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Rekindle Your Wild Joy and sense of deep Belonging through spiritual ecopsychology and the arts, incl. bioregional awareness, animistic perspectives, strategies for simple living, & low/no-tech DIY fun.

Happy Interdependence Day July 4, 2018

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“The great fallacy of the United States is that it was built on individuality. That’s the greatest lie ever was told, because it was not. It was built on community politics. People got out in the communities and helped each other; farmers lent each other horses and tractors, and built barns. America was a much better place when she was a family, not an individual.”   –Betty Williams, 1976 Nobel Peace Prize winner

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Happy Interdependence Day, family.

These are hard times we’re living in. Here in the USA, the events carry so many echoes of the last days of Rome, when the mad emperor Nero sat on the throne and brought that once-powerful Empire down in flames.

Perhaps that’s not a bad thing. Perhaps the days of Empires should be limited. They tend to go sour and turn on their own people and lands, along with despoiling all around. Multiple murders to capture and keep thrones. The decadence of wasteful consumption: the wealthy in Rome ate suppers of things like peacocks’ tongues, then visited the vomitorium in order to return and eat some more. Germany built concentration camps, where they sent many of their own people. Perverted power run amok.

We have the horror of the Republican Administration stealing and caging the children of asylum seekers. The irony of the United States of America turning on immigrants now! The time for that would have been when the first ships arrived on her shores. But in the apocryphal stories they told us as schoolchildren to build our identity as Americans, the native peoples here welcomed the fleeing Pilgrims with open arms. So now the descendants of pilgrims want to say, I’m here so it’s enough; it’s ours now, close the door?

 

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Another part of the irony lies in the fact that much of what we now call the USA was previously owned by other countries.

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Sure, incoming numbers have to be limited for a country to remain optimally functional, but we can address this global problem without reverting to inhumane ways.

Remember, this country was founded on revolution against tyranny. (There’s a great 4th of July meme of a British flag with the statement, “Happy Treason Day, ungrateful colonials.”)  Revolt against unjust tyranny, along with articles on how to get along from the Haudenosaunee people, here for generations before Europeans arrived. In fact, their highly functional governance structure informed the basis of our current Constitution. We in the Industrial Growth Society still have much to learn from native peoples, especially regarding skill with relationships.

What we can do to foment revolution now in the face of increasing horrors; our strongest resistance, I think, is to be kind to one another.

We must firmly oppose what is happening, of course; we must dare to speak out fiercely – AND we must do it in a way that is honorable, even noble. As John Lennon said in a little-known video called I Met the Walrus,

“They got all the weapons. They got all the money. And they know how to fight violence because they’ve been doing it for a thousand years. The only thing they don’t know about is nonviolence and humor.”

So we must not unconsciously buy in to the casual cruelty, mockery and stupidity that is leaching like a miasma out of our highest office. We must not replicate that cancer further. Instead, we must consciously choose to embody kindness, generosity, and humor. What’s radical in these times is going ahead and acting out the world in which we want to live, as if it were already here. To assume that most people are basically good, and doing their best, even when they screw up or have an opinion that makes you want to scream. To listen, and not only with the ears, with the heart too. To openly care for one another and the earth. To make choices that are right and aligned with greater good, despite what the despots want. To benefit our grandchildren and grandchildren of all species for generations to come, not some rich corporation’s wallet this week. And if we want to do advanced practice, to get past the idea of any ultimate “they.”

The good news is, this sort of resistance is happening, and not only on an individual level. I gain hope from watching hundreds of cities and businesses openly state that they will continue to work according to the Paris Accord for Climate Change, despite what noise to the contrary comes out of the White House. They recognize the way the wind is blowing; they recognize that dialing down reliance on dwindling fossil fuels is the way that their businesses will be able to continue in a global marketplace which is, by the way, dependent on a finite globe. Acting in accord with our long-term means is just good business. Once regime change happens again in a couple of years, it’s clear that the next sitter on the U.S. throne will have to reinstate these agreements, lest we become an isolated and impoverished backwater.

Rome fell, and so could we. We can see the struts shivering now. But we don’t have to fall so hard.

This country can let go of Empire leanings and go forward into being a single, beautifully functioning collective of states, counties, towns, and neighborhoods. Or a better vision because it’s more realistic (based in the real), dividing our governance along resource-based watersheds. If we begin to see ourselves not as isolated autonomous individuals who must fearfully look out for Number One but more as a strong community looking out for the common good of all, and of our lands not as plunderable resources for private corporate gain but as commons for all, and we act accordingly, then we have a chance.

Happy Interdependence Day, human family. Enjoy those firecrackers invented by the Chinese, hotdogs invented by the Germans, and tortilla chips and salsa invented by the Mexicans. While driving to the party, let someone into your lane ahead of you. Go forth and make positive change, and don’t forget to celebrate who’s rowing in the boat with you.

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Art credits: Photo of people running with flag from Dreamstime.com. Earth Pledge poster from Earthpledge.org. Map of earlier US borders was a comment from vierotchka on https://climatecrocks.com/2017/01/06/a-solar-wall-one-way-to-make-mexico-pay/. Cartoon origins unknown. If you know, please tell me so I can give credit. If you are the artist and would prefer I not share your work here, please contact me and I will respect this. Thanks, all.

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Womens River Retreat in May – come along! January 12, 2018

Women and women-identified folks: Want to renew your spirit on a beautiful gentle river, including an overnight solo between just you and the spirits of the land?

Join the 8-day Womens’ River Retreat I’ll be co-guiding for The River’s Path, down Labyrinth Canyon on the Green River of Utah with Lauren Bond Kovsky.

“The River’s Path offers a supported 48-hour solo experience in Labyrinth Canyon as part of a 8 day canoe river trip down the Green River of Utah. Our women’s river retreats are a deeply spiritual journey… a powerful way to connect with your purpose during times of great transition. All ages, ability levels and backgrounds are welcome.”

May 5-14, 2018.

For more info: https://theriverspath.org/womens-river-retreats/

 

Insight from a Partial Eclipse August 21, 2017

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96% totality experienced.

Even at that much shadowed occultation, the sun offered a surprising amount of light.

The profound takeaway I got is this:

If we consider the parallels between the larger natural world and our own psyches, it’s a sweet reminder that even if we’ve sabotaged our lives a lot through our own BS patterns, our pure original nature still shines more brightly than we realize.

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Paris Climate Agreement: We Are Still In June 6, 2017

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I feel proud to be able to tell you that my employer, Naropa University, joins other college and university leaders, mayors, governors, investors and businesses in declaring that regardless of current decisions made by the Republican president, we will continue to support climate action to meet the Paris Agreement.

This action thereby continues alliances with other countries, businesses, and systemic thinkers around the globe. More basically, it is a step that helps ensure that large mammalian life on this planet (such as humans) can continue.

This is the only smart move.

Companies like eBay, Netflix and Microsoft are in. And you can add your company’s name to this pledge as well – link below.

You may be as surprised as I to learn that even ExxonMobil and ConocoPhillips, two of the world’s largest oil producers, pledge to abide by the Paris Agreement! They recognize that this change to alternative fuels is inevitable, and that being on board is the best choice for their business’ bottom line. From Bloomberg.com:

“President Donald Trump faces some unlikely opposition to the idea of pulling the U.S. out of the 2015 Paris climate accord: Exxon Mobil Corp. and ConocoPhillips, two of the world’s biggest oil producers. 

Both companies reiterated their support Wednesday for the global agreement to cut greenhouse gas pollution amid reports that Trump planned to ditch a pact he says hurts the U.S. economy. Their argument: The U.S. is better off with a seat at the table so it can influence global efforts to curb emissions that are largely produced by the fossil fuels they profit from.

…ConocoPhillips, the world’s largest independent oil and gas producer, also expressed support for the climate agreement on Wednesday. “It gives the U.S. the ability to participate in future climate discussions to safeguard its economic and environmental best interests,” spokesman Daren Beaudo said in an email.

BP Plc CEO Bob Dudley, another oil executive who supports the accord, said that even if the U.S. quits, the nation should find new policies to support the inevitable transition to a low-carbon economy.”

Every one of you, please stand up and act with us – the majority.

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Here is the formal statement, with signatories visible below:  We Are Still In  Note that you can add your company’s name to this pledge as well – see link at the end.

Open letter to the international community and parties to the Paris Agreement from U.S. state, local, and business leaders

We, the undersigned mayors, governors, college and university leaders, businesses, and investors are joining forces for the first time to declare that we will continue to support climate action to meet the Paris Agreement.

In December 2015 in Paris, world leaders signed the first global commitment to fight climate change. The landmark agreement succeeded where past attempts failed because it allowed each country to set its own emission reduction targets and adopt its own strategies for reaching them. In addition, nations – inspired by the actions of local and regional governments, along with businesses – came to recognize that fighting climate change brings significant economic and public health benefits.

The Trump administration’s announcement undermines a key pillar in the fight against climate change and damages the world’s ability to avoid the most dangerous and costly effects of climate change. Importantly, it is also out of step with what is happening in the United States.

In the U.S., it is local and state governments, along with businesses, that are primarily responsible for the dramatic decrease in greenhouse gas emissions in recent years. Actions by each group will multiply and accelerate in the years ahead, no matter what policies Washington may adopt.

In the absence of leadership from Washington, states, cities, colleges and universities, businesses and investors, representing a sizeable percentage of the U.S. economy will pursue ambitious climate goals, working together to take forceful action and to ensure that the U.S. remains a global leader in reducing emissions.

It is imperative that the world know that in the U.S., the actors that will provide the leadership necessary to meet our Paris commitment are found in city halls, state capitals, colleges and universities, investors and businesses. Together, we will remain actively engaged with the international community as part of the global effort to hold warming to well below 2℃ and to accelerate the transition to a clean energy economy that will benefit our security, prosperity, and health.

Click here to read full press release.

Companies, investors, mayors and governors wishing to add their name to the statement can do so by registering here. Colleges and universities wishing to add their name can do so by registering here.

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ON BEHALF OF THE EARTH AND HER CHILDREN OF ALL SPECIES, THANK YOU ALL.

Thank you for being responsible adults who take care of our home, despite the short-term difficulties we face from the current White House now.

In the wise words of King Solomon, this too shall pass. According to the New York Times, the withdrawal process from the Paris Accord could take four years to complete, by which time the regime will have been changed. So let’s just keep steering our collective boat of systemic wisdom through these jerky rapids until the river flows freely and easily once more.

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The terrific political cartoons in this post are by Dan Wasserman, Monte Wolverton, and Christian Bloom (from Norway).

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Love as a Practice February 14, 2017

Filed under: The Wheel of the Year — BrujaHa @ 12:30 pm
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The following is an essay written by my contradancing pal Lynn Ungar, who also happens to be a UU Minister, raiser of show dogs, and a very fine contemplative thinker. It’s reblogged from the UU website; full link below.

She reframes love from an exclusive romantic destination to a daily practice for everyone. I find this very timely right now, and hope you benefit from my sharing it here. As you read Lynn’s suggestions, please also consider how you might add small acts of kindness to the earth. Done out of love, these changes of behavior can turn in the heart from a burden to a joy.

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         Valentine’s Day, by 

I could be wrong, but I rather suspect that Valentine’s Day is the most widely despised holiday in the country. Really, unless you’re in the small minority of people who are in the throes of romantic passion, what’s to like? You don’t get a day off of work, there’s no religious ceremony or significance, and for weeks ahead of time the stores are filled with a boatload of pink and red crap that nobody needs, and hardly anybody actually wants. Jewelry store commercials aside, the number of lives that would be improved by the gift of a heart-shaped diamond is, I suspect, shockingly small

Worse than that, for many people the holiday is an affront. If you are single, it’s a reminder that society expects people to pair up, and a suggestion that you are probably a loser because you’re alone. If you’re in a long-term relationship that has become more centered on helping with homework and making sure that there is milk in the frig than on lust and making googly eyes at one another, it’s a reminder that popular culture is obsessed with passion and falling in love, and no one will ever make a blockbuster movie that looks anything like your life. If you’re gay or lesbian or in any kind of non-traditional relationship you know that there probably isn’t going to be a card in the drugstore that is in any way designed with your kind of love in mind. And if you’ve recently been through a break-up, or your relationship is going through a rocky period from which it may or may not recover, or your spouse has died, well, then Valentine’s Day is pretty much designed for your own personal torture.

So here’s my suggestion: Maybe a better way to celebrate Valentine’s Day than by buying candy and flowers would be to embrace the fact that love is often difficult. Rather than a day about romance, why not a day for concentrating on loving something or someone that makes you uncomfortable?

You might want to start by loving your crooked toe, or your stretch marks, or the flabby skin on the back of your arms. Anoint them with lotion, and a long, loving look, and consider the possibility that they really don’t need to be any different than exactly what they are.

You could try loving your neighbor who plays loud music and leaves his RV parked so that you can hardly get in your driveway. Maybe the music is his only stress reducer after caring for elderly people all day; maybe the RV is the only place his son has to live; maybe he’s so busy trying to hold his life together that he forgot to consider what would be most convenient for you.

You could work on loving your daughter’s crappy fourth-grade teacher who doesn’t appreciate your child’s unique gifts and has failed to teach her the structure of a paragraph. Chances are good that there are too many kids in the classroom to give each their due and the teacher is exhausted simply from trying to maintain some semblance of civilization until the bell rings.

You could try to love the person ahead of you in the line at the grocery store who has 27 items in the express lane, or the punk who cut you off on the freeway, or the customer service representative from the cable company who does not appear to have the slightest idea what “service” might mean. Just for today, since it’s a holiday.

You might even go all out, and work on loving your ex, or the person they left you for. Not necessarily forgiving, and certainly not forgetting, but just a little warmth, a little bit of an open heart for someone who, like everyone else in the world, is trying to find happiness in the best way they know how. Which isn’t necessarily a good way, but there you have it.

Just for this one day you could practice love not so much as a feeling but as a choice, a discipline, a practice. You could start with the conviction that everyone certainly needs love, and the possibility that everyone deserves it. Not because they have earned it, not because they are loveable, but because each of us is capable of being an instrument of grace, which is another name for the love that we don’t have to earn or deserve.

Happy Valentine’s Day. And good luck.

 

–by Lynn Ungar.

See this and more of Lynn’s excellent writing at the Unitarian Universalist Collective’s blog, http://www.patheos.com/blogs/uucollective/author/lynnungar/ . This essay was originally posted there 2/14/2014.

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Climate Crisis Solutions conference October 19, 2016

I’m pleased to be one of the presenters in Ohio this coming weekend at the 63rd annual conference put on by the Arthur Morgan Institute for Community Solutions. It will be held at Antioch College in Yellow Springs, from October 21-23, 2016.

The presentations cover a wide variety of topics related to climate change.

 

Climate Crisis Solutions: Charting a New Course

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My two presentations are:

PRE-CONFERENCE WORKSHOP:

Stones as Mentors: Spiritual Ecotherapy    Tina Fields

As you face the big issues like climate change along with figuring out how to best live your own life, have you ever wished you had a wise elder around to give you perspective and advice? Engage in an ancient and powerful animistic practice that works with the oldest parts of the earth – stones – to gain insight into a life question. Participants will experience how the natural world can serve as spiritual advisor.

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Fostering Nature Connections and Joy as a Resilience Strategy     – Tina Fields

Along with structural alternatives, psychological and spiritual resilience need to be cultivated in order to effectively meet the enormous challenges and coming changes posed by climate change. Allowing the feelings that arise to be recognized and flow though us is a key element – both the harder feelings of pain, fear, anger and denial, and also the joy and mysteries of being alive at this time. In this workshop, participants will have the opportunity to express their feelings about the situation of climate change, and to explore their own deep and abiding connection with the more-than-human world.

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I’m especially delighted that two of my former students will be attending, and one, Catherine Phillips, will assist with the Stones as Mentors workshop.

Hope to see you there!

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Anthropology of Consciousness July 5, 2016

“Huge thank you to Tina Fields the 2016 SAC keynote address for her talk, ‘I am He as You are He as You are Me, and We are All Together’ — Fostering Ecopsychological Relationship with Place.  Here is a snippet from an interview at Naropa University in 2012 on culture, consciousness, and conditioned assumptions about reality.”

That was reblogged from the Society for the Anthropology of Consciousness (SAC)’s Open Access blog. It was a great honor to serve as their Keynote speaker.

If you are interested in exploring issues of consciousness with a group of very smart, kind interdisciplinary thinkers who look at wild topics with both rigor and open-minded humor, SAC may be the group for you.

The interview they spoke of follows below. I’m posting it here for the first time on my own blog (what a concept!) Perhaps you’ll like it too.

Source: SAC in 2016