"The creation of a thousand forests is in one acorn." -Ralph Waldo Emerson

Posts tagged ‘integrated’

Celebrating the Gift of My Birthday – A Tribute to Waking Up

With 48 autumns, winters, springs and summers behind me, today I begin the journey of my 49th year of life on this earth. My birthday wish for others is usually shared as “Enjoy an incredible day celebrating YOU!” so today, as I make a wish for myself, it is the perfect day to explore what it feels like to enjoy an incredible day celebrating me.

Lisa's 49th BirthdayCelebrating me means that I am required to acknowledge my own gifts … things that I am or that I bring to the world that are worthy of celebration. One way to do this is to reflect on how much I have grown. To look back one week, one month, one year, ten years ago … and see and acknowledge all of the positive steps forward I have made.

I feel that the biggest gift of my life, a gift that continues to bestow blessings on me every day, has been that of my awakening. There was a point several years back where I began listening to the small, still voice inside me whispering “Wake up, Lisa!”

I wish sometimes that waking up happened all at once … apparently it does happen overnight for some, but for me, waking up has been happening continuously over the past several years. When I think back and count them, they total nearly seven. Seven years of day-by-day increasing awareness. What does increasing awareness mean?

Back in the early stages it meant that I was re-awakening to me. I began hearing the whisper of my own spirit, re-connecting to my passions, my purpose and the essence of my Self as a woman. Then a bit later the perspective widened to include the awareness of what’s happening in the world. There’s a saying “When the cat is away, the mice will play.” and I woke up to see a rodent-dominated world that my sleeping self could not see. I was too numb.

What numbed me?  Pain, grief, guilt, fear …. all assisting in keeping me asleep. Asleep I am easy to be led. When preoccupied with my internal pain and my attempts to numb it I became like a sheep. As a sheep I was easily herded to follow along with the rest of the flock.

I started dreaming of flocks of sheep. White sheep, black sheep and silver sheep. In my dreams the black and silver sheep were lifting their heads up out of the flock or standing up on hind feet to get a different perspective on where they were being led. The silver sheep wandered back and forth between the white sheep and the black sheep not saying much at all. The black sheep would call out to the other sheep, “Wake up! Don’t go that way, go this way!” but the white sheep would continue on following the path they were told to choose … right to the slaughterhouse.

The grazing areas the sheep were led to were certainly green, the chemical companies saw to that. The White and Black Sheepsheep became excited seeing the vibrant color and anticipated how great it would be to gobble it all up. The first few bites were juicy and delicious, but the pasture, although lush and green, somehow lacked the nutrients the sheep needed to feel satisfied inside. Although they watched their bodies grow fat, they were far from healthy and felt slow, sluggish and still ravenously hungry. They yearned for green pasture that would not only be pleasing to the eye, but that would also satisfy the hunger.

As I started noticing what was going on in the world I began to see how a entire populations of people are being herded like sheep through one lush green pasture after another not even realizing that they are ultimately being led to the slaughterhouse.

I recently read a quote that said, “The truth will set you free, but first, it will piss you off.” As I awakened to the truth of what was happening while I slept I became angry and I quickly disassociated myself with my life as a white sheep. I identified deeply with the black sheep, rejecting my former white sheep self completely. I raged against the machine of manipulation that had kept me asleep for so long. I refused to follow along blindly any further.

Once the anger passed, I quickly realized that separating myself from the flock called attention to me in a way that was not conducive to continued life among the flock. I realized that if I became a “management problem” I would be culled. Problem solved.

I also realized that while my life as a white sheep was primarily spent in a hypnotic state of following along, there were a lot of wonderful things about that life that I was not ready to walk away from. This was when the silver sheep started speaking.

Like my inner voice, the silver sheep whispers softly which requires me to be in a space of quiet peace so that I may hear the words. Her words were few and were delivered simply as “Love. Courage. Essence.” Reflecting on the silver sheep and the words she shared, I began to notice that her fleece was not silver at all but was made up of individual black and white strands that twined around each other so tightly that it gave the appearance of being made up of a single strands of shimmering silver. In her fleece she displayed the perfectly balanced blend of black and white – the gray, or in my view, the silver space in between.

This was when I began to understand that life was not meant to be about choosing sides but was meant to be lived in honor of both the black and the white. This is also when I began to see the numbers 1+1=3. I did not understand it at first as I know that mathematically 1+1=2 but the silver sheep kept showing me examples of how two things, two people, two events coming together in collaboration create a third thing that could not have been created without the initial two things AND that the third thing appears as greater than the sum of the contributing parts.

Most recently the silver sheep has been whispering “Love. Accept. Forgive.” And then “Start with you. Begin now. I love you.” “Start with you” means that I am meant to love, accept and forgive myself first. “Begin now” means that at any moment of any day if I discover that I am not acting in a loving, accepting and forgiving way toward myself I can choose to begin again. The great thing about this is although the choice is made to begin again, I am not starting at the beginning each time, but I am continuing to build on prior investments in learning how to honor myself.

“I love you.” To me, I love you represents my higher self or my spiritual self reminding my physical self of what I came here to do and who I came here to be. It reminds me that the journey is and always has been primarily about Love. It carries with it, “I believe in you” and “I support you” which when combined with 1+1=3 translates to me to mean I believe in us, I support us, I love us.

I have been blessed with being an aware participant in my own magical awakening, understanding that when I allow both the dark and light parts of myself, as well as both the physical and spiritual parts of myself I am actively collaborating in the creation of something that is so much more than the sum of the parts. Integrating one part into another can be an intense and emotional experience, but with the right tools to assist with the integration, Wooooo Hoooooo!!! I am so totally enjoying the ride!

I have always found it so much easier to celebrate the gifts of others than to celebrate myself and my own gifts. I feel this may be due to how we are conditioned to not feel too good about ourselves so that our ego remains in check. When we do get “too full of ourselves” there’s always someone out there waiting to bring us back down a notch or two.

The trick is, or more accurately, the gift in that is we get to choose what to celebrate regardless of what anyone else may think or feel. Each and every day brings the gifts of a birth-day where, if we wish to, we can choose to be re-born into the true Essence of our Self. On this day, my 49th birthday, I choose to celebrate the Love, Courage, Essence, Acceptance and Forgiveness that are alive and thriving inside of me and I honor the Love, Courage, Essence, Acceptance and Forgiveness that are alive and thriving inside of you.

Happy Re-Birth day to ME, to YOU and to US! Woooo Hoooo!!! Enjoying the ride!

Stewardship and The Five I’s

Fern GulleyMost of our land is designated as a Stewardship Forest which means that any actions we take to conserve and manage are done in a way that improves the quality and productivity of our woodlands for future generations.

Curious about what being in stewardship to a forest means, I began researching forestry and farming and discovered there is a name for what we have in mind to do – agroforestry.

Forest farming is an agroforestry practice characterized by the four “I’s”- Intentional, Integrated, Intensive and Interactive management of an existing forested ecosystem wherein forest health is of paramount concern.

What I found most interesting and what sparked a huge aha moment for me was the characterization using the four “I’s” – Intentional, Integrated, Intensive and Interactive. These were the same principles I was already using within the practices of my own personal growth. For my personal practice however, there is a fifth I – Inspiration.

These four characterizations alone each have their own essence of power, however when combined with inspiration it all began to click together. To me this felt like an affirmation of being on the right path. I began to see how honoring my inner voice, or the voice of my spirit, sparks a feeling of inspiration which in turn sparks creativity which then moves me to begin to take action.

I discovered that taking action is only effective and done with ease when the intention of the actions are aligned with the essence of my calling. As I begin to move forward the process of integration begins.

Personally, this is the space where new beliefs principles and practices are blended, or integrated into my current ones. It is where I recognize the aspects of me that are, or have been, on automatic pilot and assess whether those things serve me to be the best me that I can be. I then choose my own programming from that point forward, integrating it into my daily practice, a process which requires both embracing and letting go.

Look to the LightIn the forest it is the space where the intention or vision for the forest requires human interaction. Some actions, such as the selective cutting of trees to allow sunlight to reach the forest floor bringing sleeping seeds to life are both intensive and interactive. This interaction is part of assisting it to be while some actions are passive and without human interaction, allowing it to be.

And so for me, the four I’s were transformed into the five I’s – Inspired, Intentional, Integrated, Intensive and Interactive.  These principles or characterizations became SEEDS that when applied not just in stewardship to a forest yet in all aspects of my life, are supporting and assisting with moving from a state of surviving into a life thriving … in harmony and oneness with mother earth – HOME.

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