May, 2014 ~ Honoring Our Pain
During the month of May we’ll explore the Compassionately Embracing process originated by Robert Gonzales (see worksheets: Transformation Process & Transforming the Pain of Unmet Needs to the Beauty of the Needs, further details via video directly beneath) – in the spirit of station two of the spiral of the Work that Reconnects, also known as ‘Honoring Our Pain (for the world)’, as we attune both to our NVC practice as well as an inquiry as to how walk this earth that we interdependently inhabit…
“Mourning is about how we meet pain. When we mourn we meet our pain with softness, compassion and embrace.”
Compassionately Embracing Processes:
Abbreviated Exercise on Mourning
(courtesy of Robert Gonzales)
Take your time, and proceed slowly breathing, gently…
1. Name a loss or an experience of unmet needs. 2. What comes up in your experience? a) feelings / thoughts / story — notice any story/judgments about your experience. b) sense the young, wounded energy c) compassionately embrace what comes up. d) find / feel the BEAUTY and what is PRECIOUS in the loss. 3. Celebrate/ feel and dwell in the fullness of the BEAUTY allow the life energy to flow in you.
“Mourning celebrates the aliveness within our sadness. It is a practice that moves us towards equanimity, the consciousness without preference for one state over another, happiness over sadness. We are in touch with the aliveness behind both.”
The Opinion Pages|OP-ED COLUMNIST
What Suffering Does
April 7, 2014
Over the past few weeks, I’ve found myself in a bunch of conversations in which the unspoken assumption was that the main goal of life is to maximize happiness…
Beneath is an excerpt from article: What Suffering Does (see link to read in its entirety)
…But the big thing that suffering does is it takes you outside of precisely that logic that the happiness mentality encourages. Happiness wants you to think about maximizing your benefits. Difficulty and suffering sends you on a different course.
First, suffering drags you deeper into yourself. The theologian Paul Tillich wrote that people who endure suffering are taken beneath the routines of life and find they are not who they believed themselves to be. The agony involved in, say, composing a great piece of music or the grief of having lost a loved one smashes through what they thought was the bottom floor of their personality, revealing an area below, and then it smashes through that floor revealing another area.
Then, suffering gives people a more accurate sense of their own limitations, what they can control and cannot control. When people are thrust down into these deeper zones, they are forced to confront the fact they can’t determine what goes on there. Try as they might, they just can’t tell themselves to stop feeling pain, or to stop missing the one who has died or gone. And even when tranquillity begins to come back, or in those moments when grief eases, it is not clear where the relief comes from. The healing process, too, feels as though it’s part of some natural or divine process beyond individual control… (continues)
Click here for slide show
In a special message to Congress in February 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson noted: “This generation has altered the composition of the atmosphere on a global scale through . . . a steady increase in carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels.”
LBJ Library photo by Yoichi Okamoto
Fifty years ago, LBJ gave an amazing speech arguing that America shouldn’t pursue economic growth but rather community, nature, leisure time, and happiness.
LBJ: Your imagination, your initiative, and your indignation will determine whether we build a society where progress is the servant of our needs, or a society where old values and new visions are buried under unbridled growth … Worst of all expansion is eroding the precious and time-honored values of community with neighbors and communion with nature. The loss of these values breeds loneliness and boredom and indifference…
[The Great Society] is a place where man can renew contact with nature. It is a place which honors creation for its own sake … We have always prided ourselves on being not only America the strong and America the free, but America the beautiful. Today that beauty is in danger. The water we drink, the food we eat, the very air that we breathe, are threatened with pollution. Our parks are over-crowded, our seashores overburdened. Green fields and dense forests are disappearing.
A few years ago we were greatly concerned about the “Ugly American.” Today we must act to prevent an ugly America. For once the battle is lost, once our natural splendor is destroyed, it can never be recaptured. And once man can no longer walk with beauty or wonder at nature his spirit will wither and his sustenance be wasted.
“On July 28 Senator Tim Wirth of Colorado, along with 18 co-sponsors from both political parties, introduced the National Energy Policy Act of 1988, calling for a 20% reduction in US carbon dioxide emissions from 1988 levels by the year 2000. In a September speech to the Royal Society, British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher expressed concern about climate change, ozone depletion, and acid rain, echoing Roger Revelle’s language about the global experiment that was now underway, noting that the five warmest years in a century had all been in the 1980s and reminding her audience of the vulnerability of the Maldives to sea level. It was an election year in the United States, and the Democratic Party promised in its platform to ‘address…the greenhouse effect’. George Herbert Walker Bush, the Republican candidate, promised to counter the greenhouse effect with the ‘White House Effect,’ and declared that he would be the ‘environmental president.’ What seemed like a bidding war over emissions reductions continued in November in Hamburg, Germany, when the World Congress on Climate and Development called for a 30% reduction emissions by 2000. The year ended with Time Magazine foregoing the usual ‘man of the year’ in favor of the ‘Endangered Earth’ as ‘planet of the year’ depicting the planet as wrapped in plastic and bound in rope.”
~ Dale Jamieson, Reason in a Dark Time
Can renewable energies provide all of society’s energy needs in the foreseeable future? It is conceivable in a few places, such as New Zealand and Norway. But suggesting that renewables will let us phase rapidly off fossil fuels in the United States, China, India, or the world as a whole is almost the equivalent of believing in the Easter Bunny and Tooth Fairy.
|Honoring Our Pain in the World|
Purpose and Background: This short exercise brings up a lot of energy and can add more authenticity to our despair work. By exaggerating and venting feelings of disconnection, even indifference, which are inevitable in our mass culture, we can achieve greater honesty and sense of wholeness for all that follows. To weep and rage over the conditions of our world can be a profound release. It can also cause some of us to wonder if we are being entirely honest. “If I care so damn much, why haven’t I done something about it?” And sometimes we simply do not feel, at the moment, the degree of grief, concern, or caring that others are expressing. We can wonder then, if we are deficient–lacking in rudimentary compassion–and the sense of numbing or inadequacy can intensify.
“The despair I feel,” said Tom in a workshop at Columbia University, “is that I don’t feel despair. My heart feels like a rock. I’m afraid I don’t care the way the rest of you do.” The rest of us that day were soon grateful for his confession, because it triggered the invention of this process. It ignited much hilarity, and became known for a while as “I am a Rock.”
It is good to do before, not after an intensive despair work process.
Excerpt: … Before giving the first cue or “open sentence,” Joanna usually invites the participants to free themselves from excessive sincerity. That’s because it is a little shocking, and one wonders: is it acceptable to actually express this here? So, as she models, the personal expressions that are invited can start almost humorously, with vigorous exaggeration and gallows humor; they get more honest soon enough.It is helpful, at the start, to provide a rationale: As we relate to what is happening to our world, concern and compassion are not all we feel. There is fed-upness, too, even some strains of callous indifference; if that were not so, we would be living different lives. To be whole, to be present and real, we need to acknowledge those strains as well. To do this helps us identify with what we imagine the larger public feels and preserves us from judgment and self-righteousness as activists. The first “open sentence” allows us to express the resistance and revulsion that can be aroused in us by the continual onslaught of bad news and the overwhelming array of urgent issues, from terrorism to top soil. A phrase to start off with is : “I’m sick and tired of hearing about…” Or “Don’t talk to me about…”; then let it go from there. The scene soon gets loud and often hilarious, and it’s good to let the venting go on for at least five minutes.The second and last Open Sentence is: “I don’t want to hear (or think) about all this, because it makes me feel…” Here the mood shifts, as people find themselves expressing the very things they had doubted they felt, or had feared to feel. Allow several minutes for the response. Then the process is repeated with Partner B. Read more…
Something Is Seriously Wrong on the East Coast—and It’s Killing All the Baby Puffins
Disappearing puffins, stray whales, invading sailfish: The North Atlantic is in a bad way. Here’s why.
Project Puffin‘s live cam.
Climate Change Not a Top Worry in U.S.
U.S. concerns with the quality of the environment dropped in 2014
This article is the first in a series that will analyze Gallup’s latest March update on Americans’ views on climate change and examine how these views have changed over time. The series will explore public opinion on the severity and importance of climate change, its causes and effects, the extent of Americans’ understanding of the issue, and much more.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Twenty-eight U.S. senators held an all-night “talkathon” Monday to call attention to climate change, an issue that only 24% of Americans say they worry about a great deal. This puts climate change, along with the quality of the environment, near the bottom of a list of 15 issues Americans rated in Gallup’s March 6-9 survey. The economy, federal spending, and healthcare dominate Americans’ worries.
This was the first year Gallup included “climate change” in the list of worries tested in the annual March Environment survey. Americans are less worried only about race relations than they are about climate change. The majority of Americans say they worry about these two issues “only a little” or “not at all”; more than half of Americans worry about the other 13 issues at least “a fair amount.”
Thirty-one percent of Americans indicate that they worry “a great deal” about the quality of the environment this year, marking the lowest level of worry about the environment more broadly since Gallup began measuring this in 2001. Americans were most concerned about the environment in 2007, when 43% worried a great deal.
A major challenge facing scientists and organizations that view global warming as a major threat to humanity is that average citizens express so little concern about the issue. Many climate change activists have attempted to raise awareness in recent years, as evidenced by the recent U.N. report. Former Vice President Al Gore has been active in raising the alarm about the potentially disastrous impact of global warming, including in a documentary and a book. But the data at the national level show that none of this has changed Americans’ worry about the issue in any lasting way — perhaps reflecting the strong counter-position taken by many conservative thought leaders, and the “Climategate” controversies.
A lack of formal education in general is clearly not a factor in Americans’ failure to be more concerned about global warming; Americans who have not attended college are no less concerned than those with a college degree or postgraduate education.
Politics are important in understanding American attitudes about global warming. The issue has become highly politicized in recent years, and that polarization shows up across a number of indicators. At the core, Democrats appear to have widely accepted the warnings about global warming, and well over half today say they worry about it a great deal. On the other hand, less than 20% of Republicans worry a great deal, while almost two-thirds say they worry only a little or not at all. So long as global warming remains a politically charged issue, it will likely lag behind other environmental issues as a public concern.
Finally, pollution of drinking water is Americans’ greatest environmental worry, and this shows that environmental concerns are — understandably — quite personal, and that worries are highest when issues have a direct effect on daily lives. Some have argued that the extreme cold spells this past winter and the drought in the West are a result of climate change, but Gallup research shows that the majority of Americans think these are normal weather variations.
The United Nations report mentions calamitous outcomes from continuing global warming that would affect the world’s food supply, economies, and ways of life. If any of these possibilities materializes, they may have a distinct impact on Americans’ concerns.
Nick Cohen: Scientists continue to warn us about global warming, but most of us have a vested interest in not wanting to think about it
Nearly 40% are “Concerned Believers” in global warming, others are mixed
PRINCETON, NJ — Over the past decade, Americans have clustered into three broad groups on global warming. The largest, currently describing 39% of U.S. adults, are what can be termed “Concerned Believers” — those who attribute global warming to human actions and are worried about it. This is followed by the “Mixed Middle,” at 36%. And one in four Americans — the “Cool Skeptics” — are not worried about global warming much or at all.
The rate of Concerned Believers has varied some over the past decade and half, but is currently identical to the earliest estimate, from 2001. Over the same period of time, the ranks of Cool Skeptics have swelled, while the Mixed Middle — once the largest group — has declined modestly.
A new study confirms there is strong scientific consensus that human activities are causing the planet to warm. 97 percent of scientific papers (that take a stance on the issue) agree, the study finds…
“Over many years of research, we have consistently found that, on average, Americans view climate change as a threat distant in space and time–a risk that will affect far away places, other species, or future generations more than people here and now,” concludes a Yale report that Kloor cites.
Annual “new study” finds 97% of climate scientists believe in man-made climate change; public consensus sure to follow once news gets out
(The Cultural Cognition Project at Yale Law School)
That’s eight [GOP congressmen who’ve endorsed climate change science] out of 278, or about 3 percent.
California Gov. Jerry Brown claimed that virtually no Republicans believe in climate change science.
The full text of McKinley’s amendment reads:
None of the funds authorized to be appropriated or otherwise made available by this Act may be used to implement the U.S. Global Change Research Program National Climate Assessment, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Fifth Assessment Report, the United Nation’s Agenda 21 sustainable development plan, or the May 2013 Technical Update of the Social Cost of Carbon for Regulatory Impact Analysis Under Executive Order
In other words, the House just tried to write climate denial into the Defense Department’s budget. http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2014/05/22/3440827/mckinley-climate-pentagon-climate-change
Elias Isquith: After noting that, in recent years, the GOP has taken a step backwards when it comes to addressing climate change, Gore claimed the reason “why they have all cowed into abandoning” their previous recognition of climate science is not “particularly complicated.”
Republican politicians, said Gore, will “face primary opponents financed by the Koch Brothers, and others who are part of their group, if they even breathe the slightest breath of sympathy for the truth about climate science.”
“It’s not really that complicated,” he added.
Debate That Divides:
On Climate, Republicans and Democrats Are From Different Continents
1991-2012 average temperature compared with 1901-1960 average
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: The assessment is clear: Not only is climate change a problem in the future, it’s already affecting Americans. It’s increasing the likelihood of floods, increasing the likelihood of drought. It’s increasing the likelihood of storms and hurricanes. It’s having an impact on our agriculture. It’s having an impact on our tourism industries. And people’s lives are at risk. So, the emphasis on the climate action plan that I’ve put forward, as well as this assessment, is there are things we can do about it, but it’s only going to happen if the American people and people around the world take the challenge seriously.
The year has already produced three alarming reports involving climate change.
The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reaffirmed the overwhelming consensus among scientists that the planet is warming, that humans and the burning of fossil fuels are largely responsible, and that the world must take aggressive, concerted action.
The federal National Climate Assessment described frightening changes, including unusually severe and persistent droughts, already occurring in the United States. And two weeks ago, two groups of scientists reported that the West Antarctic ice sheet had begun to disintegrate irreversibly, a process that, over centuries, could cause a large and destructive rise in the oceans. Despite all this, many leading politicians continue to dispute the science and resist any effort to regulate and reduce the emissions of carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas… Continue reading the main story
“A strikingly large amount of scientific material [was] stripped out,” says David Victor, a political scientist at the University of California, San Diego.
Rajendra Pachauri, chair of the IPCC, said nobody on this planet is going to be untouched by the impacts of climate change.
RAJENDRA PACHAURI: There is a reason for the world not really neglecting the findings of this report, because they are profound. And let me repeat once again, we have said very categorically in this report, the implications for human security. We have reasons to believe that if the world doesn’t do anything about mitigating the emissions of greenhouse gases and the extent of climate change continues to increase, then the very social stability of human systems could be at stake.
New Scientist: Climate report 2014: Your guide to the big questions
(Image: Holger Leue/Getty)
The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has just released its latest assessment of climate science. New Scientist looks at what it says, how things have moved on since last time – and what this all means for our future.
UN report raises climate change warning
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Working Group II report is now out.
This is the second of a series from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) due out this year that outlines the causes, effects and solutions to global warming.
This latest Summary for Policymakers document highlights the fact that the amount of scientific evidence on the impacts of warming has almost doubled since the last report in 2007.
In the words of the report, “increasing magnitudes of warming increase the likelihood of severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts”.
“Before this we thought we knew this was happening, but now we have overwhelming evidence that it is happening and it is real,” said Dr Saleemul huq, a convening lead author on one of the chapters.
Michel Jarraud, secretary-general of the World Meteorological Organization, said that, previously, people could have damaged the Earth’s climate out of “ignorance”.
“Now, ignorance is no longer a good excuse,” he said.
The report details significant short-term impacts on natural systems in the next 20 to 30 years. It details five reasons for concern that would likely increase as a result of the warming the world is already committed to.
These include threats to unique systems such as Arctic sea ice and coral reefs, where risks are said to increase to “very high” with a 2C rise in temperatures.
As grim as the Working Group 2 report on impacts is, it explicitly has very little to say about the catastrophic impacts and vulnerability in the business as usual case where the Earth warms 4°C to 5°C [7°F-9°F] — and it has nothing to say about even higher warming, which the latest science suggests we are headed toward.
The report states:
“Relatively few studies have considered impacts on cropping systems for scenarios where global mean temperatures increase by 4°C [7°F] or more.
“… few quantitative estimates [of global annual economic losses] have been completed for additional warming around 3°C [5.4°F] or above.”
D’oh! You may wonder why hundreds of the world leading climate experts spend years and years doing climate science and climate projections, but don’t bother actually looking at the impacts of merely staying on our current carbon pollution emissions path — let alone looking at the plausible worst-case scenario (which is typically the basis for risk-reducing public policy, such as military spending).
By KENNETH CHANG
With every day, it seems, comes new evidence that the thawing of the world’s glaciers and the ice sheets of Greenland and Antarctica is accelerating.
Global Warming & Climate Change
Steen Ulrik Johannessen/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
Climate models and the latest IPCC data reveal four possible futures for global population, economy and environment at the end of this century
Friedman: Memorial Day 2050
Of the many things being said about climate change lately, none was more eloquent than the point made by Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington State in the Showtime series “Years of Living Dangerously,” when he observed: “We’re the first generation to feel the impact of climate change and the last generation that can do something about it.”
Beneath is from link above – Terry Patten‘s interview w/ Joanna Macy:
The 4 Stations in the spiral of the Work that Reconnects:
1. Opening to Gratitude
2. Honoring our Pain for the world
3. Seeing with New Eyes
4. Going Forth
JM: “…it’s a revolutionary act to be thankful for what you are and what you have in this moment.”
Joanna says that the second station is another revolutionary act, one that defies a different cultural taboo—against knowing and honoring our pain. Our dominant culture lives out an unstated conspiracy of silence that enlists our complicity in the destruction of our planet and its chemistry, climate and life forms. We remain silent because having a sense of alarm, concern and grief for the world and each other is tacitly pathologized as depressive and antisocial—a private maladjustment. “There is a whole pharmacy closet with which we can address the feelings of despair and depression that come up…” Waking up, raising our voices and speaking the truth of our pain and the world’s pain is a profound and necessary slap in face. I added another observation—that the deepest part of this voyage is to break the taboo that’s internally structured into our own psyche and cross the river of our own denial.
Joanna was careful to point out that this is not a cathartic process, where we discharge our personal pain. Rather it is a process of recognizing our pain for what it is and sharing it with others, and simply being with it. Thus it is reframed as an expression of our capacity to suffer with our world. (To “suffer with” is the root meaning of the word “compassion”.)
A basic shift of identity takes place once we open to this suffering with the world; we begin “seeing with new eyes”. The separate, isolated self opens into widening circles of care. Even our identity expands as our interdependence becomes palpably obvious… (continues)
FYI ~ Listen to the full dialog here.
More on Joanna Macy’s Spiral/Honoring-Our-Pain-for-the-World:
|By Dori Midnight|
Stay tuned for June’s “Seeing with New Eyes”
The incredible recent decline in the cost of renewable energy, solar power in particular, have improved the economics of climate change.