Climate Decision Time – Miracle on the Horizon. Please Help.

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Photo by Patrick Hendry on Unsplas

A recent UN report says that we must immediately commit to reducing greenhouse admissions since we’re rapidly reaching the point of no return.  Given that emissions were once again on the rise this past year, I’m concerned that we will have to do a 180 and that we lack the political and social will to  make the necessary changes in the time frame required.  The UN report states that the next 12 months will be crucial if we are to have a hope of turning this around.

The US will be in the midst of a presidential election within the next 12 months.  I’m hoping the world will move forward without us and make these necessary and unprecedented changes next year while we’re distracted with the election.

But what if they don’t?  Do we just brace ourselves for the inevitable?

I don’t think so.   We don’t have to give up yet but we do have to get serious about what our options are.

The physical solutions focusing on greenhouse gas emissions and recycling are just not likely to reverse course in the time frame needed.

What we’re left with is the unlikely event of a miracle.

Here’s how I see it.  We either sit on our hands, hope for divine intervention, and prepare to go into survivalist mode.

Or we actively try to make a miracle happen.

I realize that we may be long past the age where we believe in tooth fairies and miracles, but do we have any better options at this point?  Does it hurt to try?

I’m no expert on miracles.  I can barely create miracles in my own life.  But I do have a channel to the divine and I’ve been guided to make people aware that we have more power than we think.  We’ve been leaving a lot of cards on the table when it comes to the climate crisis, and if we use all of our resources, not just the physical ones, to bring a solution we might actually be able to create enough of a miracle to help turn things around.

I’ve been talking for several weeks now on my Foundation blog about this notion that we’re in an emotional and spiritual relationship with Earth, and that it’s reciprocal.  I realize that many people believe that Earth is a dead thing that we can take from endlessly.  That is clearly not the case, because if we’re talking about environmental collapse as the worst-case scenario for climate change, then it would stand to reason that Earth is not dead.  Yet.

To those who believe Earth will survive this, but we may not, I say that I choose to take action now to provide for my sons and future generations.  We owe it to them to not give up on the viability of our species when there is more we can do.

If we assume Earth herself is part of the living ecosystem within which we live, then it stands to reason that, as a complex and brilliant species of one, that she has her own energy, and possibly consciousness and intelligence.  Quantum physics has been pointing to the notion that all matter has consciousness, it’s not just this crazy intuitive’s belief in this.

So, let’s assume for the sake of argument that Earth has consciousness and she’s alive.  While in Western thought we may think this is ludicrous, many indigenous and Eastern cultures have for millennia regard Earth as a sacred being.  I’m not saying that we necessarily need to worship Earth, but I do believe that Earth is our most precious loved one, and that we should care for her as such.

While I was caring for my beloved late husband Christopher before he died, I realized he needed emotional and spiritual care to supplement the medical and nutritional.  He needed a will to heal, and a motivation to do so.  If I was indifferent or cruel to him while he was sick, he would be unable to bring the full capacity of his healing to the table.  I believe we have the same opportunity now for Earth, for us to get on board with providing emotional and spiritual support for Earth healing.

This is work that cannot just be done by a few.  As a species, we have to collectively decide if we’re going to provide the right conditions for Earth to heal.  I cannot do it by myself.  But just imagine if millions, or even billions of people were to pray or meditate each day for Earth’s healing, what could be possible?

What could be possible if each day we played or sang a song or painted a picture celebrating Earth and our love for her?

What could be possible if we all were present and noticed different aspects of Earth’s flora, fauna, and mineral, every time we stepped our looked outside?

What could be possible if we each picked up trash when we were walking outside?

What could be possible if we commit to bringing our own straws, water bottle, or to-go containers instead of generating waste that goes into our oceans and waterways, Earth’s circulatory system?

What could be possible if we were to express our thanks each day to Earth for providing shelter, sustenance, and inspiration?

What effect would this have if we were talking about a human loved one instead of Earth?

According to the Pew Center for Research, we are still a country that believes in God.  Why don’t we collectively ask for God’s assistance?  What if we each promised God that we’d take better care of Earth going forward if he were to help her heal on our behalf? And then followed through on our promise?

I’m the first to state that I could be wrong.   But I will also be the first to say that I could be right, and if so, this could be a game-changer.

I figure we don’t have anything to lose, and everything to gain right now.  Literally.

Unlike the political and technological solutions, the above strategies cost no time and no money, and they do not require that you elect someone in 2 years to make it happen.  It starts with a simple decision on your part to do these things, and to invite others to do them with you.

If nothing else, environmental psychology shows that it’s good for you mentally and physically, and it seems we all could use a little help in those areas these days.

In other words, there’s no downside to doing this.   And we cannot afford to be wrong on this.

I believe that the UN report is also right with regard to the fact that it is decision time.  At some point it’ll be too late for even a miracle.  We don’t have forever to decide.  I don’t know how long we have, but I think it’s safe to say that the sooner we get on board with this the better.

I hope you understand the importance of this message and decide to help me to create a miracle.  Please share this with all your friends and family, and ask them for their commitment.   Follow through on your own commitment and encourage others to do the same.

Help me make a miracle right now.  We can’t afford to wait any longer.

Help yourself.  Help your fellow human, animal, and plant.  Help Earth.

It’s the right thing to do.  Right now.

Three Critical Tools to Thrive in the Face of Challenge

Though there are aspects of my life that were and are challenging in a way some can never understand, I consider myself unbelievably fortunate to have had such a great life.   I’ve had every educational opportunity and have always had a safe neighborhood and sufficient, if not abundant, food, shelter and healthcare. I have so many loved ones in my life and have, for the most part, been able to live my life as I see fit.

Not true for much of the world.   There is some real suffering out there, almost all of which makes my troubles pale in comparison.

We often forget that our troubles and the unfairness in our lives are so relative (think: first world problems).   The snub at work, the fight with my spouse, my weight gain, my hair loss, my moderate medical issues, my fender bender, my financial worries, even the loss of a loved one, are often relatively minor issues in the greater scheme of things.

Knowing that and feeling that are two different things.

Here are 3 really important tools for putting that challenge where it belongs in your life.

First, perspective. If you’re reading this blog, then you likely have electricity, a computer or cell phone, and shelter. You may even have some of the types of challenges listed above, and some real concerns. We all do. Consider how much of the world has serious, life-threatening issues that they’re dealing with on a daily basis. How do your challenges and concerns compare to that?   What do you have to be grateful for, right now? What in your life is more important than your immediate concern?

I am not implying you should not take action or feel good about a bad situation. Just consider that maybe it’s not as devastating as you might perceive it to be.  Once you’ve gained a healthier perspective, you are more cognitively prepared to decide the right course of action.

Second, growth.   Challenges become a serious problem if we allow them to defeat us.   Challenges are opportunities to learn, grow, improve and make positive change. Sometimes that positive change we must make first and foremost is acceptance of the problem and the reality of our situation.   When we accept the reality of our situation is when meaningful change (in ourselves or our situation) is possible. For example, when I accept my health issues are related to my lifestyle, then I can begin to make real changes to improve.  When I accept that I can’t control someone else’s behavior, then I can decide how I will respond to it.

Third, presence. There is a lot of talk about mindfulness these days and I totally believe that much of our unhappiness is caused by not being in the present moment. If I’m stressed or anxious, I’m probably worrying about the future. If I’m angry, depressed or sad, then I’m living in the past. In the present moment, I have access to wonder, joy, delight, love and inspiration.   I have negative emotion too but I don’t dwell there like I used to.   Sometimes mindfulness itself is the best possible growth opportunity for dealing with stress and challenge.  Mindfulness means that I’m aware that I’m not being present, I can adjust my perspective, and focus on my current growth/change goals.

I don’t believe all the hubbub around mindfulness is just a populist trend or overrated. When I’m not being present, I spend most of my energy with my head spinning in a dozen directions, or I can feel out of control emotionally.  When present, I can decide what to focus on and how I want to feel, rather than being swept away by internal forces. Most importantly, my challenges feel surmountable and even like the opportunities that they are.

Exercising My Whole Self

Old habits die hard, especially when they are taken for granted. Most of my life I have taken for granted my “right brain” (emotional and creative side), and I have since decided to try to be intentional about developing and exercising that side of me.   Maybe I can be twice as smart than just developing the cognitive side of my brain!

Since then, I have done much to explore and foster my Self that exists when I shut off the cognition (subject for another blog). I doubt I can come even close to saying that I’m twice as smart, but I’m much more….. satisfied? Intuitive? Confident? Inspired. Joyful. Peaceful. Connected. Complete. It’s hard to say with much specificity, but I do feel different, and in a good way.

Accordingly, my exercise routine has also evolved to be more comprehensive. I used to be a cardio, and/or a weights-only type of gal. However, my cardio and weights routines often focused on the same set of muscles each time. For example, most people know to do sit-ups or crunches, but often forget to exercise the opposing muscle group, the lower back. I am trying to mix up my classes more so that cardio and strength training do not over-focus on the same muscles.

Even assuming I attended to all my muscle groups, cardio and strength training really only covers half of the desired exercise outcomes for me these days.   My routine must now include my inner self, ie my ability to be present, connected and not only strong, but flexible muscles.   Each week I try to do tai chi, which works on my balance/core and connection to the universe, yoga/pilates/piyo which works on core/flexibility as well as connection, and walking which provides a little cardio while connecting me to nature and to Chris and puppies.

Skipping the emotional/spiritual workouts leaves me inclined to worry, ruminate, obsess and feel more stressed and isolated. Skipping cardio/strengths leaves me just feeling less energetic and a bit flabby. When I practice the combination, I feel strong, flexible and peaceful.

Not that I always have time for 4 classes per week plus walking. I try to mix it up a bit each week and combine activities (walking with loved ones) for a win/win and to have a balanced portfolio over a several week time-frame.

This journey has taught me that there is yet more that I am missing, even in my attempts to be holistic. I don’t even include beautifying or cleaning the environment (fortunately I have a maid), which is another important element of my world. I don’t make much time for the piano or music, and creative expression is limited to blogging for the most part. I know as our knowledge and wisdom grows, my concept of holistic will also change, and so will my practices.   My challenge will be to continue to stay open and balance maintaining a routine with avoiding getting into a rut.

What else am I missing?   What types of exercises do you do to build and grow yourself holistically? What is the value to you, if any, of broadening the focus beyond our muscles?

A Profound Good

I’ve made a lot of changes in the last few years, mainly in terms of trying to be more mindful. I think I’m driving more mindfully, sitting more mindfully, conversing with others more mindfully.   I simply do not spend as much time in the future or past I as I used to, and I’m so much more at peace.

But I’ve discovered (yet another) area of my life that I have been living somewhat mindlessly. Ironically, for me to be mindful in this area requires a bit more intentional planning. Yes, mindfulness is a balance between planning (looking forward) using history as a context (looking backward) and being mindful and present in the moment.

The area I’m referring to is doing good.

I think I do good every day. At least that’s my intention. I work hard at my job, my coach and training practice and blog each day to try to serve others and improve their lives. I try to walk through this world with awareness and respect for my fellow man.

But stopping to think specifically how I can do some profound good each day? I got this idea from Catherine Ann Jones’ book Heal Your Self With Writing, which she credits to Benjamin Franklin.

I’m mindless enough (a recurring theme) to not be able to remember to practice this each day, but the days that I have done it have either touched someone else (I made a loved one cry), or made me feel euphoric.

This is not rocket science. We already know that one of the best ways to find positive emotion is by giving of yourself to others. A dear friend, Mimi Cox has a practice on her birthday to perform an act of kindness for every year she has spent on the earth. She anonymously leaves gift cards or flowers for strangers, volunteers, and writes gratitude letters. She inspires me to be a thoughtful and creative giver, a skill I have not really tried to develop until now.

Thank you Mimi and others like you who seem to just be oozing kindness and generosity. I can only strive to follow your footsteps.

The Downside of Mindlessness

We don’t have to talk about meditation, so don’t panic.  But I do want to talk about mindlessness – just going through life without thought or much observation.   Mindfulness or mindlessness is the manner you go about your life between meditation sessions (sorry, couldn’t resist).  The best example for mindlessness for me is not remembering one detail about my drive into work.  Twenty minutes of pure mindlessness, though my new commute is filled with so much beauty it is so much harder for me to be mindless.

We’ve developed these mindless habits to simplify our lives, but Harvard professor and author of Counter Clockwise, Ellen Langer argues that we are giving up our freedom to choose when we fail to be present.  My drive into work could have involved noticing a new store, a beautiful sky, a kind gesture, or the choice for a new route and scenery.  Instead, I typically drive like an automaton, giving away my life in 10-20 minute increments.

There are other downsides to mindlessness.  Others, including animals, can sense our mindlessness even if we think we’re hiding it well.  Distracted conversation is not an effective way to communicate or build trusting relationships.  Those who approach others with mindfulness elicit a desire to interact and engage and are viewed more positively than those who interact mindlessly.

Here are some additional benefits from approaching tasks with mindfulness:

  • Energizing – mindfulness is energizing, not energy depleting
  • Creativity – mindful approaches enables creativity as one views projects with fresh eyes
  • Better, more trusting relationships
  • Higher quality work – Tasks performed mindfully are judged to be better than those that are done mindlessly
  • Fewer mistakes and improved willingness to turn mistakes into opportunities
  • More fun

Langer even states that suffering is due to mindlessness, not only in terms of what we tend to notice (or not notice) in our world,  but how we think/feel about our world (see also  My View on Perception , Bias, It’s Just Not for Fabrics and Projection and Perception).  Our assumptions and automatic beliefs about the world create our unhappiness and our inability to think creatively and out-of-the-box.  My drive to work can either be seen as a terrible burden and unpleasant experience, or a time for discovery.  Again:  a choice.

The path to mindfulness, according to Langer, is to “make it new in subtle ways that only you would know.”  She also recommends noticing how it feels to be mindful and to cultivate that feeling.  I will just indulge myself here and remind you that meditation is exercise for the mindfulness muscle (see also Soothing the Child Within).  Fortunately, there are many ways to exercise mindfulness, so find the meditation style or activity (such as yoga or swimming) that is right for you.  Choose to become more mindful, and observe the beauty, newness, choices, creativity and opportunities that have been right under your nose this whole time.