“What am I creating? What am I adding to? Am I adding deep, unconditional love for self and others that is so healing or polarization, aggression, violence?” Pema Chodron
These questions reverberate in my mind, my heart, and being on a regular basis. What am I doing to create conditions for the full scale of life to thrive? What indeed does the full scale of life look like since, at present, I am a manifestation of life in the anthropocene, with its tumultuous precarity and indeterminacy? Anna Tsing
“The anthropocene has transformed earth from a system of potentially legible signs to an avalanche of ambiguous symptoms.” Karen Jacobs
And what of my own cosmology and blind spots am I unknowingly embodying while at the same time being conscious of the vastness of humanity over time and space; all of which conspired to create little old me?
Cultural Blindness: the ability to see other cultures and worldviews but difficulty of seeing and hearing the culture that whispers in your ear. Scott Nine
Can I peer out over the bow of the kayak and perceive the waves rising and falling and become as confident about my ability to affect a relationship with the waves as I am confident the waves will affect me? But why do I doubt that the waves receive me? What are they whispering to me that I cannot yet hear? The waves aren’t me and I am not the waves, this is my native cosmology. Humans and nature are separate, this has been my belief, one passed through generations of people in dominion over nature. Even as my logical brain has told me otherwise, the whispers have persisted. Some of the whispers are quieting.
Others are amplifying, “I wonder how it leads you to think about reciprocity- you beginning to become more deeply involved with the waves AND the waves becoming more deeply involved with you.” asks Two Trees in response to my Kernel.
“Doubt creeps in when we are aware what others might say and think, doubt creeps in when standing outside of self and assessing. When I don’t doubt, don’t question how it will be received, I can go with it.”Omi Jones
So I return inward, and outward and centered. I can glimpse, sense, touch with my energy a centering. A fullness that nudges and leaves no room for the aggressions, violence, voices of self-doubt. And leaves me believing in not only my capacity for love, but the world’s (what world? The world of microscopic lichens etching away at the exposed ancient bedrock to the dividing of the universe as it creates another to love.)
And I am reminded of Corina’s words in her dialogue post. “Ultimate center for me is when I get to me be my most authentic self with someone who is also being their authentic self.”
Relationship. Being my most authentic self with someone or thing that is also their most authentic self. Creating conditions for each to be just that. Co-creating an authentic leadership practice which honors both other humans and more than humans and nature as well.
“ How people enter into and hold space is more important than process mechanics.” Scott Nine
“Mutually alert care and attention to the well being of all people and ecological systems. This kind of leadership cannot be found in individuals, but rather between them. It cannot be found
in organizations, nations, religions, or institutions, but rather between them.” Nora Bateson
Relationships between each other: assemblages of beings, ideas, and creations that are more than the sum of their parts. When practicing relationship being more interested in new understandings than being right. Listening feels different when listening for new understandings rather than being right.
And what of the world around us is that is literally on fire, the world around us that wobbles, and feels unbalanced with no promise of stability? What is there to lean into to return to center? What if precarity, indeterminacy and what we imagine as trivial are the center of the systemacity we seek?
Yet the earth doesn’t need saving, it is humans that need to consider their own salvation. As Dr. LeRoy Little Bear explains, the world is in constant flux. And Fritjof Capra explains, “Emergence is the generation of forms that are constantly new. And renewing.”
According to Hopi spiritual prophecy it is understood that the world has been through three transformations. The first three transformations involved systemic cataclysms: earthquake, freezing, and flood. And here we are on the verge of a fourth cataclysm, of human creation. The Hopi understand that the world is now at the divergence of two paths.
There are two paths. The first with technology but separate from natural and spiritual law leads to these jagged lines representing chaos. The lower path is one that remains in harmony with natural law. Here we see a line that represents a choice like a bridge joining the paths. If we return to spiritual harmony and live from our hearts, we can experience a paradise in this world. If we continue only on this upper path, we will come to destruction. Thomas Banyacya
I return to the waves, to the water, to the ripples that extend outward and spiral and return to center to be renewed once again and affect all that is. For it is my own inner work, (a thread that carries me across the expanse of the water, relationships, and time) that will change the world and ripple out beyond my own understandings. And be in service of humanity on the lower path.
..tasting stillness and knowing it was medicine.I imagine there are times when that lake is absolutely still… it is just completely still and reflects everything around it clearly. And there are times when the wind rustles the water and images in the lake become fractured, and you can’t see things so clearly. So the practice in essence, is about creating an internal experience of stillness where you’re able to perceive in a very vivid, clear non-dual way.” Joan Halifax
Sources of Inspiration and Works Cited
Banyacya, Thomas. An Address: The Hopi Prophecy. The Alpha Institute. http://www.welcomehome.org/rainbow/prophecy/hopi.html
Bateson, Nora. “ Liminal Leadership,” Kosmos Journal. Lenox, MA. Fall – Winter 2017http://www.kosmosjournal.org/article/liminal-leadership/
Capra, Fritjof. “Creativity and Leadership in Learning Communities,” Center for Ecoliteracy. Berkeley, CA. April 18, 1997 http://nextreformation.com/wp-admin/resources/creativity.pdf
Chodron, Pema. “What to do When You Lose it Completely.” Video. https://youtu.be/asRKEXq-Y3g
Halifax, Joan. “Buoyancy Rather than Burnout in Our Lives.” On Being. Podcast. October 12, 2017 https://onbeing.org/programs/joan-halifax-buoyancy-rather-than-burnout-in-our-lives-oct2017/
Jacobs, Karen. “The New Geomancy,” Minding Nature Journal. September 2017, Volume 10, Number 3. https://www.humansandnature.org/Minding-Nature-the-new-geomancy
Jones, Omi. MSLS Zoom Session. Module 4, Creating Conditions. October 17, 2017.
Little Bear, LeRoy Indigenous Knowledge and Western Science. You Tube. https://youtu.be/gJSJ28eEUjI
Tsing, Anna. “The Art of Noticing,” Mushroom at the End of the World (Princeton, NJ, Princeton University Press, 2015)