On my most recent birthday, I flew to San Jose, California for a 9-day Regenerative Leadership and Permaculture Design course. I went to learn about permaculture. This was a word I first heard when I was a senior at the University of Michigan in an Eco-Philosophy course taught by Henryk Skolimowski, back in the spring of 1990. At the time, I had a faint idea that maybe it had something to do with farming the permafrost. But, of course, I was wrong. Still, all these years later, I had little idea what permaculture was, just some recurring sense that it was related to the things I am interested in. So, I decided to write a book about it in order to have a reason to dedicate myself to learning about it. Fifty pages into my novel, I flew off to learn about this topic that was calling me – and, I quickly realized that I was in exactly the right place at the right time. Permaculture was essentially a word that could be linked to every thought I’ve had since that Eco-Philososphy course with Henryk.
But even more surprising than finding that I was already at home with permaculture was some of the things I remembered while I was in California that I had long ago forgotten. I have mostly worked alone over the past nine years, with very little feedback on who I am or what I do and so it is always instructive for me to be immersed in a group for any period of time. On top of that, the course concluded with two days of facilitation by Samantha Sweetwater, who helped us know things through movement and meditation and reflection more than through direct instruction. Her smile and her energy were a true gift.
The following is a list of things I wrote to myself on the plane home the day after the course concluded. They are things I think I have known – at least on some level – before, but they are things that are also easily forgotten. I did not want to forget them again and so wrote them down as a permanent reminder. I have tried to have regular contact with this list in the month that I have been home so as to keep the ideas fresh in my mind.
The first thing on the list was remembered while we were meditating on a mountain in Los Altos in late afternoon, sitting on the ground in an oak grove. The light was golden, and it reminded me strongly of the light I photographed this Japonese Acacia tree at Versailles in in October. I need to thank Samantha for providing the meditation space for this memory to come to me, as well as my post-meditation partner Charolett Knapic who smiled and patiently asked, and re-asked, the question, “Why are you here?” while tears streamed down my face and I struggled to find the words to answer. I must also thank Danielle Koppel for the series of conversations several winters ago that led to the articulation of the idea that I am here to hold light. Without those conversations, this meditation might have led me somewhere else completely. And, of course, I must thank the trees, and the sunlight, and the mountain and all of the Life that dwells upon it.
20 Things I Remembered While Sitting Amongst the Trees
at Hidden Villa in Mountain View California
February 25, 2013
1. I was born onto this planet at this time because I truly love this place and I want to be here to hold light and spark the transformation needed to preserve the abundance and diversity of life on this planet.
2. I came here to hold light. Therefore, my presence here is all that is required of me. To be here. To be open. To be present. To witness.
3. If I can learn how to BE HERE, perhaps that will be the support others need to be able to learn to be here, too.
4. I am a passionate, articulate, visual, integrated, multi-talented soul with plenty of time in which to create. My life is Yes. My life is Both-And.
5. I do not need to create the one, perfect project (life’s work) to be able to use all of my talents and passions. Because my life is Both-And, I can create a fulfilling, effective, wildly passionate and creative life by pursuing several projects that move me deeply. I may need to pursue these projects in a serial rather than a simultaneous manner in order to achieve excellence and effectiveness.
6. Excellence and effectiveness are two of the core values I want to embrace. These are not to be confused with Perfection, however, which is a brake rather than a catalyst.
7. Moving my body expressively – not just for exercise – is essential to my well-being. As with yoga, dance and creative, expressive movement clear chakras and energy centers and flow joy through my being.
8. A huge part of my knowing lives in my third chakra, at the top of my belly. It is crucial that I keep this chakra clear and open and moving energy.
9. In the past, I have used food inappropriately to numb my full awareness. The upshot has been that I have piled weight, fat, and poisons on top of my third chakra to limit its ability to respond to my environment and communicate important information to the other parts of me who have been driving the ship.
10. To keep all of my chakras, but especially my third, open and clear and fully capable, I must not only move expressively, but also eat a diet that supports the full well-being of my body.
11. I am ready to commit to dramatically reducing or eliminating the most poisonous foods in my diet. These include high fructose corn syrup, sugar, fatty foods, and animal flesh.
12. I am willing and able to commit to greatly reducing my consumption of cheese, eggs, and dairy products to improve my well-being, reduce the planetary impacts of cow and chicken production, and to support my ability to co-create with all beings on this planet.
13. If I hope to re-animate the world for others, I must also re-animate it for myself. One way to do this is to recognize each being I encounter and appreciate its being-ness and power. Therefore, I am cultivating a practice of gratitude for the food I eat.
14. If I truly hope to co-create a new reality with all of the world’s beings, it would be best if I adopted a completely vegan diet.
15. As I move through my days, it is important that I take time to speak to animals, plants, and water in joyful recognition of each being’s innate beauty, power, and intelligence.
16. I am in the process of deepening my energy healing practices and am filled with the intention to give Reiki to myself and my family daily, as well as to share it as fully as I am able with all whom I encounter.
17. I breathe into my life and experience an abundance of all that I need, especially an abundance of time and energy to create and experience in the most satisfying ways.
18. I am powerful. I can hold huge visions with integrity.
19. I am fully capable of creating anything and everything I imagine. Therefore, I will imagine and create excellent things and experiences.
20. I am enough. I am ready. I am beautiful because I am Life and Life is innately beautiful, enough, and always seeking and maximizing opportunity.
♥ ♥ ♥
Do any of those things resonate with you?
Can you create a space in which you can get enough distance from the pull of your every day life to remind yourself of who you truly are and what you need to remember? A few moments might be all you need.