Celebrate Life

Every day should be Earth Day!  Without Earth, …well I can’t even imagine that void…can you?

Life is precious. Life is a miracle. Life is the best!
Because we’re sharing it, experiencing it, belonging to it –
the lows and the highs, the fears and the faith, the love and the laughter, the light and the shadow.

We make meaning of our experiences by telling our stories. We’re at a tipping point right now when we need to choose consciously the stories we want to tell our great grandchildren.

A story I want to remember is how in the first quarter of the 21st Century, we urbanized humans suddenly woke up from a long slumber. . Not because of a kiss from a prince but because the wind whispered like an alarm:
Come Celebrate! Join the party of life before you miss it.

I’ve recently committed my time and energy to an organization envisioned in 2016 by Stephanie Mines, a specialist in trauma recovery. It’s called Climate Change and Consciousness. At the celebration of their anniversary on Earth Day last week, I was privileged to be one of three keynote speakers. I joined dedicated activists and founders of their own programs, Rosalinda Visolela Namises from Namibia and Sue Lenox from Australia. The event was titled: Crisis and Courage and I chose to focus my talk on Fear and Doubt because crisis and courage depend on those two companions. Here’s a link to the whole event. If you want to watch my talk, which includes photographs of me as a younger Self as well as a liberal scattering of paintings, scroll to minute 17 or so.

As we face continued catastrophes on our tiny globe, we know we need to change our old stories. And that means
honoring our doubts and choosing to move toward the unknown future despite our fears in the moment.
Happily I can report that befriending fear and embracing doubt weave their way throughout our blessing classes.
Kathryn Lafond and I invite you to join us as we embark on another round of the
Forgotten Power of Blessing beginning next week, May 4th
As you know from your own experience, our culture needs therapy. We’ve lost our moral compass.
On the personal level, we’ve lost our own personal authority, our inner crap detector, our sense of belonging, our awe and wonder for life – all these precious aspects of being have been tarnished so badly we may feel helpless, lost in the thicket.
The Forgotten Power of Blessing provides both a reliable map for living into compassionate clarity
and a key for opening the door to home. AND by wholing ourselves we heal our culture.

Join us by signing up with me: Deborahmltn@gmail.com or Kathryn Lafond at kelafond@gmail.com

Here’s more information about learning the Practice of Blessing in our four session introduction.

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Tune In

Elly and I have arrived at the root clogged ground where we make our nature art in honor of the new and full moons. The earth is soaked, our shoulders and hair damp from the moisture dripping trees, the sky heavy with oxford gray. But here we are on this inclement full moon day at the end of January 2021. I feel like a guest at a supper party. I want to give something back to the earth, our hostess, who provides a table groaning with abundance.

The gift we can provide as humans is creating something from nothing because creating is one of the gifts of our species. Creativity lies at our essential core, but as modern people we have been taught that only the rare few can claim to be creative. Hogwash. From the moment we are born we are co-creating with our world.

 For the last few months, Elly and I have been giving back by making time to create visual art out of the materials nature provides right where we stand: pebbles, twigs, fallen leaves in all the shades of autumn, dead grasses. We add simple things from home on occasion – spent match sticks from lighting prayer candles, crumbled bits of sage from my smudge stick, grains of honored corn meal…

Usually we make a circle with an identifiable center, a simple mandala.

The process is spontaneous and intuitive. Standing side by side, we close our eyes and fall silent, listening for guidance on how to begin. Breathing quiet questions into the invisible field of life force all around us: Who am I in this moment? For what do I pray? For what do I yearn? What does the world need from me now here?

I listen.

She listens.

We wait in silence.

Then a few words flow of blessing, gratitude, prayer. We shake small rattles. I ask for guidance from the ancestors of this place, ask for vision from the beings all around us – the plants, the trees, the creatures both seen and heard and those who are not, ask the energy of the cosmos coursing through our vibrating, living bodies to show us what to create today, how to make artful prayers that express gratitude.

Tuning in, listening, listening. It doesn’t take long and the ritual is simple, though humble, reverent and true.

Somehow we know when to stop rattling, when to open our eyes, when to share. And every time we do – I mean every time – we learn that the world has shown us how to proceed. There is no doubt, no conflict. This synergy doesn’t surprise us as much as it did the first few times, but never the less, the grace provided still gives me chill bumps.

 Elly and I look at each other and can hardly stop giggling with the joy of discovery. We’re meant to honor being at home on the earth. We’ve recognized that the stars, the universe, are the larger womb from which all life has come. And we’ve seen how deeply our lives belong to this blue green marble spinning in space. Our love and gratitude are wrapped by wonder.

Our mandala needs to express the spiraling energy of galaxies –the arms radiating from the center. We see concentric circles. They represent both the endless waves of rippling energy at the quantum level, as well as the web of life’s intricate and endless weaving. I see 5 limbs spiraling and Elly says that feels right. I realize that the classic star shape we all learn to draw as kids is five pointed and that Michelangelo’s iconic human form stands with 5 limbs stretched wide – the fifth being the head and neck.

We smile as we share an epiphany. Making decisions is so easy this way. Elly points out that we’ve simply tuned into the same energetic field of wisdom. All we have to do is step into it. Trust it. The impact of this revelatory experience opens to a vision: Imagine how different our world would be if everyone tuned into the greater wisdom we all share before taking any action. Corporate boards would make entirely different decisions. Imagine if schools began supporting and nurturing children’s intuition, instead of stifling it. For the rest of our lives, all our rational behaviors would be informed by the greater intelligence.

The mandala grows effortlessly and as we finish up, we make prayers of gratitude for the whole process. As we begin to pack up our things, Elly notices a small red droplet on my purple egg shaped rattle. She looks closer and calls me over. “Can you believe this?,” she exclaims. “It’s a ladybug!!!”

I can’t imagine why she’s here at this time of year and all alone sitting on a plastic egg.

But something deep in me stirs: Ladybug is a gift from spirit to affirm our homing. We’ve been pouring our love into our Earthhome which is under huge duress. I flash on Greta Thunberg’s statement: Our house is on fire! …I want you to panic. Then the old nursery rhyme races through me.

 Ladybug, ladybug, fly away home.
 Your house is on fire
and your children are gone.

Mystery has affirmed our prayers. Elly googles with her phone right there on the spot and learns that this rhyme relates to Christianity and the separating of nature worship from church worship. Later I also google and learn that the old nursery rhyme may relate to the times when pagans had to go underground, when priests were told they could only preach in buildings, when the goddess was relegated to the shadows – or it could relate to the farmers who released ladybugs in the spring for nurturing their crops and burned their old crops in the fall, letting the ladybugs know the fires were starting so they’d leave and wouldn’t get burned. Though we’ll never know the origins of this old nursery rhyme for certain, ladybug’s presence connects us to our human ancestry and affirms the power of prayer. Elly and I receive her blessing.

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Re-membering Beauty

With a pandemic still traveling the globe, violence in our American streets, hatred and division among humans, the rape of our own earthbody, you might well ask, “What beauty? Where’s beauty?”

“It’s everywhere,” say I. Especially in the plants. The plants still grow, pushing their green lives up through the cement, the droughts, the floods, the fires, the poisons, the human destruction. The animals still give birth. The storms do their best to clear the air and reclaim the natural paths of rivers. Despite all we humans do to ravage the natural world around us, life refuses to succumb. Life quickly attempts to restore itself, to resurrect itself, given the smallest gesture of encouragement from us. That’s beautiful and holy and worthy of my reverence and respect.

But my angst and anxiety rise. I fear that we may push life under one too many times, destroying her ability to come back. I pray often for us humans to see that our modern lifestyle is at odds with life. We are not biophiliacs!  We seem to think it would be easier to begin a new civilization on a barren planet than restore balance to the civilization on this one. It’s taken billions of years for life to create the nourishing abundance that makes our own lives possible now. How can we forget that?

How have we lost our amazement for life’s miracle? 10,000 years ago, we were still in awe of life and acted in ways to nurture its continuance because we knew that meant our lives would continue, too. But modernity and institutions have taught us to distrust our own bodily experience, to distrust our own senses, and there-in lies a problem. Over the last 5,000 years, give or take a few, we’ve learned to live in a world that dismisses intuition. denigrates feeling and ignores the aliveness of everything else. We’ve learned to think of everything else but ourselves as machines, not sentient, responsive beings with lives of their own. And in the last 100 years we’ve found a technological fix for every problem.

We’ve forgotten our fundamental nature. As self-aware beings belonging in an ever-changing body, our own personal experiences offer the only truth we can know with certainty. Trust your bone deep knowing. Witness the interconnectedness of all things and notice how you are embedded in that web.

And there in lies beauty. Isn’t it a miracle that I can write these words to you the reader? How can our brains, encased in complete darkness, bring light to these little marks and make sense of them? How do we perceive light when the photon packets bringing energy from the sun to our optic nerves carry no light whatsoever? How do we envision images in our heads? How does our body turn plant and meat and water into energy on which to move, and experience, and think?  We know now our ability to breathe rests with the trees and the phytoplankton in the ocean, yet we destroy both at a great rate. Are we mad?

Let’s pause for a moment and take stock. Is it not beautiful to be alive in a body? Is breathing not a holy act? Is eating of the bounty of this miraculous living world not worthy of a blessing?


Join Kathryn Lafond and me to live into the new story for life on earth: The Forgotten Power of Blessing – a four part series – begins again on September 15th. Contact me to join in: deborahmltn@gmail.com

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Forgotten Power of Blessing

I am glad to be alive in these compelling, chaotic, tumultuous and horrifying times. That may seem strange to say, but it’s true. For reasons beyond my understanding, I’ve been aware of the injustices of the world since very early childhood and have done my best to change those dynamics, often feeling helpless and alone in those endeavors. I’m a true elder now and was beginning to fear I would not live long enough to experience the tipping point, but I think this is it. It can’t get worse than this, can it? So I am choosing to believe that we have arrived at the tipping point, or at least are very close. Human injury to the life force and our enslavement of Earth,  human disregard for and subjugation of other humans, the human desire to have only one right way and that is HIS right way, all those viewpoints and behaviors have persisted for many more years than just the existence of the United States. The humans in charge for thousands of years now have not wanted to reckon with the fact that enslavement of anything and anyone is unsustainable.

I don’t celebrate July 4th. It’s always been a hard day for me
as it is filled with duplicity, further war mongering and terrorizing fireworks.
Now, I absolutely can’t go there.
Independence? For whom? For What?
May all humans everywhere wake up to our interdependence,
make amends for our atrocities, our shortsighteddimwittedness,
seek the goodness in our hearts
and heal the ubiquitous, ancient wounds we all have.

I’m glad to see the infected wounds finally erupting everywhere. I wish we could have awoken more gently, but evolution may not work that way. Think of what it takes for a new star to be born. Think of the force it takes for a seed to split open for new plantlife, the energy it takes to crack open the shell fiercely protecting the life within. Think of the sundering of child birth. Birth is painful, messy, disorienting. Labor requires trust and endurance, holding faith that the struggle to open is worth the new life coming. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if our world, our culture, is actually in the final stage of labor, ready to push through to a new story for how we humans live with the planet.
May we humans open our eyes to the miracle of life on our fragile Earth, our home, spinning in the immeasurable vastness of the universe tethered only by gravity – invisible yet real- to its planets and star and galaxy. May we modern humans honor our original ancestors who made it through tens of thousands of years so we could be here NOW. May we care enough about our own descendents that we choose to change our habits of seeing, honor the ineffable, and listen deeply to what the world as a whole wants US to learn.

In case you didn’t recognize the form of those preceding statements, they are blessings. Writing them felt good. They hone my vision of possibilities, and energetically feed the matrix of ideas circulating on our globe. In addition, I’m practicing what I preach!

Kathryn Lafond and I are delving deeply into our class called the Power of Blessing to Change Everything. We’ve just completed our second four session series, have begun a third, and the fourth begins July 8th. A fifth begins Tuesday August 25th.  We now recognize that Blessing is a powerful and forgotten practice – another victim of so called human progress which we need to reclaim since it transforms our relationship to life.  Blessing truly does change everything. From taking ALL OF THIS forgranted, we remember the miracle to which we are beholden. As I’ve prepared for the class, I discovered an old book by Pierre Pradervand: The Gentle Art of Blessing.  It’s rich with wisdom and very easy to read. He describes how to bless everything and absolutely everyone, even our enemies.  By choosing to see a stranger who looks different from us as another person who reflects the richness of our uniqueness, just like the endless variations of life in the forest, the garden, the desert, the ocean, we make a choice that quells fear and thus diminishes anger. Choosing to bless in this way, changes our sensations in both belly and heart from constriction to expansion, easing tension and contributing to a sense of well-being.  The felt-sense of shifting from hatred to compassion, from worry to trust, transforms our “seeing,” and frees up options for relating differently.

And now I’ve discovered the power of doodling our blessings. I call them illuminated blessings. Doodling is accessible to everyone and with the simplest of materials – pencil and paper. I was inspired by a book called Praying in Color by Sybil MacBeth. Here’s an example of a doodle which began with the rosette form, blob shape in the middle with radiating lines. By drawing little shapes along each line, ( I used only two lines – straight and curved. ) everything changes, just like life!

















*expand your emotional and spiritual capacity to engage with our time…

*  feel more resilient, inspired, and compassionate…

*  find companions on the journey, the ones who are ready to stop clinging to the bank and join the flow of the river…

*  raise your consciousness and join the ranks of subtle/sacred/quantum activists…

*embody the new story for how we live on the planet.

* be inspired by poetic expression, explore links to other media for inspiration, welcome creative prompts for hoNework, and engage in meaningful dialogue.

Please contact me if blessing calls you. deborahmltn@gmail.com

You can learn more about Kathryn here: https://www.kathrynlafond.com




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I Can’t Breathe


I gasped when a woman in our Blessing group said those three words yesterday afternoon.

Those three, single syllable words have become a meme representing the multi-layered horrors of our time. From first breath to last, we all need to breathe, so I’m guessing that those three words have a shock effect on most people who hear them.

My appreciation of their significance yesterday didn’t come to me all by myself. I had lots of help, namely the group of women convening for a reunion of the course I’m facilitating with my dear friend and colleague, Kathryn Lafond: Choosing a New Story for How We Live: The Power of Blessing to Change Everything. With the issue of Black Lives Matter eclipsing the significance of the Corona pandemic, at least in this moment, blessing both the world and ourselves grabs our attention AND adds to our confusion. How do we bless the horror of our duplicitous culture? How do we bless the fear, guilt, helplessness and anxiety so many humans are experiencing? On Sunday evening, a white male friend of mine asked, “How do I deal with the fact that my lifestyle floats on a sea of suffering.” How do we bless that truth?

As we women deepened our personal exploration of the broader and deeper significance of the act of blessing, one of them described the effects of growing up in a Christian church that emphasized sin, the unholiness of the human body, and encouraged the submissiveness of women. Something about the loving medicine of blessing, reminded her of the strength it took for her to leave that church as an adult. The bold thought inside herself, “I can’t do this anymore,” described her turning point. She talked about the debilitating nature of being encouraged to be self-critical, never measuring up, always finding herself “less-than” – all qualities that our North American culture still inculcates – especially in women and everyone OTHER than white male –  with the assistance of many religious traditions and the continuing stains, strains and stresses of a corporation dominated, consumer driven culture.

Another woman empathized. “I know, I know. I was raised Mormon, and when I remember my childhood, it’s as if I can’t take a full breath, I can’t breathe.”

“Oh My God, I can’t breathe.”

The impact hits us and George Floyd’s death is everywhere present in the zoom room.


On May 25th, 2020, the world witnessed the horror of a man pleading for his life …his murderer, a police officer. Bystanders, including other law enforcement officers, witnessed but did nothing to stop their colleague.

Something is so wrong with this scene.

The crime of one man killing another, a defenseless man in a public place with witnesses, is a horror, no matter the color of their eyes, their skin, their hair. But the differences among those specifics make this crime even more freighted. A white man is killing a black man. Finally the festering boils of our cultural denial, disingenuousness and delusion erupt, revealing our nation’s schizophrenia.

Principles of liberty were at the heart of our founding as a nation.

We have never honored those principles.

Native peoples be gone.
Black peoples slave for white invaders.
Women are second class citizens, finally allowed to vote in every state exactly 100 years ago.
We acted out of ignorance, immaturity, desperation and projection of the foul things that had already been perpetrated against our European ancestors. Deceive, displace, dispossess, dominate, oppress, subjugate, trap, cage, defile, chain, emasculate, rape, shame, shackle, the list of violating actions seems endless and continues now nearly 250 years later.

We, the white European first immigrants to a land already inhabited and vibrantly cultured, have yet to look in a mirror.

Give us your tired and poor! What a sham…E Pluribus Unum, our traditional, national motto from 1776 to 1956 illustrates our desire out of the many to become one. It reveals our dream of being a melting pot, a rich and nourishing stew of diversity. But we weren’t capable then of living into that dream.

The motto still serves on our country’s Great Seal and is embossed on our dimes, but in ’56 it was formally replaced by: In God we trust!  What a sham…
The God I know loves all creation. S/He created all of it. What’s not to love: trees, rivers, air, bears, giraffes, mosquitos, salmon, whales, robins, sparrows, poison ivy, nettles, carrots, tomatoes, cows, pigs, stars, northern lights, raindrops, snowflakes, roses, woodland violets, dandelions, snails and scorpions, the whole bit including humans. Every being, every rock, river and valley, every single thing from mycelia to mountain is vital to the web we call life.

Our country was founded on a beautiful vision but at the time, we humans weren’t capable psychologically, emotionally, or spiritually of making it real.


Now we have psychological knowledge, spiritual wisdom, technological achievements and global connectivity with which to make that vision happen: “liberty throughout the land”. Thinking globally, my vision includes supporting life, in all its aspects, human and otherwise, all over the planet.

Are we ready? Are we ready to choose a new story for how we live? Are we ready to make peace WITH earth and re-animate our capacity for reverence and the art of blessing all life, all situations? Are we ready to make nice, re-kindle kindness and generosity? Are we humans ready to live as if we were a virgin forest ecosystem thriving in all its diversity? Are we ready to love life more than stuff?

Are we finally ready to acknowledge we need both black and white, dark and light? Black without white is a void. White without black is nothing. All the values in-between the extremes of dark and light allow definition, discernment, allowing that which is formless to take form. Enlightenment holds hands with endarkenment. They need each other.

None of us can breathe fully until we all breathe fully.


May we open to the wisdom of the heart, the embodied awareness of our bodyminds so we can recognize the difference between love and fear. May we choose love always, ALL WAYS. Love feels so good, haven’t you noticed? Even when love is lost, grief leads to grace, and makes us more resilient people.

May we commit ourselves to blessing as a centering practice, to trusting the call of personal and cultural transformation. Shoulder to shoulder, heart to heart, truth to truth, may we share our woundedness and live into celebration and inclusiveness, shaping a new story for life WITH Earth never before experienced.


To read more of my thoughts on e pluribus unum, check out this post.

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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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