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The Unplug Podcast: Activated Living for Truth Seekers and Critical Thinkers in a Collapsing World
81 minutes | 8 months ago
The Winding Path of Acceptance
If you’ve been a long-time listener of this podcast, or even if you’re a new listener to this podcast, you’ve likely noticed the gap between the last episode and this one. A while back, I made a decision to officially end the podcast. But then inspiration that I wanted to share would hit me and I felt the need to record it and offer it to listeners. So I decided that the Unplug podcast would become inspiration-dependent. Recently I’ve been sparked by some significant inspiration by a connection I now have with Dharma teacher and author, Catherine Ingram. It felt necessary for me to invite her into a recorded conversation that I could share with all of you. I feel it pertinent to share that It’s been a notable gap between the last podcast and this one, primarily because this year has been a challenging one for me personally. These challenges have been important in helping me reach a place inside of myself that brings more light and expansiveness into the topic of this podcast episode. For those who follow my blog, you will know about my painful personal situation regarding the shocking and heartless breakup of my 20-year relationship that left me reeling just before the covid lockdown and pandemic narrative took hold of our world. Needless to say, I’ve been navigating a lot of grief, confusion, bitterness, betrayal trauma, and creating closure where there was once absolutely none. It’s also been a Powerful exercise in letting go, acceptance, and personal transformation as I cocooned myself into a healing phase that I’m only now emerging from. I finally feel steady enough on my feet to share my voice once again. And in sharing my voice, I’m feeling a deeper sense of meaning. I’ve moved through a lot of personal healing to reach a place of acceptance with my personal reality while, at the same time, discovering deeper layers of acceptance with the state of our world and our planet. That is the foundation for my potent conversation with Catherine Ingram in this special episode: acceptance. How it impacts us in our personal lives and how it ripples outward in how we navigate our global reality. Acceptance is a powerful realization that has great potential to transform our lives. I’m thrilled and deeply honoured to be in conversation with someone who gets it; someone on a similar journey with a similar mindset inspiring a very different way of life. To offer a little background about Catherine Ingram is, she’s an international dharma teacher with communities in the U.S., Europe, and in Australia where she now resides. She’s also A former journalist who specialized in issues of consciousness and activism. Catherine is also the author of two nonfiction books, In the Footsteps of Gandhi, and Passionate Presence, and one novel, A Crack in Everything. In February of 2019, she published the long-form essay “Facing Extinction” which is how I first discovered her immense body of work. Most recently, she’s been featured in the beautiful and deeply moving documentary by Michael Shaw, Living in the Time of Dying. Catherine and I recently connected after I felt a strong internal prompt to reach out to her with the unifying bond of our parallel messages. The connection was instant, kindred spirits. It only made sense after that to invite her into a recorded conversation that I’m now pleased to share with you as we we explore The Winding Path of Acceptance in End Times. Here is a beautiful short video by Catherine about the importance of tears for acknowledging our grief and our humanity. ******* If Deb’s words hit home and you find value in her work, please donate: The post The Winding Path of Acceptance appeared first on Deb Ozarko.
116 minutes | 8 months ago
Awakin Call with Deb Ozarko
Join Birju Pandya as he engages in conversation with Deb Ozarko to explore a perspective that is rarely voiced – acceptance that our civilizational story (as that of all civilizations) will eventually become compost for something else, and feeling into what is born in that exploration. Birju’s work has intersected with global overshoot, systems collapse, and resilience; he is focused on inviting greater inner and outer capacity as we collectively experience ever more volatility in this process. This call can also be watched at this link. If Deb’s words hit home and you find value in her work, please donate: The post Awakin Call with Deb Ozarko appeared first on Deb Ozarko.
64 minutes | 8 months ago
What Now? Who Will We Choose to Be?
Peter Melton and Deb Ozarko in discussion with Michael Shaw. Now that we are aware of our grand predicament, who are we choosing to be now? This is a deep dive conversation about our times: Hope, acceptance, reality and presence. We are being asked to be students of our moment in time. Living in the Time of Dying. TRAILER https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=thms6… If Deb’s words hit home and you find value in her work, please donate: The post What Now? Who Will We Choose to Be? appeared first on Deb Ozarko.
47 minutes | 8 months ago
Living in the Time of Dying Interview with Michael Shaw and Peter Melton
Peter Melton and Deb Ozarko in discussion with Michael Shaw, the creator of the Summer 2020 Documentary Living in the Time of Dying. In this session we discuss the process Michael went through, before, during and after the Documentary. TRAILER https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=thms6… If Deb’s words hit home and you find value in her work, please donate: The post Living in the Time of Dying Interview with Michael Shaw and Peter Melton appeared first on Deb Ozarko.
77 minutes | a year ago
Post-Doom Conversation with Michael Dowd and Ganga Devi Braun
Regenerative conversations exploring overshoot grief, grounding, and gratitude with Michael Dowd. According to host Michael Dowd, “A post-doom mindset is a hard-earned and often fluctuating state of being. Classic stages of grief mark a well-worn path. However, mere acceptance of what is unavoidable need not be the endpoint. Michael Dowd (with occasional co-hosts) invites guests to share their personal journeys along this trajectory and especially the gifts they have found on the other side. Participants share personal stories, perspectives, and tools that go beyond emotional detachment, stoic resolve, and spiritual transcendence.” If Deb’s words hit home and you find value in her work, please donate: The post Post-Doom Conversation with Michael Dowd and Ganga Devi Braun appeared first on Deb Ozarko.
19 minutes | a year ago
Exploring Uncharted Waters of Consciousness
The greatest illusion is that humankind has limitations. —Robert Monroe Note: By clicking on the above audio link, you can listen to the recorded version of this post. ********* The past several years have been a profound act of letting go. Letting go of conditioning, habituation and old beliefs: about myself, the world, reality, and most recently, what it means to be human. The more I let go, the more I discover. The more I discover, the more I expand. The more I expand, the more I recognize how little I know about “reality”, existence and Life. And therein lies the magic. Freedom from the confines of certainty allows space for endless possibilities. In the infinite realm of this space, everything I’ve ever been taught about “reality” disintegrates and I’m free to ponder, explore and experience so much more of the vast mystery of consciousness. Exploring Inner Space The year 2012 was a significant marker for me. Fresh out of the profound personal discoveries that my 2011 studies of NLP (Neurolinguistic Programming) revealed, I knew there was still so much more to explore and understand. My hunger for evolutionary expansion had been activated, yet despite the immense personal growth that followed, I’d barely been satiated. With a solid taste of the limitless nature of possibility, I knew that what I hungered for defied the rules, rigidity and dogma of the paths already known. I wanted to know, intimately, the Essence at the core of my Being. An intense exploration of consciousness was about to begin. Before discovering the brilliant, life-changing, paradigm-altering work of Louise LeBrun in 2013, I spent a great deal of time at the Monroe Institute in Faber, Virginia discovering the expansive nature of what I am, experientially. In those ineffable experiences, I experienced, first-hand, the infinite nature of my Self. I realized then that I am so much more than my physical body. In these provocative explorations of consciousness, I experienced profound healing, massive insights, and a deeper, more intimate connection to the Universal energy of Life. I realized then that consciousness is so much more than a state of awareness of myself and my world, it is the unifying energy of Life. It is non-local, non-physical and ever expansive. Unlike the puny worldview of consciousness residing within the confines of our mortal brains, it is eternal and deathless. It is the creative force of Life: physical and beyond. It cannot be created or destroyed and is constantly moving in the direction of expansion. What this means is that we are limitless in our capacity to evolve in consciousness and connect more deeply with Life, allowing for infinite expressions of magnificent creativity. Having said that, we are equally limitless in our capacity to suppress our consciousness and disconnect from Life, allowing for infinite expressions of mindless brutality. Quoting Sufi author, Idries Shah, “Man (and woman) has an infinite capacity for self-development. Equally, (s)he has an infinite capacity for self-destruction. A human being may be clinically alive and yet, despite all appearances, spiritually dead.” Tragically, this is our suppressed consciousness reality; immense creators with infinite potential designing dysfunctional lives, civilizations and worlds. While our beliefs/conditioning/behaviors/habituation can throttle the flow of expansion, the power of consciousness inevitably prevails. The need for perpetual growth persists, even if it means dis-ease, illness and death to eliminate barriers for expansion. This applies personally and collectively in both the human and more-than-human worlds. The most pertinent metaphor in our world today is that of our conscious, organic, living planet. It’s not lost on me that the transformative powers of fire and water are accelerating the cleansing of Earth, allowing space for the evolving consciousness of the planet itself. Personally, I see biosphere collapse as a massive provocation for accelerated evolution in consciousness for everyone. Failing that, intense suffering will increasingly be the norm as the density of planetary crises intensify. Evolution for its Own Sake As I continue to let go of what once defined “reality” in a world that holds little meaning for me, the wise words of Louise LeBrun pass through my mind: “Evolution for its own sake”. Not for any outcome, but simply to honor the expansive nature of perpetually evolving consciousness. Louise’s potent words also remind me that meaningful expression at the environment/behavior level (using NLP terminology) is unnecessary; that living fully as the miraculous expression of consciousness that I am, is enough. When I imagine a world of humans living the simplicity of this deep authenticity, I see a world of unity. In this beautiful world of my imagination, there is no room for division, hostility, brutality, and disconnection from any living being. The only requirement for living this way is intimacy with one’s Self. When consciously connected to one’s Self, the external voices of separation, aka, the collective herd, disappear. The expanded consciousness of Self-intimacy brings with it great clarity expressed through intuition, insight and inspiration. In that clarity, the inner “voice” of Self becomes the voice most worthy of Trust. In the intimacy of that Self-trust, we more easily make choices aligned with Life. When we begin to feel the dissonance within ourselves from consuming the flesh and secretions of animals, for instance, we trust the internal prompt imploring us to stop and choose differently, regardless of what the masses continue to say or do. This applies to every impulse leading us in the direction of non-separation—with our Selves and with others. Without Self-intimacy we are only capable of following the herd; thinking, behaving, and choosing like everyone else, no matter how insane it may all be. This “misery of commonality” reinforces a global culture of sameness and the dehumanizing pattern of Self-separation. Lacking Self-intimacy, we are powerless to choose meaningfully and instead, commit ourselves to the numbness of our culture, mindlessly projecting our sense of separation onto each other, onto animals and the natural world, and onto the planet that sustains us. The repercussions of this Self-separation are reflected back to us through physical and mental illness, intolerance for each other, mass extinctions, and a planet in ruin. While we continue to distract ourselves with our outward focus, railing against, fighting against, and blaming everyone else for the devastation of the planet, our predicament rapidly worsens. Our inner abandonment ensures only one possible outcome: our collective demise. The destructive power of consciousness suppressed cannot be underestimated. The transformative power of consciousness engaged, however, can change our world in a single breath. Wanderings and Ponderings… As the world burns and turns around me, a blank canvas of potential invites consideration of unexplored possibilities. While I continue to let go of the illusion of a delusional reality, I find myself standing in a place of peaceful detachment; a place that reveals to me more of the true nature of Life. There is a surreal quality to this state of Being, especially in a world that once destabilized me with perpetual grief. As planetary collapse crescendoes on innumerable interconnected fronts, my indifference for the madness of the external world is overshadowed only by the pull to explore more of the Force within. What used to once interest me “out there” (activism, athletic competitions, exploring new locations, podcasting, writing, etc.) has faded into the background of a life well-lived. The absence of interest in what used to pull me outward, and the absence of interest in seeking anything new to fill that space is my provocation to simply be … and allow. To paraphrase the brilliant words of Louise LeBrun, “the creation of space becomes the attractor for the emergence of something entirely new”. The simplicity of this authentic way of Being is not lost on me. With the expansion of this newly created space, a powerful impulse to explore inner space more deeply is leading me in directions still unknown. While the haze of this uncertainty may not provide the “hit” of excitement that the great “out there” once provided, it is where I am most drawn to be. On the rare occasions when my mind feels “bored” with the monotony of expression at the level of the corporeal, or when I wonder why I’m still here in a world that no longer holds meaning, faded memories of a once exciting “hit” will sometimes still try to hook me. A simple Self-check-in brings me back to the realization that I’m in exactly the right place: physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. At the environment/behavior level of expression of corporeal existence, my life feels complete. Personal discoveries are about so much more now. Perhaps it is the lack of familiarity with these expanded discoveries that makes me question why I’m still here. It’s only recently that I’m realizing the possibility that there is more to providing meaning for myself than just environment/behavior expression. Environment/behavior expression is certainly habituated, but what lies beyond? What else is possible? I don’t know? I’m more than willing to discover. The beginnings of … who knows … In what feels like a preliminary exploration with so much yet to emerge, I’ve managed to put some language to what’s been coming up for me lately. I also know that I’m barely scratching the surface of this exploration. It feels so much bigger than what the limitations of language can convey. Regardless, I still feel compelled to share, out loud, for mySelf, what I’ve been able to grasp from the passing threads of my unfolding awareness. Metaphorically, it’s like discovering that I’m so much more than the terrestrial being I’ve been taught to believe I am. Despite knowing there was always something more, my entire life was one of learning how to become adept at being a creature of land. Meaning, purpose, everything taught to me about human existence was always through the perspective that I, like all other human beings, was a creature of land only. I was conditioned to believe that anything meaningful, interesting, fun, enjoyable, worthy, etc. could only be found on land. I went along with the story for a while and made it work for me. I traveled to wonderful locations, lived in amazing places, created great meaning in my life, did work that aligned with my Soul, manifested incredible relationships, created beautiful experiences, made choices that deepened my connection with Life, changed my world, over and over and over again, and discovered the Essence of my Being so I could expand my manifestations, creations and corporeal experiences that much more. Over the past few years, however, I’ve lost interest in the story of being a creature of land. What used to be meaningful, interesting, fun, enjoyable, worthy, etc. now feels mundane, dense, old, uninteresting, and boring. In fact, I’m not even interested in land anymore. And I’m discovering that I don’t know how to continue living on land in a story I no longer subscribe to with little that captures my interest anymore, especially when surrounded by billions of others who hold an absolute belief that nothing exists beyond the “reality” of being a creature of land. I know there is so much more for me beyond the land-dwelling story, however. What is it? Am I moving into another dimension of consciousness while still animating a human body habituated to an old way of being? Am I discovering that I can be and do so much more within what I’ve always perceived to be corporeal limitations? I know that I can “fly” to infinite universes and “swim” to unfathomable depths without having to leave the comfort of my own home. Meditative and dream states have repeatedly shown me endless possibilities. Can I consciously live this way as a new “reality”? Can I discover what it means to be human from an unknown perspective, freed from the dogma of old stories, without compass, map, or guide? I’ve always believed that I’m either an embodied land-dweller animated by Spirit or a disembodied Spirit liberated from the confines of the corporeal. I’ve never considered the possibility of something entirely different. What could that be? Can I retrain my externally focused corporeal expression to discover as much meaning, joy and satisfaction when turned inward in an outwardly driven world? I’ve always felt like I’ve lived an inside, out existence. What lies beyond? As the creator, projector and the perceiver of “reality”, can I consciously expand into unknown realms of consciousness? Can I allow myself to perceive other, more expansive dimensions in an external sensing device attuned to a reality that radically differs from where I’m curious to go? Can I attune my corporeal expression to accept other dimensions without feeling fear or disorientation? Can I live a multi-dimensional existence with corporeal awareness without being pulled back into the habituation and limitations of the three-dimensional reality that has become so familiar? Can I allow myself to “see” what more exists beyond what I perceive as “empty space”? Can I allow myself to hear what more exists beyond what I perceive as “silence”? Can I allow myself to touch what more exists beyond what I perceive as physicality? Can I truly be in the world and not of it? In this more expansive line of personal inquiry, I no longer feel the need to evolve into wholeness. I recognize a sense of scarcity in the belief that I’m not already that which I claim to seek. In recognizing my already present wholeness, can I now experience more of my Self in my current dimension of reality? Can I also experience the multi-dimensional expression of what I am in the infinite dimensions of consciousness once hidden to me? Can I allow myself to discover even bigger questions than what has already emerged? Because the path of exploration within the uncharted waters of consciousness is so personal, I’m uninterested in the footsteps of those who have preceded me. I am my own pioneer, allowing emergence to show me the way. There is no uniform recipe for Self-discovery, and I trust the mystery of the immensity of what lies before me. I don’t yet have the answers, and there are no guarantees that I ever will, yet I trust all that continues to unfold from within mySelf. The truth of what I am lives beyond the corporeal. I know that. Long before I had the language to describe the Essence of my Being, I’d tasted other realms of consciousness. This has been a constant throughout my life. My 2012 Monroe Institute explorations revealed infinitely more possibilities for me. I’ve never looked back. As I expand into more of my Self, I recognize so much more of the multi-dimensional Being that I am. There is great freedom in this. Even in the face of biosphere collapse, and even in the face of the mundane, nothing can prevent me from claiming the immensity of the magical and the mystical. More than ever before I feel grateful for every moment of life. More than ever before I’m compelled to savor every moment and leave nothing behind. I take great delight in the magic of Life, regardless of its offering: the magnificent, the painful and everything in between. There is no longer room for taking anything for granted. More than ever before, every moment counts. And more than ever before, I’m compelled to live fully now. Even if I never discover the answers to my questions and the whole point of this exercise is simply to expand my thinking beyond the realm of what I don’t know that I don’t know, I’m at peace. In the vastness of this mysterious space lies the greatest freedom of all. The post Exploring Uncharted Waters of Consciousness appeared first on Deb Ozarko.
92 minutes | a year ago
Table Talk: Expanding into “Letting Go” Consciousness
It’s been a while since I’ve felt the impulse to record another Table Talk conversation with Louise LeBrun. Even though we see each other regularly and our conversations are always profoundly meaningful to me, there are many times when I feel compelled to just keep them for myself. That said, I’m always open for the potential of a conversation that I feel inspired to share. As it happens, the impulse finally landed for me to once again bring out the mic. With a deep curiosity about what could possibly emerge from within the two of us, I started recording. As always, there was no agenda. Just an open space for a free-flowing, organic conversation. As we often do, Louise and I covered a lot of interesting terrain. Because our conversations are always intimate and personal, we go to places that are familiar to our own shared experiences. To provide some context to aid in your understanding of the direction we embarked on, Louise references two of her powerful creations: the Decloaking and Living Authentically experience and the Engaging and Awakening Others experience, both of which were unfolding with a local facilitator at the same time as our conversation. You will hear repeated references to both of these experiences as metaphors for how reality can rapidly shift with an expansion in consciousness, starting at the personal level. While Louise is officially retired from leading these experiences, she references them as powerful avenues toward Self reclamation in the face of collapse. Because I have personally engaged with Louise’s work in a very committed and intimate way over the last several years, you will hear me share my own life-changing personal experiences—experiences that now offer me the deep Self connection I feel is so critical during these tumultuous times. I confess that because our conversation is so personal, I found myself wondering: would anyone else care? Would anyone even understand? Would they discover anything for their own Selves? Does it even matter? Should I even bother to release this conversation? And then, I thought to myself: why wouldn’t I bother! Because I know that those who continue to follow my work are the hardcore searchers of their own insights into their Life, especially with the intense provocation that accelerating biosphere collapse is providing. A few of the topics we discuss in this conversation include: How people are either ignorant or terrified in the face of today’s collapsing world. Consciousness as the driver for collapse. The futility of resistance-based actions in the face of collapse. The illusion of grief as a means toward Self intimacy. A new conversation about powerlessness. Acceptance and surrender vs. Giving up. The illusion of time. Standing in the now and continually moving forward. The repetitive monotony of the human existence. Learning how to “be”. A new mindset around resourcefulness. And a different conversation about “death”. Of course there is always so much more. Throughout this chat, you will hear the everyday sounds of life in my household including the sounds of playful, meowing cats and the occasional barking dog. They are as much a part of these experiences as I am. This is a higher order conversation for those who are willing to surrender their intellects to something far more powerful. To enjoy this conversation, simply click the audio link at the top of this post. The post Table Talk: Expanding into “Letting Go” Consciousness appeared first on Deb Ozarko.
81 minutes | 2 years ago
Activated Presence in Times of Accelerating Collapse
In this conversation with Michael Dowd and Ganga Devi Braun, I share my personal evolution toward a life of activated presence in these times of social, ecological and climate collapse. This interview is part of the Post Doom Conversation series that will be released later this year. According to Michael Dowd, creator of the Post Doom Conversation series, the theme of the Post Doom conversations is as follows: “A foreboding sense of climate chaos, societal collapse, and ecological “doom” is now widespread. Acknowledging our predicament and working through the stages of grief takes one only to the midpoint: acceptance. What lies beyond? Michael Dowd (with occasional co-hosts) invites guests to share their personal journeys along this trajectory and especially the gifts they have found on the other side of the post-doom doorway.” Michael describes a post-doom heart and mindset as follows: “Living, loving, and relating honorably with full awareness that there are levels of climate chaos beyond human control, our predicament encompasses all aspects of life, human-centered measures of “progress” are ecocidal, technology and the market are false gods, and the near-term extinction of Homo colossus is both inevitable and necessary and the extinction of Homo sapiens is possible. A post-doom mindset is a hard-earned and perhaps fluctuating state of being. For many, classic stages of grief are among the stepping stones; the darkness of despair can rarely be avoided. Nonetheless, mere acceptance of “doom” (civilizational, ecological, our own species) need not be the endpoint. Indeed, what we hope to explore in this series are possibilities other than emotional detachment, stoic resolve, and spiritual transcendence. Rather, what shifts in perception, understanding, relating, and identity become possible when we walk through a post-doom doorway? How do priorities, lifeways, and outer-world involvements shift and clarify on the other side? And how do such changes call forth genuine equanimity, even joy?” This is an important conversation that I feel will resonate with those who have chosen a different way in the face of biosphere collapse. Those who have chosen a path of deeper connection to their Selves and to Life—both embodied and beyond—will no longer feel so alone. To listen to this conversation, simply click the audio link at the top of this post. Alternatively it can also be viewed with embedded video above this post. NOTE: Michael has granted me permission to share this interview before its official release. The post Activated Presence in Times of Accelerating Collapse appeared first on Deb Ozarko.
59 minutes | 2 years ago
The Perpetual Illusion of Change
“Change is an illusion because we’re always at the place where any future can take us.” —Alan Watts. NOTE: This is very long essay. If you prefer listening to the written word, click on the above audio link to listen or download the mp3 file (right click on link to save to your computer.) If you prefer reading in pdf format, I have created a downloadable file which you can access at this link. ****** Important note regarding recent reader emails: Although I am not a hope-deluded Pollyanna trapped in perpetual optimism, I’m also not a pessimist or “doomer”. I do not suffer the afflictions of depression or “brightsideitis”. I’d like to make this perfectly clear to the female readers who “worry” about me, or feel the need to “cheer me up”; and to the male readers who feel compelled to save, fix, advise, or otherwise impose their “it ain’t so bad” judgement on me. My truth about myself is as follows: I’m a radical critical thinker with the willingness to see humanity’s blind spots—a practical realist who sees the world as it is. I also have no qualms about telling it like I see it, feel it, intuit it, and experience it. I see through people, situations, events, and our entire civilization for that matter. Allowing myself to see it all means that I can more clearly see the writing on the wall and choose to live accordingly. The outcome is a simple life filled with spontaneity, curiosity, presence, laughter, and ease. As Gandhi said, “Silence becomes cowardice when occasion demands speaking out the whole truth and acting accordingly.” In other words, it’s easier to see the world as it is and speak my truth than it is to pretend things are different than they really are. I’m unapologetic about my rough edges and refuse to back down from the hard conversations that need to be had. That is who I am. While this tends to disturb many people (particularly deniers, worriers, “savers”, Pollyanna’s, hope-junkies, and deluded optimists), it makes for a much more joyful and authentic life. Bottom line: My blog is a means for Self expression; a way for me to organize my thoughts and make sense of my own thinking. As much as I rant about the brutality of our human-oppressed planet, I live life on my terms and of my own creation. The result is a meaningful life filled with the richness of laughter, tears, frustration, love, compassion, and conscious intention. I would have it no other way. ****** Two Steps Forward, Several Steps Back While the prevailing global collective dig their heels deeper into sustaining the status quo, many others are becoming activists, enraged by the infinite list of atrocities being committed around the globe. As seemingly more people fight for change these days—with grandiose expectations for governments, corporations, media, and the global public to wake up and do something—notable progress continues to evade us. With a lifetime of advocacy in my experience, I know well the trenches of activism. Having lived through almost six decades of human potential, I’ve born witness to, and participated in several activist uprisings. The passion behind these acts of revolt was often so impressive that one could easily be convinced of a shift in collective consciousness. Why then, do we stand in the precarious place that we do today? An abbreviated timeline of the past 60 years tells an interesting story about the efficacy of activism to create meaningful change in our world. The ’60’s brought to us a formidable anti-war movement filled with the promise of peace and love through flower power, hippie subculture, and meaningful music. The Women’s Liberation Movement of the ’70’s seemed unstoppable in its mission toward the creation of gender equality in an oppressive, patriarchal world. From the Stonewall riots in 1969 emerged the Gay Liberation Movement of the ’70’s and ’80’s. Social equality for all who identified as lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender sparked powerful momentum for today’s LGBT movement. The growing environmental movement of the 80’s spawned the “green” revolution of the ’90’s and early 21st Century. In tandem with the green revolution was the bourgeoning animal rights movement. Countless celebrities and wealthy philanthropists used their clout to speak up for a more compassionate world through animal rights and veganism. In 2011, the Occupy movement gained significant traction and inspired a new way of thinking about democracy and social justice. While it did little to change the culture of sexism and the mindset of patriarchy, the Women’s March of 2017 touched the lives of millions of women around the world. And in 2018, impassioned survivors of the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting inspired a powerful movement for gun control in one of the most weapon-loving countries in the world. So much promise. So much “hope”. So much momentum, energy, and passion channeled toward the creation of something more aligned with our better nature. But as Albert Einstein once said, “Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds.” Without fail, many of these movements fizzled out only to be swallowed by the oh-so-familiar and oh-so-comfortable dominant paradigm once again. The systems that make up human civilization (political, corporate, social, market, education, religion, health care, mass media, etc.), and the overwhelming inertia of the status quo who adhere to these systems, remain deeply entrenched in the mediocrity of changelessness. The sheer density of this mass consciousness ensures the impenetrable stasis of what has always been. In the 60-year timeline just mentioned, we have essentially taken two steps forward and several steps back. At a time of rising isolationism, tribalism, racism, and authoritarianism, we currently stand in a place where the right-to-bear-arms mindset is as deeply entrenched in the American psyche as ever; ceaseless wars rage on throughout the world; corporate control has become more globally oppressive with each passing year; homophobia still runs rampant, racism is as prevalent and ugly as ever, and animals, women and the natural world are more brutalized than ever before. Let’s face it, the world of carrion-loving, women-degrading, war-supporting, homophobic, Earth-raping, male supremacy is as aggressive and oppressive as it has ever been. We can rail against it all we want, but collective allegiance to the intergenerational conditioning that feeds widespread separation from Earth and Soul is far too great for any movement—no matter how powerful it may be—to have a sustained impact. Separation breeds indifference, and indifference breeds inertia. As Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel once said, “The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference. The opposite of art is not ugliness, it’s indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy, it’s indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, it’s indifference.” As well meaning as many activist movements are, there is always one common flaw: they operate within the confines of the box that created the problems in the first place. By attempting to change systems that are not designed to evolve, change remains an elusive dream. The great irony with our current civilization is that nothing will change until the systems change, and there is no motivation for the systems to change because what already is, is working well for our civilization of separation. It is a self-reinforcing feedback loop that sustains stasis of the global mind, and continued decimation of the planet. With our current level of collective consciousness, it would never be enough to change the systems anyway. Attempting to create any meaningful change in the mountain of escalating problems in our world demands total commitment, clarity and cooperation on the part of government, corporations and the entire global collective of humanity. It’s never going to happen. The generations of cultural conditioning that have mutated us into the death-creating species we’ve become, must first collapse. This essentially means redefining ourselves by discovering what we are, free of all the stories and beliefs we’ve been taught to believe about ourselves and our world. It means liberating ourselves from the Big Lie once and for all. Once we allow ourselves to see the bigger picture we can never “unsee” again. Once we get to know our Selves, we can never not know again. The journey toward Self reclamation is deeply personal, profoundly painful and never ending. As such, it holds little appeal for the majority of humans on this planet. Most people are fine with the way things are, no matter how miserable their lives may be. Besides, it’s easier to play the victim role and blame everyone else for the woes of the world than it is to reclaim one’s life and create anew. The reality is that we can never have enlightened governments, corporations, systems, or civilizations until we first transform ourselves. We must be awake, both individually and collectively, to create that. If enough people were to wholly invest in their own personal evolution, our civilization would be forced to change. That is the power of critical mass. Without self-transformation, however, we are only able to create within the realm of the known, thus creating a different version of what we’ve always had. The battle for change will always be lost as long as we remain lost to our Selves. Fighting and resisting the density and immensity of a collective consciousness moving in the opposite direction of Self-reclamation is not only futile, it is emotionally, mentally and spiritually draining. We are a brilliant species, and we are horrible. And we are brilliant in our “horribleness”. Buckminster Fuller said it well, “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.” Building a new model can never happen with who we have always been. We must become different to create differently. This cannot happen until we claim all of what we are and unite ourselves with the Whole of Life. Simple Thoughts Going Nowhere More people theses days are buying electric or hybrid cars, installing solar panels on their homes, rejecting GMO’s, eating “plant-based (which differs from vegan in that it is a dietary shift rather than a lifestyle transformation), or buying animal flesh and maternal secretions (eggs and dairy) from suppliers other than factory farms. The motivation behind these behavioural shifts is enmeshed in the belief that “simple acts change the world.” Because these shifts are merely at the behaviour level, however, little changes; like moving the deck furniture on the Titanic believing the shift in weight will right the tilting ship. In the end, the very same separation consciousness that drives consumption—albeit with less guilt—still prevails. It’s amazing how many ways we’ve created to deceive ourselves. On a similar train of thought, someone recently said to me, “if we can harness the power of the sun and use technology to our advantage, maybe we can change everything.” I was dumbfounded by the sheer ignorance of this statement. How is this going to transform who we are so we stop the madness? Let’s get real. With so many converging crises underway, one needs only to connect the dots of the bigger picture to see that we are beyond salvation for singular strategies to have any impact other than filling our minds with staggering delusion. This begs the question: what other mindless, habituated thoughts and behaviours drone on in the background of our self-deceived awareness, feeding into every aspect of climate, ecosystem, ecological, and biosphere collapse? Feeding into the brutality of a global civilization that normalizes the annual slaughter of trillions of birds, mammals and aquatic beings, clearcutting of entire forest ecosystems, mining of whole mountain ranges, poisoning/polluting every drop of water—from the smallest stream to the greatest ocean—from the visible surface to the deepest invisible depths? Feeding into the brutality of ceaseless wars, rampant misogyny and child slave labour for cheap crap designed for rapid obsolescence? None of this will ever stop because we’ve shifted our behaviour from “black to green”, or because we’ve protested, petitioned, and railed against the changeless entity of government; or because we’ve banned single-use plastics and put stiffer corporate laws into place. Mass consciousness will always find a way around it by creating different versions of the same thing. It can only stop when we evolve our own individual consciousness enough to see the brutality in every nook and cranny; in every crevice and corner; in broad daylight and in every dark, musty shadow. When we finally allow ourselves to see how pervasive it is, it becomes abhorrent and we become unwilling to engage it anymore. We can then more clearly see how every choice matters because we are not separate from the outcome of any of these choices. In essence, we grow up. Only then can we consider creating something different, starting with our own lives. As Albert Einstein once said, “No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.” What this essentially means is that we cannot create a different world without an entirely different consciousness. It’s not about creating different strategies for perpetuating what is known and familiar (i.e. “green” technologies, “humane” meat, dairy and eggs, “sustainable” forestry, “conscious” consumption, etc.); it’s about letting it all go—beginning with the cultural conditioning that severed our connection to our Selves—and uniting ourselves with the Essence of our Being. From there we create very differently. Without this shift in collective consciousness—beginning with each individual—and the willingness to create anew from this consciousness, we remain perpetually trapped in the endless loop of sameness. ‘Round and ‘Round and ‘Round We Go The most recent activist tour-de-force comes from Greta Thunberg and her “Friday’s for Future” school strike climate movement (modelled after the Stoneman Douglas High School gun-control activists), and the passionate folks of Extinction Rebellion, valiantly fighting against the collapse of Life on Earth (good luck with that). Another era, another powerful social movement. While it may seem impressive and exceptional, there’s one important pattern to note: it always repeats. Like bell-bottoms, you think they’re gone and “whoomp there they are” one more time. With the wave of momentum still cresting for Greta and devotees of the Extinction Rebellion movement, one could be tempted to believe in the greater potential for a shift in consciousness this time around. The sheer number of people involved in these intersecting global movements certainly makes it seem plausible. But let’s look at this realistically. There may be more people involved than with any other social movement, but there are also exponentially more humans on the planet. It makes sense that there should be more people involved. Essentially, the population of activists is proportionate to global population. When it comes down to the sheer density of mass indifference on the planet, however, there really is no net gain. John Lennon hit the spot when he said, “If everyone demanded peace instead of another television set, then there’d be peace.” Mass indifference has certainly made for bigger, higher definition television sets, but peace remains perpetually elusive. While I commend the courage of Extinction Rebellion activists for the outward expression of their passion, I also know that nothing will change. And as much as I respect the vegan voice of Greta Thunberg, she is not what the world needs. The world does not need another grief-stricken activist to publicly rail against an unchanging system. History has repeatedly proven that Goliath always wins. Greta’s power lies not in her attempts to change the unchangeable, but rather in the full, unapologetic expression of her Self. If only she knew that this was enough. What the world needs—and has always needed—is an evolution of consciousness on a mass scale. (Have I made myself clear yet?!) This can only happen with each person’s willingness to turn inward and do the painful work of reclaiming the unconditioned Essence of their Being—their True Self—their Soul. Throughout history, there have been many versions of Greta who have attempted to inspire a more beautiful world that will never be. It can’t. Until each and every one of us is willing to do the work on ourselves to reclaim All of What We Are, everything we do with our consciousness of separation will only create more separation, no matter how well-meaning we may be. Henry David Thoreau once said, “There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root.” Activism is merely hacking at the branches. The root of all “evil” is the cultural conditioning—beginning with parenting—that installs into every one of us the mindset of separation from animals, the natural world and our Selves. Until we transform that within ourselves, separation will always defines us, and all efforts to change anything outside of ourselves will be futile. When I look back on my many years of animal rights and environmental activism, I see how externally driven it was. It was always directed at the great “out there”; effortful, frustrating, and in the end, virtually useless. When I finally allowed myself to see that the efforts to create the more beautiful world I longed for were all in vain, I often felt like there was nobody more disillusioned than me. When I think of the minimal progress that was ever made in the direction I craved, I see how it was often inches away from being crushed by the stroke of a politicians pen. Often it was. Until the roots of evil (as mentioned above) are eliminated, or until humans stop breeding (and parenting), and we either die out or go extinct, the brutality of our separation will only continue to grow. Rather than dance around the edges of this important conversation, I’m going to tell it like it is: every child is born into a world that severs all connection to their Souls—the core of what they are. Nobody is exempt. It begins with the deeply-rooted conditioning imposed on us by our parents to “be someone worthy”, in relation to the standards of our sick civilization. This very same conditioning is perpetuated in every system thereafter. Our educational system is finely-tuned for streamlining us into a lifetime of service to a global culture whose sole purpose is consumption. Under the guise of sustaining “a healthy economy”, we allow ourselves to be no wiser. Like hypnotized slaves, we blindly go through the motions to “become someone” while abandoning our deepest yearning to know what matters most: our Selves. Socrates said it succinctly, “Know Thyself.” This has always been our true power. Until we know our own Selves, however, every thought, choice, behaviour, and action perpetuates the paradigm of separation. In our Self-ignorance, we collude because we know no better. Is it any wonder why we continue to do what we do to Life on this planet? How can we honestly expect anything to change with a species that teaches Self-disconnect to its young? Can we truly believe we can be different when every system—beginning with the family system—pummels connection and compassion out of us from the moment of our birth? How can we ever expect to “foster (global) compassion within systems designed to reward those who aren’t compassionate?” Our intergenerational commitment to teaching separation to our children—that girls are inferior, boys are superior, and animals and nature are useful only as resources—is our greatest downfall. We have learned well how to objectify Life. We’ve created a world where children are mentally, emotionally, and spiritually cannibalized; women are sexualized; animals are mechanized, and nature is commoditized. With no connection to one’s Self, there is no connection to anything else. As a species, we are incapable of creating a different world because we are incapable of creating authentic, Life-affirming, and connected lives for ourselves. The world will always be a reflection of the lives we have chosen to live, and if we choose to live in rigid adherence to antiquated belief systems based on separation from our Selves, and by default, separation from the Web of Life, that will always be the world of our creation. Fellow Canadian author and animal rights activist, Anthony D. Williams is quoted as saying, “There are millions of animal species, but man is the only animal capable of destroying them all.” He paired that quote with another simple, yet powerful statement, “When humans act with cruelty we characterize them as ‘animals’, yet the only animal that displays cruelty is humanity. No animal is capable of destroying earth except man.” Sadly, I cannot disagree. I would add that women have also played their part with their willingness to compulsively breed offspring for man’s brutal civilization. The Prodigious Monster of Denial Divorced from the natural world and animals, living in denuded, unnatural city scapes, wide swaths of people have lost any reference point to nature—to Life. The result is a planet overrun with the walking dead; thinking, choosing and acting like everyone else, mindlessly embracing this fatal disease of body, mind and Soul. Most people’s lives are a testament to scarcity, fear and runaway consumerism; far removed from the simplicity, intimacy and freedom that comes with Self connection. This distraction from one’s Whole Self leads to denial of everything meaningful and real, from the state of our lives to the state of our world. While the majority of people on this planet live in some state of denial, I believe they deny our global predicament because they can’t help it. When steeped in the blindness of Self-separation, it is not some kind of moral weakness that has people eating like gluttons, shopping insatiably, and distracting their selves from their Selves with pills, booze, food, porn, work, tv, social media, and the endless array of other possible distractions in our modern world. It’s a spiritual vacancy; a separation from one’s Whole Being that leads to a physical, emotional and psychological addiction to the familiarity of a disconnected civilization that, for generations, we’ve been conditioned to normalize. People love their comfort, even when that very same “comfort” will cause nothing but chaos and death in the near future. And let’s face it, when people don’t want to change or be wrong, they dig their heels in deeper while amping up the infantile behaviour causing the destruction and brutality in the first place. When a message fraught with turmoil disrupts the conditioned mind, attacking the messenger is the standard modus operandi. It’s an age-old tactic utilized by the opposition and an easy way to energize the status quo while distracting from the real issues at hand. As a global collective, we have been well taught to be childish victims. Our propensity toward entitlement, denial and blame ensures the stasis of a juvenile consciousness that shields us from the power of our deepest inner wisdom. We believe ourselves to be victims of our broken lives and broken world while denying our role in their creation. In her book, The Individual and the Nature of Mass Events, Jane Roberts wrote: “As long as you believe that either good events or bad ones are meted out by a personified God as the reward or punishment for your actions, or on the other hand that events are largely meaningless, chaotic, subjective knots in the tangled web of an accidental Darwinian world, then you cannot consciously understand your own creativity, or play the role in the universe that you are capable of playing as individuals or as a species. You will instead live in a world where events happen to you, in which you must do sacrifice to the gods of one kind or another, or see yourselves as victims of an uncaring nature.” She went on to write: “If Christianity saw man as blighted by original sin, Darwinian and Freudian views see him as part of a flawed species in which individual life rests precariously, ever at the beck and call of the species’ needs, and with survival as the prime goal—a survival, however, without meaning. The Soul’s grandeur is ignored, the individual’s sense of belonging with nature eroded, for it is at nature’s expense, it seems, that he must survive. One’s greatest dreams and worst fears alike become the result of glandular imbalance, or of neuroses from childhood traumas.” As long as we believe ourselves to be victims of our neuroses and childhood traumas, our bodies, our aches and pains, habits, thoughts and beliefs; our financial status, relationships, jobs, and social environments; our stories and histories; our governments, corporations, economy, and on and on it goes, we remain perpetually trapped in an infantile consciousness with nowhere to go but denial and blame. “Tranquilized by the trivial,” as Kierkegaard said; plodding along as helpless babies in the bodies of mindless adults. While a helpless baby is benign, a baby in an adult body is anything but. As the degraded consciousness of denial and blame become more prevalent in our crumbling world, many others have taken the cause of peddling the illusion of hope. As I wrote in my most recent book, Beyond Hope, however, hope is denial in drag. Clinging to hope in a fatal predicament that cannot be changed not only makes hope a burden, it inspires deeper denial through self-delusion. Denial wears many faces. Hope is one of its most cunning. There are times when I still get lost in the overwhelm of brutality and breakdown in our world. When I allow myself to connect the dots on what’s going on around the world, not just what I notice in my own backyard, it’s amazing that we are still here. We’ve activated so many feedback mechanisms that it’s ridiculous to believe or hope that we have the capacity to stop anything, especially something as powerful as a planet that has been around longer than our capacity for comprehension. We are witnessing the escalation of Earth’s response to our brutality, and the acceleration of that escalation. We are looking at realities that can no longer be denied as having already profoundly shifted. It’s already over. The question is, what does the world look like if we own and claim that it’s over rather than hurtling over the cliff in ignorance and denial? While the majority of people on the planet mindlessly carry on with business-as-usual, denying that anything out of the ordinary is occurring with the planet, there are others who have allowed some semblance of awareness into their consciousness. This “lesser degree of denial” may have people noticing inconvenient weather patterns or strange natural occurrences. Beyond that, belief in a massive singular-event apocalypse—much like those portrayed in Hollywood disaster movies where a hunky white male hero saves the world in the 11th hour—still prevails. The reality is that there is no hunky white male hero coming to save us, and the “apocolypse” is a process that has been underway for decades; a process that is accelerating in its unfolding in tandem with our separation-based “progress”. It is also a process that cannot be stopped. Is it any wonder why denial prevails? In her essay, Facing Extinction, Catherine Ingram writes: “You may find yourself in the company of people who seem to have no awareness of the consequences we face or who don’t want to know or who might have a momentary inkling but cannot bear to face it. You may find that people become angry if you steer the conversation in the direction of planetary crisis. You may sense that you are becoming a social pariah due to what you see, even when you don’t mention it, and you may feel lonely in the company of most people you know. For you, it’s not just the elephant in the room; it’s the elephant on fire in the room, and yet you feel you can rarely say its name.” She goes on to write, “It is helpful to realize that most people are not ready for this conversation. They may never be ready, just as some people die after a long illness, still in denial that death was at their doorstep.” “Denial that death was at their doorstep” is something I know personally. My mother died this way. Never were my sisters and I permitted to utter a single word about her rapidly failing health. Never were we allowed to talk about our grief and our fear of losing her, or the love that transcended it all. My mother was always “getting better and better” as the old adage goes. But much like our planetary predicament, “better and better” was not the case. I craved honest conversation. I wanted to walk with her, and travel together to the places that ached inside. I wanted to openly cry and tell her how much she meant to me. I was desperate to say goodbye, and I was repeatedly denied. I learned then that denial is an unfathomable beast that cannot be slayed, even with death breathing audibly in the shadows. My mother’s untimely death helped me understand the immovable power of denial. She helped me understand why it is the coping mechanism of choice in our broken, dying world. Denial is easy. Acceptance is not. Catherine Ingram once again says it well in, Facing Extinction: “It is a mystery as to who can handle the truth of our situation and who runs from it as though their sanity depended on not seeing it.” She follows this with powerful words about the greatest deniers of all: parents. “There is one category of people that I have found especially resistant to seeing this darkest of truths: parents. A particular and by now familiar glazed look comes over their faces when the conversation gets anywhere near the topic of human extinction. And how could it be otherwise? It is built into the DNA that parents (not all, of course) love their children above themselves. They would sacrifice anything for them. So to think that there will be no protection for their children in the future, that no amount of money or homesteading or living on a boat or in a gated community or on a mountaintop or growing a secret garden will save them is too unbearable a thought to hold for even a second. I have also noticed a flash of anger arise in the midst of the distracted look on their faces, an almost subliminal message that says, ‘Don’t say another word on this subject’.” And so it is. The dominant civilization that we’ve adhered to for far too long is both our lifeline and our executioner. In a mindless global collective grasping at the lifeline, denying the executioner will always prevail. Even while we walk the plank toward extinction with no option for turning back, our self-designed sense of omnipotence shields us from our infallibility. Blindness of the psyche has created a dissonance from our bleak reality that cannot be remedied. Without the deeply personal desire to look within, there is no climate scientist, spiritual guru or activist movement powerful enough to break the spell of denial. Unstoppable Acceleration With so many powerful movements throughout history, how did we reach a place where rebelling against extinction has even become a consideration? There’s obviously something about activism that isn’t working for us to have reached this critical juncture in time. (Personal sidenote: at this late hour in our collective predicament, rebelling against extinction is about as useful as rebelling against exhalation. And it’s important to note, we are in a predicament of which there is no solution. We are no sooner going to become an awakened collective of compassionate vegans than we are going to stop biosphere collapse.) When we look closely at our separation-based creations over the last few thousand years, we can more clearly see the downward tailspin of our collective diminishment. The agricultural age led to the domination and mass brutality of animals and nature. The industrial age led to overpopulation and the commoditization of Life. The current technological age has caused widespread distraction and the dumbing down of humanity. And if we don’t first go extinct, the emerging artificial intelligence age will render us obsolete. One way or another, humanity is disappearing in the near-term, and by its own hands no less. The compound effect of each successive global age has had a profound effect on the degradation of mass consciousness. The timeline for each successive era has been significantly shorter, feeding into the exponential acceleration toward our final “break point”. As Peter Russell writes in his essay, What if There Were No Future?: “A system can tolerate only so much stress before it breaks down. Spin a wheel faster and faster, and the increasing stress will eventually break it apart. In a similar way, as rates of change grow ever faster, the systems involved will reach a point where they too begin to crack and break. Whether it be our own biological system, our social, economic, and political systems, or the planetary ecosystem, the stress of ever-increasing change will eventually lead to breakdown. Thus the acceleration will finally come to an end—but to an end of its own making. It ends not because we change our ways, or control innovation. It comes to an end as we spiral into the center of our temporal whirlpool—a moment in time we started heading toward as soon as the evolutionary engine of innovation was put into our own hands and minds.” He goes on to write: “When we look at what is happening to our world it is easy to get angry at the corporations, the politicians, the wealthy, the Church, the military, the terrorists, or anyone else we think is to blame for our predicament. Or we may look to the past and blame the European Enlightenment when human activities took precedence over nature; to the Industrial Revolution; to the legalization of usury and the charging of interest, leading to economies wedded to continual growth; to the advent of civilization and the movement away from the land to living in cities; or to the Agricultural Revolution itself, when we moved from a hunter-gatherer lifestyle based on coexistence with nature to one in which the world was ours to control and exploit. All of these undoubtedly played a role in our present-day condition. But nowhere did we take a wrong turn. There is no one to blame; no group at fault. It is the inevitable accelerating pace of change, with all its consequences, that has brought us to this point. We’d have ended up in similar situation whatever path we took.” The bottom line is that we can declare #ClimateEmergency, #EcologicalEmergency, #ClimateBreakdown as much as we want, but the course was already charted long ago. We are already long past the point of no return. Anyone with the willingness to connect the dots can clearly see this by now. We’d be better off disengaging from the minutiae of the daily dramas of our lives and the world and instead, immersing ourselves in the magic of every moment of Life. In this deep connection to our Selves, our separation disappears and Life becomes more tender, beautiful and meaningful. Turning Ourselves Outside In Most activists are considered “extreme” relative to the collective capacity to feel. The less able the masses are to feel, the more “extreme” or “radical” the behaviour will be to capture mass attention. Using Extinction Rebellion as a current example, as long as the activists in this movement continue to believe that biosphere collapse is going to be addressed through civil disobedience or non-violent action, by marching in the streets and by changing legislation, they can all sit comfortably in the belief that they didn’t create it; that it is entirely the fault of the governments, corporations and everyone else who “did this” to them. The problem with most activists is their inability to look within. Activism, as we’ve come to know it, is predicated on finding an enemy. Once the “bad guys” are identified, the battleground is set, and “enemies” are campaigned against in a plethora of different ways. It is an us vs. them mindset of separation that allows the offloading of personal responsibility based on the righteousness of cause-based beliefs. But what if we are all “bad guys”? What if you are the one eating the flesh, dairy and eggs of brutalized animals? What if you are the one who brought another civilization-perpetuating consumer into the world through your compulsion to procreate (excluding the selflessness of those who have chosen to adopt, that is)? What if you are the one supporting fossil-fuel and other Earth-destroying corporations by flying in airplanes, driving in cars, using heating, air conditioning, and copious amounts of water for trivial things? What if you are the one buying useless crap that you don’t need? What if you are the one sustaining collective fear through your interest in stories delivered by corporate media? What if you are the one perpetuating brutality through your mindless purchasing decisions? What if you are the one doing meaningless work that numbs your Soul? What if you are the one destroying the planet, which you are. And so am I. And so is every other human being on this Earth. This is not a blame game. It is not the fault of the “wealthy elite” or any one person, government, or corporation. By virtue of being born human into a world that rips us apart by severing our connection to the Whole of What We Are, we can be nothing but destroyers, ultimately creating the perfect conditions for our eventual demise. While we may believe that we can blame someone else for for the ills of our world, or that we can indefinitely “gorge on the cake and not get fat”, reality tells a different story. We all pay the price for being human in a civilization based on an immovable Big Lie. Saving Our Selves from Ourselves There is so much talk these days about the overwhelming litany of collapse: extinction of insects, birds, amphibians, mammals, carbon, methane, loss of sea ice, dead oceans, unprecedented heatwaves, droughts, floods, storms and wildfires, Brexit, Putin, Trump, and endless more yada, yada, yada (thank you Marianne Williamson). We must lower our carbon emissions. We must eat less meat. We must use less plastic. We must clean up the oceans. We must have fewer children. We must plant trillions of trees. On and on and on it goes. Insurmountable strategies too impossible to ever be employed. Never is it said, however, that we must awaken and become different. As we continue to move into a world that is increasing the pressure for us to wake up, chaos—external and internal—becomes more prevalent. On the comatose side, there is so much ignorance; so much denial. On the aware side, so much panic; so much despair. On both sides, so much division; so much fear. So many distractions to prevent us from accepting that nothing can ever change until we do. We can blather on about the endless horrors unfolding on a planet sagging under the weight of a species with no connection to anything, or we can turn inward and answer the challenging questions these unprecedented times are imploring of us. What do our lives look like if we accept that it’s over? Rather than carry on with the habituation of who we’ve always been, who do we then become? As far as I’m concerned, everything about the collapse of civilization and our entire biosphere is a provocation to turn myself outside in and become a better, more connected human Being. This is what drives my hunger for personal evolution, a hunger to become seamlessly intimate with my Self, and by default, to All. I call this “evolutionary activism”. As my friend, Louise LeBrun says, “We are the Void, we are the Whole. We are not a unique expression of the Whole, we are the Whole expressing uniquely. We are not a piece of anything. We are the whole thing expressing through a piece of reality.” This goes against everything we’ve ever been taught about who and what we are. Once we remember this truth, however, it becomes difficult to relate to the limitations of our oppressive world because we know that we are so much more, and in that, everything changes. When we evolve, the world evolves. My own discoveries have shown me that personal evolution is not about seeking to become more (because we already are that), it’s about emptying ourselves of all we’ve been taught to believe ourselves to be and trusting the emptiness. In that emptiness we are liberated, free to create ourselves, day-by-day, moment-by-moment. There is no longer any need to define ourselves by the rules of society, the habituation of old beliefs, or the conditioning that has held us hostage to inauthentic lives of fear, shame and Self-separation. From this place of liberation, emergence is boundless, and the dividing line between our Selves and the natural world dissolves. There is no longer any cause to fight for or against because in that deep connection to Life, we naturally make more Life-affirming choices. Our trust in the natural intelligence of the unfolding story of our world then prevails. My journey of personal evolution eventually revealed to me a painful realization: that activism is one of innumerable avenues for Self-separation; a distraction from the shame and worthlessness that lurks just below its surface. When the unexpressed grief of one’s sense of worthlessness is projected externally, it becomes outrage. Perfect fuel for activism! And a perfect distraction from allowing the deep wisdom of expressed grief to reveal itself. Activism is cunning; an unconscious numbing mechanism created to lose one’s self in virtuous addiction; addiction fuelled by righteousness under the guise of “selflessness” and “service”. How do I know this? Because I’ve been there. When we finally decide to know our Selves more, it’s amazing what we discover. Consider asking yourself these questions: Who would I be if I let my cause go? Who would I be if activism was no longer part of my life? The answer will be immediate. No need to overthink it. (FYI, if you are thinking about it, you are most likely lying to yourself.) The same questions apply to those who don’t consider themselves to be activists. You can easily replace the words, “cause” and “activism” with words such as, “work”, “alcohol”, “medication”, “marriage”, and so on. In most cases what comes up are feelings of lostness (“I would be nothing”), lack of self-worth (“I would be useless”), and shame (“I would be unworthy of life”). In my life, activism was a self-defeating attempt at distancing myself from the shame of my feelings of worthlessness. It duped me into believing in a sense of self-worth. Activism was a “selfless” distraction from my wounded Soul. It was easier to fight for a cause than it was to face my Self. It was easier to “save the world” than it was to save my Self. Letting go of activism meant letting go of a false sense of identity that served well to shield me from the pain of getting up close and personal with my shame. When I finally decided to stop and fully claim my life, I confess that I even felt myself going through a type of “withdrawal”. It was filled with shame and guilt. Old patterns/habits/distractions often die hard. Ironically, the greatest ways to create the changes in the world that activism does not, is Self-compassion, Self-intimacy, and Self-evolution. It runs counter to everything we’ve ever been taught about “selflessness” and “service”, but Gandhi knew well when he said, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” He didn’t say, “Go out and fight and shame others with your marches, protests and petitions so that they create the change you wish to see in the world.” He inspired us to take personal responsibility by connecting with our Selves and expressing that into the world. The simple truth is that when we change our own world, the world changes. We cannot live the fullest expression of Gandhi’s phrase until we learn to love our Selves (to coin a cliché phrase). With that deep connection to our Self, compassion becomes who and what we are. Everything we then do—every thought, choice, and action—becomes an expression of that. The authentic expression of what we are lived out loud is where real change is made. There is no need to fight and resist anything anymore, regardless of how insane the world may be. Just be yourSelf, unapologetically speak your truth and live that out loud. Trust that this is more than enough. If we were to turn our externally motivated activist efforts inward, they would reflect back to us so much about who and what we are. In our willingness to look this closely at ourselves, we develop an intimacy with the Self that knows no separation. This is where our true power resides. In claiming the deepest part of our Selves, we become so much more. It is in the expression of this that change—in our lives and all who we touch—becomes effortless. No more fighting and resisting required. I personally believe that if every activist on the planet—whether it’s animal rights, environmental activism, social justice, human rights, or whatever else—invested the same amount of energy in their own personal evolution, we would have had the critical mass required to shift collective consciousness. If the world were filled with people who chose to reclaim their Selves, we would never have reached our current predicament. Even though it’s too late, however, Self-reclamation is the greatest form of spiritual activism, and the greatest gift we can give to ourselves and to our broken, dying world. The Ripple Effect of Turning Inward I recently received a moving email from a reader who felt compelled to share with me his inner struggles; struggles which I know all too well. I share with you an excerpt of what he wrote: “…You are not alone. I too have known the truths you lay bare in Beyond Hope for most of my life. I too have been utterly baffled, flummoxed, heartbroken and despairing over the issues you expose so well. This has been the single most profound source of persistent emotional distress that I’ve had throughout my (now approaching long) life. My impotence to impact any of it has too been a stomp contributor to the sadness. And too, the perennial recognition that the vast majority of other humans are oblivious to this offers precisely zero solace. I vacillate between surrendering to utter acceptance, to the puny mollification that at least I am doing the best I can, and the desire to act as fiercely as possible, even knowing deeply that the tsunami carries a potency many orders of magnitude greater than my unitary ability to dampen it. It is difficult to know precisely how to live in the face of the impending, indeed actively unfolding inundations. Still, is there anything to be gained from still trying? Your book is an example of that. …is there anything to be gained by quickly creating a movement, identifying allies, working to educate and then through legislations? Does it even matter now…even if we did this here, would that impact what people are doing in Africa, where habitats disappear at a dizzying pace and the glory of nature crushed under the hubris of acquisition and control. I don’t know Deb. In my heart, I feel any such efforts are, will be, futile, and yet, I have an exceedingly difficult time in simply lying down.” An excerpt of my reply follows: “Like you, I used to feel ‘the puny mollification that at least I am doing the best I can’, but I see things differently now. How do I know that living a simpler life aligned with my internal truths is puny? Just because we’ve been taught to believe this to be so, doesn’t necessarily make it so. In fact, I no longer believe this to be the case. I offer you a brief personal example: I am a long-time volunteer at a local wildlife rehab sanctuary. I don’t rehabilitate animals to change the world. I know it won’t make a spec of difference in the rapacious pace of land development and the habitat/ecosystem desecration that follows. I know it won’t make a spec of difference in changing the indifferent, distracted mentality of humans who care only about their iPhones. I know it won’t make a spec of difference to impatient drivers who could care less if they maim/kill animals on the way to their next hurried distraction. I know it won’t make a spec of difference to the use of pesticides and poisons that indiscriminately kill en-masse. It won’t make a spec of difference to the ignorant masses who label these animals as pests and beings to hunt, poison, trap, and otherwise cause suffering to. But, it makes me feel better, and it makes a difference to me. And that is all I have. Regardless of our planetary predicament, I still care and I need an outlet for that. This is one of my outlets. I would love to live in a world where animal sanctuaries were unnecessary, but I don’t. For me, it’s not as much about rescuing and caring for the animals as it is about having an outlet for the expression of my compassion. The wonderful thing is that the animals benefit in a beautiful way simply because I’m honouring my Self. This is also what drives my choice to live a simple, quiet life as a compassionately-motivated vegan. I don’t live this way to change the world; I live this way to honour who and what I am. That is my place of power. It’s not about fighting like hell to save anything (which I feel is arrogant). It’s about allowing myself to express authentically as who I am meant to be.” We’ve been well trained, particularly as women, to not put ourselves first. After all, that is not what we’ve been taught about “selflessness” and “service”. But what would it be like if you did put yourself first? What would it be like if you did prioritize personal evolution? What would it be like to live a life of Self-intimacy and Self-trust; where you are no longer distracted by the futility of the fight? What would it be like to trust the ripple effect—seen and unseen—of your willingness to be yourSelf and trust that the unapologetic expression of this is more than enough? The questions I feel worth asking myself now are, “Who would I be if I allowed myself to let it all go?” “How would I choose to live my life if I allowed myself to trust the Natural Intelligence of Life?” I’m realizing that as much as I’ve let go in so many areas of my life, “allowing” is the ultimate act in trust. That is where I now choose to live. Since I’ve let go of all expectations that anything I say or do will change anyone but me, I’ve realized a freedom like never before. While I’ve let go of my identity as an activist, I know that every choice that I make matters. Does it matter in the world “out there”? I don’t know. But it matters to me. To quote Gandhi once again, “It’s the action, not the fruit of the action, that’s important. You have to do the right thing. It may not be in your power, may not be in your time, that there’ll be any fruit. But that doesn’t mean you stop doing the right thing. You may never know what results come from your action. But if you do nothing, there will be no result.” I don’t pick up the garbage of others because I think it will make a difference on a toxic, filthy planet. I do it because I care, and because I don’t want to live on a toxic, filthy planet. I don’t live a minimalist life because I think it will change the world. I live a simple life because it connects me to my Self, and in my Self connection, I’m connected to so much more. I’m not vegan because I think it will save the planet or make the miserable lives of animals any better. I’m vegan because I care deeply about animals, the planet and mySelf. I know that I am not separate from any of it. I know that I am the Whole—a godforce, as Louise LeBrun says—expressing uniquely in a physical world. There is no longer any question of that in my life. A godforce living in a physical world does not choose brutality; does not choose separation. A godforce in a coma makes these mindless choices, but a godforce awake does not. Obviously I haven’t yet perfected Self-reclamation or I’d be a pillar of white light floating in the ether of bliss, but I am dedicated to continued movement in that direction. In the end, I choose to live a life that is more compassionate, intentional and connected for no other reason than because that is who I am—regardless of the final outcome on this planet. Living a life of Self-connection means more to me than anything else. I also know the ripple effect of this choice matters. To conclude this lengthy essay, I leave you with this beautiful quote from Louise LeBrun, “Make choices that do no harm and live in a way that creates ease.” So compassionate. So simple. So impactful. I couldn’t agree more. The post The Perpetual Illusion of Change appeared first on Deb Ozarko.
89 minutes | 2 years ago
Table Talk: Who Are We in the Face of Collapse?
In this Table Talk conversation we talk about how the most difficult conversation in the global predicament we are living in today, is that of collapse: of civilization, of ecosystems, of the planetary biosphere, of Life on Earth. Few are willing to go there, and it’s not uncommon for this conversation to be negated, dismissed, mocked, and denied. But what if we stopped skirting the edges of difficult conversations such as these and allowed ourSelves to speak our truth? Not to educate, advise or convince, but simply to tell it like we know it within ourselves? The post Table Talk: Who Are We in the Face of Collapse? appeared first on Deb Ozarko.
93 minutes | 2 years ago
Table Talk: Intimacy, Evolution and the Sound of Breath
As I continue the vigorous pace of my personal evolution, the emptiness I feel when engaging with others presents more frequently. In fact, I feel more alone engaging with most people than I do when I’m actually alone. There are exceptions, of course. They are the rare few who are also committed to their own personal evolution; free of all doctrine, be it Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, science, politics, technology, or any other form of dogmatic thought. These are the few who have progressed beyond the shallow spirituality of seeking to know more to become a “better person”, to the deeper spirituality of knowing their connection to all life and choosing to live accordingly. The post Table Talk: Intimacy, Evolution and the Sound of Breath appeared first on Deb Ozarko.
44 minutes | 4 years ago
UP #125: Unplugging from Civilization, Plugging into the Soul with Deb Ozarko
My evolution with this podcast has been one of passion to inspire a more compassionate, loving and activated world in the small window of time I believed we still had when I started this endeavor. The post UP #125: Unplugging from Civilization, Plugging into the Soul with Deb Ozarko appeared first on Deb Ozarko.
93 minutes | 4 years ago
UP #124: Living from Essence with Karen Malik
In the Far East, they say that the innermost channel of the heart is the non-dual channel—our essential nature. Non-duality can be defined as the philosophical, spiritual, and scientific understanding of non-separation and fundamental oneness. When our hearts connect, we are united. This is who we are in our deepest core Soul essence. The post UP #124: Living from Essence with Karen Malik appeared first on Deb Ozarko.
151 minutes | 4 years ago
UP #123: Speciesism: The Root “ism” of Our Separation from the World with Trisha Roberts
All conflict, destruction and violence on this planet stems from the illusion that we are separate. We “otherize” one another, non-human animals and the Earth, becoming mere commodities in the process. Separation psychosis is conditioned into us from birth and is nurtured by every dominant belief and cultural system in our civilization. The deepest, most pervasive, and destructive root of our separation is specieism. The post UP #123: Speciesism: The Root “ism” of Our Separation from the World with Trisha Roberts appeared first on Deb Ozarko.
88 minutes | 4 years ago
UP #122: Curiosity, Collapse and Urgent Spirituality with Peter Melton
This week’s guest, Peter Melton, is a gifted storyteller with a voracious curiosity to understand what brought us to this place and how we can move through these tumultuous times with an intimate connection to our deepest spirituality. The post UP #122: Curiosity, Collapse and Urgent Spirituality with Peter Melton appeared first on Deb Ozarko.
74 minutes | 4 years ago
UP #121: Sacred Activism in a Hostile World with Andrew Harvey
Andrew Harvey is a multi-book author, passionate speaker and Founder Director of the Institute of Sacred Activism, an international organization focused on inviting concerned people to take up the challenge of our contemporary global crises by becoming inspired, effective, and practical agents of institutional and systemic change, in order to create peace and sustainability. The post UP #121: Sacred Activism in a Hostile World with Andrew Harvey appeared first on Deb Ozarko.
74 minutes | 4 years ago
UP #120: Evolving Ourselves into Extinction with Peter Russell
Peter Russell has an extensive resume that led him from studies in mathematics and theoretical physics at Cambridge University, to studies in experimental psychology, meditation, consciousness, and evolution. The post UP #120: Evolving Ourselves into Extinction with Peter Russell appeared first on Deb Ozarko.
81 minutes | 4 years ago
UP #119: Freeing the Soul Through the Wisdom of Animals with Wendy Elrick
Wendy Elrick has been working as a counsellor for over 20 years. Her experience includes working with children, adults, families, and groups. Her vast toolkit includes trauma recovery, teaching assertiveness, and women’s empowerment. Her work with horses is most profound... The post UP #119: Freeing the Soul Through the Wisdom of Animals with Wendy Elrick appeared first on Deb Ozarko.
77 minutes | 4 years ago
UP #118: Passion, Courage and Truth: Reporting from Ground Zero with Dahr Jamail
I think we can all agree that mainstream media doesn’t report news that serves our best interest. Sadly, there’s no incentive for corporate media moguls to tell it like it is because speaking truth to external ‘reality’ empowers autonomy and critical thought... The post UP #118: Passion, Courage and Truth: Reporting from Ground Zero with Dahr Jamail appeared first on Deb Ozarko.
89 minutes | 4 years ago
UP #117: The Psychological Impact of Our Changing Global Climate with Lise van Susteren
Many people today are feeling the mental, emotional and spiritual impact of our increasingly tumultuous times. This internal unease is playing out in a plethora of dysfunctional way—from anxiety to aggression, to despair, hostility and violence... The post UP #117: The Psychological Impact of Our Changing Global Climate with Lise van Susteren appeared first on Deb Ozarko.
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