Ecotopian Equality

I’m only 34 pages into the novel ‘Ecotopia’, and I am already enraptured. I was quickly drawn in by the vision it offers of an ecologically balanced, while technologically advanced, society, and it offers many moments in which to pause and reflect on how we – I – choose to engage with the world.

While it’s easy to cynically approach the novel from the viewpoint that it isn’t possible for such a society to emerge on such a large scale (particularly within the United States of America), given the nature of humans, politics, power, and current economic structures, I choose instead to see it as an invitation to remember that things don’t have to always be as they are. If we can visualise a different way of being, we can keep striving, in our own way, towards that vision – and even if we can’t change society at large in any dramatic way, we can be consciously aware of our own actions and choices. Continue reading

Mastery of Self in Service

I had the privilege, a year and a half ago, of becoming part of a truly remarkable community of caring, open-hearted people committed to keep learning from life – just as it is – in each new moment that unfolds. This is the joy of being involved with the More to Life programme.

I spent the past weekend as part of an amazing team of fellow volunteers creating a safe space for 28 participants to find a new depth of connection with themselves and others, and to step forth into their lives with a new sense of purpose. To see the growth in each member of our team, as well as the blossoming within each participant, was a humbling experience for which I am truly grateful.

One of the participants shared her experience with us on the third day of the course:

It’s good to meet yourself again. I realise now that moving forward I have to be ME; it’s the only way to be better for everyone around me. I feel at peace with myself now, and realise that looking after myself isn’t selfish – it lets me give more to other people. I have dreams and passions and things I want to do, but I didn’t know why I couldn’t DO them. Now I know – it wasn’t anything external stopping me, it was me. Now I know I can do anything. I was lost; I was looking for myself. I want to dream, to impart knowledge, to serve others – but I can’t serve them if I’m not fully present myself.Continue reading

Choices, and defining who we wish to be

A friend sent me a link to a TED talk by Ruth Chang about ‘How to make hard choices.’ It’s a brilliant, well-constructed talk that leads to an empowering conclusion:

‘Far from being sources of agony and dread, hard choices are precious opportunities for us to celebrate what is special about the human condition. That the reasons that govern our choices as correct or incorrect sometimes run out, and it is here in the space of hard choices that we have the power to create reasons for ourselves to become the distinctive people that we are. And that’s why hard choices are not a curse, but a godsend.’

I hesitated over sharing that ‘spoiler’, but I encourage you to watch the entire video to see how she steadily, logically and engagingly takes us with her to this conclusion.

What this comes down to for me is the reminder of something I have believed for as long as I can remember: that each of our choices – from the clothes we select to wear, to the jobs we invest our time in and people we decide to spend our time with – are neither right nor wrong, but simply about WHO WE CHOOSE TO BE. Continue reading

Trauma As Our Teacher

I was reading David Berceli’s book on the Trauma Release Process before falling asleep last night, and found these paragraphs enlightening and greatly comforting.

‘Trauma has the ability to teach us what love is, while simultaneously bringing out our innate capacity for deep caring. Through traumatic experiences we can discover our true mettle as compassionate individuals. Continue reading

Letting Go

Thank you Christine for placing this lovely quote in my path today.

“Letting go means just what it says. It’s an invitation to cease clinging to anything — whether it be an idea, a thing, an event, a particular time, or view, or desire.

It is a conscious decision to release with full acceptance into the stream of present moments as they are unfolding.

To let go means to give up coercing, resisting, or struggling, in exchange for something more powerful and wholesome -

which comes out of allowing things to be as they are without getting caught up in your attraction to or rejection of them, in the intrinsic stickiness of wanting, of liking and disliking”

Jon Kabat Zinn, Wherever you go, There You Are

Book Review: A House Near Luccoli

A House Near Luccoli: A Novel of Musical Intimacy & Intrigue in 17th Century Genoa by DM Denton (All Things That Matter Press, 2012)

I have a deep appreciation for things that appeal to my sense of beauty.  While I enjoy many novels for a multitude of varying reasons, from their excellent characterisation to their capacity to make me see the world in new ways, teach me new things or simply engage my rapt attention, there are only a few that have captured me with their lyricism and beauty. The historic novel ‘A House Near Luccoli’ by DM Denton flows with a rhythm and melody that took me some time to adjust to – her sophisticated style took a little time to attune to, and I initially found myself re-reading paragraphs to ensure I was completely clear on what was happening. However, once I let go of my structured expectations and instead listened to the unique flow of the novel, I found myself captivated, and transported back to 17th century Italy.

It’s such a unique and poetic style, that I feel as though I can hardly do it justice, and wish instead to share a couple of extracts:

“…Nonna blamed a tendency to malinconia on her granddaughter’s English side with too much rain in her blood. As if climate could be inherited – shifting skies of cloud and sun, never warmer than it was still cool in the shade, hay growing and ripening despite wet feet, root vegetables the staple, walls and hedges rolling along landscapes far from the sea.” Continue reading