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Connection May-June 09
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“How can you develop your states of consciousness if you are dedicating more time to your neuroses than to your own life force energy? How much time do you pay attention to your anxiety, to your personal importance, to your internal dialog and your preoccupations? Who is feeding the eagle and the wolf and the mountain lion [the wildness] within you?" –Americo Yabar

“My heart is moved by all I cannot save. So much has been destroyed. I have to cast my lot with those who, age after age, perversely, with no extraordinary power, reconstitute the world.” --Adrienne Rich



Often I invite students in my classes to lie on the earth within my Medicine Wheel, letting all their heaviness fall away and allowing the earth to feed and renew them. It is amazing to watch. People sink deeper and deeper into connection. I see all these beautiful bodies received and held by the Mother. Each person looks comforted; no one wants to get up. Last time this happened, I thought, “Maybe we should have a whole day where we just lie on the earth, we all need it so much!”

The Urgency of Connection

So many people want deeper connections with nature, but keep putting it off, letting the demands of their lives take over!

Yet this is a time of great urgency. There is no time to lose as we finally address global warming, the decline of resources, crises in health and food supply and global economies. There is no time to lose as we learn tools and strategies to address everything from global grief and fear to personal lifestyle sustainability. There is no time to lose in shifting our habits and awareness! Yet we cannot do any of this until we feel connected and embedded in the web of life.

How do We Make Time?

How do we create a spaciousness that allows deeper connection, feeds our souls, and lets us live and work more easily?

Try using the rhythms of breath.

Breathe with the rhythm of the sea. Breathe with the heartbeat of the earth. Breathe with your child or your partner, synchronizing your in-breath with their out-breath, your out-breath with their in-breath, and continue breathing together—it’s an amazing experience!

All these breathing practices create a deep sense of spaciousness, connection, and renewal. Time and space open, and nothing feels as time constrained.

Try opening your heart.

Look with love into someone’s eyes. Step into gratitude for all that is. Laugh in pure joy.

All these heart practices shift our energy, our anxiety, and our compulsion. As Brother David Stendal Rast says, "The remedy for exhaustion is not rest, but wholeheartedness."

Try engaging more deeply in any spiritual practice.

Yoga, meditation, dance, chi gong, hiking with awareness, and so on--any practices we do without striving, and with presence -- seem to “stop” time and open us into other dimensions. From this place, everything becomes more spacious. We wake up!

Be still in nature, observing.

Lie on the ground or in a hammock, studying the trees and sky. Sit in a garden, watching plants and creatures interact. Sit by a stream, observing all the living beings in that ecosystem. Invite a child to join you.

Do not just read this, and keep racing to the next item on your list! Try these, practice them. Before writing this newsletter, I do just these kinds of practices. I have learned the hard way: if I do not slow down and create some internal spaciousness to understand what is really important to say each month, my thoughts and writing are unfocused and unclear—and it takes me four times as long to compose the newsletter!

Questions I Ask

Once we’ve created more spaciousness, it is useful to pose and hold some questions:

What is really important?

What are my true connections?

Are my actions today helping me move along my true path? If not, what is one thing I can do right now to return to my deeper purpose?

Our Brains and Our Intention

Our brains cannot distinguish between thought and action, recall and imagination, or past and future! Electrochemical processes begin in the body as soon as any one of these occur, but the body literally does not know which is which. As William C. Gough says, "...brain research has shown that people have the capacity to affect the electrochemical dynamics of their brains by changing the nature of their mind process. Change your thoughts and you change your brain; change your brain and you change your feelings."

What this means for intention is huge. It gives power to what we envision and dream. It means that the collective power of intention affects the global consciousness as much as a collective action.

An old Navajo story I like illustrates this point with metaphor:

A Navaho grandfather was talking to his grandson about how he felt. The grandfather said, " I feel as if I have two wolves fighting in my heart. One wolf is the vengeful, angry, violent one. The other wolf is the loving, compassionate one."

The grandson asked him, "Which wolf will win the fight in your heart?"

The grandfather replied, "The one I feed."


Our yearning to connect is a portal into possibility. It is a gift. And as someone said, “our ache to transform is a potent blessing.”

So: what consciousness are you feeding? What connections are you feeding? We so often say “I’ll get to that state of awareness later”—but what if we shift our attention and intention right now to a peaceful moment, a moment of harmony, a state of connection? What if we keep on shifting all day long?

As the solstice nears—the time of longest days in the Northern hemisphere—I invite you to deepen you connection and expand the light within, mirroring the light that surrounds us!

An invitation: Send your paradigm-shifting, inspiring stories to us. We'd like to include your experiences in the newsletter!

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