Archive for February, 2011

Are We Miners?

Posted in Big Questions, Not your normal letter to the editor with tags , , , , on February 23, 2011 by matthewstruth

This small resort town in paradise has been working to keep a molybdenum mine from desecrating our closest beloved mountain and water for nearly 40 years. Right now market forces, and personal and corporate greed are colluding, thereby threatening everything here. There are certain specifics, but these ideas and feelings are relevant everywhere. This is a letter to my newspaper and community.

 

Is it conceivable that within the travesty of this current mine debacle, that there lies a hidden opportunity—a possibility for massive transformation? What might it take for us to feel into and recognize this?

Many here are rightly appalled, aghast, terrified and angry about the prospect of this never-ending mine quagmire becoming a reality. Many have written eloquently about what this could mean and the potential impacts from such a disastrous possibility.

While no doubt a majority will vehemently oppose this prospect, I see the opportunity within this opposition for an even deeper engagement with ourselves, one another and the way that we live our lives. If this opposition is based primarily upon an “us vs. them” mentality, no matter the righteousness of our opposition, it will have limited effect. However, can we delve into the ways in which we might be complicit and unconsciously aligned with a mining mentality? What are the ways in which we live, the behaviors that we might unquestioningly engage in that are virtually the same as the ones that we are opposed too? Do our lifestyles show that we are in fact mini-miners? If so, will we change?

Before going into what I see as being some of the ways that we are complicit, I’d like to first emphatically state that if we do the Herculean and radical work to go against the tide of our societal dictates, that we can clean up our own behaviors and entitled lifestyles and get ourselves well positioned to be a voice of absolute power. We will be ardently,  more morally equipped to keep this tragedy from occurring. This is a monumental opportunity to unveil our unity. So while what I’m about to speak about could be inconvenient to read, I feel that it is imperative to get past our resistance.

Greed, rape, squander, waste, polluting, pillage, desecrate—these are some of the terms that come to mind when mining happens. Despicable behaviors without a doubt. But is it only large, heartless, far away corporations that engage in these? What about us? How do we engage in polluting, wasting and all of the others?

Absolutely every single time we spark up the automobile, for whatever use, we are doing just that. Every single time we start ‘er up and leave it there unnecessarily warming up, idling somewhere, or cruising around, we are wasting fuel, polluting our towns air, spewing carbon and mindlessly creating noise pollution.  We are wasting a precious resource that we’ve had no part in creating, a resource that will be needed for far greater uses than hauling our physiques about at our whim. Its been said that the amount of available energy encapsulated within a barrel of oil, which today can be bought for 94 bucks is the equivalent of one persons physical hand labor of nine years. Astounding! And we just waste it. A question—if we know this and don’t modify our actions, what does this state about our morality? If we’re unaware of the implications and think that this fuel just magically appears for our misguided use, what does that say? And if we knowingly and boldly don’t give a hoot, isn’t this the most insidious form of dastardly behavior? Like that of a mining corporation?

What about water? What are the multitudes of ways that we waste this resource? Unconsciously flushing, showering every single day, water running non-stop while washing dishes, on and on this listing could go. Home heating, gigantic dwellings, lights on in businesses all night, driving the little ones to school when there are buses. How about desecrating the land with more and more resource wasting buildings? Insulation and light bulbs will not combat the larger questions of why these buildings even need to exist in the first place. The commonly stated mantra of “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” neglected a couple—“Reconsider, Refuse”. And dust? Who speeds down unpaved roads, kicking up enormous dust clouds? How is this dust different than what a mine’s vehicle will kick up?

Every single time that we opt for convenience, or an “I want it now” attitude, regardless of the consequences, we are engaging in behaviors that pillage.

How about our personal energies—in what ways does our manic driven euphoria inhibit deep personal connection? In what ways does the “go, go, go” mentality dominate and crush personal inner alone time, time necessary for recognizing “what is“? What about the substances that we ingest, or how we treat our bodies—what does this say about our level of self-care? How can we powerfully care about our landbase when so many don’t care about their own bodies?

And what about the prevalence of gossiping and bad mouthing another? Telling other peoples stories, and the lack of clear personal boundaries? How does this desecrate someone else’s esteem or privacy? If we can’t keep personal boundaries clear, why do expect corporations to do so?

Sure the scale is far different, but aren‘t all of these behaviors reminiscent of what mines do, aren’t the underlying energies similar? While these examples barely scratch the surface, we can take solace knowing that we are ALL complicit in wasting, polluting, squandering, some of us consciously, others unconsciously. And sure, again, we are indignant about the proposal of the mine, can we become equally indignant about the ways in which we live our lives, and do the great work of changing. Can we bring a massive amount of conscious awareness to our predicament? This is a huge opportunity to transform, re-work, and re-write our destiny. We can create a much more functional relationship to everything. This mine proposal is equivalent to what humans everywhere are being asked to consider. Namely, that how we live our lives matters and has drastic consequences for what comes next in our earthly journey.

As we work diligently to see that our lands are not raped, spoiled, sacrificed, polluted, desecrated—lets also see that the same does not continue for ourselves. Then our power will be undeniable and unstoppable.

 

 

 

 

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What Great Words

Posted in Big Questions, Desires with tags , on February 19, 2011 by matthewstruth

The first in a series of posts to come regarding these particular words, no doubt……

 

Our Deeper Truths—Cultivating the Inner Landscapes of Expanding Consciousness. Oh my—what a collection of words and concepts! Singly, I love and resonate with each of these words. Taken collectively, what gumption to put them together as a family in my blog’s header. What do I mean by these? Entire books could be authored attempting to speak to this—here, I will barely scratch the surface, but why not give it a go?!

For this taurian sun, cultivating is incredibly delectable and near to my heart. It brings to mind feelings of nurturing, gentility, awe, and wonder—all attributes that have been much easier for me to experience within the realm of plants and gardens than in relationship with our human brethren, but, change and maturity are continuing, thankfully. The same is true for me regarding landscapes—whether witnessing and experiencing the splendor and subtleties within prairie grasses or upon majestic peaks and toward vista’s, everywhere, the natural world is filled with magnificence. And then—to work within a landscape, co-creating sacred spaces, well, what could be better?

Now “inner landscapes“—there’s a whole new world, ripe for inquiry. What resides within? What is true in there and what is blatantly and unquestioningly fabricated? So much food for thought or no-thought that quite frankly a lifetime could be spent looking into the mysteries of our interior selves. And what better moment to continue that journey than right now in this one.

And isn’t it astounding the degree to which our very own consciousness is capable of expanding? If I think back to various points in my life and the kinds of things that were in the forefront of my awareness, it really has been quite a ride. I am not the person that I was. I’m sure that so many of us could say the same thing—we are changing, we are becoming more aware, we are opening, we are letting go of fear. And as we do so, we create space and energy for others to do the same. On and on so many notions are transforming, and there is so much room for more. Where will we wind up?

What will it take for more and more of us to open to the sparks of insight, creativity and connection that just might propel us into a more harmonious and responsible way of being?

Here on this blog I gleefully look forward to what we can create together! What does cultivating the inner landscape of your expanding consciousness look like? What are your deeper truths?

 

Why Are We Wasting Our Waste?

Posted in Big Questions, Dilemma's and Solutions with tags , , , , on February 15, 2011 by matthewstruth

This will be the first entry in a series of posts located in my Dilemmas and Solutions category. Here we’ll explore, in no particular order, some concrete issue’s that we face as a society.

 

The western industrialized world tends to consider itself civilized. After all we’ve got private automobiles for transporting our mostly out of shape physiques from one place to another at our whim. We’ve got those giant tv’s with remotes, so we don’t have to move from the couch. We’ve even got couches filled with toxic materials that we place our being upon. We’ve got food products right there on the shelf, never mind that there’s only two or three days worth in any given location. We’ve got heat and ac, that is our right, we don’t even have to be acclimated to the natural world anymore. Wow, what prowess.

And then there’s indoor plumbing, that innovation that removed us even further from our environment. We are civilized here, we just sit down and allow the remnants of our digestion to be whisked away with—potable water. Is flushing and throwing away our waste products really civilized though? Are they even to be considered waste? Certainly the alleviation of rampant disease created from sewage running in the streets is a welcome sign of a civilized society. Indeed. But has anything been lost?

I am proposing that on the contrary—this unquestioned practice is in fact barbaric. Here’s why. We humans eat food, food that has been grown from the elements of earth and from soil, from which our plants take in nutrients. When we eat them raw or moderately prepared, a wondrous dining experience, these precious life forms provide us with our own nutrients. But we have taken, and what have we given back? We have taken the plants and thereby the energy and nutrients from within the soil. This equation of taking cannot continue indefinitely, and eventually the soil becomes degraded. Our barbarity has been in thinking that applying chemicals or even the manure of other animals will balance out this equation of taking. Our depleted soils and the extreme loss of topsoil clearly shows that our industrialized model isn’t working so well.

Back to the sitting and flushing scenario—We are taking from our soils, ingesting, digesting and then flushing away the very materials from our own bodies that would provide balance to the equation. Our fecal matter is precious, yet our civilized barbarity lets us just throw it away—again with pure drinking water.

What is wrong with us? Are we so afraid of touching that which would close the loop in the creation cycle? Perhaps we call it shit because we eat shitty products that some corporations call food. If instead we ate, at the very least organic food, grown by ourselves, or at least grown locally and in season—precious life giving and sustaining food, we’d recognize our place within this splendor and see that what has moved through our bodies is in fact FOOD for the soil and the organisms within it. Our humanure, no longer to be called shit, is a commodity of great, great value. When carefully composted it is an antidote to our barbarity.

Water is precious and becoming scarce. To continue to flush away nutrients, while considering them waste with clean water is another sign of a civilization in steep decline. Our alleged affluence, arrogance and outright fear is causing extreme danger to the majority of the worlds people. Our current western lifestyle is not our highest calling, not the best that humans are capable of. We can do better. We can begin the difficult work of reclaiming our natural functions and creating systems to replenish our earths soils with parts of us. We are an integral part of creation and the universe. It is time to inhabit our place within it responsibly and evolve.

 

Two great sources of information along these lines are—“The Humanure Handbook” by Joseph Jenkins and the 2009 book “What We Leave Behind” by Derrick Jensen and Aric McBay.

A Man’s Peace of Mind

Posted in Feelings, Men with tags , , , on February 8, 2011 by matthewstruth

 

“You see me on the street, well you guess I’m doing fine

Oh but its fantasy baby, almost all the time

I’ve got to get away, by myself

Oh the way it’s going, soon be needing help

‘cause I’m just a man, doing the best I can

don’t you understand, I just want some peace of mind.”

 

 

These words from a track on Van Morrison’s 1991 epic wonder, “Hymns to the Silence” say so much to me about the state of men—and the state of this man during many times in my life. This melody has floated through my awareness for almost twenty years now.

Hmmm, “doing the best I can”, how often have I uttered this phrase when called forth or challenged to grow into new behavior that I couldn’t?, wouldn’t?, make manifest at the time? Oodles of times. Certainly there is, as a friend would often say, a time for all seasons—a time when things are ripe for transformation, that can’t be rushed.

There is also a time for digging in ones heels and remaining stuck. But why would we choose this option? Probably not for any reason that’s very noble—fear, angst, rigidity, power and control, unwillingness to grow up, among others. Guilty, I’ve used them all. I thought “some peace of mind” would come from these stances, and I did want some. After bellowing the “doing the best I can” line though, did I feel better? Usually not. Usually I’d go sit alone somewhere, sulk somewhat, and wonder what the heck will it take to find some of this peace of mind.

Thankfully as those “seasons” come and go and maturity continues, combining this with inner inquiry, and evolutionary leaps and desires, that “doing the best I can” posture actually becomes drastically more functional.

What does any of this have to do with men in particular? Well as one, I can surely state that we all desire peace of mind, its just that many times we were taught outmoded ways of achieving this. How limiting it has been to be a mans man, and while in the process many of us were roaring absolute nonsense. Looking good, thinking I’m fine, and knowing somewhere deep inside that much of this look is fantasy. Baby—ouch. Yup fantasy. How many will admit this?

Certainly most of the worlds problems are caused by men. Operating from dysfunctional patterns and playbooks, using a “power over” model, greedily amassing heartless wealth, squelching dissent and acting like a child, but, in a suit—these were recipes for success. How many sensitive males have been squashed under this system? How many males hearts were broken and crushed before they could even walk? How many of us are willing to rectify this calamity and strive to create a saner, more just equitable playing field for everybody?

The new men’s work is to engage our hearts, learn what’s in there and what the darn thing is truly for. We—who were never taught what really matters, we—who were shattered with old outdated paradigms, we—who were allowed, due to our physical prowess to run amok, we—who are more capable than can be imagined—it is time. It is time to pull up our pants, it is time to spend time alone and with others learning who we really are, and it is time to learn to cherish—everything, knowing then, that we can cherish our peace of mind.

 

 

Belonging……….Be Longing?

Posted in Big Questions, Feelings with tags , , on February 6, 2011 by matthewstruth
 
 
 
 It was 32 degrees below zero the other day, a glorious morning and my husky could not have been happier. This is a winter paradise at 9000 feet, with the nearby peaks reaching to 13,000 feet, thoroughly breath-taking for myself the human. For her?—Well she’s out of her mind with ecstasy, diving off the trail into deep powder and tunneling her way through or sliding down hills on her back. Hysterical. As we trekked through the magnificence, her exuberance and utter delight showed me what I’ve always known, she belongs here.

Well obviously she does, but what about me? Where do I belong? This has been a question that I’ve been revisiting on and off for decades. It also begs me to wonder—How many of us truly know where we belong, and why?

Certainly as the years have added up, comfort within my own skin and a genuine level of happiness have joined me wherever I’m living. Looking at my dog and knowing that deep cold and snow are her element, I’m still wondering what my element is. And is it just me, or are we as a species still longing to find our healthy place within the cosmos?

What are the factors that allow for a comfortable sense of belonging?

Growing up on Long Island, 60 miles out, I never took in what this really meant. Returning many years later and hearing the accents, seeing the ever present Italian last names everywhere—well something clicked, yes this is where I am from. These people are like me, on the outer front anyway. I remember feeling a comfort in this then—and also the feeling that I couldn’t live there again.

Today I’m thrilled and content with many elements of my return to this winter paradise, am happier than I’ve been as a person—and yet—the people here don’t feel like my tribe, my soul family. Our physical fitness and athletic prowess bonds us, but I don’t feel a spiritual connection. I do with the land though, it’s almost impossible not to here. My own sense of contentment? Yes—but true belonging? What would it take, both within me, and within a community for me to feel this? Can we belong anywhere? And what are we belonging to—our families, our towns, our land-base, our race, our species, our planet, our universe? So many layers of possibility.

Being with people who “get us” and that we “get” seems crucial during these rapidly changing times. Being with those who add fuel to our inner burning fires of transformation, a true joy. If this doesn’t occur within our immediate communities we are so blessed today to have the possibility of connecting with people all over the world virtually and this is an enormous gift. What would it really feel like though to be with a gaggle of kindred spirits, creating not only a thoroughly new way of relating to one another, but also a new world?

So am I “Be-ing Longing”? Can I “Be Longing“? Longing can have so many stops along the continuum and like most things a balance is probably preferable. We can become dysfunctional as we long for something, while also allowing our longing to take us to places we might otherwise never reach for. Is longing an inherent part of the creative process?

 How do you relate to this idea of belonging? I’d love to hear what you think and feel about your place in the universe.

Confounded “Carbon Conundrum” Continue’s

Posted in Big Questions, Not your normal letter to the editor with tags , , , , on February 4, 2011 by matthewstruth

 

(This is a letter to my local newspaper regarding a five-week series on the damages of fossil fuel burning. Our resort town of 2800 people in the north part of this valley is located 30 miles from the closest traffic light and 4 hours from a larger population center, also known as a “middle of nowhere paradise”.)

Yes, this “carbon conundrum” is here to stay. Thank you to the author and publishers of our paper for devoting so much time and space to this issue. We are blessed to have the many knowledgeable resource people quoted in this region doing great work on our behalf. Thank you all.

Now could be the time to address deeper, more difficult and potentially even more interesting questions—Why are we here? Why after billions of years in the creation of this universe are you and I here?

After answering these we could inquire—Why are we willing to accept the current status quo consensus reality of living the American Dream when it is detrimental to the health and wellbeing of most people? Why are we so easily brainwashed into thinking that one more new electronic device will bring happiness?

Really, this conundrum of climate change, peak oil, economic collapse, spiritual bankruptcy, these can all lead us to go further within and ask—What is the point of our lives? This fantastic confluence of events, billions of years in the making, all leading to this moment, you and I standing right here—What will we do with this time, this moment, now? Does this society, this culture, this way that we live our lives, and all that we take for granted, does any of it lead to extreme happiness, joy, generosity and compassion for all? Witnessing the levels of depression, addiction, apathy, and mania present, I would guess not, though it doesn’t have to be this way, we are capable of so much more.

Will building another house, another subdivision, another bar or restaurant lead to deep fulfillment in the long run? Will another tourist or visitor really fuel the blossoming of love in our community? Will continuing to believe in the stock markets rise and our retirement time, these relatively recent fictions of our imaginations, will they really lead to bliss?

When will we notice and pay attention that our world is changing rapidly? Adding to what one of last weeks writers said, it’s not the 20th century anymore, heck, it’s not last week anymore. There is a very high probability that the “way things have always been“, will not be a part of our future— including what we think of as the economy, our fantasies regarding capitalism, and what we think that we are entitled to. Seven plus billion humans will not live the way that we have been privileged too. The cost of this privilege has been disastrous for most of the worlds people. This “dream” needs to drastically shift. Our old structures and paradigms are crumbling, right before our eyes, as new ones are emerging— paradigms of connection, simplicity, fairness, oneness, the opening of collective hearts.

With the emergence of these, we can take responsibility for our carbon mess. Every single one of us can change every one of our behaviors. Mr. Horn says its doesn’t have to mean that we go back to the Dark Ages. There is nothing backward about not wasting resources. There is nothing backward about questioning why we think we need these insane wasteful levels of alleged comfort. There is nothing backward about providing one’s livelihood in ways that matter and that don’t destroy our land-base. We can gather together in larger numbers to inhabit these oversized homes. We can become comfortable with drastically lower indoor temperatures in drastically smaller dwellings. We can live much closer together, even Mr. Norton mentioned the 25 foot lot. We can end our “affair” with private polluting automobiles. We can alter our diets, thereby becoming healthier by producing and eating locally grown foods in season. We can relearn how to successfully store foods to eat in winter. We can create more community gatherings and celebrations of being alive. We as Americans have gone so far overboard in attempting to escape from each other, that we are now reaping the devastating effects that this has had upon our planet, and upon ourselves for not growing into our true capacities as human beings.

We are here right now, in one of the most exciting, challenging and potentially transformative times ever. Clinging to the past of the “Dream” will not be the road forward. Clinging to our hope that more and more will come, in an era of dwindling resources and the devastating effects from the use of them, verges on the delusional. What do we really need? And what can we do right now, with who is here to create our new world?

Lets gather and develop a wholly new vision for our planet with a wholly new vision of why we exist as human beings. If this group vision is to manifest as a sanctuary of inspired, soulful, responsible citizens creating a “sustainable destination”, we will have to drastically alter our behavior regarding everything, absolutely everything. The same altering of behavior and attitudes will need to occur regardless of community vision. We can do better, we are capable. Humans are evolving everywhere, shifts in consciousness are possible. Continuing this human experiment will demand it and we will have a greater possibility to co-create a world truly worth living in for everyone.

 

“Carbon Conundrum” Indeed

Posted in Big Questions, Not your normal letter to the editor with tags , , , on February 4, 2011 by matthewstruth

 

(Originally posted on a separate page earlier in the week, now moved to its new category)

I read with alarm the opening three paragraphs of last weeks otherwise excellent article “The Carbon Conundrum”. The author is portraying our entitled citizenry as caring about our environmental challenges in word only, while he writes that no one seems to be willing to personally do a darn thing differently and heck, why should we, this is after all a resort playground. This is indeed the crux of a severely disturbing problem. Can the behaviors listed in this article’s paragraphs really be sacrosanct? While I don’t believe that we can lump everyone in the same boat, taking a good hard look around town it is easy to see why the author began his piece as he did–there is wastefulness just about everywhere. Our current US way of life can be labeled as arrogant and is in no way sustainable. And if this is so, what does it say about us that many just don’t care? Where are our scruples?

The agitation in me kept saying “it doesn’t have to be this way, we can transform these attitudes”. Thankfully around here there have been, and are, many people striving to make a difference. Bucking the trend of this cultures misguided misuse of resources, both finite carbon varieties and personal inner ones certainly is difficult, but it is also becoming mandatory. Do things really have to remain the way they have been for these past decades?

Focusing on what governments and large entities could potentially accomplish as part one of this article states is important, but each of us as individuals have the first responsibility to clean up our own act. This begins with awareness, education, and a sense of fairness–essentially expanding our consciousness to question every element of our existence, how we think about it and what we take for granted. And then changing. Colin Beavon’s No Impact Man Project is a great primer for just what one person can accomplish. Regarding our impact, Bill McKibben’s 2010 book Eaarth– that’s the correct spelling because his thesis states that we are in fact living on a new earth, the old one is gone, and that we are going to have to very quickly adapt. Rain in CB South in December is a harbinger for what this new planet might look like.

Pondering any of this might lead to questions such as–Is it really my God given right to squander everything in sight? Do resources, including animals and plants really exist solely for my benefit? Is huddling together, in tiny nuclear family units, within single family boxes really conducive to societal health? Is outright disregard for the consequences of our actions bringing about a saner, more peaceful, open hearted society? Does pumping ourselves up with substances of any kind that are inherently addictive create a connected loving world? Isn’t this the moment in our species’ evolution when we can grow into our hearts and leave behind our adolescent cultural inebriations?

We here have so very much to cherish, we can look out any window or be walking anywhere and gaze around us and witness and experience the splendor absolutely everywhere. The sky’s majesty and ethereal lighting upon our neighborly peaks is enough to bring us to our knees. What would happen if every one of us knelt down?

This valley offers such a richness for potentially re-visioning what we can be. Several others recently in this paper have lamented about either the wishywashyness of, or lack of clear vision. This is certainly understandable if the former visioning was seen through the eyes of money, exploitation and our unquestioned entitlements.

What would happen though if we saw ourselves as inherently connected and deeply blessed? Where might these feelings lead us and what kinds of visions might manifest? We could become an incubator as a community, willing to learn or relearn how to live within the finite limits of reality. We’d recognize the problems with becoming, as the PA governor said, wussies. We’d live with vastly lower indoor temperature’s, more of us would bicycle, as many in this town already do. We’d produce, in an ethical manner items that are truly necessities, right here. We’d gather together to really learn about our dormant capacities as human beings, namely our underdeveloped spiritual selves, and how this leads to an awareness of love, that until this moment was only thought to reside with “the enlightened ones”. We could be a place where “friendliness” was never again questioned. People would arrive here and recognize something much, much deeper about us, think Findhorn in Scotland, or Damanhur in Italy. We could become a “Transition Town”, modeling something other than greed, and not with green washing, but with actual behavioral transformation.

This will take so much deliberation, dedication and action, both external and internal. People have been gathering, having been drawn to this place, and are in fact beginning the move towards healthier aspects of being that are truly the antithesis of the article’s first paragraphs. We can care, we can learn, we can change, we can evolve. We are.