"If you take yang far enough, it becomes yin. We have taken the assumption of growth
and bigness and expansion so far there is nowhere else to go, according to this model, than yin.
And that's where we're going."
A local forester informed me that yellow tips on the branches of conifers I'm seeing is related to a fungus that comes and goes among the trees. I'm told there is no need for alarm, which is comforting. I'm also told that fungal diseases are surging globally, which is as distressing as the latest arctic pulse. The experience reminds me, one, of how ecological collapse taints my thoughts and, two, how shifting baselines - ongoing steady changes leading to symptoms in the individual and the community - influence my perspective on what's acceptable in terms of enjoyment, disease, and dysfunction.
Themes of the 3.1.2016 ex·tinc·tion wit·ness post, DROUGHT INSIDE OUT, include the suppressed roots of all symptoms of dysfunction that eventually surface, heat, and anger. DROUGHT INSIDE OUT prompts the first creative dive of Mass Extinction: Grief and Creativity forum at Depth Psychology Alliance and includes Terri Laine's photographic documentary of drought at Lake Casitas (California), a poem in three parts written by Daniel Corrie, and two poems written by me.
I write today with reflection on my recent lesson in ignoring symptoms of physiological dysfunction in my body and introduce The Yin and Yang of Climate Crisisby Brendan Kelly, an acupuncturist who has thankfully treated my body, along with two of my teachers in the way of honoring that I am only because others are and have been.
On March 29th, a molar was extracted from my mouth. I'd known of infection at the root since 2014, when a root canal was recommended. I nursed the tooth for two years while failing to make the connection between a steady overall fatigue and the infected tissue until after the tooth was pulled. While there is healing happening at the extraction site and lingering pain, my entire body feels refreshed - like new. My head clear; aggravation gone. I'd normalized chronic fatigue and frustration, which comes naturally to a body fending off chronic infection or pain.
Reflecting on this extreme improvement in my body's functioning now that the infection is removed, I wonder if among all known contributors to the present planetary imbalance, there may be one quick pull, or stop, or extraction that will trigger a radical shift in overall function, protecting Earth from immanent danger of whole system collapse; planetary death. Given where my thoughts and actions were driven while studying climate science, my hunch is that the one action is to stop deforesting immediately while nurturing and helping to expand forest that remains. Basically, put as many hands as possible to work regenerating forest, within and without city limits. And while abrupt action would effectively kill many jobs maintained to sustain a broken machine*, it would protect countless lives and create many livelihoods.
The Diagnosis: Yin Deficient Heat
In his book, The Yin Yang of Climate Crisis, acupunturist and professor Brendan Kelly offers a diagnosis for Earth based on the Chinese Yin-Yang and Five Elements models: Yin Deficient Heat. This diagnosis suggests excess heat (yang - daytime, constant activity) and insufficient cool (yin - nighttime, rest). Brendan notes that of no coincidence is Yin Deficient Heat also the most common diagnosis he reads in his individual patients. Brendan's perspective, along with mine and many others who have a foot in both ecological studies and personal healing practices, is that personal is ecological, as ecological is personal. What we see in the world, is a reflection of what we experience and express of ourselves. So, to treat planetary imbalance is to treat ourselves and ensure the well-being of all others; to simplify and tonify the diet in every sense - preference, quantity and quality - so to balance or normalize behavior patterns.
As an example of shifting baselines, Brendan includes a chapter on coffee and how the hyper-activated, 'buzzed' state that coffee provokes has been normalized when it's "clearly pathological". When I was a child, my grandfather laughed at driver's who would pass precariously only to be stopped at the next light where he caught up. One stunning cultural example of this propensity to speed when every sign says slow down because going fast leads you nowhere ahead, is this year's importation of snow to Alaska for running a dogsled race ( 2016 Iditarod at Grist).
In The Yin and Yang of Climate CrisisBrendan offers a remedy for climate change wrapped in the optimism of what is, "When you take something as far as it can go, it transforms". Where I have been relieved and hopeful because the pain of global loss has grown too intolerable to bear, serving to catalyze change, Brendan is celebrating because the climate, inside and out, is now too hot to go anywhere but cool. And both of us acknowledge that to survive a pain and heat such as this, is a choice each body makes. Brendan sees the "opportunity" of global climate crisis. Let's help him make it so. Read the book and broadcast the message.
How do I possibly separate what I offer from what has been handed to me by others who have explored their own and been informed by countless more before them? The poem, 'Crone' in DROUGHT INSIDE OUT is written for my beloved teacher, Lucille Bertuccio who, relative to her diagnosis, passed rather suddenly last Saturday, 2.27.2016.
Among the lesser known legendary who, in life, was an institution of power unto herself, Lucille is a foundation of my knowledge and being. During an Ecohumanism course (1995-96), Lucille tested me on Starhawk's The Fifth Sacred Thing and Daniel Quinn's Ishmael. I'm not certain and believe she must have introduced me to Ecopsychology: Restoring the Earth, Healing the Mind, an anthology that includes my first introduction to Joanna Macy's breadth. Lucille practiced the message think globally act locally. Her devotion was a mother's devotion to babes and the slightest giants of creatures.
As I sit with Lucille's death, I celebrate another teacher's birth. Vicki Peterson, my Transcendental Meditation (TM) teacher, has known me since preschool. Vicki is celebrating the 45th anniversary of her own TM training, 3.1.1971. To me, this celebrates Vicki's birth because meditation fundamentally changes the mind and, so, the person. As I am who I am because I was informed by Lucille and all to whom she introduced me, I am also who I am because Vicki changed herself and gave me a tool to know, and change by, forgetting myself.
Vicki is a pure teacher, who studied directly and extensively with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. When I've asked for direction, Vicki has handed me story, Bhagavad-Gita As It Is, and suggested meditation. When I have expressed distress in my experience, heightened or lower state of mind, she has asked simply, "Are you eating. Are you sleeping?", and offered tips on diet and self care from her knowledge of Ayurveda. In doing so, Vicki has facilitated my health and well-being, while allowing my intuition and the creative energies to steer the boat. Vicki is a pure teacher in this sense that she has a wealth to share of her experience and she acknowledges that, beyond the possibility of glimpsing ultimate mystery, what is for her may not necessarily be so for me.
ALLOWING THE GRIEF PROCESS
Often in response to harm, there is tendency to act on the grief that harm inspires before processing that grief. Anger appears to be the most common and accepted face of grief in the United States. Rather than resolving anger by working to understand and correct the harm at its root, the general practice is finding someone to blame and seeking retribution.
By steadily and creatively resolving chronic anger that arises in response to grotesque violations of the most vulnerable - human children and other species - it's possible to remain real about the extreme war state and open to the heartbreak while enjoying all that is yet beautiful in anticipation of more beauty. And, from this beautiful place, strive peacefully for world peace. This 30-minute segment at Extinction Radio offers a bit on the why and what of Mass Extinction: Grief and Creativity forum in which we practice this regenerative process.
What we feed on, we feed out. With Lucille's burial close in mind, I want to say that whatever is felt and expressed in life, may we all carry peace to the ground. What needs healing is generations of anger buried. Let none be buried unresolved. Go peacefully. And please, when you have 30 minutes, sit and listen carefully to the sound of being able to hear, remembering having forgotten the utterly painful beauty, offered vividly by Murray Hidary on piano.
ex·tinc·tion wit·ness hosts discussion and creative forum online at Depth Psychology Alliance (DPA). Discussion and creative forum groups gather formally for the first time March 2016 and are free of charge.
PLEASE NOTE: You DO NOT need to be a member at Depth Psych Alliance in order to join the opening circles and/or subsequent video/audio gatherings. Details for accessing the video meets on zoom can be seen at the links provided in the descriptions for the Forum links below. You DO, however, need to be a member at DPA to join the written forum and can register at Depth Psychology Alliance. Please consider making a donation to DPA to support the online community's existence.
Mass Extinction: Grief and Creativity experiential forum gathers Thursday, March 8, at 5:00 PM PST. Adriana Attento of The Foundation for the Spiritual Practice of Creativity opens the circle with stillness meditation and closes with a creative meditation initiating our first creative dive. SeeForum details.
Animal Aspects of Human Psyche creative dialogue gathers Tuesday, March 3, at 5:00 PM PST. Each discussion begins with a prompt in the form of poetry, story, and/or visual art. Creative discussion, guided by participant contributions, may take the shape of these varied art forms. SeeForum details.
This mass extinction event can be allayed.
Many who are now on the edge of existence can be revived.
ex·tinc·tion wit·ness is a collaborative art project
celebrating spirit and supporting soul with attention to psychospiritual regeneration ~ healing. With a primary focus on personal and global peacemaking, ex·tinc·tion wit·ness recognizes and transmutes chronic grief felt in response to ongoing profound loss, and celebrates the regenerative potential therein. Read more at The Project
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Amazon & Congo are the only remaining
Please help protect what remains intact and help expand
the FOREST EDGE.
Women's Climate Action Agenda Women's Earth Climate Action Network ~ WECAN Derived from the collective efforts of the 2013 International Women's Earth and Climate Summit, major points of the Women's Climate Action Agenda action plan include: limiting global warming to 1.5-2.0 °Celsius ceiling, urgency to protect intact forest and assist with forest regeneration..." read the Women's Climate Action Agenda...