Monday, August 29, 2011

I love Momma Earth! 30d Intention... little things make a big difference! all the ongoing earth changes, it's easy to feel overwhelmed and not know how to make a positive difference in how we live on this planet.  I feel we're in the midst of a great shift that is calling us to live with more balance, more gently on our mother earth.  Stay positive friends, we can absolutely make a difference through small steps!  And as in all great periods of change, we have an opportunity to let go of what no longer serves us, to open up to new awareness, and create in new ways. And this journey begins with an intention... without a clear intention there can be no internal, spiritual shift and that is what is needed to create change. Our personal intention will allow us to walk our talk : )  Please join me friends...
This is my invitation:  For the next 30 days commit to 3 things you can do to live more simply and with a lighter footprint on momma earth. There are many ideas out there and I've blogged a little about them before... in We have the Power and A Time to Create and in my Calling All Outsiders site.  
Some 'lighter footprint' ideas include: meat-free plant-based meals (please see the movies "Forks over Knives" or "Food Inc." friends - there is so much evidence on the lighter impact and positive health benefits of a plant-based diet), eliminate plastic bottles and bottled water/drinks, buy local organic food, explore urban permaculture gardening, compost organic waste, clean up litter outdoors, recycle, reduce 'stuff'/consumption, downsize and clear out your home, walk/cycle/carpool/ autoshare or take public transit, skype/video-conference instead of flying, plant trees, eliminate pesticides, use natural cleaning products, change type of lightbulb, reduce a/c use, adjust thermostat setting, reduce water use with low flow/cold water options, go paperless, share tools/equipment with neighbours, explore community housing/alternative housing, switch to green power (solar/wind/, connect with a group interested in sustainable living (eg., locally, the David Suzuki Foundation and Carrot Green Roof), among many other ideas.

Here is my "30 day 3 actions" intention to "Love Momma":
  1. Pick up litter outdoors wherever/whenever (at least five things if there are more) and eliminate plastic bottle and paper cup use (use only my reusable cup/bottle).
  2. Eat a plant-based, whole food diet with no meat/fish/eggs/dairy (I have been on this train for a little while already and it feels good! : )  Also I will continue to buy my veggies from the local weekly organic farmer's market.
  3. Commute by bicycle, walking or public transit (this has been an ongoing practice for me for a couple years, and am continuing with it : )
Please take a few moments to create your "I love momma" 30 day 3 actions commitment...
I strongly suggest adding "Pick up Litter and Eliminate Plastic Bottle Use" on your 30d list friends.  There's so much evidence of negative environmental and health impacts of plastic bottles (personally, feel plastic bottle use should be completely eliminated).  And cleaning up litter is an immediate, visible positive impact in our community.  This summer locally, in an urban lakeside beach community, I was struck by how 'comfortable' people seemed to be, leaving litter lying on the beach (including many plastic water bottles).  At a visceral level, I felt this represents a disconnection and disrespect of our mother earth, and a lack of a sense of community and personal responsibility.

This behaviour is in stark contrast to the aboriginal peoples who navigated for thousands of years with little/no footprint on momma earth. Whenever you're outside I encourage you to please help keep the earth naturally clean by picking up any garbage/litter, eliminating plastic bottle use, and disposing/recycling waste properly. Only when we take personal responsibility will we inspire others to also join in!  Let's lead that change and live it locally for 30 days!  And what I find invariably happens with a 30d commitment is that the behaviour becomes more entrenched, there is an internal shift, and the behaviour then continues : ) 

Recently, while reading Malcolm Gladwell's book, "The Tipping Point - How Little Things can make a Big Difference", I was struck by how 'smaller' local indicators, like litter, graffiti, aggressive panhandling, seemed to correlate to a higher crime rate, and when these were addressed (like in NYC in the 1980s), the tide of more serious crime and visible decay was significantly reduced.  This makes sense, since at the root of most issues is how we respect ourselves, and in turn where we live.  Inner city reclamation projects like urban gardens have long demonstrated that it takes a focus on beautification and ongoing maintenance, for a change to ripple out into the community.  So by setting an individual intention to love and respect our momma earth more, we can create more balance and harmony where we live.

As a beacon, we can also follow the guidance of traditional Hawaiian culture and the concept of PONO.  PONO means to live in perfect alignment and balance with all things... with the earth, in all our relationships and within ourselves.  PONO means to live in harmony and alignment with our mother earth and behave as caretakers of the land during our lifetime... and as stewards of the land to leave the earth (air, soil, water, plants, animal family) in as good or better condition than we found it, so that succeeding generations can enjoy the beauty and abundance.  Let's make things right and become PONO!  Let's take positive action now, knowing that things can improve from this day forward.

Please join me friends!  Please commit to your "I love Momma" 30 day intention and observe how these actions ripple out like a wave to create positive change.  The time is now... let's love our momma more!  Little things do make a difference! : )

xo Irena

Honor the Earth, our Mother.
Honor the Elders.
Honor all with whom we share the Earth: - Four-leggeds, two-leggeds, winged ones,
Swimmers, crawlers,
plant and rock people.
Walk in balance and beauty.
(Native American Elder)

When one sits in the Hoop Of The People,
one must be responsible because
All of Creation is related.
And the hurt of one is the hurt of all.
And the honor of one is the honor of all.
And whatever we do effects everything in the universe.
(Lakota Instructions for Living, passed down from White Buffalo Calf Woman)

Monday, May 30, 2011

Cultivating Balance...

So much about how we live on this planet as people, reflects our balance individually and as a whole.  And I feel at this time, we're being called to master and balance our own feminine and masculine energies, through heart.

In the chakra/energetic system, the lower three chakras represent feminine energy, while the upper three chakras represent masculine, with the balance point being the heart.  As we each embody both masculine and feminine energies, I feel we're being called to balance them within ourselves, and navigate through heart.

We've all seen examples of the imbalanced masculine energy on this planet.  The entitled masculine, at all levels, engaging in addictive patterns of behaviour, disrespecting, using/abusing the feminine, with game-playing, deception, control and worse.  And we've all witnessed examples of the imbalanced feminine energy - reflecting disempowerment, a victim story, a neediness, and a lack of discernment around setting healthy, respectful boundaries.  All too often we can witness disrepect of women by their children, partners and others externally.  Only when we assert ourselves and set healthy boundaries do we begin shift this kind of imbalanced behaviour.

And momma earth as a whole represents the divine feminine to a large degree, and we can see how she has been disrespected and mistreated globally as a result of this imbalance within ourselves (whether it's on the masculine or feminine end of the spectrum).  Ultimately, nature does not nurture instability or weakness (only people do : ).  And so we see all around us, the shattering or levelling of imbalanced, unstable systems or behaviour...  this then opens up the possibilities to create in healthier, more balanced, and honouring ways.

How can we each cultivate more balance within?
I find it helpful to engage in a practice that cultivates a sense of presence or stillness within ourselves.  This practice will allow us to move away from addictive, egoic patterns that are focused more on 'busy-ness', a preoccupation in the mind, and a disconnection from the rest of the body, particularly heart.  There are so many of these kinds of energetic practices that we're all familiar with to some degree - yoga, qi gong, tai chi, meditation, dance, walking in nature/the garden (nature is so very balancing, healing : ).  Take some time every day friends, to cultivate this connection to a still point... being present, being still.  Just observe and become more of a witness to what's arising within you every day.  I find this practice cultivates increased balance within our own energy, and so we will not seek it as addictively outside of ourselves.  S
o much of how we live on the planet as people will be reflective of this inner journey...  

So join me friends : )  Simply take time every day to be present and cultivate a sense of stillness.  Allow yourself to open up with awareness to witness how energy is moving through you, and how you are expressing that energy in the world.  Recently I read that Oprah had a sign posted "Please be responsible for the energy you bring into this room" : )  And metaphorically "this room" is really this planet.  And so every day, let's simply become more aware of the energy that we're bringing into this world and cultivate the inner balance that allows us to move more responsibly and peacefully. 

Have a peaceful day friends!
Until next time...


Listen to Cultivating Balance with Irena on Youtube

Listen to "Cultivating Balance" with Irena on Youtube

Let us balance our own masculine and feminine energies through heart. Mastery begins with self : )

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Calling all 'outsiders'! : ) A time to create...

Calling all 'outsiders'!  All those who feel a nudge, an internal call to 'something else'... a reconnection to nature, a new way of life that feels more balanced, more in harmony with our soul, our animal body and mother nature.  It is time to come together and create this!  It is possible...

At first it may seem daunting... how can we extricate ourselves from a global system that relies heavily on mass consumerism, a model of 'never enough', one that cultivates addictions, disease, oil-dependency, the destruction of mother earth and a disconnection with the natural/animal aspect of ourselves?  We may feel enslaved in the 'busy'ness of our current lives, feeling depleted and overextended... but nevertheless underneath, is a persistent call to 'something else', to living with more balance, simplicity, 'common sense'.

Over this year, I've felt much shifting inside and outside... and felt a calling 'outside' more and more - outside into nature, into community, and outside of old systems.  It's as if much of our modern 'lifestyle' no longer fits or makes sense at a deep level.  And it's easy to feel disheartened or overwhelmed, in this time of global shifting -  with the recent earthquake & devastation in Japan, sweeping environmental changes, economic instability, a multitude of wars, conflicts and uprisings, and the ongoing shattering of existing structures.  It seems the very foundation of our modern 'civilized' life is shattering!  However, this time of shattering is also a very potent time to create new ways of being and living together.  What we choose to create each day does matter!

Those of us who feel we're  'outsiders' : ) are really in a position to create new ways of being and living together on this planet - more sustainably, naturally, simply, healthily.  I find when we attune to this fully, we will be guided in our choices and steps ahead.  For me, taking even baby steps in this direction every day feels empowering and energizing, and can include:
  • a focus on the breath... creating stillness and quiet every day to simply 'be' and feel.
  • enjoying a practice of yoga or dance or other movement, to help 'empty out' and create space in the body and mind.
  • listening and tuning into guidance.  We all have an animal/instinctual/intuitive nature... when we become still and quiet, we can hear this little voice, 'gut instinct' more.  We can actively hone and cultivate this skill every day.
  • being outside in nature every day.  It may be challenging in a city landscape, but nonetheless we can find a ravine, a path, a stand of trees, a river and simply feel the wind, the sun, the energy of the trees, plants and animal life, and breathe that in, feeling our connection to the whole.
  • joining a community of people involved in creative thinking, new ideas, new experiences.  Stay open and follow your heart - for me this included joining the David Suzuki Foundation to learn more about living with a lighter footprint on momma earth; dancing with other people in 5Rhythms/ecstatic dance; learning about community/local organic gardening, etc.  Go where you feel drawn, energized...
  • cultivating the practice of letting go - of stuff, of 'busy'ness, of people/circumstances that no longer feel 'right' or on purpose.  Only when we let go will we truly be able to embrace new ways, new directions.  Letting go also cultivates simplicity... and when we live more simply, we will live more gently as a species on this planet.  
  • practice giving, in kindness or other deeds, every day.  Opening heart to share more with other human beings, and honouring/protecting the lives of our animal/plant/earth family, is key to leading a balanced, fulfilling life.  To live within a circle, this wonderful earth community, means it's not just 'all about us' as a human species, but the integrity and health of the whole and how we support that.  Opening heart allows us to let go of selfish/addictive agendas, seek balance, harmony, and move in service within the whole. 
In this tumultuous time of change dear friends and fellow 'outsiders'  : ) let us create new possibilities (anything is possible!) and usher in an era of more harmony with spirit, each other and mother earth.  It is time... To creating with love,
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