Constellations of Awakening

posting by Jana

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I've just finished a season of presenting at conferences about the Cosmic Person as a way of re-conceiving the legal subject or person at law. I argue for law to take greater account of the human being in context as opposed to the highly abstracted ideal of the rational, autonomous individual that's been very influential in Western culture. The effect of the rational autonomous individual as the chief 'player' at law has been to privilege the 'individual life project' in legal decision-making. It's time, I argue, to value the project of life - interdependent, connected, and emergent - by remembering ourselves as part of the whole community of life on Earth not apart from or above it. 

At some point over the next few weeks I intend to sit down with my notes from all three conferences: The Green Institute's 'Everything is Connected', the Australian Earth Laws Alliance 'Inspiring Earth Ethics: Linking Values and Action', and Law, Literature and the Humanities Association of Australasia's 'Dissents and Dispositions'.  So many new connections, such a flurry of new ideas. And I look forward to the keynotes and so on being uploaded to those websites so I can review the highlights (you might want to check them out, too). 

The title of this post relates to a notion I picked up at the last conference, 'Dissents and Dispositions.' In a presentation on old and new materialism, Professor Chris Tomlins of UC Berkley Law included the phrase 'constellations of awakening.' It refers to critical theorist Walter Benjamin's proposal that 'ideas are to objects as constellations are to stars.' From the Oxford Reference:

Walter Benjamin famously proposed in the ‘Epistemo-Critical Prologue’ to Ursprung des deutschen Trauerspiels (1928), translated as The Origin of German Tragic Drama (1977), that ideas are to objects as constellations are to stars. That is to say, ideas are no more present in the world than constellations actually exist in the heavens, but like constellations they enable us to perceive relations between objects. It also means ideas are not the same as concepts, nor can they be construed as the laws of concepts. Ideas do not give rise to knowledge about phenomena and phenomena cannot be used to measure their validity. This is not to say the constellation is purely subjective or all in our heads. The stars in the night sky are where they are regardless of how we look at them and there is something in how they are positioned above us that suggests the image we construct of them. But having said that, the names we use for constellations are embedded in history, tradition and myth. So the constellation is simultaneously subjective and objective in nature. It is not, however, a system, and this is its true significance for Benjamin, who rejects the notion that philosophy can be thought of as systemic, as though it were mathematical or scientific instead of discursive. Benjamin developed this notion further in his account of the arcades in 19th-century Paris. Theodor Adorno adopts and adapts constellation in his account of negative dialectics, transforming it into a model. The notion of constellation allows for a depiction of the relation between ideas that gives individual ideas their autonomy but does not thereby plunge them into a state of isolated anomie.

So the constellation is simultaneously subjective and objective in nature. That's of interest to me as a way to wonder about the ideas I carry around and how they relate to one another. The mixture of objective and subjective that cannot be collapsed or fully picked apart: there is an invitation in this for me to hold lightly my ideas and the system of meaning I think they create for me. What I hold as truth is always a mix of the observable and the perceived...with all the filters and biases perception entails. 

If you had to pick out a particular star of 'truth' from amongst your constellations of awakening today, what would it be? 

Inspiring Earth Ethics

posting by Jana

One of the astonishing grass trees covering the Nathan campus of Griffith University in Brisbane.

One of the astonishing grass trees covering the Nathan campus of Griffith University in Brisbane.

I've just returned to Adelaide from a wonderfully provocative conference in Brisbane hosted by the Australian Earth Laws Alliance. Many of the presentations will be available on their website soon. 

One of my favourite 'take-aways' is a statement by conference speaker Sallie Gillespie, who is a Jungian psychologist and author of soon to be published Sea Change: How Engaging with Climate Change Changes Us.

 
Conversation is the alchemical task of changing consciousness.
— Sallie Gillespie
 

The Community of the Cosmic Person is a community of support for a changing consciousness: from human beings in Western industrialised culture destroying the planet to human beings everywhere learning to be present to the planet in a mutually beneficial manner. 

The focus of the Community is on conversation...here in the comments section, on the Facebook page, in the Facebook group, and face to face. 

Workshop in Ecozoic Living at the Inspiring Earth Ethics conference. 

Workshop in Ecozoic Living at the Inspiring Earth Ethics conference. 

At the conference I had two opportunities to generate some conversation about Ecozoic Living and being a Cosmic Person. Here are bits and pieces from the workshop and a panel presentation. 

Thomas Berry believed that the wisdom to make the necessary shift is a available to us and he drew attention to four reservoirs: indigenous cultures, women, science, and the classical tradition. 

It's fascinating to think of science as a wisdom tradition: not simply a knowledge base but also a source for learning how to live and for giving life meaning. 

 
With our empirical observations expanded by modern science, we are now realising that our universe is a single immense energy event that began as a tiny speck that has unfolded over time to become galaxies and stars, palms and pelicans, the music of Bach, and each of us alive today. The great discovery of contemporary science is that the universe is not simply a place, but a story - a story in which we are immersed, to which we belong, and out of which we arose.
— Brian Swimme & Mary Evelyn Tucker 'Journey of the Universe'
 

The rest of the workshop focused on three ethics that emerge out of the idea of Ecozoic Living: learning to be present to the planet in a mutually beneficial manner.

Learning: implies an ethic of openness
Presence: implies an ethic of participation
Mutual Benefit: implies and ethic of reciprocity

Unpacking these together with the group in conversation was fun, especially around a point raised about why the Ecozoic is phrased as 'learning to be present to the planet' instead of 'learning to be present with the planet.' One of the participants suggested that 'to be present to the planet' implied an active responsiveness, which fit well into the conversation about activating an Ecozoic ethic. 

In the panel presentation I talked about resetting the reference point in Western culture (specifically in the law, which is my area of research) away from the isolated self towards the self in context. The Cosmic Person is the person in context, aware of connection and drawn to participating in the co-flourishing of people, place, and planet. 

One of the real highlights of the conference was a forest bathing experience led by my colleague in the practice Alex Gaut of Nature & Wellbeing Australia. It was so lovely to be invited to put the Ecozoic ethic into practice in this experience of learning to be present to the planet. 

A forest bathing participant a the Inspiring Earth Ethics Conference activating Ecozoic Living by learning to be present to the planet.  

A forest bathing participant a the Inspiring Earth Ethics Conference activating Ecozoic Living by learning to be present to the planet.  

Conversation being the alchemical task of changing consciousness...please know you're invited to join the conversation by commenting here or participating in the Facebook communities mentioned above. Activating the Ecozoic is a shared enterprise as much as a personal commitment, defined by participating in the co-flourishing of people, place, and planet together. In other words, your presence in the conversation is desired/required! 

Practical EcoSpirituality: Not an Oxymoron?

posting by Jana

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Yesterday I re-entered the familiar space of progressive spirituality, a space I inhabited in my professional life for 25 years until launching into a PhD and convening this community.

I was invited as one of three speakers for a morning of input and conversation on 'authentic spirituality for the 21st century.' Mark Kickett, the Development Officer of the Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress, and Anne Hewitt, a chaplain on an interfaith team at Flinders Medical Centre, presented immersive talks about aboriginal and Celtic spirituality, respectively. 

We all found ourselves meeting at the point of interconnection as the heart of spirituality. Everything is connected, a reality that grounds us and moves us to compassionate action. 

I was, of course, talking about Ecozoic Living for my part. I titled my talk, Ecozoic Living: A Practical EcoSpirituality. By 'practical' I was signalling the possibility that ecospirituality is as much about going out from nature as going into it. Here's a bit of the introduction to my talk:

What I’m reaching for in the idea of a practical eco-spirituality is a framework for living that simultaneously feeds our spirits with reflective practices and guides our actions on behalf of others and the world we share. I’m looking for a pathway to co-flourishing: my own flourishing, the flourishing of the places and communities in which I find myself, and the flourishing of the whole community of life on Earth.

I’ve always been on a pathway into nature as a source of spiritual nourishment, but it wasn’t until I encountered an idea from Thomas Berry that I learned to articulate an ethical pathway leading out from nature. A complete spiral path of practical eco-spirituality – going in/going out – emerges for me in Berry’s idea of the Ecozoic Era.

The Ecozoic Era is a vision of a time when human beings will learn to be present to the planet in a mutually beneficial manner.

Obviously, there are human beings and entire cultures who embody the Ecozoic and have for millennia. But dominant Western culture has evolved according to a radical discontinuity: in the classical period with the elevation of the mind over the body; within the prevailing Christian tradition that demonised bodies – especially the bodies of women and the Earth – in the doctrine of original sin; and in the context of political, social, and scientific revolutions that forged a social imaginary of mastery and control instead of mutuality and coexistence.

As we thought, so we acted: disconnection led to objectification and objectification led to exploitation and exploitation has led to devastation.

I believe the vision of the Ecozoic can lead to transformation in the human-Earth relationship within Western culture if activated as a framework for living; as a practical eco-spirituality.

I hadn't explicitly named the practices of Ecozoic Living - learning, learning to be present, learning to be present to the planet, and learning to be present to the planet in a mutually beneficial manner - as spiritual practices before this talk. But the notion sits well with me, for a few reasons: 

1.     These practices engage the big questions: Who am I? Who are we? Why are we here?

2.     They address the big relationships: self, cosmos, others.

3.     They pursue the big tasks: finding meaning, transcending, connecting, becoming.

Here is more from the talk, and here is a link to the full PDF.

I wonder: which of the practices do you connect with most easily and which do you find most challenging? 

learning
The spiritual practice of learning is about allowing ourselves to be changed by this fact: that the universe has evolved in us the capacity for self-reflective consciousness. We can choose to participate in the flourishing of the whole community of life on Earth. This is a better story than the one that imagines us as separate from or in opposition to nature. We can find all the energy we need to live this better story not only in the awe and wonder of the new universe story but also in our own nature love stories.

learning to be present
This practice is about opening up to the world as it is, with courage, clarity, and calm.

The practicality of the spiritual practice of learning to be present shines through in this teaching from Tibetan Buddhist master Chogyam Trungpa that Margaret Wheatley includes in her discussion of emergence in So Far From Home: Lost and Found in our Brave New World

We cannot change the world as it is,
But by opening ourselves to the world as it is,
We may find that gentleness, decency, and bravery are available –
Not just to us but to all human beings.

In other words, as Margaret Wheatley comments on this teaching, ‘If we fully accept the world as it is – in all its harsh realities – then we can develop the very qualities we need to be in that world and not succumb to that harshness.’

learning to be present to the planet
This is the point of the spiral pathway connected directly to the Earth. This is where we sit in nature and watch the interaction of bees and flowers. This is where we lean against the tree and pay attention to the inherent reciprocity of our relationship with that tree: as we breathe out, the tree breathes in, and we breathe in as the trees breathes out.

The practicality of this spiritual practices lies in setting our rhythms to those of the universe and the earth: rhythms of interdependency, connectedness, and emergence.

learning to be present to the planet in a mutually beneficial manner
This is the point of the spiral pathway reaching out into the world in the ethic of mutual benefit.

Activating the Ecozoic as a practical spiritual framework is testing our participation in the human-Earth relationship – in every thought, word, and deed – with the litmus of mutual benefit.

I wonder: What are you noticing about your responses to my descriptions of these practices? I welcome your comments and conversation! 

Moving On and Reaching Out

posting by Jana

 

the cat on moving day. unimpressed. 

the cat on moving day. unimpressed. 

Over the last 10 days, we've moved the Community of the Cosmic Person HQ. It's a move towards deeper co-flourishing (even if the cat isn't convinced). The new HQ has an actual garden on the ground as opposed to a rooftop makeshift found-object (aka milk crates) cobbled together attempt at growing a few things. It's got a good roof for solar panels, and a square kitchen that invites group cooking and eating and connecting. The neighbourhood is mixed use and mixed population, rippling with gentle new waves of migration flowing into an Old World multi-generational pool of established market gardens, cafes, and footpath conversations.

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And in the reaching out department, I've set up a Patreon page. Patreon is a place where people can pledge to financially support my work as the Convener of the Community of the Cosmic Person. I like this new level of accountability and of taking myself seriously in this work. My anti-marketing marketing coach, Carmel, has been incredibly helpful in directing me to clarify what I really want - the planet to flourish - and what I think it takes to work on this passion: helping other people to flourish, which to me means to live lightly, meaningfully, and interdependently as part of the whole community of life on Earth. 

I don't know what to make of the timeline from first having the idea for the Community of the Cosmic Person in the backseat of the car whilst driving across the Hay Plain between New South Wales and Adelaide. When was that? 18 months ago or something. Is it a long or a short time to have established a community and created spaces in which we can meet and content which we can engage? I don't know and it doesn't really matter. I'm blown away by the simple fact that it is, and I have, and we are. 

Thanks to you, we are. Thank you for being here and for sharing the CoFlourishing journey. 

yours in cosmic connection - Jana

the Cosmic Cat, just because

the Cosmic Cat, just because

Barefoot at the Embassy

posting by Jana

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Over the weekend I attended the Green Institute Conference 'Everything is Connected' in Canberra. This think-tank event covered a wide range of progressive/Green political agenda items like doughnut economics, Democracy in Colour, and 'truthiness' in politics. I was there to talk about the Cosmic Person as an image of the human-Earth relationship in law and life, on a panel about connecting with nature. 

The event began, as most do in Australia, with a welcome to country ceremony presented by the traditional owners of the area in which the meeting is being held. This one was like none other I'd ever experienced. 

We gathered in the park facing Old Parliament House, now a museum to the development of democracy in Australia. More notably, we gathered at the Aboriginal Tent Embassy. 

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This is a place of welcome and sovereignty for all Aboriginal people of Australia. It is an historical landmark, but it is also a working embassy where people continue to work for the recognition of the sovereignty of the hundreds of Aboriginal nations to whom this country belongs (and has belonged for over 60,000 years). This coming weekend, for instance, the embassy is hosting an event to formalise treaties amongst the first nations  as a step towards treaty recognition between these nations and Australia. 

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As part of the welcome, Uncle Les Coe of the embassy invited a small number of us visitors to enter the sacred circle and share in the dance. How could I not? (black suit, orange scarf next to Uncle Les in the blue tank top and shorts)

I've never been invited to connect with someone else's country so literally. I'll never forget how humbling and gracious this single shuffling barefoot circuit around a sacred fire felt (a fire tended continuously since 1998); how honoured I felt to enter a dance with the earth that has gone on forever and will go on forever, as long as there are peoples who respond to the call to tend the fire and touch the earth.

May I - and you - may we always be counted amongst them. 

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YEAR TWO: RELAUNCH

NOW WE KNOW WHAT WE'RE DOING

post by Jana

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The Community of the Cosmic Person has been getting to know itself over the past year and now we can finally say, 'We know what we're doing.' 

We are nourishing the flourishing of people, place, and planet together
by inviting people to take up Ecozoic Living. 

Ecozoic Living is about learning to be present to the planet in a mutually beneficial manner. 
It's a pathway of discovery and engagement:

learning
active wondering about what it means to 'flourish' as a part of the whole community of life on Earth
learning to be present
opening up to the world as it is, with courage, clarity, and calm
learning to be present to the planet
becoming aware of the inherent interdependency of life
learning to be present to the planet in a mutually beneficial manner
participating in the flourishing of the whole community of life on the planet

This is a spiral pathway - wherever one enters and engages leads to flourishing.

And so...we begin. 

Year of Living the Community: Week 52

ONE DOWN...LIFETIME TO GO

posting by Jana

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The journey of growing into the Community of the Cosmic Person began a year ago this week. 

Then we were talking to ourselves - 3 people living in community exploring the notion of becoming Cosmic Persons

Now other people are talking about it too

on the Facebook page

in the Facebook conversation group

on Twitter

Then there were hunches about how to play a part in the Great Work of our time, shifting from a time of human devastation of the planet into the Ecozoic Era: a time when people from cultures that have dominated nature for centuries will learn to be present to the planet in a mutually beneficial manner.  

Now the Community of the Cosmic Person exists with online community, support, and resources to inspire, connect and equip people for Ecozoic Living. 

Then the issue that spurred us on had a feeling but not a name. 

Now we've got the name: we're calling it 'planet panic.' It's the feeling of learned helplessness and hopelessness in the face of overwhelming evidence for and, increasingly, lived experiences of anthropogenic climate change and ecosystem destruction. 

The Community of the Cosmic Person was born out of the despair that can overwhelm people who both love the Earth and read the news. People like us. That exhausting and often immobilising sense of desolation is what we're aiming to respond to by telling a better story about the human-Earth relationship. 

Now we've figured it out. The Community of the Cosmic Person is a resource network for recovery from planet panic. 

Then - in the coming months and years - the network will grow in people and tools for empowering a better way to love the Earth as it is and where you are. 

With gratitude for all the early adopters who, with patience and goodwill, have helped us clarify what we're on about, it's time to step across the threshold into a second year of being and becoming. 

Year of Living the Community: Weeks 49, 50, 51

TURNING THE PAGE: COMMUNITY RECOLLECTIONS FOR SEPTEMBER

posting by Jana

unfurling...

unfurling...

The following is a recap of content shared in the Conversation Community of the Cosmic Person Facebook group during September 2017. The group is open to everyone interested in sharing inspiration, connection, and resources for Ecozoic Living! As you'll see, it's been another rich month in Cosmic Community. 

What has the Cosmic Conversation – and the journey of Ecozoic Living shared in this place of cyberspace – been about in September 2017?

Believing that a recap makes things ‘sticky’, as in brings them back to mind so they have another shot at sticking, and that reviewing content can spark fresh insights, here’s my go at summing up the conversation last month, lightly catalogued and categorized.

Cosmic Quotes featured lots of 1-minute entries with nature doing the talking because I was away in beautiful places doing lovely things…the places inspired the content; the lovely things distracted me from digging up quotes.

Nature Therapy got quite a guernsey this past month, in part because both Cosmic Person Lucy and I were at training to become guides for the practice (and Cosmic Person Pauline took part in our very first public guided walk – cheers, Pauline, for making the drive from Melbourne to Warburton). Cosmic Person and Certified Nature and Forest Therapy Guide Alex posted a link to an event she’s running in November: a Nature Remedy Retreat, which looks absolutely amazing.

Thanks to Cosmic Person Lucy for her blog entry about nature’s curative powers, which may be news to Westerners but is at the heart of the human-Earth relationship of indigenous peoples around the world.

An article was posted this month about rivers and forests as potent health tonics, by Rebecca Lawton at Aeon Magazine.

Fresh definition was given to a number of terms and ideas, including:

· the idea of sauntering (thanks to John Muir and Cosmic Person Bek)

· the idea of planting ourselves at the gates of hope: truthtelling, resistance, and joy in the struggle (thanks to Victoria Safford and Cosmic Person Jeremy)

· the new (now oldish) movement towards new consciousness in the West that sees the earth as a single organism and recognises that an organism at war with itself is doomed (thanks to Carl Sagan and Cosmic Person Pauline)

· the generative, purposeful idea of learning to see in the dark (thanks to Joanna Macy and Cosmic Person John)

· the powerful narrative of the seven sisters dreamtime story that rivals any and all the great narratives of creation (thanks to the National Museum and Cosmic Person Isabel)

· the beginner’s guide to biogeography (thanks to thoughtco.com and Cosmic Person Mandy)

· the three creative dynamics of cosmogenesis (thanks to Glenys Livingstone and Cosmic Person Pauline)

· the pathway to true belonging (thanks to Brene Brown and Cosmic Person me/Jana)

· the switch from problem solving to ‘mobilization of creative vision’ (thanks to Abundant Community and Cosmic Person me/Jana)

Opportunities to engage with experiences related to Ecozoic Living were offered, including:

· Nature Remedy Retreat offered by Cosmic Person Alex

· Pachamama Alliance ‘Get Grounded’ event suggested by Cosmic Person Riki

· Go Deep Green online course for sourcing renewable energy for loving the Earth created by CCP

Celebrations of Ecozoic Living and Cosmic Community were tagged, including:

· a feature on ABC’s Gardening Australia on The Mulch Pit, a fabulously mutually beneficial permaculture community garden in Darwin, highlighting the cultivating leadership of Cosmic Person Lucy

· a little clip of an installation for Splash Adelaide featuring a visual and audible experience of the cosmic ray bombardment that surrounds us at all times

· an invitation to share photo albums of close observation of place (you’re encouraged to scroll the page, find the entry, and add your own!)

Commentary on the Earth system this month included a blog post on the CCP website of my reflections on personal experiences of hurricanes and what it felt like to be half a world away as my home region was bombarded by three massive storms in a row.

New offerings from the Community of Cosmic Person this month featured the launch of the online course, Go Deep Green: Sourcing renewable energy for loving the Earth. The course is designed to inspire, connect, and equip people who love the Earth and don’t want to give up their advocacy and engagement with eco issues but feel overwhelmed and even despondent about the realities of species extinction, ecosystem collapse, and earth exploitation.

The course is off to a strong start, with 10 early adopters enrolled! It’s open all the time; it’s free; and it’s quick but (hopefully you’ll agree) rich with content. I encourage you to give it a go!

Comments, Likes, and Shares are encouraging and enriching for the whole Conversation Community, so please keep engaging as often as you can. Thank you to everyone who contributed this way over the past month, and to everyone who posted content for us to engage.

Please forgive and correct me if I have overlooked your contribution in September; it will be no reflection on how valuable your participation is but rather on how feeble my powers of observation and recollection are!

This space to share in Cosmic Community means a great deal to me as I continue to explore and embrace Ecozoic Living. I hope you feel the same way. If there is something that could be happening here that would enrich the experience for you, please let me know in comments or PM.

And now…what shall we talk about in October?

Year of Living the Community: Week 48

TO GO DEEP GREEN IN THE MIDST OF THE STORM 

posting by Jana

Me on my beloved Pensacola Beach in 1974 (I'm the little one and also the girl). There used to be sand dunes on the Eastern end of the island but they're gone now. Islands shift, but they get a lot of help from major storms and displacement by development. 

Me on my beloved Pensacola Beach in 1974 (I'm the little one and also the girl). There used to be sand dunes on the Eastern end of the island but they're gone now. Islands shift, but they get a lot of help from major storms and displacement by development. 

Having worked with the ideas in the online course from CCP Go Deep Green for a while now, the bigger+better+love stories generally hum away in the background as a source of coherence and consistent energy for me.

Sometimes, however, I have to bring the stories into the foreground and draw on them more intentionally. Today was one of those days.

I’m from Florida and hurricanes stir me up. It’s all the memories and the current worries and the future fears.

Hurricanes Jose, Irma, Katia 9 Sep 2017

Hurricanes Jose, Irma, Katia 9 Sep 2017

I was six years old in 1974 when we moved to the Florida Panhandle. Two weeks later, we packed up bits and pieces of what we’d just unpacked and evacuated the beach house for higher ground. My first hurricane memories involve lots of wind and rain, playing cards with the new friends who’d taken us in, their dog named Blue, and too much food. It was kind of fun. And not much damage was done.

Then there was Frederic in 1979, a category 4. I was taken out of school and we headed further north this time, to Montgomery. This hurricane tasted like tuna fish sandwiches in the car on I-65 and smelled like a roadside motel. I wasn’t old enough to pick up the lingering racial divides in this city of bus boycotts and sit ins, and anyway I wasn’t allowed outside the motel room.

My great auntie – the one who’d been dean of women at Alabama in the desegregation years and through that association in the region put us onto Pensacola – she and Uncle Ed lost some gracious old oaks and pines at their place on the Magnolia River. They hadn’t evacuated, which caused my mother no end of stress, but they were fine: the trees missed the house and there was whisky to keep them company, especially Ed, an old stringer for the Washington Post who never seemed to be without one or without a slim brown cigarette either.

There were other storms when I was growing up, but nothing huge. There used to be years and even decades between the big ones.

The University of Florida in Gainesville, gearing up to weather the storm(s) this week.

The University of Florida in Gainesville, gearing up to weather the storm(s) this week.

In 1985, I spent my first weekend living on campus in Gainesville locked in our dorm as a safety precaution because nobody knew where the erratic Hurricane Elena was going to go next. This little zig-zag number drove my parents and my grandpa first this way and then that trying to find some shelter. Meanwhile, I was enjoying my first college party, about 72 hours worth.

Fast-forward to Opal a decade later. Nothing came towards Orlando – the storm came up the Yucatan Peninsula – where I was two years into my first post grad school job. The storm surge put the high water mark on the inside of mom and dad’s beach cottage at about waist height. Dad managed to refurbish the big hi-fi cabinet he’d built in Minnesota that we brought with us in the move. It made it through Ivan, too.

Ivan. That’s the one. 2004. I was in London; my parents were in the dream home they’d built on the beach, capstone to their 30-year real estate careers.

For several days after this storm, as big as Katrina would be the following year, I couldn’t reach them. A internet message board from the local paper connected me to their neighbours, who let me know they were okay.  

The narrow barrier island was breached by Ivan.

The narrow barrier island was breached by Ivan.

Ivan formed on the 2nd of September and dissipated on the 24th. I arrived in Pensacola during the second week of October. My parents, my partner and I all lived in motel on the mainland for three months before mom and dad could get back out to the beach to see about their own place (relatively okay) and the 80 properties they managed for others (most of which weren’t okay or weren’t even there any more).

We stayed a year to help out. It was the business, it was their home, it was my dad’s terminal illness. He’d been diagnosed a month before the hurricane arrived.

There were five storms worth worrying about during the season after Ivan. After one we ate MREs (Meals Ready to Eat) provided by the National Guard. Another time, everybody in the neighbourhood cleaned out their freezers and we had a big BBQ: the gas grills worked but the electricity didn’t for a week or so.

At the end of the season we sat glued to the Weather Channel watching #5, Katrina, until it finally did what some storms do and took a little hop to the West. It’s a funny thing celebrating a near miss when you know, having just been through it less than 12 months prior, what those people just over there are going to go through. We couldn’t have imagined the levees or the Superdome, and we sure as hell didn't wish all that on anybody. We just felt lucky. And guilty.

Everything is fragile forever after experiences like this. That’s how I’ve been feeling today.

So I’ve brought the love story to mind a lot – the one about how I fell in love with the Earth in the first place:

I put my toes in the white sands of Pensacola Beach, cool and squeaky quartz crystals that made their way south from the Appalachians to form this barrier island way back in geologic time.

I felt the moist breeze off the Gulf that makes the golden sea oats that hold together what’s left of the sand dunes after all these storms and all the development glisten.

I shuffled around in the shallow water grassbeds on the Sound side for scallops and hermit crabs, trying to snatch them up before they scooted away or shut themselves up tight.

Nothing gets fixed by returning to the love, but things that had started falling apart come back together again and offer something like strength within the vulnerability.

Pensacola Beach. My Deep Green (and blue and white) home. 

Pensacola Beach. My Deep Green (and blue and white) home. 

Year of Living the Community: Week 47

WE DID IT - GDG IS LAUNCHED! 

posting by Jana

This has been such a learning experience - learning how to use programs like Photoshop, Illustrator, and Premiere Pro and how to create and launch online courses (thanks SO MUCH Video School Online!); learning how to use the uni recording studio (thanks, Dave!); learning where to find free stock photos (thanks, Amanshu!), free stock video, and great music at fair prices; and learning how to settle down, clarify ideas and intentions, and make an offering to others out of what is meaningful to me in the hopes that it might inspire, connect, and equip others well and truly. 

I hope this doesn't sound too Academy Award, but there are people to thank! Thanks to Lucy for great editing ideas, Debbie and Pauline for reading the scripts, and Mandy and Paul for listening, listening, and more listening during the development. And to the F2F Community of the Cosmic Person in Adelaide who share energy, calm, stories, and real & good conversation. 

It's easy to enrol and I hope people will! My real hope for this course is that people start discussing the topics together and sharing resources, building community around the idea of living a bigger story about the role of human beings in the universe (not big as in 'more dominating' as if we need that! but big as in fitting into the bigger picture); a better story about how we participate in the flourishing of the whole community of life on the planet; and living out of the energy of our original Earth love stories. 

Here's how you get there...