Life Updates – Deepening into the Great Work

The Great Work before us, the task of moving modern industrial civilization from its present devastating influence on the Earth to a more benign mode of presence, is not a role that we have chosen. It is a role given to us, beyond any consultation with ourselves. We did not choose. We were chosen by some power beyond ourselves for this historical task. We do not choose the moment of our birth, who our parents will be, our particular culture or the historical moment when we will be born. We do not choose the status of spiritual insight or political or economic conditions that will be the context of our lives. We are, as it were, thrown into existence with a challenge and a role that is beyond any personal choice. The nobility of our lives, however, depends upon the manner in which we come to understand and fulfill our assigned role.” ~ from “The Great Work: Our Way into the Future” by Thomas Berry

View from Mt Tuam Buddhist Retreat in Salt Spring Island, home of this year Art of Mentoring

Thomas Berry has been one of the most important influences in my life and this year I’ve exploring his life and work through an extraordinary specialization presented by Yale School of Environment and Forestry and Coursera. I have been waking up to my own role/work within this big picture and training in areas that explore and strengthen the gifts I have to offer. I took a detour that lasted almost 30 years so I now have a sense of urgency…

You may have noticed that I’m positing less and less in the past few months. Many factors have contributed to this: less time to write and share, more focus on my inner resilience and growth, lack of enough feedback from readers which has somewhat affected my interest in continuing sharing, interest for so much that is happening in the world at all levels and requires my 100% senses, etc.

Now that summer is slowly leaving us, a new chapter starts for me, probably the last one when I’ll add so much to my plate, preparing for the big jump which will involve focusing on running my own business and doing more community and 1-1 work as a coach.

Starting this week, I’ll be 200% submerged in learning and experiencing and will have even less time to write. I’ll be also increasing the shedding of my participation on causes and projects that may not serve my work any longer.

This Fall and Winter I’ll be starting or continuing with the following courses:

  • Facilitators Development for the Work That Reconnects based on Joanna Macy and Molly Brown’s books and works (12 months commitment). This training will deepen into how we increase and do this important work by also acknowledging and dealing with oppression, privilege and colonization
  • Foundations of Ecopsychology, to support coaching and healing in deeper and more holistic ways
  • Systems Thinking, as a foundation for any work we do, understanding that all around us and within us, including group dynamics, are systems
  • Values-Based Entrepreneuring and how businesses may be tools for healing and transforming the work with do, going from an unsustainable “volunteering” where we basically kill ourselves and our relationships by using up all our spare hours and energies to creating solutions that allow us to make a living
  • Community Economic Development, studying courses like indigenomics, locanomics, cooperatives and social innovation: tools to co-create solutions with our communities by empowering people to “get out” of an extractive, exploitative and enslaving system and “get into” solutions that will also allow them to earn a living
  • Ecovillage Design Education (Design for sustainability): ecovillages are showing a model of what’s possible for humans to live in harmony with each other and the Earth. This 9-months course (with a 2-week hands-on component) includes all the areas we need to transform ourselves if we want to have a chance as a species
  • Herbalism: basic for any activist is to regain her connection to plants and her own natural way of keeping healthy. This is an ongoing study that will never end, but for now needs to prepare me for a test and a diploma!
  • Ecotherapy: similar to the course above, this is a must for my work as a life and career coach
  • Guitar: I always wanted to play and always loved the sound of this amazing instrument. I have been dedicating a few hours to learn the basics as it has been a type of meditation that I plan to continue…
  • I will continue providing workshops on food sovereignty topics at USB-Farm here, here and here and the Food Bank as well as the Food Skills for Families through the CDA
  • And yes, I’m still working at a NGO serving immigrants and refugees
Music is a portal for reconnecting

A week ago, I also attended to the Salt Spring Island gathering and training called “The Art of Mentoring”. This is a life-changing approach to reconnect with ourselves, each other and nature developed by Jon Young and his team through many decades of being mentored, observing and exploring other cultures, how people learn and change and what is missing in this society.

Survival and Primitive Skills, an old passion of mine and part of the Art of Mentoring approach to reconnect with nature and ourselves

That was an experience that deserves its own post, but for now I just want to share that it has made my commitment in life much deeper and has given me the confidence and strength needed to work on my next step. I brought my 16-year old son with me and it was life-changing for him as well. So much that we are already planning to attend next year.

During that experience, I learned how our un-healthy culture has each of us stuck in different developmental areas, casting a shadow where there should be gifts to the world, joy and celebration of the sacred. I also learned some basic practices that help us to reconnect and regain our gifts, making it easier for us to share them with the world. Some of these practices will be incorporated in my ongoing routine and include:

  • A sit spot: a place in nature where I’m going everyday with no other people nor devices
  • Gratitude, not as a denial of what’s happening in the world but as an empowering tool to keep us strong and grounded
  • Deepening of all our senses
  • Story of the day: sharing or journaling about our connection with nature
  • Wandering through the landscape without destination or agenda
  • Journaling
  • Survival living: I have always had a passion for this and learned survival and primitive skills when I was a teenager, but this year have been adding experiences where I’m stretching my edges more and more

Next year (2018) I plan to continue deepening into all these skills and into what Thomas Berry calls “The Great Work” for which we have no choice but participate with what we are and what we have…my interactions and service to OUR Ecovillage, The Art of Mentoring and similar projects will just deepen further and further, so my blog/s may merge into one or may disappear.

So many things around us we have disconnected from…

There’s so much to do out there to be sitting inside writing…

May your journey lead you to your own inescapable contribution to the Great Work…

Namaste,

Silvia

Cloverdale, BC, September 2017

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