WEEK 1: “Where do you separate from nature?”
Separation from Nature and creating wholeness
“Humanity is part of nature, a species that evolved among other species. The more closely we identify ourselves with the rest of life, the more quickly we will be able to discover the sources of human sensibility and acquire the knowledge on which an enduring ethic, a sense of preferred direction, can be built.” ~ E.O. Wilson
At this time in our evolution we have the privilege of being present here on Earth as she is in rapid transformation and much is shifting with our climate, connection and global attitudes. As in all paths of transformation, deepening or healing we need to look at the roots of imbalance, seperation or trauma to clear the way for any real change to occur.
So in looking at being beneficial partners in this shift and in developing a meaningful,close relationship with a nature ally, first we need to acknowledge the places where we separate from nature. This includes our historical mind construct of separateness and the illusion that we are better than- superior to our big family of nature.
This first week is asking us to have the courage to look into our shadow with reverence, with respect and with eyes wide open to see what we can illuminate in our relationship with all life. Without judgement, guilt or shame, let’s look for the histories living in our bodies, our minds, and our hearts that inhibit oneness. What we find may look like fear, greed, anger, grief and we may even find threads of our ancestral stories.
[quote-lengthy supporting paragraph above]
In fact, recently three of us that have very rich relationship with nature were in conversation about this first week of the course and what came through was surprising for us. Each of us had over time developed small fears that were affecting our unfettered connection with the wild which we had not previously realized. During this conversation we began to acknowledge these energies and share with each other these little disconnections that we had allowed to sneak between us and our beloved, wild, Gaia. It was simple. It was powerful. It was healing.
[closing that relates to paragraph above]
It is fortunate that O.N.E. has the support of many Nature Evolutionaries and in this case we asked Rachel Corby, to speak with us about our separation from nature and to give some food for feeling-thought as we meditate and do our work for week 1. Rachel Corby is a plant whisperer, nature dreamer, biophile. She is passionate about growing and foraging for both her food and medicine. Rachel is the author of The Medicine Garden and 20 Amazing Plants & Their Practical Uses and Rewild Yourself: Becoming Nature. Rachel conducts workshops, retreats and personal sessions on reclaiming your wildness, plant consciousness and sacred plant medicine. To learn more about Rachel and her books please visit her website at www.wildgaiansoul.com
Audio RACHEL CORBY [lauren is editing now]
Daily Meditation: Separation and Connection
Use this guided meditation daily to find your places of separation from and connection with Nature.
Pam’s Meditation [Elyshia underlaying music now]
Exercise For the week: Breathing with Nature
Connecting with Nature can be as simple as bringing one’s breath into conscious awareness by breathing in oxygen which is the plants’ and trees’ out-breath and breathing out carbon dioxide which is the in-breath of the green beings. This is something we all do every second of every minute of every day. Through our breath, connecting with Nature is inherent. The exercise this week is designed to work with the breath to connect nature. Let’s delve into why the simple activity of breathing is such a powerful tool.
Calming the nervous system
Our human autonomic nervous system has two possible states of activation that determine how we feel. Do we feel calm, restful, and perceptive or alert, anxious and stressed? We can either be in sympathetic activation, known commonly as “fight or flight” mode, or we can be in parasympathetic activation, known as the “rest and digest” state. “Fight or flight” mode is designed to help our body do just that—engage in a fight or take flight because of an immanent physical threat. When we are in “flight or flight” mode, the body has a specific physiologic response spurred on by the release of the hormones adrenaline and cortisol. Our heart rate increases, we send energy to the muscles in the form of increased blood glucose, our focus narrows and our digestion slows. For most of human history, “fight or flight” mode was helpful to us to because we needed to escape a flood or fight off a wild animal to survive. Once the threat had passed, our nervous systems relaxed returned to “rest and digest mode”, which is where our bodies are designed to spend the vast majority of our time.
In our current world, many of us exist in a chronic state of stress caused by our work, finances, family situations, traffic jams, politics, lack of sleep, etc. We could argue that we live in a culture designed to promote stress and that many of us have never been taught how to activate . Chronic states of stress cause us sustain high cortisol levels, which leads to health problems such as inflammation, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and digestive dysfunction among others.
When we pause in our day and breath deeply we know scientifically that
Bringing ourselves into coherence with nature
Beyond the physical effects of a living in a chronic state of stress, when we are in “fight or flight” mode we are unable to connect with nature. We are only able to tune into Nature’s “frequency” and be in sync with her when we are in “rest and digest” mode
Stephan Harrod Buhdner, in his book The Secret Teachings of Plants, has much understanding to offer us for why this is so;
“When a person begins focusing on the heart…heart rhythms begin to take on a smooth, sin wave-like pattern as all of the hearts electromagnetic frequencies start to synchronize…As the heart becomes more coherent, respiration, somatomotor systems, and cortical activity begin to entrain to the coherent heart rhythms. The three branches of the autonomic nervous system,—sympathetic, parasympathetic and enteric (the GI tract)—also begin to synchronize with this more coherent heart rhythm or wave pattern. Overall physiological functioning begins to be be dominated by the parasympathetic, rather than the sympathetic (fight or flight). Synpathetic tone decreases; the body relaxes.”
Buhner says that when we focus on the heart the heart generates a strong and coherant electromagnetic field and a “a new mode of cognition is activated: the holistic/intuitive/depth mode” and it is only from this state that we are able to communicate with Nature. When we are
“Living organisms, including people, exchange electromagnetic energy through contact between their fields, and this electromagnetic energy carries information in much the same way radio transmitters and recievers carry music. When people or other living organisms touch, a subtle but highly complex exchange of information occurs via their electromagnetic fields…the meanings embedded within those fields, experienced by us as emotions, affect the heart’s rate, hormonal cascade, pressure waves, and nuerochemical activity. Directed emotions—intentional, informational electromagnetic embeds sent outward—affect those external electromagnetic fields in turn. Through such directed communication and perception, a living dialogue occurs between us and the world.
Such exchanges are a part of what it means for us to be human and have been a part of our interaction with our envrionment since we emerged out of the living field of this planet.”
“The Greeks had a word for the heart’s ability to perceive meaning from the world: aisthesis…Aisthesis denotes the moment in which a flow of life force, imbued with communications, moves from one living organism to another. The word literally means “to breath in”. It is a taking in of the world, a taking in of soulful communications that arise from the living phenomena in that world…When we experience this sharing of soul essence, we have a direct experience that we are not alone in the world. We experience the truth that we living in a world of ensouled phemonema, companioned by many forms of intelligence and awareness, many of whom care enough us for us to share this intimate exchange.”
We encourage you to practice this exercise once per day for the whole week. If you stick with 10 breaths, it will only take you two minutes.
1. Choose a living aspect of nature that is easy to access near or in your home. This could be a tree or plant, body of water, a houseplant, a landscape out your window,
2. Stand or sit quietly and allow your body to relax. Drop your attention down into the area of the heart.
3. Begin breathing deeply as you keep your attention focused on the heart. Imagine as you inhale, you are breathing directly into the heart and exhale you are breathing directly out of the heart.
4. Once you have established deep breathing from the heart, begin directing your exhaled breath at the aspect of nature you are working with. Send your breath to this being. As you inhale, imagine your are inhaling the breath of this being into your own heart and body.
5. Continue breathing in this way for a minimum of ten breaths or as long as you like.
6. When you have finished, take notes in the form below of any changes in your consciousness or any aspect of your experience that is interesting to you.