Awareness practice: Water: One sip of water before saying each statement: I am happy; I am unique; I am worthy. (Know it as true for you)

Dear Friends of GPEI ~ January 2015

gpei news january 2015 water drop imageHere we are at the outset of another new year.   We are excited about the year to come and look forward to growth for GPEI. The kind of growth that brings excitement is the growth that involves increased participation from those who believe in our mission. Growth of an organization is much like the growth of a tree, it requires basic tending and patterns of new growth are influenced by the current conditions and amount of sustenance received. As the board of GPEI we see our role as that of those who tend this organization and we attempt to provide the attention necessary to allow for new growth. We see those who participate in the organization as the sustenance necessary for growth. That sustenance comes in the form of participation spiritually, physically and financially. The conditions the organization faces include continuing to create a strong on-line presence as this continues to be a primary form of communication of ideas within our society. Gatherings continue, but attendance demonstrates more people searching for alternative means of connection.

We are planning to bring you even more in the way of useful and engaging workshops and gatherings in the coming year. We will continue to hold our Holotropic Breathworktm and writing workshops on a regular basis as well as offering means of exploring our dreams and learning more about permaculture.   We are hopeful that you will join us in celebrating Earth Day with some dynamic speakers and activities. The board of GPEI welcomes your suggestions for future events and speakers. We ask that you go to our website, join us on facebook and leave us a comment below with your suggestions, thoughts and ideas.

The following are suggestions for inspiration, reflection and understanding:

Looking for a good book to read?

Consider the Untethered Soul by Michael A. Singer. Promoters of the book have the following to say about it:

the untethered soul by michael a singer book cover image“What would it be like to be free from limitations and soar beyond your boundaries? What can you do each day to find this kind of inner peace and freedom? The Untethered Soul offers a simple, profoundly intuitive answer to these questions. Whether this is your first exploration of inner space or you’ve devoted your life to the inward journey, this book will transform your relationship with yourself and the world around you.”

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Considering doing some gardening this spring?

Check out the website foodisfreeproject.org and think about sharing with your neighbors. This website promotes earth friendly methods of organic gardening that promote involvement in your own neighborhood.   Below is an excerpt from the Food is Free Project information:

‘The gardens are built and offered for free using salvaged resources that would otherwise be headed to the landfill. By using drought-tolerant, wicking bed gardens, these low maintenance gardens only need to be watered every 2-4 weeks. This simple tool introduces people to a very easy method of growing organic food with very little work. A wide variety of vegetables along the block promote neighbors to interact and connect, strengthening our communities while empowering them to grow their own food.’

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Neflix documentaries worth watching per TheGoodHuman.com

  • No Impact Man: The Documentary A Fifth Avenue family goes green when writer Colin Beavan leads his wife, Michelle Conlin, and their baby daughter on a yearlong crusade to generate no trash and otherwise make no net impact on the environment.
  • Food, Inc. Drawing on Eric Schlosser’s Fast Food Nation and Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma, director Robert Kenner’s provocative, Oscar-nominated documentary explores the food industry’s detrimental effects on our health and environment.
  • Gashole An unsettling wake-up call to all Americans, this documentary dissects the country’s dependence on foreign pipelines, exposes rich oil companies’ devious dealings, and explores alternative fuels as a viable solution to our global energy crisis.
  • The Garden Filmmaker Scott Hamilton Kennedy’s politically charged, Oscar-nominated documentary follows a group of low-income families struggling to protect a 14-acre urban farm in the middle of South Central Los Angeles from bureaucratic real estate developers.
  • Tapped The high cost – to both the environment and our health – of bottled water is the subject of this documentary that enlists activists, environmentalists, community leaders and others to expose the dark side of the bottled water industry.
  • The Last Mountain This gripping documentary follows ordinary citizens in West Virginia’s Coal River Valley as they wage a campaign to prevent the infamous Massey Energy Company from expanding ruinous mountaintop removal mining operations in their community.
  • Waiting For Superman Dynamic documentarian Davis Guggenheim weaves together stories about students, families, educators and reformers to shed light on the failing public school system and its consequences for the future of the United States.
  • Vanishing of the Bees This documentary details the economic, political and ecological consequences of a dwindling world honeybee population. It’s a phenomenon with a name – Colony Collapse Disorder – but no explanation or solution exists.
  • Big River As a follow-up to their 2007 documentary King Corn, friends Curt Ellis and Ian Cheney want to discover what impact the acre of corn they grew in Iowa has had on the Mississippi River. Hopping into a canoe, the boys head downriver to find out. As they travel toward the Gulf of Mexico, they talk to scientists, farmers, fishermen and regular folks about how fertilizers and pesticides have transformed this vital waterway’s delicate ecosystem.
  • Blue Gold: World Water Wars As water becomes an increasingly precious commodity, corrupt governments, corporations and even private investors are scrambling to control it…which leaves everyday citizens fighting for a substance they need to survive.
  • Fuel With America so dependent on oil, filmmaker Joshua Tickell sets out to prove that biodiesel, made from vegetable oil, is a viable alternative. Although politicians and energy execs have done their best to quell it, the benefits of biodiesel are real.
  • A Crude Awakening: The Oil Crash In this straight-from-the-headlines documentary, award-winning filmmakers Basil Gelpke and Ray McCormack examine the world’s dependency on oil and the impending chaos that’s sure to follow when the resource finally runs dry.
  • The Future of Food By examining the effects of biotechnology on the nation’s smallest farmers, the film reveals the unappetizing truth about genetically modified foods: You could unknowingly be serving them for dinner.
  • Carbon Nation Bypassing politics and fingerpointing, this forward-thinking documentary zeroes in on enterprising individuals — from a wind farmer to a solar-panel retrofitter — who are devising business-minded ways to avert the looming climate crisis.
  • Colony Colony collapse disorder is the subject of this environmental documentary. As bee colonies around the United States disappear, scientists and beekeepers struggle to find the reason why and ascertain the impact on humans and the planet.
  • Flow: For the Love of Water From both local and global perspectives, this documentary examines the harsh realities behind the mounting water crisis. Learn how politics, pollution and human rights are intertwined in this important issue that affects every being on Earth.
  • King Corn Friends Ian Cheney and Curt Ellis move back to America’s Corn Belt to plant an acre of the nation’s most-grown and most-subsidized grain and follow their crop into the U.S. food supply. What they learn about genetically modified seeds, powerful herbicides and the realities of modern farming calls into question government subsidies, the fast-food lifestyle and the quality of what we eat.
  • Dirt! The Movie Dirt takes center stage in this entertaining yet poignant documentary from Bill Benenson and Gene Rosow, which unearths our cosmic connection to soil and explores how diverse groups of people are uniting to save the natural resource.
  • Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price Filmmaker Robert Greenwald takes aim at the corporate giant that’s come to symbolize big business in America — Wal-Mart — blasting the box-store Goliath for allegedly paying substandard wages, skimping on employee benefits and gutting communities.
  • Plastic Planet This documentary examines the ways in which plastic saturates our modern lives, and how our dependency on this petroleum product harms ourselves and our planet. See how plastic’s toxic chemicals enter the food chain and other disturbing secrets.
  • Escape from Suburbia After condemning America’s oil dependency in his 2004 documentary The End of Suburbia, filmmaker Gregory Greene here addresses the solutions that will avert catastrophe, outlining the issues actively moving the energy crisis from theory to reality. Spurred to action by the realities of peak oil, Greene focuses his camera on individuals across the country brave enough to challenge and instigate their communities into serious change.

 

The Unexpected Power of Gratitude

In today’s fast moving world, qualities such as gratitude seem to belong to another age – a simpler time when life moved along at an easier pace and there was time to appreciate everything. Yet within this apparently meek sounding quality there lies a tremendous source of power that can radically reshape the way you look at the world.

grateful scrabble image

What gratitude can do for us:

Puts things in perspective: Human beings have this self-defeating propensity to let the bad things in life fill our mental vision and leave no room for the good, a tendency reflected and perpetuated by television and newspapers. Often it takes just one bad thing to happen for us dwell on it and get depressed, no matter how many good things that are happening. In cultivating a daily practice of gratitude, we start to reverse that process and gain a true perspective on life.

Lifts us above the ebbs and tides of life: The more you develop the quality of gratitude in your life, you will start feeling grateful even when bad things happen to you, because you will have developed the inner vision to see that good things and bad happenings are nothing but experiences to shape you and make you stronger. Hence you will be able to have piece of mind no matter what the outer circumstances are.

Takes us out of our limited ego: As with other practices of self-discovery, your awareness expands and you gradually feel you are part of something much more infinite than your limiting ego and finite mortal frame. Gratitude helps us turn away from selfishness and realize our place in the universe.

Awakens a higher part of our being: Gratitude is primarily a quality felt by the heart center, that place in the middle of our chest where we can feel our soul, or the essence of our existence. Therefore, when we are consciously grateful, some inmost part of ourselves is awakened and we enter into the higher and nobler realms of our being.

Techniques to cultivate the quality of gratitude:

There are many different techniques to use; the important thing is that they be practiced every day, preferably at the same time each day so you can form a habit. Just after you get up in the morning is usually the best time – you aren’t likely to be disturbed, and the peace and serenity you get from the practice benefits you throughout your whole day.

Writing down things you are grateful for: This serves as a useful beginning to the other techniques. Each day you can write down seven things that you are truly grateful for, and as you write try to feel that quality inside your heart. When you start writing, you realize how many things there are – from the big things such as the gift of life and friends down to tiny little incidents that happened yesterday such as someone giving you a smile or the chance to spend a few minutes sitting in a park.

Expanding the flower of gratitude inside your heart: you can try silently chanting the word gratitude over and over again. Each time you repeat the word you can feel that a tiny flower of gratitude inside your heart is growing and growing, expanding petal by petal.

Cultivating inner joy:

Joy carries with it the quality of expansion and awareness which gives rise to gratitude. Try breathing in and out and keeping your awareness on the river of breath entering and leaving your body. Feel that when you breathe in, pure inner joy in entering into your heart, and when you breathe out, worry tension and stress are leaving your system.

Adapted from an article by Shane Magee

12 Principles For Understanding the Universe and the Role of the Human in the Universe Process

Thomas Berry

image of universal human

1.     The Universe, the solar system, and the planet Earth in themselves and in their evolutionary emergence constitute for the human community the primary revelation of that ultimate mystery whence all things emerge into being.

2.     The Universe is a unity, an interacting and genetically-related community of beings bound together in an inseparable relationship in space and time.  The unity of the planet Earth is especially clear:  each being of the planet is profoundly implicated in the existence and functioning of every other being of the planet.

3.     From its beginning the Universe is a psychic as well as physical reality.

4.     The three basic laws of the Universe at all levels of reality are differentiation, subjectivity and communion.  These laws identify the reality, the values and the directions in which the Universe is proceeding.

5.     The Universe has a violent as well as a harmonious aspect, but it is consistently creative in the larger arc of its development.

6.     The human is that being in whom the Universe activates, reflects upon and celebrates itself in conscious self-awareness.

7.     Earth, within the solar system, is a self-emergent, self-propagating, self-nourishing, self-educating, self-governing, self-healing, self-fulfilling community.  All particular life systems in their being, their sexuality, their nourishment, their education, their governing, their healing, their fulfillment, must integrate their functioning within this larger complex of mutually dependent Earth systems.

8.     The genetic coding process is the process through which the world of the living articulates itself in its being and its activities.  The great wonder is the creative interaction of the multiple codings among themselves.

9.     At the human level, genetic coding mandates a further trans-genetic cultural coding by which specifically human qualities find expression.  Cultural coding is carried on by educational processes.

10.   The emergent process of the Universe is irreversible and non-repeatable in the existing world order.  The movement from non-life to life on Earth is a one time event.  So too, the movement from life to human form of consciousness.  So also, the transition from the earlier to the later forms of human culture.

11.   The historical sequence of cultural periods can be identified as the tribal-shamanic period, the Neolithic village period, the classical civilization period, the scientific-technological period and the emerging ecological period.

12.   The main human task of the immediate future is to assist in activating the inter-communion of all the living and non-living components of Earth’s community in what can be considered the emerging ecological period of Earth’s development.

Become Earth!

“Become Earth, that you may grow flowers of many colors.
For you have been heart-breaking rock.
Once, for the sake of the experiment, be Earth!”
Rumi

image of earth through tulips

A Prayer to Humankind

Hear, O Humankind, the prayer of my heart.earth and candles for prayer

For are we not one, have we not one desire,
to heal our Mother Earth and bind her wounds?
And still to be free as the spotted Eagle climbing
the laughing breath of our Father Sky,
to hear again from dark forests and flashing rivers the varied ever-changing Song of Creation?

O Humankind, are we not all brothers and sisters, are we not the grandchildren of the Great Mystery?  Do we not all want to love and be loved, to work and to play, to sing and dance together? But we live with fear.  Fear that is hate, fear that is ambition, competition, aggression, fear that is loneliness, anger, bitterness, cruelty, fear that is mistrust, envy, greed, vanity…and yet, fear is only twisted love, love turned back on itself, love that was denied, love that was rejected.

And love…love is life…creation, seed and leaf and blossom and fruit and seed, love is growth and search and reach and touch and dance, love is nurture and succor and feed and pleasure, love is pleasuring ourselves, pleasuring each other, love is life believing in itself.

And life…life is the Sacred Mystery singing to itself, dancing to its drum, telling stories, improvising, playing and we are all that Spirit, our stories tell but one cosmic story that we are loved indeed, that perfect love we seek we are already, the love in me seeks the love in you, and if our eyes could ever meet without fear we would recognize each other and rejoice, for love is life believing in itself.

O Humankind, we must stop fearing life, fearing each other, we must absolutely stop hating ourselves, resenting Creation ~ Life.

O Humankind, life is the only treasure.  We are the custodians of it, it is our sacred trust.  Life is wondrous, awesome and holy, a burning glory, and its price is simply this: Courage, we must be brave enough to love.

Hear my heart’s prayer, O Humankind, trust in love, don’t be afraid.   I love you as I love life, I love myself, please love me too, love yourself, for perfect love, as a wise one said, casts out all fear. If we are to live, there is no other choice, for love is life believing in itself.

Above all, let us set the children free, break the traps of fear that history has fashioned for them, free to grow, to seek and question, to dance and sing, to be dreamers of tomorrow’s rainbows, and if we but give them our trust hey will guide us to a New Creation, for love is life believing in itself.

Hear, O Humankind, the prayer of my heart.
Manitongquat

Earth’s Ten Commandments

protection and earth image

Thou shalt love and honor Earth for it blesses thy life and governs thy survival.

Thou shalt keep each day sacred to Earth and celebrate the turning of its seasons.

Thou shalt not hold thyself above other living things nor drive them to extinction.

Thou shalt give thanks for thy food to the creatures and plants that nourish thee.

Thou shalt limit thy offspring for multitudes of people are a burden unto Earth.

Thou shalt not kill nor waste Earth’s riches upon weapons of war.

Thou shalt not pursue profit at Earth’s expense but strive to restore its damaged majesty.

Thou shalt not hide from thyself or others the consequences of thy actions upon Earth.

Thou shalt not steal from future generations by impoverishing or poisoning Earth.

Thou shalt consume material good in moderation so all may share Earth’s bounty.

~1990 by Ernest Callenbach

Ten Intentions For A Better World

the code poster - intenders circles

Simplicity

“To ask how little, not how much, can I get along with.  To say – is it necessary? – when I am tempted to add one more accumulation to my life, when I am pulled toward one more centrifugal activity.  Simplification of outward life is not enough.  It is merely the outside.  But I am starting with the outside.  I am looking at the outside of a shell, the outside of my life – the shell.  The complete answer is not to be found on the outside, in an outward mode of living.  This is only a technique, a road to grace.  The final answer, I know is always inside.  But the outside can give a clue, can help one to find the inside answer.  One is free, like the hermit crab, to change one’s shell.”

– Anne Morrow Lindbergh, 1955 Gift From The Sea

Voluntary Simplicity

“Voluntary Simplicity involves both inner and outer condition.  It means singleness of purpose, sincerity and honesty within, as well as avoidance of exterior clutter, of many possessions irrelevant to the chief purpose of life.  It means an ordering and guiding of our energy and our desires, a partial restraint in some directions in order to secure greater abundance of life in other directions.  It involves a deliberate organization of life for a purpose.  Of course, as different people have different purposes in life, what is relevant to the purpose of one person might not be relevant to the purpose of another.  The degree of simplification is a matter for each individual to settle for himself.”

~ Richard Gregg, student of Gandhi, wrote this in 1935 about a life of voluntary simplicity