By Kathleen Calder
It’s easy enough to point fingers and say that any one person or group of people is at fault for this. However, all of us, every single human being, has played some part in the creation of the strong natural imbalance that has led to such severe weather patterns. We have all let our unfelt emotional pain fester to the point of not letting ourselves feel our deep compassion and love for our earth and all its creatures.
With the major weather crises we have all witnessed happening in North America alone, it isn’t surprising that we are looking at scientific details to figure out what’s going on in our climate. During times of such distress, as we are especially witnessing on the east coast of Canada and the U.S., it also feels necessary that we look at the whole picture when feeling into causes of extreme weather – the political, emotional, and the literal climate, altogether.
In SoulFullHeart, we offer and live into a view of healing yourself that is holistic and we take in all factors that could have led to where a person is at emotionally and physically. We do not isolate emotional or physical symptoms and treat them individually or as separate entities. This offers us deep and effective healing as individuals and as a group. So why not extend this holistic view outwards and use it for looking at and feeling what’s at the root of the intense weather happening in the world?
Let’s look at one example that is close to my heart. Before I moved to Vancouver, Toronto was my home for four years while I went to university there. Part of me left that city with a sour taste in his mouth, feeling tired of the pollution and also of the surprising amount of conservative thinking and politics. Shortly after I moved away, Rob Ford was voted in as mayor. My friends at the time who still lived there were shocked that he managed to get into office, considering he already had a stance that was anti-cyclist and I believe also anti-transit to a certain extent. Expanding bike lanes and creating a safer city for cyclists and also expanding public transit are two major ways in which the city can cut back on pollution. Also, and I know this is looking at physical appearance which may rub some people the wrong way, but if the man can’t take good care of himself, how is he supposed to be trusted to lead a metropolitan city? His drug habits make this apparent, but it’s also clear when you look at him, that this is not a self-loving or respecting man.
I feel that the weather happening in Toronto right now is an outward shake-up, showing up in the climate, that is happening in response to the political climate. Instead, though, of taking a stance of saying that the Divine is “punishing” Toronto, I’d like to offer that Mother (who is most commonly felt as “Mother Earth”), wants Toronto to wake up. The degree of pollution, both literal and energetic needs an upheaval. It’s sad that it had to come to this – that Mother Nature needed to re-balance herself in a way that has unfortunately held many deaths. I say “held” because I feel Mother holds and feels every single one of us in our suffering…suffering we had to reap ourselves so that we can wake up.
It’s easy enough to point fingers and say that any one person or group of people is at fault for this. However, all of us, every single human being, has played some part in the creation of the strong natural imbalance that has led to such severe weather patterns. We have all let our unfelt emotional pain fester to the point of not letting ourselves feel our deep compassion and love for our earth and all its creatures. This has taken shape in the form of supporting factory farming practices by our unconscious consumption of meat, which has led to a staggering amount of pollution both in our skies and in our water. We have also relied heavily on such products as plastic, which has become a huge problem in our oceans, being consumed by wildlife at an alarming rate, and is not biodegradable, so it remains in the environment for eons. Not to mention that plastic is created by oil – another way in which we have literally been raping the planet and the atmosphere. I understand that oil has been a number one commodity for so long that it’s hard to imagine the state of our economy without it, but the affects on the environment are insurmountable at best. Oil spills are costly to our wildlife and our own health as well. The foray into nuclear power has over and over again proven detrimental. We cannot afford the risks these practices pose to our health and our environments health. The earth is sick and She is trying to re-balance Herself, like our own bodies do when we endure fevers and other physical reactions.
Aside from literally harming the environment in these ways, we are also harming the environment and each other energetically every day. Every unfelt, undigested emotional trauma is yet another excuse to harm ourselves and one another. This is what I feel fuels our need to follow religious dogma to the point where we feel God is actually telling us it’s okay to kill, rape and pillage. The inverse of that is following “spiritual/new age” dogma that insists we ignore the state of the world because “it isn’t real” and in order to become truly enlightened we need to disengage from it and from taking responsibility for it. I feel this goes directly against why we signed up to be human in this life, in this time when being deeply engaged in our feeling, physical bodies is so necessary to save our planet. This all goes into Mother’s heart. This is part of what She needs us all to feel into. Taking that step to feel into and recognize our accountability for the state of the planet is a big deal and isn’t easy, but is so deeply necessary.
This is a lot to take in, but it’s important to remember that we are more powerful and therefore much more responsible for our world than many of us think…and are at the same time, much more capable of saving it than any of us have ever felt comfortable believing before.
By Jillian Vriend
It is the sound that originally draws me during my daily beachfront walk. I am in Powell River, British Columbia, two ferry rides from the Vancouver area. I am drawn by the sound of flapping fins and rustling waters. And, there they are: dozens of large grey and pink fish swimming in a tiny stream flowing into the ocean; straining to move upstream against the current. My brain struggles to catch up with what I am seeing; it just feels so strange to see these near two to three feet long fish from the deepest ocean swimming in eight inches of water, clustered together in tight rows. The young part of me named Aurora finds the scene compelling at first, exclaiming inside my head, “Look, fishes! Huge fishes in the stream!” And she (along with my dog Koda) stand captivated for many moments watching them.
Then a young boy also watching the fish shouts, “That one is dead, mom. They are all gonna die, right?”
I feel Aurora wanting to protest, tell the rude boy to be quiet, and then we take in the whole scene. At the mouth of the stream and the ocean, dozens of seagulls are gathering, as if waiting for a feast to be served. The path the fish had taken across the beach to get where they are currently struggling to get upstream is impossible for them to go back down. Their trip is one way only. They are, indeed, all going to die.
I remember hearing about this phenomenon before, although being newer to Canada, hadn’t witnessed it yet. It was the annual salmon run where the fish return to their place of birth and spawn the next generation of their species before dying themselves. The instinct to return to their birth place is ingrained in them deeply, even going counter to their survival instincts as they can’t possibly make it through such a journey. While Aurora’s heart seems to break at this reality, I find myself moved and touched by the symbolism of the beautiful fishes instinct to sacrifice themselves in order to birth future generations.
This reminds me of the phoenix cycle, which in SoulFullHeart work is what we call the birth/death/mourning/rebirth process that is a natural part of the life cycle and, thus, is natural in our emotional and spiritual healing process as well. This death and rebirth process is the great equalizer and balancer. I have experienced personally that to the degree that we are open, proactive, and surrendered to undergoing in our own lives this process of transformation is the degree we can be in more surrender, less reaction and resistance, and in more flow with the changes that are happening in our world. Also, the more we feel our parts in reaction or in resistance to the process, the more we are able to arise from the ashes embodying our more authentic form. Just as the salmon are trusting that their surrender to the upstream climb will lead to the next life cycle, we offer to clients that when life brings them, or when they initiate the phoenix cycle in their own lives, it is the degree that they can trust this process that leads to deeper acceptance and transformation.
It can be a very painful process. However, we offer that the Divine would rather have us burn off something false and get it over with, then have us suffer in repeated loops of teased growth that doesn’t sustain or really change anything in our lives. In the SoulFullHeart process, you negotiate and navigate these transitions through ongoing dialogue with your parts, especially your more expressed ones such as your Daemon (soul guardian) or Prime Monarch (main personality part), so that it is at a rate that you and your parts can bear. These parts resist change and transformation as they would rather keep life safe, known, and constant for you.
The invitation to surrender to phoenix cycles continues all our lives, as it is the force of the natural world, yet the grace and acceptance at which we respond to it grows as we become more in touch with what is false in our lives, especially related to our relationships and career choices. This can be particularly painful when people in relationship with us, especially family and friends, are in different places and phases from us in terms of growth and transformation. It can be a challenging crucible to vulnerably advocate for what we most deeply want and who we are in these relationships, while at the same time inviting our loved ones to explore this new ground of healthier boundaries with previously suppressed feelings being invited to be expressed. It seems to be rare that this exploration finds alignment, which can lead to much hurt and misunderstanding. This too, though, is an aspect of the Phoenix Cycle. The Divine invites us to trust that, “only what is false can be lost.” Whatever the authentic connection is that we have with others or our authentic expression is in terms of our professional choices, it will sustain and grow through the crucible of the phoenix cycle, which naturally burns off what isn’t serving us any longer.
Wayne and I recently experienced an intense phoenix cycle related to money management and our relationship, which I write about here. We invite these movements into our lives, as we have experienced that change fueled by our authentic desire, responded to vulnerably and with willingness to feel our reactions, always leads to growth, more nourishment, and deeper intimacy with ourselves, each other, and the Divine.
This week as I walk by the salmon, who are actively in the process of dying yet are also, at the same time, birthing their next generation, I feel both sadness and hope. The sadness comes from the loss of their current forms and the hope comes from what is possible in the offspring that arises from their death. This is the same bittersweet feelings I have about the intimate changes I feel happening and am holding with our SoulFullHeart clients and in the global phoenix cycle that we are all connected to and impacted by that is playing out in the looming changes that are coming, whether we invite them into our lives or not.
By Wayne Vriend
I’m reading, “The Tar Sands – Dirty oil and the future of a continent,” by Andrew Nikiforuk. This book is a prophet’s call in our time…convincing, damning, and a wonder the author’s voice hasn’t been silenced.
I am shocked at how compelling greed and falseness is through and through our systems of government and business. Where have true leaders gone? Gone they are, we are a ship without a rudder, about to be hurled on the rocks of our own folly. Hopefully to some soft landing that saves us from ourselves.
The shocks come in waves; the shock of the living conditions in Fort McMurray, Alberta, the main town at the heart of the Tar Sands; the shock of the working conditions, the shock of the inflated wages and stunning cost overruns, the shock of the estimated 40% of workers high on cocaine and other drugs just to cope; the shock of the environmental protections agencies standard rubber stamp report of ‘no significant damage’ to the environmental impact study question at hand.
You have to be immune not to shocked by what you read about and feel in these pages.
The shock goes deeper however, than a ‘us vs. them’ kind of reaction. The shock goes into our collective addiction to cheap oil that has fuelled (pun intended) this reality. This is something we have co created as an industrial society and it is something we must together uncreate. It doesn’t seem however on the surface at least that there is much evident collective will to reverse this mammoth race to more and more raping of the earth, and plundering everything in our path for a feeling of security. But this is where mother earth will hopefully come to the rescue to save us from ourselves before it’s too late.
Scary too is our current Canadian government’s evangelical christian leanings that hold that the earth is soon to be burned up by God himself and a new heaven and a new earth popped in it’s place. And it’s belief that people who get worked up about saving the planet just don’t get that the far more important job is saving one’s soul from eternal torment in hell. This, of course, can’t be outright admitted, but look at the environmental track record and our recent pull out of the Kyoto accord. Something much bigger than just a political persuasion is at work here.
God’s kingdom is coming to Canada, and it’s a boom for the tar sands, like it or not. But the huge cost and devastating environmental impact can’t be underestimated.
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Every Canadian…every consumer of gas, should watch Petropolis, a film from Green Peace that offers a stunning aerial perspective on the Alberta tar sands. There’s very little narration as miles and miles of scarred, gouged, poisoned, and stripped land are juxtaposed against pristine and breathtakingly beautiful images of the still untouched acres of the Boreal Forest.
The abuses of our land, of our planet, so poignantly demonstrate how we are out of balance as a species- expressing our male shadow side…..achievement-based, short-sighted, dominating, and greedy….following urges and unchecked impulses in masochistic and saddistic ways without feeling compassion, remorse, or the bigger context of the impact it has on our world and the world our children will inherit from us.
While watching this film, I often gasped, near tears, “How can we let this happen to our earth?”, shocked by the destruction and devastation depicted in the images. Wayne replied (also disgusted but less shocked because he had seen these tar sand images before), “Out of sight is out of mind for most people. Remember too that the Tar Sands are a really lucrative industry for Canada.”
This film puts what is out of sight into the mind and, hopefully, into the heart and into the awakening consciousness happening around the world. Yes the demand is there for fossil fuels and it can be answered this way…but at what long-term cost for such temporary gain?
Information below is from the film’s website about the dangerous effects of this relatively new and expensive (the cost much beyond a financial one) means of meeting the world’s demands for and ever decreasing supplies of oil:
Located beneath 4.3 million hectares of boreal forest in Alberta, Canada, the tar sands are a mixture of sand, clay and a heavy crude oil called bitumen that is either mined in open pits or extracted from underground by injecting superheated water.
Getting the oil out of the tar sands uses roughly three barrels of water per barrel of oil, or as much water as a city of two million people. After use in tar sands processing, 90 per cent of this water is so contaminated with toxic chemicals that it must be stored in tailings ponds so huge that they can be seen from outer space.
Tar sands oil production releases five times more greenhouse gases than conventional oil production. Tar sands projects will release an estimated 40 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent in 2007 and ensure that Canada will continue to be one of the worst greenhouse gas emitters per capita in the world. – From Petropolis
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