Tuesday, August 02, 2016

Permaculture Principle: Start Small then Expand.

"S" in the the Reclaiming Tuesday series, this painting highlights the permaculture principle: start small then expand.

The entire series is a celebration of the wonder and awe at the heart of the Universe.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Permaculture Principle: Edge Effect


Growth and new life, as well as innovation, comes from the edges where different systems meet.  "Edge Effect" celebrates one of the thirteen permaculture principles.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

New World View

Here is the poster announcing the opening of my Art Show at the Lake County Wine Studio on August 5th and 6th, 2016.  Attendance to view the art is FREE.  $15 if you want to sample the wine and food pairings.

The painting depicted on the poster is called "View from the Sun" from the New World View series.

--Denise
 

Friday, May 06, 2016

Averting a Desecration

2200 acres of sacred land on the James River. land that has been entrusted to the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament, is at risk for sale under the rationale "money is needed to do our work".  This land represents the true legacy of this congregation and the most important work of our time--preservation of wild places so Earth can heal.  

Photos here include the Slave Cemetery on site, the Granary which was to become a Thomas Berry Earth literacy center, the grounds that converted a former southern plantation into transformative education for future african-american leaders.

I find it so ironic that SBS is considering selling Belmead in order to "continue the work of the congregation", when Belmead and its surrounding estate is THE most significant legacy and represents SBS’s greatest work at this moment in time.  Thomas Berry (mystic, theologian, seer and widsom figure for our age) himself shared the following message with this congregation at their Motherhouse:

“”The primary role of religious congregations of women at present might well be to preserve Earth from future devastation”   “…. the extensive properties owned by religious communities, properties that are still in a relatively undisturbed state, where wildlife is often abundant, where human predation is limited, where the primordial impress of the divine can still be felt, and where a sense of the sacred is available.  Preservation of such lands is one of the greatest urgencies of the moment.”

The preservation of this sacred gift entrusted to you (on behalf of all humans and the living systems of the planet) would be remembered for generations, if not millennia.  To squander the gift is a desecration and  a huge mistake -- one that will reverberate for all time.

A desecration.

Sisters, I urge you to consider the following:

Your greatest shrine was never at your Motherhouse… it was the 2200 acres of sacred lands entrusted to you at Belmead along the James River.  Your greatest legacy is contained in these sacred lands.

We sit at the foot of the cross.  The crucifixion of the sacred incarnation is underway and we weep, horrified, as lots are cast.  

Please reconsider your decision to sell your property on the James River.  Earth and her People Need You to preserve this place.

More here:  www.richmond.com/news/local/central-virginia/powhatan/powhatan-today/article_005dc56a-1313-11e6-8696-93316f58ff8d.html


Fed Up?


The Movie Trailer is out and the topic is more than a little bit horrifying.. and well worth watching:


Michael Pollan is featured in Fed Up .  He is the author of : "Food Rules"--a wonderful little guide  that's essentially a really really short version of his book "In Defense of Food"  It has easy to implement "rules" like: "Don't eat anything that comes in through the window of your car" and "Eat Your Colors."  (except blue perhaps).  In fact, his book is easy enough to follow that I've actually followed it.  I feel healthier and more energetic now that I did in my thirties.

The last frontier for me was sugar in all its refined forms.  About four months ago, I gave up eating sugar and its truly evil cousin: high fructose corn syrup.   It was a difficult habit to kick.  After seeing the movie trailer, now I know why.

--Denise

Friday, March 25, 2016

DIY Walnut Milk Recipe


If you are following Permaculture Soul, you know that our associated eco-farm -- Dancing TreePeople -- is offering a new product that can help you make tasty walnut milk (or other nut milk) at home.  Here is a video that shows you how to make it.

Dancing TreePeople organic walnuts play a starring role in this production!


And the milk is VERY tasty.  give it a try  -- you can get yours on Amazon.  (Reviews please)

Monday, February 15, 2016

A (near) zero waste lifestyle

I thought I was doing great to have only a tiny bag of trash each week.  Lauren's choice is inspiring:





Sunday, May 17, 2015

Cultivating Compassion - Today and Every Day ...

As our nation enters into another season of political campaigning, cultivating compassion is as important as ever.   We need to ask ourselves in our deeds and in our language: What are we teaching our children about what it means to be human?    

Compassion is not weakness—rather, it is a decision to connect deeply with our fellow sojourners, both human and non-human, and in the process  engage in the positive transformation of ourselves and our world.  Compassion may be one of the more powerful ways we transform our world for the better: it allows us to see things from another point of view and it is one means by which we can live our positive intentions. 

Cultivating compassion starts with self-compassion: connecting with the deepest part of ourselves.  In doing so we seek to understand what motivates us, we suspend self-judgment and negative self-talk, and allow ourselves to be present to whatever we are experiencing in the moment.   The act of noticing, of paying attention and of experiencing gives us the information we need to make decisions and choices about where to spend our energies. This ultimately leads us to take action that transforms our own internal structures and, in doing so, the world around us.

Both to offer and to receive compassion is a blessing.   Paradoxically, by cultivating compassion, we also experience the pain of our world and the pain of others while at the same time living life more fully.

Cultivating compassion, as a practice, creates the conditions for positive change in our own lives.   The decision to cultivate compassion, and the powerful practice of noticing but not judging, in itself creates good benefit for ourselves and others. 

Many communities around the globe are endorsing the International Charter for Compassion as a way to bring awareness to their own community and promoting the cultivation of community compassion through action.  The Charter for Compassion is a worldwide effort launched by noted religious scholar Karen Armstrong and elaborated in her book Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life.  The Charter for Compassion document, now translated into more than 30 languages, transcends religious, ideological and national difference, and is supported by many leading thinkers from many spiritual traditions.  From the Charter:
“We urgently need to make compassion a clear, luminous and dynamic force in our polarized world. Rooted in a principled determination to transcend selfishness, compassion can break down political, dogmatic, ideological and religious boundaries. Born of our deep interdependence, compassion is essential to human relationships and to a fulfilled humanity. It is the path to enlightenment, and indispensible to the creation of a just economy and a peaceful global community.”
The full text of the Charter for Compassion is well worth reading and can be found online at www.charterforcompassion.org.  



Sun, my sail and moon, my rudder,
As I ply the starry sea,
Leaning over the edge in wonder,
Casting questions into the deep.
Drifting here with my ship's companions,
All we kindred pilgrim souls,
Making our way by the lights of the heavens,
In our beautiful blue boat home. 
--Peter Mayer,  Blue Boat home

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Not-So-Silent Spring

In the midst of the California drought, I admit, I think about frogs. 

I think about them a lot.

So last summer, I hatched a plan.

I decided to hand dig a miniature garden pond.  My intention was to create a tiny oasis for creatures who might need water—and attract beneficial insects to the garden.  Plus, I thought—what better workout?  

So each morning, I dug for about an hour.  Fueled only by my imagination of the future oasis, I dug.  This was real work!  After a month of chipping away at the hard ground, I had successfully created a six foot long, four foot deep dry pit.

It looked more like a shallow grave than a future pond.
 
This is where my imagination helped.  If I squinted I could imagine what it might be like filled with water and teeming with life.  A masterpiece.
 
I carefully placed sand in the bottom of the pit to prevent rocks from puncturing a pod liner, and then installed the liner, surrounding it with stones I scrounged from elsewhere on the farm.  This was just in time for the first rains.  I collected rainwater, invested in a few pond plants to keep the water clean, and added a few “mosquito fish” (guppies, really) to keep us safe from pests.  Then I waited.

And I waited.

And waited.

First came the algae, which I dutifully skimmed off the pond.   
Imagine my delight at the sound of the first bullfrog. It worked!  I had a real pond!

What I did not consider when locating the pond was how loud frogs can be.  One frog became two, then four and then...   many. 
The tiny pond is a living oasis, a cacophony, drowning out conversation one might enjoy on the front porch.  As we walked by, the pond suddenly became silent, only to resume when we were a safe distance away.

Frogs make me smile.

Apparently, given habitat, frogs happily reproduce.  Thousands of frog eggs appeared in the pond just a two weeks ago.  Of course! 

Lesson: Create the conditions for life, and life will thrive.

With new life, comes joy...  and abundance.
Every frog on eleven acres was looking for a wet environment for its offspring.    Each day brings a new discovery.  At this writing, thousands of frog eggs have turned into polliwogs.  Song birds have arrived to celebrate the food source, and dragonflies dance above the oasis.

Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Both Books for you May 7-9

Both of my books: Tending the Soul's Garden and Entrepreneurs and the New Storyare set to FREE download from May 7-9, 2015. If you haven't yet grabbed your copies, you can get them by clicking the book links here:

Tending the Soul's Garden

Entrepreneurs and the New Story

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Everything is a Garden:

How to Thrive and Prosper While Changing the World.  Some thoughts on social and spiritual permaculture with the good folks at Benicia Community Gardens.


Wednesday, April 22, 2015

A Whole Day

Earth Day 2015... we awoke to ten deer in the orchard.  Deer represent gentleness and self care, and that
is how we plan to celebrate this most holy (whole) of days. 

Happy Earth Day

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Refreshing...

How good to hear reality and truth spoken at the start of the UN Climate Summit.   From Leonardo DiCaprio -- The new "UN Messenger of Peace":


Thursday, January 08, 2015

Passing the Gavel ...

One is of my remarks as outgoing Chair of the Board of Supervisors and the Board's presentations:



And second is a video of the "flash mob" Lake County style that somehow was edited out of the above version:

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Cultivating Happiness, Focus and Flow Every Day

Clovice Lewis - Photo by Nathan DeHart
If the phrase "being in creative flow" was in the dictionary, it would be fitting to find next to it a photograph of Clovice Lewis--brilliant composer, cellist and serial tech entrepreneur. 

On December 10th,  Katie Curtin and I interview Clovice about creativity, flow, composition, music, the launch of Advanced Housing Technology... and what it means to be creative and happy,  even in difficult times.  You can Join us in the Creativity Cafe. 

I'm pretty sure you will find him as fascinating and inspiring as I do. Join us in the Creativity Cafe

Thursday, November 13, 2014

The Gift Feature...

I love the feature on Amazon that allows me to give my new book away for a few days.  The free download for Entrepreneurs and the New Story will run until 11/15/14 at midnight.  You can grab your copy here: http://www.amazon.com/Entrepreneurs-New-Story-Essential-Prosperity-ebook/dp/B00OECC3T6/

Sunday, November 02, 2014

What is yours to do?

I often feel like the little fish Nemo in the Pixar movie “Finding Nemo.”   Nemo’s job was to get all the fish to pull in the same direction—to do what was theirs to do in the moment of peril.   So too, we must put all our efforts into pulling in the direction of what is ours to do.

The biggest question:  What is mine to do?  I cannot answer it for you--only you can do that.  I can strive to answer it for myself. 
 To you, I will post the question:

What is yours to do at this moment in time?

Our best next step might be large or small.  It might be easy or difficult, evolutionary or revolutionary.  It might be to rest or to act.

I cannot know what it is for you, nor you for me.

What I do know is this: something deep inside of you knows. Once you discover that part of yourself, align with it, and commit to the next step, anything can happen.  You will enter into the creative edge and participate in unfolding story—your part of The Great Work.

If you need help discovering and listen to your own "heart voice" --I recommend Loretta's new kindle book Discovering Your Heart Voice

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

What is your story of awakening to the reality of Planet Earth?

My friend and colleague @RyanEliason often describes an experience that took place when he was nineteen years old and encountered a clear cut in a forest that he had enjoyed as a youngster.  At first the nineteen-year-old Ryan was just shocked, as he surveyed the land now scraped down to its clay soil.  As he observed the damage and stopped to let the reality of the situation sink in, the enormity of the loss hit him.   The sacred place he loved was gone forever.  He began to sob. 
For Ryan this was a moment of deep truth, of profound awakening—and the experience changed him forever.  Even today, as he tells this story, his authenticity shines through and transforms those around him.

In my own life, especially as a sensitive, young person, I braced myself against such a moment for years. To me, these losses seemed so painful that I pushed the experience away, even as I felt a pervasive sadness over the state of the world and worked to “save it”.  This was  more of a depression that a deep awakening.  Then, after attending Sophia Center in Oakland, California, I traveled to Genesis Farm Center for Earth Literacy in New Jersey where my own awakening awaited me and the story of Earth finally sank in fully. 

The day it happened day started innocently enough. I was engaged in a course on genetics taught by Harvard-trained chemist, Larry Edwards and was loving the deep knowledge of the genome.  As we studied the magical evolution of life, I came to understand the story of how this genetic instruction code was passed to every being along the way to our becoming human.  Our class walked through 3.7 billion years of evolutionary R&D and I was captivated.   I experienced deep awe and thought: “This is so amazing… so elegant… and so very sacred.” 


Then it hit me: the human, evolved from a pre-cellular creature into the thinking complex conscious being with these instructions. The physical evolution that took place over 3.7 billion years is re-created in nine months in the womb: from single cell, to multi-cell, to growing a tail, to evolving the cortex, all of it.  We remember the instructions step-by-step.  The human being remembers, within this special set of instructions, what brought us from molten rock to this day.  Alongside us, the living systems of which we are an integral part, evolved as we did.  We were designed to be here together—living together in a system with all of creation.  We are preprogrammed to expect beauty and awe as part of our experience.

When I fully understood our current moment, I was filled with an awareness of what our species was doing to the genome in our short time on this planet.  From accelerating and causing extinction events, to nuclear releases and genetic experimentation… I suddenly felt the enormity of our arrogance and the weight of the loss.   Like Ryan, I  too, and just as suddenly, began to sob.

Some may see these tears as weak or even ridiculous.  I see them differently.  These tears are a spontaneous response to desecration.  It is what happens when you allow the pain of the world, the loss of the sacred, to really sink in. 

This grief, like all grief, can change you forever.  And like all grief, we walk through the denial and sadness and anger to emerge with a commitment and purpose.
It is as if Earth and the Universe are filling our human awareness with these sudden moments of clarity.  That is why when I am asked to defend what it means to be “green” or am stereotyped as a bleeding heart or a tree hugger, I sometimes find it difficult to respond in words.  Is a response even possible?  Certainly not without recalling the story of how it came to be.  I see the world so differently than how I saw it before that profound moment. There is no question about that.   The transformation happened in a process that I can only describe as grace. 

In my case, devotion to preserving, protecting and restoring living systems is not something I chose to undertake or even dreamed up; rather it is something that happened to me.  If you spend enough time quietly studying or being with the natural world, and contemplating its beauty, its amazing science, and its interconnection, I predict it will happen to you too.  

Science is not at odds with the sacred—it serves a doorway—the more we learn, the more awe is possible.

Do you have your own story of profound awakening?  I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

SoulWork Adventures

These "soulwork adventures" really work!  Loretta's book: Discovering Your Heart Voice: Ten Simple, Grounded Ways to Access Your Inner Wisdom, is now available for $2.99 on Amazon. Free download days are Nov 1st and 2nd






Saturday, October 25, 2014

Entrepreneurs and the New Story

My next book, Entrepreneurs and the New Story: Essential Earth Wisdom for True Prosperity, is available via preorder on Amazon kindle now (if you sign up for the Creativity Cafe, I will let you know when the "free download days" are happening).  December 31 at 10am pacific, I will be interviewed by Katie Curtin in the virtual Creativity Cafe on  the topic of Spiritual Entrepreneurship.




Katie and I are joining efforts to bring conversations about creativity and thought leadership to the Creativity Cafe, with the view that creativity in commerce can transform humanity's broken story into a new way forward.  If you haven't yet joined Creativity Cafe,  click the button to sign up. :-)

Join us in the Creativity Cafe

Discovering Your Heart Voice

Discovering Your Heart Voice by Loretta McCarthy
Loretta McCarthy's new book: Discovering Your Heart Voice: Ten Simple Grounded Ways to Access Your Inner Wisdom is now available on Amazon Kindle.  She will offer the book for free kindle download in November.. but in the meantime, you can pick it up for only $2.99

Buy on Amazon.com

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Autumn Beauty

Walnuts are in.  Rains have arrived... and we are graced with the beauty and peace of a job well done at the farm.  Truly, I love my life.


Friday, October 10, 2014

Dare to Dream

Aligning with a “Big Why” - the dream that comes from your heart - is cited by many entrepreneurs as the biggest single factor in creating focus and taking quantum leaps forward.  This was confirmed in my interview with successful entrepreneur and business coach Ryan Eliason in The Big Why Telesummit earlier this year, I asked him to what he attributed his success.  His answer: committing fully to his biggest vision-- his “Big Why.”   Doing so clarifies what we want and need, helps us identify what needs to happen next, and it helps us more easily say “no” to distractions so that we can say “yes” to the most difficult next step.
I am still uncovering my purpose.  I do not always know what it is, but I definitely know when I’m not aligned with it.
“I did not know.  Turns out, it is something I discovered gradually”.

“When the energy is right sometimes it’s like a magnet you just cannot resist.”

“There have been many long years when I personally had no idea what my “big why” was but I was still guided by it. It was the fact that there was a “Big Why” that comforted me in those times.”

“My “Big Why?”  This is something I just feel in my bones.”

Our “Big Why” can also be described as our audacious intention or plan, something that resonates with both our mind and our heart.    It may be a life purpose, a goal or dream or even a deep need.  It is usually something that we are deeply passionate about and it almost always is a stretch to achieve.  If the thought of your purpose both passionately excites you and creates butterflies in your stomach at the thought of pursuing it, then you are on the right track.

 The root of the word "audacious" is "to dare," or “to be daring”.  When one chooses to be daring, it is as if the world organizes itself to help make it happen.  The intention acts as “a compass” You may not necessarily know what form the plan or organization is going to take and what you are going to need when you start, but with a compass, you can at least know if you are pointed in the right direction.

The first step in an entrepreneurial endeavor is to commit to your most audacious Big Why The approach  doesn't have to be perfect, it's not going to necessarily be the only thing of which you decide, but a decision has to be made to commit to a big intention

The steps for finding your “Big Why” may vary for you—you may already know it or maybe you do not.  I would challenge you to experiment.  Explore and discover the nutrients that you need—activities, practices or ways of being that feed the soil of your spirit so YOU can create the conditions for your work to emerge into the world--whatever it is meant to be—large or small.  When we set our intention—it helps to think big, audacious even.  Our intention fuels our further work.  


Edge Effect

In the natural world, at the place where grasslands merge into forests or where the shore melds into the oceans or other places where two ecosystems meet, diversity and abundance seem to flourish.  This is known as edge effect

An online dictionary defines edge effect this way:
The influence that two ecological communities have on each other along the boundary that separates them. Because such an area contains habitats common to both communities as well as others unique to the transition zone itself, the edge effect is typically characterized by greater species diversity and population density than occur in either of the individual communities.
In living systems, profound creativity takes place on the edges—where ocean meets shore, in estuaries, where grasslands meet forest edge, in wetlands and tidal pools, along streambanks and in the top few inches of soil. 

Why is this?  What can we learn from the edges?

Edges are a place where different elements meet.  In human systems, these might be differing points of view, cultures, lifestyles or ideas.

Edges are a place of transition—where one mode or way of being meets another.  It is neither one nor the other, but an in-between transitional place.

Greater edge provides a greater surface area, therefore offering a place for productivity, increased relationship opportunities, more places to create and work and evolve.

Edges are a place of creative tension and risk.  In our personal inner world, the edges are the places of discomfort and often are that “creative edge” where we experience the most personal growth. 

Our edges can be chaotic and unsettled—where the old and familiar is no longer a possibility but where a new harmony and balance has yet to emerge.

In our communities, the greatest creativity takes place where edges are being explored—coastal cities have more cultural interaction so something new emerges that isolated cultures could not have produced on their own. To make something happen in business, an entrepreneur must ”jump off the edge”—take a risk to follow a dream or learn a new skill. 

It helps to observe and notice the “edges” in our communities, our endeavors and in our lives and cultivate a deeper awareness of the gifts present there.

Where are the edges in your life or work?
What risk must you take to follow your dream?

Monday, October 06, 2014

Infinite Creativity - Interview with Drew Dellinger

Once upon a time, nearly 13.7 Billion years ago, we flared forth as light.  We underwent a series of
irreversible transformations until we arrived where we are here and now—writing a story about our journey.

It took awhile, but that’s how far we’ve come.  We essentially burst forth as light and after changing a bit, we arrived as a living system together with our fellow travellers on a small blue planet in a dark sea of space.  As a result of these transformations, we can now contemplate that flaring forth 13.7 billion years later.  We are energy transformed… contemplating the first energy that flared forth.

Let’s pause for a moment and let that sink in.

Thomas Berry and Brian Swimme, in The Universe Story, call our understanding of this epic a “new cosmology” or "the New Story."

Stories are about meaning and connection…They help us understand things, they help us connect to one another, they help us connect to Earth when we realize that we are a part of the planetary story.

This year, I had the opportunity to chat with poet and activist Drew Dellinger about The New Story and how it has influenced his own work.  This is what Drew shared:

"One of the biggest moments was my encounter with the work and the writings of Thomas Berry when I was just starting college--Prescott college in Arizona in 1990 and just before that a friend of mine, Steve Snyder had found Thomas Berry’s book, The Dream of the Earth, and we were like, “Oh my God. This is amazing.”

"The back story is that we had been in a multiyear process of trying to find meaning in the middle of a corporate capitalist society while going to a public high school in North Carolina. There was not a lot of creativity, spirituality or intellectual stimulation. They’re great folks but not a lot of folks asking that question about what is important, and what is the big why, what is the deeper meaning.

And so, when we read Brian Swimme and Thomas Berry’s book, “The Universe is a Green Dragon”, they were saying we need to have a new approach to the Universe.  I had never been interested in Science-- like space and stars.   I thought they were kind of cool but I was never galvanized by the sciences --but all of a sudden Thomas Berry is saying, “We have a new comprehensive understanding of the Universe itself.”

I never heard anybody writing about the Universe itself.  The cosmos is a new context for education.  What?  Well, this is wild.  We need to understand ourselves as the embodied expression of the Universe.  As the Taoist would say, the ten thousand things, it’s the one Tao.  It’s the one energy.  The Universe is a seamless, unfolding energy that is both spiritual and psychic and physical and material from the very beginning. Richard Dunn would say, “The spiritual and the material are interwoven, matter, spiritualizes.”  Matter has spirit at its heart.  Matter is not just matter but spirit in motion, these types of things so I’m assuming you’re going like, wow this little brief encounter with some of these essays is really shifting my world view making me think about the planet in a new way.  Very simple things, very subtle shifts, that’s  scientific in a certain way but just with a new twist and new perspectives.

So reading Thomas Berry and then later coming to study with him…he’s saying, “We are the earth, we are the Universe,” and when a whale sings an incredibly complex song, that’s the earth that composed the song.  When a bird flies, the earth is flying and when humans write poetry, when humans commune with each other, when humans celebrate that’s Earth celebrating.

And so, when you talk about the big why that comes in from Berry’s thinking.  He would say, “That’s what we’re here for.  We’re here to celebrate.  We are the space in which the Universe reflects on and celebrate itself.”

So, all of a sudden I had something that made sense.  That made sense to me, capitalism, consumerism, advertising, that didn’t make much sense.  War, racism, sexism, economic exploitation… that didn’t make sense.  Working at an occupation that one feels is grinding one soul down on a daily basis and doing that for 50 years and then retiring, that didn’t make much sense, but the humanist, the space in which the Universe itself can celebrate and reflect on itself -- now that made sense.

Compassion

Sun, my sail and moon, my rudder,
As I ply the starry sea,
Leaning over the edge in wonder,
Casting questions into the deep.
Drifting here with my ship's companions,
All we kindred pilgrim souls,
Making our way by the lights of the heavens,
In our beautiful blue boat home.

--Peter Mayer, Blue Boat Home

A few years ago, our local Lake County Board of Supervisors issued a proclamation in support of the International Charter for Compassion in order to draw attention to the fact that we are all one community.   How we treat each other matters to the quality of our life together.  As our community concludes another season of political campaigning, cultivating compassion is as important as ever. 

As I see it, we need to ask ourselves in our deeds and in our language: What are we teaching our children about what it means to be human?    Compassion is not weakness—it is, in fact, a decision to connect and relate with our fellow sojourners, both human and non-human, and in the process  engage in the positive transformation of ourselves and our world.  Compassion may be one of the more powerful ways we transform our world for the better: it allows us to see things from another point of view and it is one means by which we can live our positive intentions. 

Cultivating compassion starts with self-compassion: understanding what motivates us, suspending self-judgment and negative self-talk, and allowing ourselves to be present to whatever we are experiencing in the moment.   The act of noticing, of paying attention and of experiencing gives us the information we need to make decisions and choices about where to spend our energies. This ultimately leads us to take action that transforms our own internal structures and, in doing so, the world around us.   Compassion is a gift, and thus both to offer and to receive compassion is a blessing.   Paradoxically, by cultivating compassion, we also experience the pain of our world and the pain of others while at the same time living life more fully.

Cultivating compassion, as a practice, creates the conditions for positive change in our own lives.   The decision to cultivate compassion, and the powerful practice of noticing but not judging, in itself creates good benefit. 

Many communities around the globe are endorsing the International Charter for Compassion as a way to bring awareness to their own community and promoting the cultivation of community compassion through action.  The Charter for Compassion is a worldwide effort launched by noted religious scholar Karen Armstrong and elaborated in her book Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life.  The Charter for Compassion document, now translated into more than 30 languages, transcends religious, ideological and national difference, and is supported by many leading thinkers from many spiritual traditions.  From the Charter:

“We urgently need to make compassion a clear, luminous and dynamic force in our polarized world. Rooted in a principled determination to transcend selfishness, compassion can break down political, dogmatic, ideological and religious boundaries. Born of our deep interdependence, compassion is essential to human relationships and to a fulfilled humanity. It is the path to enlightenment, and indispensible to the creation of a just economy and a peaceful global community.”
The full text of the Charter for Compassion is well worth reading and can be online at www.charterforcompassion.org.  

…The wide universe is the ocean I travel,
And the Earth is my blue boat home.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Entrepreneurs Can Heal the World

Entrepreneurs have a significant role to play in the great journey that’s taking place on the earth at this moment. This is true in part because we follow our hearts.  As Entrepreneurs, we are our own boss, we do what we do because we want to do it.   We create what we’re inspired to create and so with that freedom we have the opportunity to make a profound positive impact in the world and to play a unique role.  I love that my work is dedicated to empowering conscious entrepreneurs to make a good living doing what they were meant to be doing.

Why does making a good living matter?  Sadly, if you are not making a good living doing your work, you are in an unsustainable situation.  You might be forced to take a job doing something you don’t like, and that kills a bit of your soul.  Perhaps your work is not fully aligned with your purpose and may even negatively impact the planet.   Many of us compromise our deeper purpose and values to make a living.  We sacrifice what we really want to be doing in order to make money, to support ourselves and our families.     We tell ourselves the story that this is how it has to be and we end up with all kinds of compensating behaviors that happen when our dreams are deferred.

If you can discover a way to make a good living doing what you love, then the wind is at your back.  First, you are you’re naturally motivated--both to meet your financial and material needs and aligning with your desire to contribute and to be creative.  As we align our work with our creativity and purpose, we participate in a new story--making the difference we were born to make.

Thursday, August 07, 2014

Permaculture Marketing

Two years ago, I attended a business retreat with George Kao and it was a life-changer--by far the most transformational business event I have ever attended, bar none.  I was so excited about it that I decided to convince George, renowned social media marketer-"Spiritpreneur", along with shadow-master Katie Curtin, to activate that powerful magic at least once more.

So next month, George, Katie and I are co-hosting "Spiritpreneurs," an intimate mastermind retreat that will take place in Northern California from September 12-14, 2014.  The event is for conscious entrepreneurs and innovators who are seeking an authentic business model and inspired, true-to-the-soul, marketing.  If you are willing to roll up your sleeves, go deep into your heart and work on your true livelihood, then this event is for you.  http://www.spiritbusinessmastermind.com

I realize that you probably have a lot going on, but if you want a truly life-changing intensive I urge you to join us.  Together we will explore generative, inspired business models--ones that I believe can transform commerce over the next few years. The best part: you'll discover magic within YOU that can light your way forward.

I know , because it happened to me.

It is going to be an amazing, bonding, and powerful experience for sure.  Come join us and other select "Spiritpreneurs" to build a plan for your own true livelihood business.  Apply here: http://www.spiritbusinessmastermind.com


Monday, July 07, 2014

Day 1 of the Hero's Journey Summer Book Adventure

So... the Hero's Journey Summer Book Adventure begins and I enter into the unknown world ...

As a first step, I need to recommit to my rhythmic structure.  it helps me stay focused, productive, and allows my creativity to emerge as the psyche/muse does its magic. 

So I started this morning.  As it turns out, I wasted 20 minutes looking for that nearly-blank journal for my morning pages and ended up cleaning off my desk instead of getting started. (just noticing, and trying not to judge) So my first morning page entry is doing double duty as this blog entry... with my musings about the importance of rhythmic structure.

Rhythmic structure is important.

For me, I need to start with elements that calm my mind chatter... with 30 minutes of meditation and at least two binder-size pages of stream-of-consciousness writing, though I realize Julia Cameron of The Artist's Way suggest 3 pages.  (It's my structure, I can do what I need to. )

Here is what I am putting in place as a daily structure:

  • Wake up early, have a cup of tea
  • Meditate 30 min
  • Exercise--movement every day, vigorous exercise 4 days/week  (30 min)
  • Healthy Breakfast
  • Morning pages
  • 1 hour of working on this program and my book
  • break., shower etc
  • Go to work.

I need to arise at 5:00 am to get all this in.  That means bed at 9pm.
  *sigh*  no more strolling around facebook until 11pm.

Thoughts on resistance...
If you haven't read it, Stephen Pressfield's The War of Art is a very good read about overcoming resistance in doing ones work (in my case--writing).  Pressfield comes at it from a masculine perspective--with many "war" metaphors of course... but he has a point.

Resistance takes a variety of forms.  Perfectionism, the self critic, procrastination, distraction, worry about what others think, indecision....  it's all here.  He offers many strategies--including just persevering and putting in the time, whether or not it turns out to be a productive day.  We are here to do our work.  Do the work.  That's what pro's do.  (I assume that you need to "go pro" if you expect someone to pay you for what you write.)

Rhythmic structure is vital strategy for me in overcoming resistance and getting quality writing out into the world
.

That said, there is a more feminine approach to creativity--it is more like cultivating a garden.  I start by preparing the soil and then I plant seeds...  and then I feed what I want to grow.

Rhythmic structure is preparing the soil, pure and simple.

Monday, May 26, 2014

It's Time to Get My Book Done--How About You?

 Time just flies when I'm trying to get something done....  in this case--my next book.  I don't know about you, but I need a structure to make it happen.

 I'm developing a new project with life design coach Katie Curtin this summer.   Katie (founder of the Creativity Cafe) and I discovered that we are each writing and self-publishing our next books in the coming weeks.  So we got to thinking...why not share HOW we do this while we do it.  So we decided to work together, get our own books done and invite a select small group to join us and do the same. 

Together, we will get our books written, finished, published and ranked in their categories on Amazon Kindle.  In the process, we will take a select group of people each by the hand and walk them through getting their own book done --  step by step, with built-in accountability.

We will cover the entire process: from breaking through writer's block, procrastination and visibility issues to FINALLY getting the book finished, to creating a great in-demand book cover and title, to putting in place the systems and strategies for self-publishing and ranking the book on Amazon.

I plan to share the structural, systems and tactical steps in the process--basically the same approach that I used to successfully self-publish Tending the Soul's Garden  (my book was ranked in the top five permaculture books for over six months!) 

Katie will take us through what's needed to actually get the book finished--accountability, coaching and energy healing.  If you have a book that you just cannot seem to get done, working with Katie can change all that.  

In June, Katie and I will be accepting applications and interviewing candidates for this program.  (We only want people who are serious about doing the work, and whose books offer a positive contribution).

Before we send out more details, we are looking for feedback:

1)  Do you have a book you want to write or have partially written? What's the topic?

2) What's the #1 reason getting in the way of you going forward with this book project?

3) Which of the following topics would be of most importance to you?

-- structuring the content so it is clear to the reader (and so it will sell)
-- ensuring that you write in "your voice"
-- "getting it done" - writers block/procrastination
-- publishing your book on Amazon
-- marketing it and getting it ranked as a bestseller in its category
-- how to leverage the book into other revenue and outreach opportunities
-- fears about visibility and putting yourself out there
-- How to promote the book in a way that suits your personality and style

We'd really love to hear from you. Just contact me and let me know what's getting in your way, and what you'd like to know more about.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Writing a Book this Summer?

I am undertaking a new initiative with life design coach Katie Curtin this summer.

Katie (founder of the Creativity Cafe) and I are each writing and self-publishing our next books in the coming weeks and we plan to invite a select small group to join us and do the same.  
Together, we will get our books written, finished, published and ranked in their categories on Amazon Kindle.  In the process, we will take a select group of people each by the hand and walk them through getting their own book done --  step by step, with built-in accountability.  We will cover the entire process: from breaking through writer's block, procrastination and visibility issues to FINALLY getting the book finished, to creating a great in-demand book cover and title, to putting in place the systems and strategies for self-publishing and ranking the book on Amazon.

Why did Katie and I decide to work together on this?  Simple: we discovered that we each bring a complementary gift to the process:
  • I bring the structural, systems and tactical steps--basically the same approach that I used to publish Tending the Soul's Garden with great results(my book was ranked the number one permaculture book for weeks--even above those who invented permaculture!)   
  • Katie brings what's needed to actually get the book finished--accountability, coaching and energy healing.  If you have a book that you just cannot seem to get done, working with Katie can change all that. 
In June, Katie and I will be accepting applications and interviewing candidates for this program.  (We only want people who are serious about doing the work, and whose books offer a positive contribution).

But before we send out more details, we would love to hear from you:

1)  Do you have a book you want to write or have partially written? What's the topic?

2) What's the #1 reason getting in the way of you going forward with this book project?

3) Which  of the following topics would be of most importance to you?

-- structuring the content so it is clear to the reader (and so it will sell)
-- ensuring that you write in "your voice"
-- getting it done- writers block/procrastination
-- publishing your book on Amazon
-- marketing it and getting it ranked as a bestseller in its category
-- how to leverage the book into other revenue and outreach opportunities
-- fears about visibility and putting yourself out there
-- How to promote the book in a way that suits your personality and style

We'd really love to hear from you. Just contact us and tell us what's getting in your way, and what you'd like to know more about.

Warmly,

Denise

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Growing Edge: Rhythm

 
Greetings!
 
It has been a couple of months since we connected with you via Growing Edge, and we now return to our farm rhythm. So much has happened these past weeks--we can't wait to share!
 
In this issue of Growing Edge, we highlight the power of rhythmic structure to release creativity and flow in our lives and work.  Loretta shares her transformative experience of putting structure in place and Denise offers insights from the garden leading to greater focus and abundance.
Both of us have been speaking at events (both live and virtually) on the topic of the inner work of spiritual entrepreneurship.  We share these details below along with access to a new program offered by our friend and colleague JoAnn Saccato  (including a way to get a free copy of her book for a limited time).  Also, don't miss the May Day SPECIAL discount for the Big Why telesummit package--Denise's series for taking your own work to the next level.

This edition of Growing Edge is all about rhythm--and we must say It is good to be back in the seasonal and daily cycles that sustain us.
Warmly,
 
Denise and Loretta
 
Rhythm - Routine - Release
By Loretta

LorettaUnlike other years of multiple resolutions, for me 2014 began with only one: to co-direct a twelve week deep grief recovery project with Dr. Jack Miller with all the energy and focus I could summon. This resolution has changed my life. It has given me a rhythm that is more than a routine and provided me with a channel for release on varied levels: physical, emotional, and spiritual.

It all began with my commitment to meditate, to exercise, to feel my feelings as fully as possible, and to express these feelings creatively in writing and in art. I was invited to journey with the participants in this project as they did the same and to help hold the container that protected us throughout this rite of initiation.   The project concluded with my being anointed a Ritual Elder at the final celebration on April 5th.

The ending was only a beginning.

During the last few weeks – back at home on the orchard - I have grown in my awareness of the power inherent in my staying within the rhythmic structure that I created during the project.  In the past, I have struggled to establish a strict routine… (e.g. walking every day at 7:00AM.)  Perhaps I thought that structure would limit my freedom.  I found the opposed to be true.    

What a difference it makes to prioritize my rhythmic structure each day.  I give myself time to do those things before other scheduled activities. For me, this includes twenty minutes of quiet meditation, a healthy breakfast, and a brisk walk or engaging in a needed farm chore. Yes, sometimes it means getting up very early, but the flow of energy throughout the day makes the early rising worthwhile.

Allowing time to write about strong feelings that rise up during the day is equally important.  A pad on my desk or by my bed for evening reflection helps me to capture those feelings and then schedule a time to sit and creatively express them in whatever medium appeals. For me, this is usually art paper and craypas (crayon and pastels combined that allows the blending of colors and shapes with one’s fingers)

Now, I am deeply convinced of the importance for all of us who are involved in the Great Work to create a rhythmic structure that sustains us in our endeavors.   Doing so has brought me to a place of deep peace and joy in my work. 
 
And what about you? Please share your story of creating a rhythm in your life with me at loretta@permaculturesoulwork.com

 
 
Structure Creates Freedom
By Denise

Gardens require rhythm to grow: The daily rhythm of watering, weeding, Deniseharvesting--the weekly rhythm of reseeding and fertilizing,  the seasonal rhythms of selecting new seeds, mulching and composting, and the annual rhythm of planning and perhaps expanding.   In any garden, we co-create abundance by aligning with and participating in natural rhythmic cycles.
Rhythmic Structure
What is rhythmic structure?  It is one of the most powerful secrets to unlocking innovation, productivity and success, and , more importantly, a path to deeper joy in life.
I have noticed that through the simple activities of meditation, exercise and regularly scheduled creative time, a subtle change takes place within me, opening the door to possibility.  

At first, creating structure to be “creative” may seem counter-intuitive.  By keeping the big picture in mind, taking simple daily actions, and by bravely addressing barriers (especially difficult ones), we become free.  Structure gives us the freedom to follow our heart, apply our mind and feed our spirit... The path before is set by a deep internal awareness and aligned with our true purpose.
Rhythmic Structure is essentially soil building.  The results of a regular ritual or practice are that we not only create the conditions for success in our work, but we find joy and freedom in doing so.
The bottomline:  our psyche rewards rhythmic structure.  I find that keeping a rhythmic structure unleashes my creativity, dynamically creates the conditions for my success and most importantly, allows me to expand and grow with JOY.
 

 
 
 
Companioning the Sacred Journey Course
 
Our good friend JoAnn Saccato recently launched a 5-week course based on her best selling book, Companioning the Sacred Journey: A Guide to Creating a Compassionate Container for Your Spiritual Practice.  (Keep reading to see how you can receive the book for FREE!)
 
BookJoAnn is a gifted and talented, heart-based Spiritual/Life Coach, Reiki Master and mindfulness meditation teacher who lived ten years in chop wood, carry water fashion.  As her canine companion of 15 years, Shyla, passed, JoAnn reflects in the book on how she compassionately attended Shyla and herself through their heart rending parting.
 
JoAnn’s course focuses on three tools discussed in the book: journaling, mindfulness, and affirmations. (This course is definitely for you if you’re craving more authenticity, acceptance, forgiveness, gratitude and joy!)
 
The five-week courses include live sessions with JoAnn, online curriculum, a private online community, guided meditations and more. The tele-course version is perfect for those wanting to integrate these tools while immersed in life and begins May 20, 2014. A new in-person course begins May 22, 2014. Get full details HERE: http://www.companioningthesacredjourney.com/courses.html
JoAnn is extending a $50 discount to our friends and their friends if you sign up by May 5th. (Just select the “Friends of Denise and Loretta” option during check out.)
 
JoAnn’s generosity touches our hearts in a big way. She alerted us that if you sign up for her email list http://www.companioningthesacredjourney.com, she’ll send you the details on how you can download her book for FREE!
 
 
Upcoming Events:

Special Invitation: Have you heard about the Summit “Innovative Change for Entrepreneurs”? Both Loretta and Denise have been invited to participate in this free virtual event with host Jo Ann Hammond-Meiers.  Discover how to be the Light or Leader in YOUR business, please join us and our fellow experts here.   
 
On May 20, 2014, Denise also speaking at Jenean Zunk's event "Own your Awesome"   The event is for entrepreneurs looking to overcome fear and self doubt.  Denise's topic is Audacious Mindset:  Essential Principles and Practices for the Conscious Entrepreneur
 
 
 
 
 
Intention
 By Denise


Setting a clear and powerful intention is like creating fertile soil.  This is where we begin if we want to create abundance.  

But what happens if we struggle to create an intention? What then?  Sometimes selecting a direction and beginning to take action helps… but more often, it simply results in a flurry of activity without result. How can I commit to creating a healthy “garden” if I have not decided what to plant or where to plant it?

If I am floundering, I find it is helpful to reset my intention to that of creating  fertile soil for my dream to emerge   I commit (or recommit!) to a daily rhythm and structure, and set time aside for carefree play, creativity and time to just be.  I observe natural forces around me and allow the energies within me to emerge.  These energies fuel my next step.
 
To explore this topic of intention in greater depth, I invite you to consider investing in The Big Why Telesummit series.

 
THE BIG WHY -- Special

The Big WhyUntil May 15th, we are offering $75 off the regular investment of $197 for the Big Why Telesummit premier series.   
The Big Why is an opportunity to learn from the most powerful storytellers and inspired entrepreneurs about what fuels their Great Work so you can better align with yours. 
 
These are some of my personal heroes and  all are inspirational leaders—I interview each one of them to dig in on their top strategies for how they:
--Align with their "Big Why"
--Overcome barriers
--Take their own work (and their clients) to the next level
--Challenge themselves to tell a new story

 --and much more.  (Of course, I share my own strategies too)
 
Discover how to unleash your potential, align with your purpose and take your own work to the next level.  You receive downloadable MP3s, transcripts and my own action sheets for each topic--plus you get valuable gifts from many of the speakers... everything you need to get the most out of the material.
 
You can get The Big Why premier package here:  http://www.thebigwhytelesummit.com

  speakers

What is Permaculture?


Permaculture (permanent agriculture) is an ecological design framework inspired by living systems. The ethics, root practices and principles in permaculture can be applied to the garden, the farm, and indeed any living system including human structures.