I just started my first medicinal herb garden and it is profound how incredibly healing even just the process of gardening is for the entire mind/body/spirit system. Spending time in the outdoors after months of indoor hibernation, physically working the body at moments through stressful labor and then relaxing into enjoying the rhythm of the work or even taking needed breaks just resting on the earth. I feel so much support just lying on the grass and letting go whatever has been brought up in my being as I do the physical and spiritual work.
I wanted to share this experience with you, but also an amazing resource that has just popped up on my radar. As a novice for all things horticultural, I am thrilled to be learning that there is technical support for people like me out there. I do most of my gardening intuitively at this point, but I am finding that the more technical knowledge I can throw into the mix, the stronger my intuitive technique gets..
Here is to happy growing what ever you may wish to seed in this season!
I wanted to share a personal account that was stirred up as part of an Ecosattva (like Bodhisattva for the suffering of the earth) course I am taking with One Earth Sangha, I hope it breaks your heart a little - in the profound way that Mary Oliver so gracefully names.
I left my career in the international non-profit sector when I burned out after spending 4 years living and working in Mumbai, India. When I think of my burnout, two big struggles I faced really stick out in my mind:
1) When I worked in Ghana I visited a slave port where they had a church built on top of quarters where they kept slaves calf-deep in their own filth while they waited to ship them off. I have a visceral stomach-turning reaction to this whenever I think of it. What is equally disturbing was my experience in India of this “ghostly slave ship” that still exists today. The community I worked with in Mumbai lives in filthy and polluted environments and recycles garbage, some of which is turned into plastic pellets that are then shipped to China and turned into things like our cellphone cases. We give someone a barely living wage and then stop calling the role they are allocated in our system “slavery”. We are so distanced from the realities of this when we make our everyday consumption choices. As gut wrenching as the image of a church on top of slave quarters is, it is more honest than the system we are ensconced in today. There is something direct to fight against and get angry and sick about. Today we don’t know and don’t see the hardship that lives behind our way of life.
2) Another huge emotional challenge for me in Mumbai was the extreme dichotomy of life there. I worked during the day in the slums and then in the evenings and on weekends was absorbed into a class of privilege due to my work position, the color of my skin and my educational background. I started to find huge divisions in myself that eventually became irreconcilable, leading to a mental breakdown. On one hand I was extremely intrigued by the ideas and potential found in the elite classes – I was more intellectually stimulated in Mumbai than even in my graduate program – but I had a hard time stomaching some of what I judged to be superficial and egoic aspects of that society. This was especially difficult, because I could not say “that is them” as I found these things to be in me – attitudes of entitlement and the hedonistic appreciation of privilege. What I found is that my internal struggle both cut me off from the population I was serving – out of guilt and shame – and from the social circle I was a part of – out of judgement, recrimination, and even self-hatred.
And so I broke down.
And in breaking down that logical and professional part of me had to give way to a more raw, real and direct experience of life.
I love the Mary Oliver quote about breaking the heart open. This is very much what I still feel on a daily basis – a rawness of a heart that has been broken open. And I thought that this made me weak. I mourned that I no longer could be the analytical professional I had been, because from a heart level I could no longer see people as statistics and quantify personal impacts and objectives with objective precision.
And I share this with you because I am coming to a new realization about the power and strength of the emotional tenderness I feel. I got a glimpse of this yesterday as I participated in a Peace Pole dedication ceremony. When we were asked to share what we were bringing to the dedication, all I could bring was my tears. As someone who is used to being eloquent, it was deeply humbling to be so caught up in emotion that alI I could share with the community was my raw emotion. But I now see that those tears were a necessary and powerful element of the dedication ceremony. They took the discussion of peace out of the clouds and earthed it into the reality of our hearts.
When we hold our hearts wide open, while weaving in our analytical understanding, we partake in a yogic path of transformation... an evolution of ourselves as conscious beings and together as a conscious world. This is a yogic path that Thomas Merton wrote much about, and lived in a way that can be a guiding lamp. I feel this transformation in me viscerally as parts of my emotional body and mental body are transformed through this internal struggle to hold “the more”.
And if I am feeling uncomfortable I know I am on the right path. To me this feeling of discomfort means that I am on my growth edge. It also is part of the process of creating a “spiritual metabolism”, meaning that life can throw just about anything at me and with a good “spiritual metabolism” I could process it mind, body, heart, soul in the most compassionate and profound way for the highest good of all.
So let us all break our hearts wide open, and take the next step towards becoming the wildly compassionate beings I know we are!
The following poem was written while making a new flower essence at Tree Frog Farm as part of a course by Diana Pepper. We were re-making Fairy Rose and our upgrade of this essence has wonderful properties to help work with energetic and spiritual blockages to the collaborative creative process - very much an issue that has been on my mind as of late!
The Heart of Connection
hold true to
your own charm
speak the words
deepest in your soul
and let what separates
- from purpose
from community -
and what does not fall away
becomes gifted work
you do not do alone
it is OURS
it is generations
it is a network of beings
and worlds so great
it fills and overflows the imagination
and your simple point
in this great web of connection
is a welcomed place of choice
make the choice
to support the larger work
of all the universes
and you will find
of open arms
like a sweet song
for love and peace
*original poem by Summer Starr, July 2015
I feel your pain
in my stomach
deep in my womb
at the center of the cave
of my heart
day after day
we toil to pay for
generation after generation
hell we're mad
and sometimes it feels like
this world is spun
out of this thread
of mindless pain
woven into unsympathetic
so how do we untangle and reweave
given our sick and poor
look closer and you'll see
the glitter of some small potential
a hope sometimes so ridiculous
its mere existence shows
the existence of something deeper
and so we go deeper
into the mind
into All That Is
And somehow feeling the pain
is both the way out
and the way in
to a deeper way
of living as a prayer
for the dying
*original poem by Summer Starr, July 2015
Today’s world is facing unprecedented challenges as we wade through social, political, economic, and environmental challenges to create a better world for future generations. Luckily, we humans are wildly creative beings and we have the intelligence and resources to be and create the change we want to see in the world!
As part of the World Peace Hologram I am holding a series of Resonance Repatterning sessions to address a major block to this creativity – grief. I have found in my own healing work that unless and until I could really hold my grief for what is happening in the world, my actions to create in the world were inauthentic and did not hold their full creative power and potential. Additionally, many of the problems I see in the world actually appear to be a form of being “stuck” in a stage of grief.
To this end, I am encouraging us to all dig deep into the ways that this grief plays out in our lives and in the world as a collective. I will focus on the 5 stages of grief and am asking for you to join me with your input on how you see this working in your life and society around you. Together, I believe we can shift denial, anger, bargaining and depression to move onto acceptance and the opportunity for new creation that comes with it!
I will be offering 5 sessions, each focused on a stage of the grief process. This first August session will focus on denial. I invite you to join our hearts and minds to shifting this experience of personal and collective denial over what is happening in the world today. How do we see denial about what is happening in the world work within ourselves and society as a whole?
The session schedule will be:
How To Participate:
Please fill out the survey below to proxy in and to provide your insight into how denial is affecting world peace . The answers to these questions will help form the session - thank you for providing your experience and insight!
You can also join me on the conference call:
Friday, August 14th at 6pm PDT
Number: (712) 775-7031
Access code: 532-070
is the ground of my being
it is beyond all reason
in fact, reason, sense and expectation
to be its opposite
just as you are
the world is
it is the molecules of being
the potential of a point of nothing
it is a prayer that makes no requests
a joy that rejoices in nothingness
and what lies beyond
it is a recognition of what is right now
in a way so raw and bloody in its clarity
that to still stand
in the face of everything
can only be called love
*Original poem by Summer Starr, July 2015
A major current life theme for me is centered around the importance of creativity during a time where there seems to be so many problems facing us as a people. We have the wild and inspirational intelligence to create our way out of these seeming stalemates, road blocks, and even our imprisonment in a system that is failing. However, this creativity seems blocked. I feel it in myself. Sometimes it is just a sense of hopelessness that one small person can't do much of anything in the face of EVERYTHING! But I know deep down that isn't true. The Dalai Lama said "If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito." And if you are part of a flock of mosquitoes - wow!
What I have started to see as a huge creative block is our own self-criticism. Our comparison of ourselves to others, our wishing we were something more, because "then I could really do something." Insecurity is not something often openly spoken of in our culture and it is a kind of silent sword at the throat of so many. A sword that is unfortunately made stronger by our judgement of each other. I feel this judgement in myself when I find myself get angry over conspicuous consumption or unconsciousness about what is happening in the world. But this kind of "whose doing right and whose doing wrong" or "who is better than whom" is what got us into this mess in the first place...to get out we need to change our thinking.
Climbing Poetree uses their strong, beautiful and penetratingly insightful voices to illustrate this human frailty in their first poem at the Bioneers conference. I hope will give you not just a smile, but hope to you as well - I know it did to me. Accepting and connecting to nature and accepting and connecting to MY true nature...one and the same...and the beginning of a new way of thinking and being in the world - beyond judgement. "Effort give way to existence." Now THAT inspires a creativity worthy of Creation...
Joanna Macy, a wise elder, and Anya Young, a wise youth, weave together a beautiful interview that outlines to me what this unfolding really is. This is the eloquence that streams straight from Grace. And it is the result of 14 billion years of evolution...a gift (as well a burden...this gift comes with its own weight...but also deeper wealth) from all of our ancestors as Joanna so beautifully says.
Listen to this inspiring interview HERE.
On the 5th of July I posted a poem titled "Mother's Fury". I've been dealing with a lot of anger and pain in myself over the environmental changes I am seeing and the unconsciousness of myself and so much of our society over this issue. It feels like I have been trained to act and think in a way that now opposes the fabric of my being as I emerge in my unfolding process. This frustration has left me feeling like my heart is closing and I am becoming bitter and judgmental of myself and others. So this morning's period of contemplation was centered around a prayer for help with this issue and this poem is the result. Enjoy.
the real wrath of God
is the simple laws of nature;
what goes up
must come down
for every action
there is an equal and opposite reaction;
but if you sit and deeply listen
to the heart of the world
to the hustle and bustle of nature
you'll hear within it a larger heartbeat -
the sound of creation -
and there is an unmistakable love there
a bounty, a ridiculous abundance
of wonder, mystery and potential;
let this take your breath away
and it is this heart that breaks a little
every time her children go extinct
her landscape goes bare
her waters become polluted;
but mostly she weeps for a children
who have gone astray
in deed and purpose
this heart has hope
and directs us
if we listen
let today be a prayer
for deeper listening
and our collective anger and grief
for greater love
* Original poem by Summer Starr, July 2015
"A civilization is a community of beings united in a common aim of creating the beautiful"
I'm reading this little 1982 publication by Matthew Fox, theologian, and Brian Swimme, physicist, and wanted to share some of the opening and very inspiring words:
"Though cultural chaos dominates the global situation of our time, the vision of what is to come can gather us into the work of creation in the midst of collapse and confusion. The chaotic fragmentation that surrounds the globe represents the confusion that accompanies every great birthing hour. The world quails with the fear of labor, and it is the task of our generation to act as midwife to this great birthing, to assist in the cosmological movement itself by creating those forms of life and being that will usher in the era of the global civilization."
Wild Lotus Living is me, Summer Starr. Here I share my personal musings and resources on my own path of unfolding