Dreaming OurSelves Awake

I’ve launched an online shop where you can purchase greeting cards and my book:
Ode to GaiaCalling Forth our Imaginal Selves. If you just want inspiration, feel free to browse, both poetry and images in abundance. https://www.deborahmiltonarts.com

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Tipping Point

Are we there yet?

Seriously, I’m asking: Have we arrived at the Tipping Point?

How much more can the planet take, can we people endure, before it’s bad enough that we
STOP in our tracks,
LOOK at each other,
LISTEN to what Earth is telling us and
ASK, sincerely, “What’s the next chapter in our human story? How do we want to live?”

I think there’s a song. I can hear the melody and these words in my head anyway.
“I’ve been waiting, waiting, waiting. I’ve been waiting so long…”

Well, I’m tired of waiting …

Please oh please humans, let Corona Virus be our tipping point. I’ve been waiting since I was a kid back in the 1940’s, seriously. When WWII ended, five weeks shy of my sixth birthday, despite my parents’ jubilation, I knew that victory was complicated and that death/atrocities/and bombs beyond-our-wildest-imaginings were co-conspirators with “winning”. How could I be happy ‘midst so much suffering?

I’m tired of wars that inspire retribution. I’m tired of injustices – all kinds – everywhere. I’m tired of treating all other life forms – even the dead ones like coal and oil – as if their only reason for being is to provide for us humans. I’m so tired of feeling the anguish of the wild creatures who have no refuge. I’m tired of seeing the beauty of our world destroyed by fracking and mountain top removal and destruction of wetlands and dumping our waste in the ocean and industries’ effluent in the rivers. I’m tired of fouling our air with toxins, even radioactive debris, I’m tired tired tired of hearing the forests cry out in agony as yet another old growth stand is lopped down and another salmon stream degraded.

You do remember that our breathing depends on trees, along with vast, healthy expanses of plankton in the ocean. You do remember that don’t you?

I’m tired of hearing about another glacier disappearing.  Have you ever been in an ice cave in the belly of a glacier? I have and the memory of awe courses through me, bringing a sparkle to my eye even now as I type to you in this moment. I’m tired of beauty being destroyed in a matter of minutes, when life itself took 4 billion years to create this beauty on this small planet in this universe populated by huge numbers of galaxies other than our own.

I’m tired of hearing that yet another friend has cancer, that the war on cancer is closer to finding a vaccine or a more precise chemotherapy. Why are we not looking at the causes? Hasn’t it occurred to anyone that a toxic world cannot support healthy bodies? Why are we not targeting the pesticides, the fertilizers, the degraded nutritional value of our mass produced food?

Why why why.

I’m tired. So tired.

I am tired of death dealing being our way of living – at least in the culture called the USA. I am tired of the loss of reverence for the miracle that is life on this planet, the billions of years of spontaneous, complexifying, creation that brought us here to this moment.

Please humanity, let Corona virus be our wake up call, the alarm clock jangling us out of torpor and drugged sleep.

Despite technology, we are NOT in control of life. Something more mysterious, more spontaneous, more complex than we can imagine is in charge here. Technology is a great gift when used with grace and wisdom.  But do we really want to clone life? Do we really want artificial intelligence thinking for itself? Do we really want to live in plastic bubbles with capsules for food?

Don’t you love being in a body?  If not, why not? Don’t you love the sensuousness of tasting real food while immersed in stimulating conversation?  Laughing so hard with friends or family that tears stream down your cheeks?  Smelling the perfumes of gardens and forests? Feeling the wind ruffle your hair and your body heat up on a cold day when you’re running a few miles? Singing, dancing, creating, sexing, learning, exploring, challenging, living your passionate purpose, hearing the peal of kids’ laughter, soothing a friend in tears – this list could be much longer, but I’m curious what’s in yours?
What makes you love being alive in a body?

Have you ever experienced awe? If not, why not?

Have you ever experienced ecstasy, and I don’t mean the drug? If not, why not? Where have you been?

How about wonder – that jaw dropping exhilaration of being confronted by the mystery in which our lives are embedded, of witnessing the birth of a child, of seeing beauty beyond human capacity to create. If you haven’t gasped with wonder, why not? What have you been doing instead?

One of my favorite philosophers, sad to say he’s died, Bruce Wilshire, wrote a powerful book: Wild Hunger – Primal Roots of Modern Addiction. He concluded his book with these three words repeated twice!

Awe undermines addiction.

Awe undermines addiction!

Corona’s power awes me! The virus has stopped life as we have known it, giving us time to choose a new story for how we want to live, and suddenly, I’m wide awake with possibility!

 

 

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Bear with Me

 

Not a boulder, the dark lump on a tree stump moves. A napping baby bear stretches, oozes off the stump and slides upright on all fours. A hundred feet off to the left, a black shape trembles the yellowing leaves on the forest understory. A mother bear materializes near our driveway as I and my two dogs, mother and son watch from the safety of the house.

Mother bear has returned “empty-handed” at a time when fattening up is required.  After greeting each other, she and her child disappear to forage farther afield. I’m a little disappointed that they leave so quickly.

A quiet hour later, I let mother and son dogs out into their yard protected with 4” square wire mesh called hog fencing. My quietude quickly erupts with vociferous barking…ratta tat tat ratta tat tat…My house, my yard, my human, my food. . .

The bear family stands in the driveway.

Ratta tat tat ratta tat tat…Mother and son keep up the racket.

Mother bear startles…considers and comes to a decision. Her kid needs food.

My baby, my baby.

She speaks to her child who sits down and stays put. Mother bear moves deliberately down the drive toward my four-legged kids, mother and son.

My babies, my babies.

Mother and son bark ‘n’ bark ‘n’ bark some more. Mother’s lips curl revealing teeth. Son’s back hair spikes.

My babies, my babies… Mother dog and her son barking and barking. I watch safe behind glass as mother bear slowly proceeds down the driveway. No gun, thank god, but if only I had a gun, thank god I don’t, who would I be if I did, but if only…what to do what to do. Fragile wire fence my kids’ only protection. Mother bear closer – baby bear still watching from where s/he’s been told to stay. I surrender. I have to do something. I get a metal pot and a wooden spoon and open the door, step out onto the porch. Not sure I want to add to the racket as I watch the mother bear advance. Trust. I want to trust. I want to witness the unfolding of life before my eyes, I want to spread love and peace and compassion and justice and harmony and plenty of food for all and shelter and safety and all the things we’ve ever dreamt about for our babies, my babies, his babies, her babies.

Mother bear now sees me outside. She hesitates…then resumes her steady pace, barking dogs and all.

I cannot bang the pot. I will not add to the din.

Closer she comes.

Mother and son slow the pace of their cacophony.

Inches away now.

With every fiber of my being, I send compassion to all parents who want to feed their children.

Mother bear closes in. Baby bear still watches from the top of the driveway.
Mother and son stop barking.

Mother bear stretches toward the wire fence.

Mother dog reaches back.

Through a four inch square of open space, their noses touch.

Restraint.                      Curiosity.                     Kinship.

“Hello Mother, I see you.”

She glances up. She recognizes me as I nod my head slightly to her.

Son dog turns away, climbs the porch steps and walks toward me where I stand near the door.

Mother bear takes a step or two backward.

Mother dog turns and walks the fence line as if no great thing has just happened.

Mother bear turns away and ambles back up the drive to her still hungry babe.

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A Change of Heart – prelude

I devoted the first weekend in May to participating in the first Global Earth Repair Conference in Port Townsend, WA. The many speakers from all over the planet lit a fire in me.  I literally experienced being one of hundreds of Imaginal Selves moving forward shoulder to shoulder as Shane Koyczan so eloquently raps about in his seven minute video,  “Shoulders”. Together hundreds of us experienced being among like minded others all standing for,  speaking for, singing, dancing, laughing and crying for a new way of being a modern human.

We live during the first time in the evolvement of our species when we can experience a whole brain – left and right hemispheres working in tandem at last – as well as a brain that is inextricable from the body’s brain. I call this bodymind. What glorious potential. But we have to choose to explore those possibilities. We have to choose to regain our capacities to listen to the rest of the world around us.

And we can.

 In fact we must.

And we must RE-MEMBER now, not next year, but NOW… We must remember our indebtedness to the complex web of life that weaves our ecosystems, which connects to all our other ecosystems, ad infinitum, and behave accordingly…Science makes it clear we have to change our lifestyles NOW or we perish with all the other millions of life forms who can no longer rebound from our assaults.

Spirit makes it clear HOW we need to live…
curb our desire to own belongings when all we want to do is belong,
honor our inherent creativity and give gifts of our beautiful selves back to the world, get out of our heads and drop into our hearts,
step back, listen, pray, witness, follow,
support the natural cycles of everything else living,
stop – STOP our attempts to manage nature but instead manage ourselves.

It’s hard for us modern, urban humans to experience humility, to be grateful, to move gently and with respect for the others who know how to be in their habitat.

TODAY, walking with my precious adult children, my elder son and my daughter in law, parents to two grandsons now 14 and nearly 18, who will be inheriting the earth I leave behind, TODAY as we walked on a beach on the island where we live, an eagle’s shadow graced us. We looked up. Less than six feet above us, an eagle clearly on a mission flew directly out toward the seven miles of water between us and the mainland. His steady wing beat suggested purpose as did his straight trajectory. My son thought he was headed toward that distant mainland, but as we watched, maybe two or three football fields out from shore, the bird suddenly plummeted, kicked up a frothy splash, and rose again, heading straight back to the beach on which we stood. As it flew above us again, I couldn’t see that it held anything but I knew it did. Sure enough, it landed on the top of a nearby tree and after looking at us, looking around, then back to us standing on the beach far beneath him or her, it began to eat.

Such eyesight. Such timing. Such knowing. Such clarity of purpose. No wasted energy.

Listing those qualities reminds me of tracks in the snow. Hiking in snow when I lived in Montana with my two dogs, we crossed  coyote’s tracks. His or her tracks caught my attention, so different were they from my domesticated canines. My dogs frolicked – nosing around, zigging & zagging in their playful curiosity, not hunting for food, with purpose or survival in their awareness – but for fun. Their tracks were a hodge-podge.  Paws of coyote left a single-minded line, straight as an arrow with hind paws falling into the depressions made by the leading paws, wasting nothing, clearly moving with intent.

Witnessing wild purpose humbles me, drops me into my heart with awe.

And I wonder how our culture would change if we knew our own wild purpose?

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The Urgency and The Promise

Tears slide down my cheeks this morning as my body absorbs the enormity of what my eyes see. Short and tall, spindly and plump, young and old, cedars are dead. DEAD. Like a cancer patient losing his hair, bald cedars are everywhere I look in this small patch of rain foresty forest in the Pacific North West of the continental United States of America.

I walk in this small forest almost every day and it’s been less than a year since the cedars began dropping like flies, like bees, like birds, like microbes, like fungi, like panda bears, like tigers and sea turtles and slugs and butterflies and penquins and seals and ice.

Oh the loss of ice weighs heavily on my heart. I lived in Montana for thirty years and grew to know Glacier National Park fairly well. When we moved there in 1980 there may have been as many as 70 glaciers and now there are 7.  ( I can’t find the actual numbers quickly enough to be confident it was 70 and 7 but the idea is accurate. ) It is estimated that those few will all be gone in a decade.

 

Our planet is dying and I witness it daily. My heart breaks open wider and wider and the tears tumble readily for the innocence and ignorance of modern, urban humans who keep living as if we have endless tomorrows.

WE HUMANS KNOW NOT WHAT WE DO! That’s a line in my book, Ode To Gaia: Calling Forth our Imaginal Selves, as well as the title of a new, sensitive and beautiful movie which can be found on Netflix. Please check on both of them.

“Our Planet Is Just as Alive as We Are.”  Whoop whoop… At last the truth is OUT!  I’ve known it since childhood. Bet you have too! You may have forgotten as an adult but your bones remember, your organs and sinews and cells remember. Main stream media, the New York Times, has finally announced this truth a few weeks ago as the headline for an article by Ferris Jabr . “We and all living creatures are not just inhabitants of Earth, we are Earth – an outgrowth of its physical structure and an engine of its global cycles…” writes Jabr. He quotes biologist Lynn Margulis: …”Earth’s surface has been alive for at least 3,000 million years.”

Those 3,000 millions of years of life are puny numbers compared to the billions that preceded it as our globe went through endless iterations of  its rocky fiery being-ness.  We humans are babies in the big scheme of living species, only been around 200,000 thousand years or so, a proverbial eyeblink of time.

These simple truths should make us humans fall to our knees with gratitude, humility and awe. And a desire to listen, to listen and observe and learn from the land on which we live.

Only six miles – maybe seven – of atmosphere protects us from the endlessly- everexpanding ( not all scientists agree on expansion ) –atmosphereless- infinitevastness of the universe. That’s a very thin layer of protection, less than a ten minute drive on an interstate in Montana.

Think about the enormity of that fact.

Let it go deep inside you, beyond your intellect to land in the belly where wisdom resides, to find a home in the heart where compassion thrives.

Acknowledge the miracle of our planetary home and everything changes.

Here I’m paraphrasing Jabr: Earth births zillions of organisms that ceaselessly devour, transfigure and replenish its air, water and rock …those creatures and their physical environments evolve in tandem, so shouldn’t we think of our planet as alive?
Humans are the brain – the consciousness of the planet. We are Earth made aware of itself…(and) only we can choose to help keep Earth alive.

Only we can choose to help keep Earth ALIVE…powerful words for me and relate to the new year long program that Kathryn Lafond and I have just begun.

Called Choice PointFalling in Love with Belonging to Earth, we will build community as we explore personal, transformative possibilities and consider how we can contribute to our culture’s evolution. You can actually read more about it on this blog by perusing the most recent previous posts. Easy peasy…Contact me if you’d like to know more: deborahmltn@gmail.com.

 

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Choosing to Have No Choice

“All our lives depend on how we choose to live.” 

So begins a blog post from many years ago. It’s no wonder that Choice PointFalling in Love with Belonging to Earth is the title of Kathryn Lafond’s and my new course. Actually I haven’t had to make a choice about how I live for most of my adulthood. Early on, I made a decision to live by my heart’s yearning and my soul’s integrity. Not always an easy path but one of rich being-ness.  I love and trust and that’s about it. No choice. I have to say it makes life a lot easier. ( Note the paradox…easy/not always easy – both are true ) Certainly, I stumble but I also remember quickly that the heart guides me. Picking myself up and dusting off aren’t a big deal.

 

In 1994 when I was working with Felicitas Goodman, Ph.D.,( www.cuyamungueinstitute.com ) the anthropologist who discovered Ritual Body Postures and Ecstatic Trance, ( I call them Ecstatic Wisdom Postures ), I experienced a vision that relates to choosing and still inspires me:

I see black and white Kachinas dancing in the center of a circle. Suddenly a tiny orange and red Kachina leaps into the middle   I wonder where the women are.  I find them off to the side, standing in a circle dressed in black shrouds as they help a woman give birth.

Suddenly I see through the eyes of one of the black and white Kachinas. I feel one very large tear sliding down my left cheek. I know it is blue. As I swing my head from side to side, I see the desecrated earth and the green beautiful earth and I hear the kachina chant, “You choose, you choose, you choose.”

Then the animals come spilling through, their eyes peering out of the rainforest, watching us, wondering if we will choose with their well-being in mind as well as  our own.  A huge heart rises in the midst of the circle of dancers.  I see its wounds and also know that it is healing itself.  A river of green slashes through the heart, carrying compassion and love energy and spilling green all over the earth.  I see that the green river has opened the heart so I can see the texture of its interior.  I am shocked to see it is the same texture as that of the molten “hole-y” rocks I saw yesterday in the Jemez Mountains.  I wonder if our heart’s interior simply mirrors the earth outside our bodies, if all our bodies’ parts and functions reflect the earth outside us.

Can that be right?
Is the earth really outside us?
Maybe, instead, the earth is ourselves turned inside out.

Inside Out

 

That refrain: “You choose, you choose, you choose,” has echoed in me ever since. I’m glad to have lived long enough now to know that admonishment is heard by many all around the globe. It is in our human hands to influence the course of life’s history on the planet. And if we choose to believe that “the earth is ourselves turned inside out,” we will recognize more readily how our well-being, personally and collectively, is inextricably intertwined with the earth’s well-being.

I long for all the children of the world – and I don’t mean just human children – to experience a sensuous, complex and interconnecting world in which life thrives and beauty abounds to fill the soul.

Don’t you?

stories ODE to Gaia (598x800)

 

We all can contribute to these great and auspicious turning times: the grand awakening of humans to the fact that we are all indigenous to this planet. We are embedded in a living world, an eairth from which we are inextricable. Maybe we can help each remember a greater gladness than acquisition of limited resources – the birth of camaraderie and communal playfulness, cooperative, creative challenges and ecstatic experiences, soul-filled communion and the spirit of laughter shared, loving and relating, . .“the rapture of being alive” as Joseph Campbell said. We have an opportunity to tell new stories. Stories that are fun-damental, perma-cultural guides to living on this globe, finding the grace in suffering, the humor in pathos, the joy in grief and comfort with the paradoxical, uncontrollable nature of all of it.

Don’t you want to choose to join Kathryn and me in this year long adventure to meet your own no choice but to Fall in Love with Belonging to Earth?

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Choice Point another pov

Falling in Love with Belonging to Earth is the subtitle for the year long course Choice Point beginning on Saturday March 9th 2019. Co-facilitated by my esteemed friend,Kathryn Lafond, she and I began dreaming of teaching an in depth, year long course two years ago, but our lives then couldn’t make room for that possibility. Now the time is right and we’re GOING for IT.
Orca Love

Kathryn says:  My work in the past few years has been to re-examine my understanding of the Web of Life to be all-inclusive. Meaning – as a human I am part of the circle itself; life doesn’t exist merely to fulfill human need.

Handcestral Wisdom (590x800)

 

As “Community” is yet another name for the Web of Life, I look forward to dancing joyfully in communion and community with each one of you who joins us.

I am eager to dig deep into exploring our inter- and intra-dependence with our ancient Mother Earth and to leave separation consciousness behind. Too often the shadow side of life has been holding us in anxious criticism rather than joyful expression; in dissonance rather than harmonic resonance.

I believe its time to recalibrate head, heart, body, soul, humanity, and Nature by building bridges between our mundane activities and the vast wisdom of the cosmos. To remember the sacred in doing the laundry and dishes as well as answering heartfelt prayers.

Intrepid Companions


The sacred nature of All that Is yearns to be known.
Are we willing to take the time?
Say Yes, Ohhhh Please say YES!

Once we can articulate what we stand for we can BE the work we came here to Be – We can take action. Both linear and non-linear thinking is required to take us to new planes of existence; to understand and awaken our earth consciousness.

And once that doorway is open can you imagine
‘What a wonderful world this will be?!’

For more about Kathryn: https://kathrynlafond.com/

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