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The land of blended light and shadow

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Joined: 11 Sep 2004
Posts: 5

PostPosted: Sat Sep 11, 2004 12:20 pm    Post subject: The land of blended light and shadow Reply with quote

Hi. My name is Serena.

I come from a background in direct action forest defense - and equally from a background of exploring restorative justice and other forms of cointelligence. My life is built on the tension between these two forms of process.

I recently came back from three weeks spent in a part of the Mt. Hood National Forest. The place is a fragmented sea of clearcut, plantation replanting, and still-remaining ancient forest. I went alone to listen to what the land had to say to me, and to ask spirit how my hands could serve.

The experience was richer than i could ever describe, and involved encounters with the land, with active logging operations, with ex-loggers by the fireside, with bow-hunters, with bears, cougars, deer, elk, birds, plants, animals, trees, the land-spirit, "hard-core christians", friends who came to visit, and the wilderness inside myself.

At one point, i wasn't sure if i would live or die. At one point, i fell to my knees and prayed for the knot of the controversy of logging to be untangled, so that all beings, plant, and animals and humans, could see one another's souls, and see how they were woven. At many points i was effortlessly, unspeakably grateful to an extent i'd never known before.

I came out deeply moved and interested in exploring this - a way of bringing together different parties who might or might not agree to meet one another in person: a book. Fictionalized, so that people might feel more free to speak truth knowing that the details of it would not be attributed to them, and so that the land might remain anonymous and therefore less impacted. A book written so that every character in it was shown sympathetically in their own hero's journey, be they timber executive or chinquopin bush or cougar or what all.

I don't know what i'll do if the people who have bought the rights to cut that part of forest come in and do, now that i am so woven - and i am pledged to honor what is alive in them as well as in myself.

I am right now a barely financially solvent (no emergencies, please!) college graduate, planning on restarting work as a substitute in special education departments in the school system, and deeply searching for a way i can make this project real and still get by. Grants? Going back to school?

I would especially love being in a school program where i had support from people who have made a practice of giving deep empathy to others while remaining deeply in themselves, and where i would get autonomy in deciding where to go and how.

I've also done work in supporting survivors of domestic violence, and in advocating and practicing restorative justice around the same. I volunteered for the Co-Intelligence Institute in 2002. Interests of mine include Non-Violent Communication, writing, ecology, empowerment, and making synecdochal connections.

I look forward to getting to know you all.
May your work be blessed,
Synecdoche: A figure of speech by which the part is put for the whole, the whole for a part, the species for the genus, the genus for the species, or the name of the material for the thing made.
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Joined: 07 Oct 2004
Posts: 1
Location: Martinez, California

PostPosted: Thu Oct 07, 2004 5:33 pm    Post subject: Light and Shadows Reply with quote

Let me introduce myself first, I live in California, though I have worked overseas as a health care volunteer, but my main interests these days has to do with helping people appreciate, create the space for, and integrate the quieter side of life so necessary to bring peace and balance to the business of our everyday lives and callings. One of my favorite past times is writing poetry. A wonderful vehicle for sharing and clarifying deep feelings about the "invisible" side of life, and giving them expression. I never stop being surprised by the things I see, that are invisible to others.

Thank you for your reflections. I am awe struck. I was sitting reflecting on light and shadows around September 11 as I was immersed in Chaco Canyon, an ancient site of human civilization in the Southwest. I understand what you say about the forest, and your inspiration to capture it in story in the way you described. It touches me at my Shamanic roots. I think I grew up as a Redwood tree, they were my childhood friends, though I did not remember until years later when I returned to Eureka for a visit. I have no suggestions for your financial dilemma. I can only say, when one is "called" to a creative project one must begin . . . even if one step at a time. Write a coverpage or an introduction, get some of the deepest feelings down in words, so they won't escape you. Then see what is next.

And yes it is important to engage in meaningful work at the same time that can support you financially. I appreciate your interest in Special Ed. it is so important these days, with the challenges youth experience in the schools these days. Special Ed. needs care by people empathetic as yourself. Your posting tells me that when it comes to empathy, you most likely run at the top of the scale. It is a special skill shared by few. I suspect you are a teacher and leader in this area? This is a journey I too have been traveling. It is my most difficult challenge, to honor and respect my deepest empathy in ways that are compassionate (for myself and others) when relationships around me seem so superficial or uncaring. I like to think of empathy as a kind of non-verbal language (propioceptive and kinesthetically based) that sensitive people have access to. People without this sensitivy (more visual auditory types) cannot understand this language. Though it is a challenge to have a "rare" language I can't speak with many, I have made progress in that I have great respect for my sensitivity to the world around me and my place in it, even when others see my as different or eccentric. It has given me great respect for minorities of all kinds. Learning to be at peace with such a gift has created new portals for seeing and interacting with my world. I refuse to defend myself for living my life authentically, if and when people see me as "out there", and commit myself to remaining open to answer questions for people when they are sincere.

My experience is teaching me that trusting dreams and callings, and taking "small" steps, invites resonating connections to show up. Such synchronicities have built my sense of confidence and trust and sense of support by the larger world around me (ancestors, plants, animals, etc) and guides my direction like "baby" steps. I put the "small" in quotes because sometimes small things are much bigger than they appear on the surface.

Come to Your Senses
which a portrait of who you really are
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Joined: 18 Mar 2004
Posts: 6
Location: Western Massachussets

PostPosted: Wed Oct 20, 2004 10:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Serena!

i'm a friend of Tom's as well..

thank you for your beauty-filled post... i just wanted to say that, when i read what you wrote about exploring how to bring people together, maybe through writing... i was reminded so much of the novel Prodigal Summer, by Barbara Kingsolver... that's what i felt like when i read that book, that here were all these different people, who had different relationships to the natural world, all meeting one another somehow, and finding a larger 'common ground'....

anyhow, thank you for the work you are doing, for the forests, for the Co-Intelligence Institute, for life itself...

all best wishes,

Rosa Zubizarreta, M.A.
Facilitating Creative Collaboration:
Organization Development
Community Engagement
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