Category Archives: Uncategorized

Mission: Pushing the Envelope with Friends

CCL Washington DCIt was spring, 2016, and I knew I had to transform my grief.  My heart was overwhelmed with daunting climate change reports: bleached coral reefs, melting permafrost, methane monsters, extreme weather events, and climate refugees.  Beyond lightening my own carbon footprint, I felt paralyzed.

Then one fortuitous day, I found Citizens’ Climate Lobby via Facebook.  After reading about CCL’s Carbon Fee and Dividend proposal at citizensclimatelobby.org, I decided to risk stepping out of my introverted comfort zone to check out my closest active CCL chapter, which is an hour’s drive away in Fayetteville.   That decision and the warm welcome I received from the wonderful folks who make up CCL Fayetteville, changed my life.   Becoming active in CCL has transfigured my heartbreak into hope, pragmatic optimism, and enthusiasm.

I’ve read about many courageous and innovative climate change actions unfolding around the world.  There is so much good work to be celebrated; perhaps you are part of such a group effort or are diligently undertaking your own climate mission.  Certainly both personal and broader public efforts are essential!  I would love to hear about your passion,  your vision, your message, and your efforts.

From June 19th – 21st, eleven of us (students, business people, teachers, retirees) from Arkansas joined with 1000 other CCL’ers in Washington D.C. to hone our knowledge and advocacy skills and to meet with members of Congress.  The energy of togetherness, responsibility, and possibility in the conference gatherings was electrifying!  Still, I was a little nervous. Never in my life had I envisioned myself walking through the Hart Senate Office building or crowding into a conference room in the Longworth House Office Building to speak up for the planet, myself, and my fellow human beings!  Yet there I was (despite the butterflies in my stomach)  with an inspired team of Arkansas CCL’ers  (I can’t emphasize the enjoyable, heart-full, intelligent nature of this team enough) engaging with Congressional representatives and staff in earnest dialogue.

Now here I am back home in the beautiful Ozarks.  The physical, scientific facts of climate change still stand stark.  But I’m energized to go forward, pushing the envelope of my personal comfort zone, in concert with my CCL colleagues, to bring about climate change solution legislation and a measure of healing to our home.  That feels good.

 

 

 

 

Effort: Leaping into a Spontaneous Schedule

leaves

I returned home from a playful, leaf-tromping, freezing-rain-touched Thanksgiving Holiday eager to begin writing my second short story in an intended series of 14.

I’ve long wished my writing schedule would be as steady and rhythmic as the seasonal progression.  I believe Life responds to regular effort, cheers on creative risks, and supports steady devotion to the Heart’s expressive passions.   But I’ve never been able to stick to a strict writing schedule whether morning or evening.  Minutes or hours. Weekday or weekend.

I’ve given up tracking down the root of this regularity struggle.  Instead I’m switching to what I call a Spontaneous Schedule.  I’ve successfully applied this approach in upping my karate practice, so why not try it with writing?

The schedule:   An hour per day.  The spontaneity:   when inspiration and possibility coincide.   The former solidifies my commitment, builds momentum and zaps inertia.  The  latter accommodates employment demands, respects other commitments and moves with my varying need for rest, all while stoking creative alertness and a playful spirit.

I’ve written a continuous 60 minutes one day.  And  then a 20/40 split the next.  30/30.  Back to 60.  Whatever the scheduled spontaneity convergence produces. Additional boosts leap in here and there:  mulling over character motivations while squeezing toothpaste onto the brush; scratching down ideas on a sticky note during a lunch break.

Word by word.  Paragraph by paragraph.  The story is emerging.  And I’m enjoying the effort.

How do you approach your creative projects?    Balance schedule and spontaneity?   Experience the qualitative process and creativity you desire?

 

 

 

 

Balance: The Value of Standing on One Foot

shoeEver tried standing on one foot — yoga tree pose style — with your eyes closed?  We practice this in karate class to improve physical balance and psychological centering.  The very first few tries, I only lasted a few seconds.  But I’ve kept working on it, gradually linking  steady foot placement to focused outer vision, then eyes closed, drawing my attention inward, centering in the heart and the middle of the forehead.   Body, Heart, Inner and Outer Vision united in one effort.

When I face a life circumstance that is immensely important to me and to which I want to devote the best I have to give, I’ll practice this integrative balancing exercise.  It calms my doubts, lessens the pull of emotional desires and aversions and draws me into the power of my best effort.  Have you experienced something similar with another physical exercise?

Endurance: Energize the Root of Being on Earth

rootsWhen you sketch a tree, do you show the detail of the branches?  Do you differentiate each leaf?  Does the trunk rise straight or with graceful curves?  Is there fruit? Do you powerfully depict the spreading presence of the roots, penetrating, reaching, nutrifying, stabilizing broad and deep into the soil?

A friend and I spoke recently about the interpretative symbolism of tree drawings. We remarked on the number of trees we have seen drawn or have drawn ourselves without including life-sustaining below-the-ground roots.   Roots, we commented between ourselves, are essential to life, but often forgotten or cut short.

Taproots, the deepest primary roots, emerge from the seed. Several of my Ozark favorites such as white oaks, hickories, and walnuts are known for strong, plunging taproots. Others like the red oak and sycamore grow thick heart roots that send out secondary roots to source for water.

Primary and secondary root systems support and influence human lives as well. Genetics. National and regional origin. Family lineage and community culture: from food to core values to employment to generational skill-sharing, and relationship norms.   Religious tradition and spiritual ritual passed down and adapted through centuries.   Decisions.   Habits.   Some might be better trimmed back. Others energized and enhanced.

I hold the hypothesis that the deepest, most energizing, and grounding root we possess in today’s increasingly virtualized, technified world is the Core Self in Action, the Heart engaged in   creative endeavor, with all the responsibilities, hurdles, connections and joys this brings.

Perhaps like many inherited roots, this vital root of practically Being on Earth, cannot be escaped. Perhaps whether we want to accept its challenges or not, it will eventually sprout and grow in us. However, for those on the path of goal fitness, this essential root is neither forgotten nor a “perhaps.” It is progressively energized and drawn into the picture of a life intentionally lived.  A source and result of endurance, it is etched on life’s canvas through healthy choices and active commitment to the Core Self – the Heart Self – and efforts that matter.