All Things Are Born Of Woman ~ Climate Change & Feminine Leadership (Part 1)
By guest blogger, Joey Walters*
It’s no secret that we are living in a time of extraordinary upheaval and transition, climate change perhaps being the most significant expression of the all-pervading flux in which we find ourselves. Our compromised environment and the related breakdown of political, social and economic structures, have brought us to a doorway, inviting us to let go of isolation and conflict and rediscover the essential wisdom of our interconnectedness.
Prophets and wisdom teachers have spoken of this momentous transition as ‘The Great Turning’; a time when humanity would shift from independence to interdependence, re-turning to living in harmony with the Earth and with one another, as many of our indigenous ancestors did. Joanna Macy speaks of the Great Turning as ‘the shift from industrial growth society to a life sustaining civilisation,’ reflecting the same evolution of consciousness from ‘I’ to ‘we’.
The Great Turning was also heralded as a time when women would ‘lead’ our world into this new era, such prophecies being an affirmation of what many women have long been experiencing. Climate change, starving nations, political chaos, devastating terrorist attacks and continuing bloody wars have been opening our eyes and hearts to the harsh reality of the world we inhabit and stirring women to take action, individually and collectively – not simply re-action, but action that is grounded in feminine wisdom and values, restoring balance to our fractured, patriarchal world.
Environmental lawyer, Polly Higgins, who is leading the global legal movement to enact laws prohibiting ecocide, speaks of women rising as ‘Voices for the Earth.’ We are inspired by Polly and other environmental women leaders like the late Wangari Maathai, who established the pan African grass roots Green Belt Movement assisting women to plant millions of trees; and Vandana Shiva who is courageously committed to feeding our expanding population without harming the Earth.
Many of us are finding the courage to take a stand for our future, not just in the environmental field but in unique ways that are authentic expressions of our feminine gifts and values, working consciously towards Macy’s life sustaining civilisation. But this heart-led call to heal our destabilised world environment, is not just an altruistic impulse to affect change in the world around us. It’s accompanied by a deep, soulful yearning to express, more fully, our authentic feminine nature and power as women.
Over the years of my own journey and in my work with women leaders from all walks of life, I have sensed this ‘call to leadership’ as an invitation from the Earth to rediscover the feminine wisdom known to our ancestors that has been so suppressed and dishonoured by the patriarchy of the age. This ‘re-awakening’ of our innate feminine power brings with it a whole host of conflicting experiences from profound heart-expansion, spiritual epiphanies and creative inspiration, to intense fear, rage, grief and longing for wholeness. Women are trying to make sense, often in isolation, of this tumultuous experience – isolation, of course, being a core facet of the fragmented culture that we can no longer tolerate.
However, we are not as alone as it seems. In this Great Turning from independence to interdependence, we are part of a growing collective movement to heal the disconnection between the out of balance masculine and the feminine that has been suppressed, misrepresented and devalued for generations. Of course, this rebalancing starts from within, hence the emotional turbulence so many of us are experiencing. Beginning with re-embracing the feminine within ourselves and revaluing the natural gifts of our womanhood, I believe we are growing our capacity to re-instate a balanced feminine/masculine world.
Although many passionate men are also waking up to this non-gender based integration of feminine and masculine energy, I’m curious about the potent rise of feminine leaders taking place globally that might, as the prophecies suggest, play a crucial role in fostering a thriving, climate-responsible, life-sustaining future. Women perhaps are one of the greatest untapped resources on our planet.
The question we might ask ourselves individually and collectively as women is: ‘What is my/our role in co-creating a new ‘culture of care’ for ourselves and our world, and how can I/we resource ourselves to play it?’ (This is an essential inquiry we are bringing to The Women’s Council in October this year; see Notes, below.)
It’s helpful to look back to our indigenous ancestors for guidance. I have always been deeply moved by the stories of Earth based communities who honoured the feminine through their respect and care for women, the Earth and all her inhabitants. In the lineage of Earth Wisdom that I was taught by RainbowHawk and WindEagle of the Ehama Institute in New Mexico, there were ‘Two Sacred Laws’ that embedded this respect for the feminine in their culture:
1. All things are born of woman.
2. No law shall be passed that will harm the children.
These were fundamental ‘laws’ of feminine wisdom, rooted in their understanding of the interrelatedness of all life, that sustained their communities over many generations.
Kurt Kaltreider wrote in Conversations with Chasing Deer:
“Indians know that the strength of the tribe resides in the strength of its women. Did you know that among the Iroquois it was the women, the grandmothers, who decided if war was to be waged? They decided if the lives of the young men should be put at risk, and only if they could see the benefit seven generations into the future did they allow the conflict to occur. It was only right that the givers of life should be given the decision that might destroy it. The grandmothers were also given the power to ask a chief to step down.”
Many indigenous cultures throughout the world, recognised that women, through their wombs, held a ‘Sacred Container’ though which life could flourish. They expanded the presence of this life-enhancing container beyond child-bearing, to leadership within their communities, particularly as guardians of the land but also in political and spiritual roles. They were profoundly connected to and guided by nature and her cycles and received their ‘authority’ from the Earth. Quite simply, women were deeply respected and valued for their embodied feminine wisdom. Likewise, the Earth and nature as a whole were honoured as feminine ~ as the ultimate bearer of life. Throughout the world, women also nurtured their connection to one another, re-Sourcing themselves in Women’s Circles and Councils where they shared their stories and honoured their collective feminine wisdom.
Alongside the impacts of Climate Change, we are recognising the loss and trauma humanity has suffered as a result of these Two Sacred Laws being broken. The suppression of the feminine that has taken place through the dishonouring of women, the Earth and the indigenous cultures that knew how to steward her, has had a profound impact on our well-being (men alongside women) and on our capacity to sustain life.
However, though the consequences are painful to acknowledge, we must remember that this wisdom has not been lost. It was suppressed and, in this Great Turning time, it is beginning to rise again ~ through us. If we are willing to be an open vessel through which it can be re-awakened, then perhaps our primary work as women is to remember how to fully feel and receive, so that we can emanate this authentic care for life, once more, though our leadership.
We may be at a crucial and challenging turning point in our history but we are also at an exciting juncture where we have a choice to continue to feed the status quo or open ourselves to discover a new way forward.
In the words of author, Anais Nin: ‘And then the day came when the risk to remain tight in the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.’
Perhaps, if we have the courage to blossom and hold a nurturing space for the profound transformation we are in, we can put our roots back down into the Earth and re-claim the wisdom and resourcing of our ancestors.
To be continued with Part 2.
* Joey Walters is the Founder of Awakening Feminine Leaders (http://awakeningfeminineleaders.com/). Her work brings nature~based wisdom teachings to contemporary leadership creating a soulful, authentic pathway that allows Feminine Leadership to emerge. She is a gifted mentor and Circle Teacher, fostering women’s Wisdom Circles that awaken personal and collective transformation. Joey is completing her first book based on her successful international series “A Call to Stand.” She will lead a circle at CCC19 to explore the leadership role of women in response to climate change.
Joey, Deborah Jay-Lewin, Margaret Elphinstone and Stephanie Mines, all of whom are involved in CCC19 will speak at a TEDx Findhorn event in the Universal Hall, Findhorn on October 5th, 2017.
Joey is also hosting The Women’s Council (http://awakeningfeminineleaders.com/council/), a retreat to be held at Newbold House, near Findhorn, on October 6th-8th, 2017, as a forum for women to draw on their collective feminine wisdom and re-Source their leadership at this challenging time of The Great Turning.
LEGALLY BLIND: How the Law Interferes with Consciousness
By conference convener, Stephanie Mines, Ph.D.
“Law frustrates the process of transformation by becoming an end in itself. It inoculates us from the real thing, which is always relationship.” Richard Rohr
For most people the Law exists somewhere in an unconscious realm along with God and Queen, enshrined and untouchable. Or else we choose not to think on it at all. In almost every country however, the Law shapes its people emotionally and biologically, usually unbeknown to them. More often than not, the Law creates and maintains an unnatural separation between people. It disrespects the natural world by violating our relationship with it through objectification. The so-called ‘Law of the land’ is an oxymoron; it distorts our perception of, and connection with, the land by classifying it as a commodity.
I have lived for a long time with an environmental attorney who is a lover of, and advocate for, Mother Nature. And yet, until I had talked to Mumta Ito about her organization Nature’s Rights, I hadn’t realized how I had unconsciously allowed the Law to hijack my perception of Nature. She was quick to show me with her fiery love, how I projected onto Nature what I needed it to be, seeking to make it serve my needs, rather than deeply listening to her own true voice.
The shift that is occurring in me as a result, is taking me to another level of perception. Some might call this development ‘shamanic.’ I feel that Nature is communicating with me; I am no longer interpreting Nature. Words do not easily convey this experience, but I know it to be a profound shift in consciousness, one for which I am extremely grateful. I want to share the opportunity to cultivate intimacy with Nature with everyone who attends the Climate Change & Consciousness conference. That is why we have invited Mumta to lead a workshop there. And it’s why we are determined to find sponsorship for indigenous environmental leaders from around the world, particularly those from places already impacted by climate change. Their wisdom will bring forth the resilience and intelligence required to face what is truly an existential crisis. Nature herself can guide us if we can hear her speak.
Watch the video below about Nature’s Rights and open yourself to a refreshing, consciousness shifting relationship with Nature herself. Even if you already consider yourself an environmentalist, conservationist or outdoorsy person, open yourself to the surprise that can occur in really listening to Nature, rather than experience separation from her due to your preconceptions.
Mumta Ito is a lawyer and Founder of the young international NGO Nature’s Rights. She sees law as a vehicle for social transformation in a paradigm of restoration, reparation and healing. One of Europe’s leading advocates for rights of nature and earth jurisprudence, she is also European facilitator of the UN Harmony with Nature expert dialogues and initiator of a European Citizens Initiative to propose nature’s rights to the EU legislative agenda.
About Nature’s Rights: Nature’s Rights (previously Rights of Nature Europe) is a young international non-profit organization committed to establishing rights of nature in law and policy in Europe and around the world. Among its innovations is a Draft EU Directive to codify nature’s rights into European law.
By conference convener, Stephanie Mines, Ph.D.
Ever since we first publicized the conference, Climate Change & Consciousness (CCC19), we have fielded questions like, “Why consciousness?” and “What’s the connection between climate change and consciousness?” This post offers a partial response to such questions.
When humans are confronted with an overwhelming threat, the dominant outcome is activation of an adrenally driven survival response. Dr. Peter Levine was one of the first to document this primitive brain behavior in his best-selling book, Waking the Tiger. Following extensive research into the human stress response, Dr. Bruce McEwen coined the term, “allostatic load,” to describe how the neuroendocrine system becomes destabilized when threat appears.
Climate change is undoubtedly going to present the most serious allostatic load that most humans will ever face.
I have been tracking the pathways of shock and trauma through the human nervous system for forty years. The subtitle of my book, We Are All in Shock: How Overwhelming Experience Shatters Us and What We Can Do about It, summarizes my trajectory. I believe that responses to the shock of climate change will not necessarily follow the accepted norm of simply triggering human survival responses. There is sufficient evidence to suggest that, on the contrary, climate change can catalyze an expansion of consciousness.
Yudith Nieto, for example, lives in the shadow of an oil refinery in Texas and she and her entire community suffer the consequences of toxic exposure. She uses her impassioned voice to tell the world that we must refuse to tolerate the excesses and abuses of the oil industry. Yudith is not only speaking out for herself and her family, she fights for the rights of all marginalized peoples. “I stand with other…communities impacted by the fossil fuel industry,” she says. Yudith is not ordering from the old menu of flight or freeze. Instead, she elects strategic, purposeful action to empower people who have been victimized by corporations that ravage land and life. She joined 350.org and organized her community to participate in the People’s Climate March in the US on April 29, 2017.
A massive forest fire in Montana and then Hurricane Katrina similarly transformed Jay Toups from a 9-to-5 information technology executive into an environmental activist. “Everyone has to have their own carbon epiphany to decide, once and for all, not to be victims of this oil addiction death sentence,” he says. Jay managed to survive Katrina within an inch of his life. The day after he made it out, he quit his corporate job. He observes, “I use my own grief as fuel…as the world churns and burns, I get stronger.” Jay Toups harnessed his creativity to build an alternative fuel company, Bioroot Energy. He devotes himself to educating people about clean fuel sources. “Every issue that is presenting itself on the planet right now is carbon related. The most profound shift in our time is a shift in our understanding and use of energy.”
These examples illustrate how ‘I’ can become ‘We’ in response to the threat of climate change, challenging all of the research about trauma and shock. An entirely new story is being written for the human nervous system.
Shock and trauma have historically caused painful isolation. Victims are often excluded from social interaction due to stigma. They tend to bond with the shame that is projected onto them and either hold back from society or become marginalized outcasts. With climate change however, people who have been silenced by racism, abuse and poverty are pushing back alongside farmers, scientists, attorneys, physicians and parents. These compassionate unions have rarely been forged previously, because never before has a threat been so global and formidable, yet so personal.
Climate change is an ecumenical cry from the Earth, being heard wherever people are listening. It is Nature’s way of advocating for all Her creatures. And it is wedded to the ascent of human collective consciousness. As a victim of toxic algae growth and choking water supply caused by pollution in the Florida Everglades has said, “I want to reweave the tattered web of life for all creatures on this planet.” This kind of compassionate human response is what we mean by the subtitle of CCC19, ‘Our Legacy for the Earth.’
The conference, Climate Change & Consciousness, will amplify this trend toward increased human creativity and resilience. Instead of responding from our animal brains that get mired in memories of previous threat and habituated to the past, we will collectively revitalize our cortical (executive) and neo-cortical (visionary) capacities and infect one another with transformed consciousness.
Join us in Findhorn, Easter, 2019!
Note: If you would like to start now to cultivate your creativity and resilience join CCC19 convener Dr. Stephanie Mines in the workshop, Essence and Empowerment, at the Findhorn Foundation, beginning September 2, 2017.
By conference convener, Stephanie Mines, Ph.D.
In March 2017 the Washington Post reported that a group of high school students in Kansas, working on an article for their campus newspaper, discovered that their newly hired principal was misrepresenting her credentials. While some were initially incredulous, the voices of the young journalists ultimately prevailed and the woman resigned. The Post’s renowned Spotlight team, known for their daring and incisive research, applauded the youth. Their courage and determination won the day. It is exactly these qualities in our youth that will characterize and perhaps define the Climate Change & Consciousness conference in April, 2019 (CCC19).
CCC19 seeks and welcomes the curiosity and passion of young people. We are actively engaged in finding ways to bring young people from all over the world to the gathering. We are calling in youth to help uncover the kind of indefatigable creativity that we need to meet the greatest existential challenge we have ever faced together. We will ensure that their voices are heard and their ideas, acted upon. After all, isn’t it for them that we are called to steward?
Climate change is forcing a shift in consciousness that includes how we prioritize the voices of our youth. The coming together of elders and other mentors with youth will spark emergent and compelling conversations that will occur everywhere, formally and informally, deliberately and serendipitously, during the conference. The minds, hearts, songs, dances, ideas, and brilliance of youth absolutely must be present for this seeding.
Be an actor in the manifestation of the global family that is CCC19 by helping us bring youth there from all over the word. Representative youth can only attend with your support. Give yourself, give them, give us all the gift of their presence. Offer a donation of an amount you can afford by contacting us here. You can specify that you want your sponsorship to go specifically to youth. You can also choose to support a particular young person to attend by registering them for the event here.
Activate your stewardship; help build our global family. We are all in this together. No one can survive climate change alone. Ignite the inclusivity that lives in your heart by reaching out to the youth of the world and telling them, with your sponsorship, that you are ready to listen, ready to hear their voice. Let the child who lives within you, who perhaps was not heard as a youth, feel welcomed into the human family as you welcome a young man or young woman into CCC19.
An Introduction by Bob Yuhnke
to an article in the Guardian titled, Record-breaking climate change pushes world into ‘uncharted territory’
My dearest friends, This article from the Guardian warns that rising global heat bodes ill for humanity. Beware this summer. It’s going to be a scorcher, with massive fires in too many places to be effectively controlled. The climate is quickly approaching the point of no return.
We must demand that Trump invest in securing the American people, and the world, from the true threats to humans. Syrian women and children escaping Isis and Assad and the American news media are the Fake News threats he has conjured up to distract us from his conspiracy with Putin, Exxon, and his corporate cronies to protect their Three trillion $ investments in fossil carbon reserves. Those reserves must stay in the ground to save our planet’s food supply and life support systems.
In the last 60 days, Trump has issued an executive order to cancel EPA’s Clean Coal program, has announced an intent to roll back the tailpipe emission standards for CO2 emitted from cars and trucks, has signed a bill revoking the recent standards for controlling methane pollution from oil and gas drilling, and signed another bill to allow coal mining companies to dump mine wastes into rivers and streams. These actions serve only the special interests of the corporate elite invested in carbon extraction.
These actions confirm that Trump has put the fossil fuel industry in charge of the federal government, with Exxon running the Department of State, Imhofe and his gang of Oklahoma oil industry shills running EPA, and Rick Perry running DOE.
Climate denial is a political disinformation propaganda campaign bought and paid for by the fossil fuel industry. The industry is invested in fossil carbon reserves worth $3 trillion ($3,000,000,000,000,000). . The fossil industry has no investment in protecting the earth, our children, the human food supply, the oceans, the forests or the wild animals that depend for their existence on the health of the oceans and forests.
These are the forces that threaten the future of life on the planet. These are the terrorists of the planet, having gained control over the most powerful government on earth for the purpose of preserving the power of a small economic elite at the expense of humanity and life itself. Those of us dedicated to preserving life on this planet must resist this coup d’tat. We must protest now to protect our health, as strongly as we protested to protect health care.
Resistance begins with eliminating our personal reliance on fossil fuels. Then it moves to supporting policies at the state and local levels to eliminate fossil fuels from our systems for electric power generation and transport. Finally, we must organize to remove the fossil terrorists from power. If that does not work, then we must look to Gandhi and MLK, Jr. for examples of how to use civil disobedience to disable the terrorist fossil state.
Bob Yuhnke with wife, Stephanie Mines (our conference convener).