomever you choose, will help you figure that out with no pressure, no restrictions based on mainstream acceptance, and no predefined rules.

Healing what causes whatever is the imbalance and focusing on the true needs of oneself,will allow the individual to live more freely, in accordance with their own path.  Each person who discovers their path and chooses to walk it their own unique way, stands as a testament to others who may be struggling, that they too may heal and self discover.  And each counselor or clinician who supports a person through this 'unfolding' without pushing, will stand also as a testament to the same evolutionary process. Thus, as the quote from above stated, 'And the people will return to their natural affections.'

This is an UPDATED Notice

Wednesday, January 22, 2014