Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Recap Of Steps 1-3

Hello Hello Hello, 

I'm sorry for the delay in writing up a review -- busy, busy week.

Lots of Updates.
1. Victoria did a wonderful job leading the Step 3 -- Such insights! And candy! Thank you, Victoria!
Kinde will be leading us through Step 4: Do Inner Work.

2. Reporter Judy Fahys will be recording on Feb 15 for a story that she is pitching to NPR. 

3. Andrea Smardon is recording wonderful podcasts. I've listened to a few - but one that we think resonates with this group is Episode 3: Particle to Wave. 
She is also in the process of doing a podcast for the grief group - any and all who'd like to participate are encourage to keep a written or verbal journal about the experience and if you've noticed any changes or transformations. Or any insights you've gathered.

4. We'll have our movie night on March 1st instead of at the end of the step session. I found out today that I was accepted to be a mentor for the upcoming Climate Reality Leadership Corps training in Denver, CO so I'll have to miss that week. I'll bring A Fierce Light.
So the revised schedule of steps:
FEB 1: 4. Do inner work. 
FEB 8: 5. Feel your feelings. 
FEB 15: 6. Show up. 
FEB 22: 7. Take breaks and respect your limits.
MARCH 1: FILM: Fierce Light & discussion 
MARCH 8: 8. Look for beauty and meaning. 
MARCH 15: 9. Reinvest in the work. 


So, Step 3 is all about letting go: Letting go of expectations (those you've harbored for yourself and those of the future being what we expected or projected).
What's a realistic expectation for a single human being in this time and place? What did you imagine the future to be like? 

Victoria opened the floor by inviting the bell - a tradition taught by Thich Nhat Hanh. And shared the parable about releasing our cowsHow much and what can we let go of? Which cows are you holding onto? A thought? A habit? A fear?

We chatted about the importance of letting go the idea that we cannot control the behavior of others. Does your family fail to understand the implications of climate change? Of what Trump's doing? Can we accept them where they are at?
How do we let go that our education failed us? That the way were raised may not have been great?
Can we let go of the need to stay positive? 

Mechanisms of Letting Go:
  • Art - and the ability of art to lead to solutions. Making art heals.
  • Start Small with letting go
  • Understand that people have differing perspectives. Can you see where they are coming from? Why do they believe what they believe? What am I not seeing? Why do I believe what I believe? Is there overlap?
  • Use the mantra of "What is my part in this?"   How am I creating these problems? What am I responsible for? 
  • Self Care - Our personal needs are not going away. We've got to take care of ourselves.
  • Get out in nature.
  • Unplug. Turn off electronics. 
  • Take a break from your everyday routine.
  • Meditate and be still.
Can we let go of our own perspective? Is this what's needed for humanity in this time and place? Can we remove our own filters and the way we see the world?

OH - AND - Letting go doesn't have to mean giving up. It just means changing perspective and owning our limited power as a single human being. 

We chatted about Joanna Macy's great and wonderful work - and her book Active Hope: How to Face this Mess We're in Without Going CrazyActive Hope is different than passive hope because we envision what the future looks like - we accept what may happen but work toward a better, more ideal future. Macy has a variety of suggestions how to get there. She's brilliant. Highly recommend her! Andddddd... Aimee recently purchased an extra copy of Active Hope. If you'd like it, I'll give the book to the first person who asks.

We heard a wonderful story about a vacation on an island far, far away. A phone, a lifeline to this busy life, was washed away in the ocean. And at first, she mourned the loss of everything on that phone and the connection (and the pollution now sitting in the ocean). But then she was able to be in the moment - where she was. She was off grid - in nature - meditating - being instead of doing. 

We questioned Trump's decisions - and realized he's mentally ill and suffers from narcissism. He's creating a scary world that we're going to have to live in - but what happens when structure falls away? When the known world is challenged and changed? 
Many if us asked for change - and we'll get it. It may not be ideal but change will happen. And change drops us into mystery, which at first seems scary but can be an opportunity for growth. We must accept impermanence. And let go of trying to control things and keep this world stagnant. Mystery is humbling - it forces us into the present moment. If we dig deep enough into the mystery - we find compassion and love. 
  Can we find a way to be excited about a new future? A lot about the past sucked - will some of those structures be changed? 

This flowed into a conversation about living in right relationship with the natural world. We talked about the minimalist movement - and the 20/80 rule.

In sum, we must let go of our ideas of what's "good' and "bad." It's too simple. 
What do we need?
Can we let stuff go? Can we let expectations go?

Andddddd - finally, I leave you with this article: "We were made for these times."

Looking forward to seeing you Wednesday for a discussion about creating healthy minds - doing inner work - and confronting our shadow.

With Love & Gratitude,

-LS (goodgriever@gmail.com


Hello Grievers, 

A few of us met in Salt Lake City tonight to discuss Step 2: 
Step 2 is to acknowledge the ways in which we’ve been complicit in causing global climate change. 
Derrick Jensen, in his essay “Forget ShorterShowers,” says:
"I want to be clear. I’m not saying we shouldn’t live simply. I live reasonably simply myself, but I don’t pretend that not buying much (or not driving much, or not having kids) is a powerful political act, or that it’s deeply revolutionary. It’s not. Personal change doesn’t equal social change."

A Very Condensed (and filtered - through my lens) Recap:
Our conversation felt like it ended too soon - it was full of insight and penetrating questions.

We talked about the upheaval required to tackle climate change (and systemic issues more broadly). If we look back at the Civil Rights Movement, it took people en masse on the streets, demanding change, risking arrest, rising bodily injury and death. We glorify the result (note: civil rights is still a struggle today...) without taking the time to understand the depth of the movement - all the preparation and courage and organizing and unity.

We have a million mini-movements that we can (and maybe ought to) invest our time in.... but how can we do everything? How can we show up to each rally/meeting that is important to us? And, where is everyone else?

How do we engage at all levels - feet, mouth, and brain? (Some insights from a rad blog writer, here.)

We talked about how the energy transformation is well underway. Books like The Switch or Clean Disruption of Energy & Transportation provide encouragement that we can produce low or no carbon energy regularly.
But, what about all of the carbon dioxide/methane we've released and the energy requirements it takes to create the technologies for solar panels or wind turbines (which is not insignificant)?

We moved into a discussion about how human beings are, at our core, irrational beings parading as rational machines. Our intellect is at odds with our instinct. (See: Predictably Irrational,  Don't Even Think About It: Why Our Brains Are Wired to Ignore Climate Changeand What We Think About When We Try Not To Think About Global Warming: Toward a New Psychology of Climate Action)

So is the way out of this mess to focus on self-workBuild psychological resiliency? Where does action come in? What about folks who don't have the privilege of taking time to meet in community and self-reflect?

Of course, there is no hard conclusion: "There are no answers, seek them lovingly."  And there was much more that I didn't capture.

But - we know that we cannot show true compassion for others if we don't have it toward ourselves

Now, onto Boycotting the Trump Inauguration.
1) Turn your television on during his inauguration
2) Turn the channel to ANYTHING BUT the inauguration
3) Creeper ratings programs in an NSA fashion will be able to figure out what percentage of the population is watching (and more importantly, IS NOT watching). 
Note: If you're television is off, you don't count.

A HUGE thank you to everyone who came out tonight! And HUGE thank you to Alli for being such a great host!

That's all for now.

With Love,
-LaUra goodgriever@gmail.com


Hello Grievers, 

Tonight was an amazing experience --- 

We went through Step 1:
Admit there’s a problem. This first step is about understanding that there’s a problem with how people are operating on this planet – and that as one result, some climate change is inevitable, even if we halt all carbon emissions now. “Step one is talking about how entrenched we are in this problem."

The Good Grief Group moved deeper into the question and discussed the role of an activist and where idealism fits in. Does it fit in? What happens when one runs out of the idealism that's been pushing them forward? 

So much gratitude for the thoughts and hearts of those who attended. 

Here are some materials that we spoke about, in case anyone wants to dig deeper.

Prince Ea
"The Farmer Story" aka The Buddhist Parable 

Brene Brown

Information on Tipping Points:

Next week, we'll move to Step 2:
2. Acknowledge the ways in which we are complicit. “I think it’s really important for any of us looking at these problems to understand that yeah, we help cause them,” Schmidt says. “But it’s also not 100 percent our fault, because of the system we were born into.” This acknowledgment, she believes, allows people to take appropriate responsibility for the contributions they make, empowering them to make better decisions.

With Love and Gratitude,
-LaUra goodgriever@gmail.com

The Journey
Mary Oliver

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice--
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
"Mend my life!"
each voice cried.
But you didn't stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do--
determined to save
the only life you could save.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Prayer and Attention


I do know how to pay attention.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Avoiding Climate Burnout

Climate trauma survival tips from Dr. Lise Van Susteren
The Dos
  • Take care of yourself physically and spiritually, through healthy living and maintaining a balance in your professional and personal life.
  • Physical exercise is essential — endorphins, the body’s natural pain killers, are secreted in response to exercise. Endorphins help fight psychic pain, too. Exercise also boosts your immune system. If you are stressed out and getting sick a lot — you need regular exercise. Swimming can be very soothing.
  • Get out of doors as much as possible — connect with the forces that drive you and give yourself up to the beauty of nature in the present. Your energy to continue the battle will be rejuvenated.
  • Remember that you are not alone. There are lots of other people who may be just as traumatized as you are — they just aren’t talking about it. Some people are distracted by jobs that don’t constantly expose them to the realities. Unlike you, they can get away from it for a while.
  • Diversify your work and your life: force yourself to participate in activities not related to climate.
  • Reinforce boundaries between professional work and personal life. It is very hard to switch from the riveting force of apocalyptic predictions at work to home where the problems are petty by comparison. If you haven’t found another solution: Take 10 minutes, close your eyes, shut your brain down. If you don’t know how, Google “How to meditate.”
  • Connect with your fellow climate warriors: Gather — Play games, dance, tell jokes. There is nothing like a laugh. Don’t talk about climate!
  • Your fears are realistic. But what you can do, or what you expect you can do, may not be.
  • Personal therapy can help. You wouldn’t be the first person to conflate some personal problems with what is happening to the planet. Although “we” are working on it, many professionals may not yet “get” the problem with climate.
The don’ts
  • Don't Overwork
  • Don't do climate work at night. Having trouble sleeping? Avoid climate related work at night. Make sure to cut off the computer at least 2 hours before bedtime. The blue light emitted by computers suppresses a hormone that triggers sleep more than light from other parts of the spectrum. Additionally, turning out lights is not only good for the planet — the resulting incremental darkness sets the body up to sleep. Also, did you know that it can take as many as 9 hours for your body to completely break down caffeine?
  • Don't believe that you are invulnerable. In fact, admitting what you are going through makes you more resilient.
  • Don't Ignore signs and symptoms of burnout. Like an overused muscle — without some kind of rest or intervention burnout will only get worse.
  • Don't Forget that understanding the material does not require that you actually experience what is being spoken about.
  • Don't lose focus on the essential tasks.
  • Don't give up! Despite the forecast — we are working together like never before.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Anything or anyone/That does not bring you alive/is too small for you

Sweet Darkness

When your eyes are tired
the world is tired also.

When your vision has gone
no part of the world can find you.

Time to go into the dark
where the night has eyes
to recognize its own.

There you can be sure
you are not beyond love.

The dark will be your womb

The night will give you a horizon
further than you can see.

You must learn one thing.
The world was made to be free in.

Give up all the other worlds
except the one to which you belong.

Sometimes it takes darkness and the sweet
confinement of your aloneness
to learn

anything or anyone
that does not bring you alive

is too small for you.

 -- David Whyte
     from The House of Belonging
     ©1996 Many Rivers Press

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Rumi Wisdom

“Sit, be still, and listen,
because you're drunk
and we're at
the edge of the roof.”

― Rumi