Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The Secret of Being Happy



File this under "something I already knew but couldn't articulate." You can choose to be happy. It's a frame of mind, a choice, and maybe should even be looked at as your obligation: to yourself, your family, friends, and even the world. Here's the substantiating article and a video:

The Secret of How to Be Happy

Harvard psychologist Dan Gilbert says that you ‘synthesize’ your happiness. That you have a ‘psychological immune system’ that helps you change your views about your world, in order to feel better about the world in which you find yourself.

Not only that, he also maintains that when we imagine what could make us happy, such as new clothes or winning the lottery our brains are invariably wrong in advising us that those things will make us happy. In fact, statistics show that paraplegics are just as happy as lottery winners one year after the event of either becoming injured, or winning the lottery!

We tend to think that getting things such as a job, a new car, or a trip around the world is what will make us happy. However, studies have shown that we make ourselves happy by simply imagining that we are happy. So getting what we want doesn’t actually have anything to do with being happy.

Why is this?

Your prefrontal cortex works as an experience simulator, which means you can imagine an experience in your head before you try it out in real life. This ability is essentially what brought humankind out of the trees and into shopping malls – it allows you to desire things and events, imagining they will make you feel a certain way. The problem is that your simulator works rather poorly. In reality, gaining or losing something turns out to have far less impact and duration than you expect them to have. After about three months, the event (or item) has virtually no impact on your happiness…

Here's a direct example of how the upper right quadrant (the physical brain) can affect the upper left quadrant (what goes on inside the brain. i.e., your thoughts), and how we can mentally alter the upper left interior to affect the upper right exterior, or physical. The article goes on to say:

So, your ability to create “synthetic” happiness is in fact your key to sustained happiness. Which, by the way, is very real, even though it is not “natural.” Synthetic happiness is a choice you make when you don’t get what you want, whereas natural happiness is what you feel when you do get what you want. However, you often don’t get exactly what you want.

Additionally, your belief that being able to change your mind will increase your happiness turns out to be completely false. Your ‘psychological immune system’ actually works best when you’re totally stuck, when there’s no turning back and making other choices, because that is when your mind can find a way to be happy with your reality.

This is vitally important, beyond the obvious fact that being happy feels better than being unhappy. In fact, there is little doubt about the powerful effects positive emotions can have on your physical health and well-being. At the same time, there is equally little doubt about the effects that negative emotions can have on you.

For me, happiness is being fully present in the moment and experiencing and appreciating whatever is happening right now.

Read the full article here.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Integral Warriors: Embodying the New Masculine, Meeting 3

Our men's group, Integral Warriors, Tuesday meeting will be about Chapter 3, Live As If Your father Were Dead, from David Deida's book, The Way of the Superior Man.

We'll be centering our check-ins around this (unless someone has a pressing need for something else) and continue a larger conversation during the discussion portion of the meeting. I'll be asking what does "Live As If Your Father Were Dead" mean? Does it mean you'll now live your life differently? Why? How? Do an activity today and tomorrow that you've avoided because of your father's expectations. Prepare to talk about what that feels like and how it frees you.
These are questions for all men to ponder as we step up and stand in our power.
An excerpt from Blue Truth:
A Spiritual Guide to Life & Death and Love & Sex by David Deida
David Deida sheds light on the spiritual practice of openness and what that means in terms of relationships, self-realization, and our emotional life. Here is an excerpt.

"Right now, and in every moment, you are either closing or opening. You are
either stressfully waiting for something — more money, security, affection — or
you are living from your deep heart, opening as the entire moment, and giving
what you most deeply desire to give, without waiting.

"If you are waiting for anything in order to live and love without holding
back, then you suffer. Every moment is the most important moment of your life.
No future time is better than now to let down your guard and love.

"Everything you do right now ripples outward and affects everyone. Your
posture can shine your heart or transmit anxiety. Your breath can radiate love
or muddy the room in depression. Your glance can awaken joy. Your words can
inspire freedom. Your every act can open hearts and minds.

"Opening from heart to all, you live as a gift to all. In every moment,
you are either opening or closing. Right now, you are choosing to open and give
fully or you are waiting. How does your choice feel? . . .

image: http://www.nmazca.com/fractalism/

Saturday, October 27, 2007

State of the Planet, in Graphics

"Just because you're paranoid, it doesn't mean they aren't out to get you." - anon.

Globally human populations are growing, trade is increasing, and living standards are rising for many. But, according to the UN's latest Global Environment Outlook report, long-term problems including climate change, pollution, access to clean water, and the threat of mass extinctions are being met with "a remarkable lack of urgency".

An integral approach requires one to look from all perspectives.

from BBC News.
State of the planet, in graphics

Friday, October 26, 2007

How Women Will Save The World

It took humanity approximately 165,000 years to reach a billion people on this planet. Since that happened in the 1800's, it's only taken about 200 years for that billion to turn into almost seven billion, each billion being added exponentially faster. Not even accounting for climate change, or Global Warming, we're on a path that cannot be sustained.

There's a couple of generally accepted theories on how this will get fixed. One is that technology will save us, i.e., condoms and birth control, but a little research shows that ain't working. The other is to raise the standard of living of the Earth's population. The problem with that is that it would take four Earth's to raise the world's population up to the poverty level in the US. Even if that could be done, poverty level consciousness doesn't stop having babies.

No, it is only women, the Divine Feminine, that can possibly save us. The reason for that is that we know the only consistent element in population control is the empowerment of women. When women are educated and self-sufficient, birth rates go down in every culture and society.

Feminism may have it's down sides (doesn't everything?), but as the pendulum swings from the extreme back to the conscious evolution of the feminine, and women continue stepping into their power, we'll all be a lot better off.

Not good news for those desperately holding on to patriarchal power, but good news for the rest of us!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Deja Vu on 1984 - War is Peace & Peace is War

For years the Bush administration has been illegally wiretapping Americans' phone calls with the willing assistance of major telecom companies like Verizon and AT&T. Now the White House is putting enormous pressure on Congress to give phone companies retroactive immunity for all the laws they broke spying on innocent Americans.

Here's why: The pending lawsuits against these companies may be the only way we ever find out how far the Bush administration went in breaking the law. President Bush wants immunity for them to cover his own actions.

The problem is, some key Democrats are poised to help him do it. We need to speak out loudly against this move. I just signed a petition urging Congress to reject immunity for lawbreaking phone companies. Can you join me?


Thanks!

Play, Practice, Flow

Nice summation of a basic Integral Life Practice over at Flow. This attention to the type of life one leads is fundamental to living a fully integrated life. In the article, Michael suggests that "everything after one realizes kosmic-wholeness become PLAY."

I've occasionally glimpsed this in my own life when I'm not being overwhelmed by everything. I guess that's why it's called "practice."

Image from Digital Expressions

Monday, October 22, 2007

Enjoy Every Sandwich: An Account of a Personal Shamanic Journey Through Breathwork

This is the very personal and courageous story of one man's journey through a day long Shamanic Breathwork that recently took place here in Seattle with our Shamanic Breathwork Group, which meets approximately once a month. I offer it here with the author's permission with no comment, except for this powerful process, and the journeyer, who asked not to be identified, to speak for itself. - Gary

10-13-2007:
Today I attended a shamanic breathwork workshop at Gary Stamper’s house, facilitated by Jeff Burger. The first thing Jeff did as we were gathering for the workshop was to invite each of us to pick a tarot card from where he had them spread out in a circle. One card was directly in front of me, a corner pointing directly at me, so I picked it – The Knight of Wands. This was from the Crowley Tarot and the knight was on a horse rampant, facing left. His cloak spread out behind the horse to where it looked like flames under and behind the horse. In his left hand he was thrusting forward with a wand that was a burning firebrand.

Jeff had a way of explaining the Tarot that was so much more clear and intelligible than anything I’ve read and I wish I could remember everything he said about the Knight of Wands. What I do remember: The wands are creative, masculine, fire energy and the knight of wands is the manifestation of the mature masculine. He has come through the fire and is now able to take that creative fire energy out into the world and wield it for good – or something to that effect. This spoke to me of wisdom, skillful means and the ability to manifest my passion in the "real world" in a creative and meaningful way and I said, “Well that’s certainly where I’d like to be!”

The breathwork technique is pretty simply, deep, belly breathing at a slightly rapid rate that induces a bit of hyperventilation. I started out breathing deeply and felt my hands starting to tingle and sweat. At some point I was working at it and thought, “this is too much work, why is nothing happening?” At that thought I backed off and just went on breathing more normally. This did not produce any “results” so I started breathing deeply again thinking, “I’m not quitting, I’m not giving up on this.” I kept going but still nothing was happening and I began feeling a little disappointment. I remember thinking that if nothing happened I certainly would not be coming back for any more of these workshops. I backed off yet again and started breathing more normally, then gathered my resolve once more and began breathing the technique again.

As I kept up the breathing I started feeling really hungry, to the point of distraction, and had a vision of the pastrami on rye sandwich I’d brought for my lunch. I became completely preoccupied with this and found myself wishing this whole thing were done so that I could eat my sandwich. I felt frustration that I was preoccupied with eating lunch and then it struck me as really odd that I had come here for this experience and the only thing I wanted was to quit and go eat my pastrami on rye sandwich.

At that point my hands were getting numb and were cramping from the hyperventilation. This didn’t bother me as I knew what it was and I knew it would go away on its own. I had a sense that I was experiencing the torticollis in my hands rather than in my neck and I was able to kind of “play” with this feeling. I realized at that moment that my neck was not bothering me at all, it had transitioned to my hands, and I felt tickled by this, I chuckled just a bit. The sandwich was still in my mind however and I began to see a dark tunnel before my vision, the shamanic tunnel to the underworld, but there was this giant, luminous pastrami on rye sandwich hovering just inside the entrance to the tunnel. This again struck me as both odd, and frustrating. I knew without a doubt that I was on the very verge of slipping into the altered state of consciousness and launching into the shamanic journey I had come here fore, but I was still preoccupied with this damned pastrami on rye sandwich. And then something switched on in my mind and I realized I was “there.” I wasn’t distracted by the pastrami on rye, the pastrami on rye was the message – or more precisely, the symbol of the message, and I suddenly had this expansive sense of both the grand humor and comedic irony of life. I began to laugh. I laughed and laughed, a deep belly laugh. And that part of me in the back of my mind that stayed conscious realized that this was the trigger and I was now fully into the journey.

Then as I was laughing, still seeing this pastrami on rye sandwich hovering within the tunnel to the underworld, the words came to me; “Eat every sandwich,” and I instantly had this sense of both grief and admiration for Warren Zevon and all of those who, like him, had died a heroic death;* that, and by implication the loss of all loved ones, and shining stars; but also of the loss of life one experiences, and more precisely that I have experienced, when we go through life not “eating every sandwich,” not living life fully. And then I began to cry. I cried for a long time, cried deeply, and that kind of general, all inclusive grief turned to very specific grief for the loss of my Dad twenty years ago now, and I began crying even deeper. I remember feeling like I was reaching into the tunnel, which was still present, like I was trying to reach across the threshold and embrace my Dad. Pull him back. I kept half sobbing his name, but I was still self-conscious enough not to do so completely out loud (unfortunately)

There was a profound sense of the loss of my Dad and a feeling of, “I’m not ready for this.” I’m not ready for dad to be gone, I’m not ready for the responsibility, I’m not ready to be a man, I’m not ready to be a father, a husband, a (profession deleted), etc., etc. And there was a sense of having never fully lived up to all of these responsibilities because of my lack of ability to “Enjoy every sandwich” to be fully present and comfortable in my own skin at any given moment in time. And I cried for a long time, and even when the crying was done and I lay there relaxed and spent, I still dwelt in this space and kept these things in mind. This was a gift. I remembered what Mac Hall had told me in preparation for the Native American Church ceremony he had invited me too so many years ago, “At some point during the night the medicine [Peyote] will speak to you” – and he was right. Here I felt the same thing; The medicine had spoken to me, given me a gift. The gift was the message, certainly, but more profoundly, it was the experiencing of having, for the very first time in my life, reached down and touched that place of deep grief which I have known for long that I must open up, but have never known how to get there.

Hmmm, I wonder what would have transpired if I hadn’t stopped into the Safeway in the morning and bought that Pastrami on rye.

* I recalled the quote here as “Eat every sandwich”, but the actual quote was “Enjoy every sandwich.” This was Warren Zevon’s response when David Letterman asked him what advice he had for folks as he, Zevon, was facing immanent death from terminal cancer. “Enjoy every sandwich” was Zevon’s irreverent way of saying live life fully so that there will be no reason for regret at the end. Despite my “misquote” during the breathwork, it was the meaning of the quote that affected me regardless.

After not having visited a doctor in 20 years, Zevon was diagnosed with inoperable mesothelioma in 2002. Rather than wallow in self pity, Zevon boldly took responsibility for the hard “rock and roll” life he had lived; booze, drugs, smoking, etc., and accepted his impending death openly. Zevon chose to eschew treatment for the cancer so that he could record a final album with many of his friends; knowing all the while that the treatment may have extended his life, but would otherwise be incapacitating and would have negatively affected his ability to complete his final project. On September 7th, 2003, Warren Zevon died in his sleep shortly after laying down to take a nap. I had been a fan of Zevon’s work for many years and the manner in which he faced his death is a great inspiration to me and makes him, in my eyes, a giant among men – a true hero.

Reflection on (my) Conscious Relationship

Anyaa left again late last night, on a red-eye home. After spending almost 10 days (and nights) together in Seattle this month, she arrived in North Carolina this morning and was picked up at the Asheville airport by a friend and Anyaa's amazing Shamanic Girl Dog, Miss Lily, a Westie Terrier.

We'll have 23 days apart this time, when she comes back out to work for three days just before Thanksgiving. On Thanksgiving Day, I fly to Asheville to spend five days with her at Isis Cove, a conscious community where Anyaa lives and works when she's not travelling.

This Thursday will mark our one year anniversary of meeting in person in this incredible and impossible long-distance relationship, which would not have been possible without her profession as a transpersonal~shamanic psychotherapist and her international work empowering women that takes her away from home, and to me at least once a month.

That we've found our soulmates and each other's Beloved is not in question.

I took this photograph of this amazing tree that lives just a few blocks from my house. Anyaa and I pass it on our walks on our way to a park bench that overlooks Puget Sound here in Seattle where we sit and discuss our dreams, our desires, our hopes, and our sacred offerings with the Universe. That Spirit responds is also not in question.

Back to the tree. The tree has one base. Both of the trees grow out of the same roots, one, and then individuate into what appears to be two trees, standing beside one another, differentiated but not separate. Much like Anyaa and I. We are one, even though we live our own individuated lives, we are not separate. As with all of us, we are all connected, made from the same stardust, part of a greater whole. This realization, this awareness, is one of the paths of sacred relationship, and one of the ways that relationship can serve a higher consciousness.

I pray you've found, or will find, your beloved.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Peak Oil and The End of Suburbia

video

Several months ago I began writing an article for one of the sign industry trade magazines about Peak Oil and what the impact would be on the industry that I've been a part of for the last 25 years. As a former sign company owner, general manager of the second largest sign company in Reno, an oft-published author for sign trade magazines, and as a consultant who specializes in turning around and managing sign companies, I am immanently qualified to write about the industry.

I started thinking about the article with the premise that paints, vinyls, digital printing, manufacturing, and almost everything that makes our industry possible, including energy, was going to be in short supply, and that sign company owners should make plans to switch to as many other technologies as possible to protect themselves, their businesses, and their employees.

As I began my research into Peak Oil for the article, I started discovering some disturbing things: That the problem was far more serious than I had imagined, and that scientific conclusions from the best paid, most widely-respected geologists, physicists, bankers, and investors in the world, many from varying political ideologies, all rational, professional, conservative individuals who are absolutely terrified by the phenomenon known as global "Peak Oil."

Realizing that what I had to write about to tell the truth about my conclusions would never be published in any of our trade magazines, I dropped my plans for the article.

In the U.S., our "peak oil" came in the '70's when we began importing more oil than we were exporting, and has been dropping steadily ever since. We simply did not have the continuing resources to meet out national thirst. Consequently, we started buying from other sources.

Globally, most experts are saying that worldwide "peak oil" has occurred, or will occur, between 2004 and 2008, and best estimates indicate it happened in 2005. That's when Worldwide demand will outpace worldwide production by a significant margin. We don't know for sure. What we do know for sure is that everyone, including the Saudis, are lying about their oil reserves (here, here, and here).

This is not a temporary problem. It will be permanent condition, and as I've written here recently, there's no alternative in sight. In a 1999 speech , while still CEO of Haliburton, Dick Cheney stated:

"By some estimates, there will be an average of two-percent annual growth in global oil demand over the years ahead, along with, conservatively, a three-percent natural decline in production from existing reserves.That means by 2010 we will need an additional 50 million barrels per day."


Cheney's assessment is supported by the estimates of numerous non-political, retired, and now disinterested scientists, many of whom believe global oil production will peak and go into terminal decline within the next five years. Many industry insiders think the decline rate will far higher than Cheney predicted in 1999. Andrew Gould, CEO of the giant oil services firm Schlumberger, for instance, recently explained:

"An accurate average decline rate is hard to estimate, but an overall figure of 8% is not an unreasonable assumption."


Last night, we watched the DVD The End of Surburbia: Oil Depletion and the Collapse of the American Dream. With brutal honesty and a touch of irony, The End of Suburbia explores the American Way of Life and its prospects as the planet approaches a critical era, as global demand for fossil fuels begins to outstrip supply. World Oil Peak and the inevitable decline of fossil fuels are upon us now, some scientists and policy makers argue in this documentary.

Carl Jung, one of the fathers of psychology, famously remarked that "people cannot stand too much reality," and this challenges everyone's assumptions about the kind of world we live in, and especially the kind of world into which events are propelling us, and it looks like we're in for a rough ride into uncharted territory.

What's integral got to do with this? Can you see others' perspectives? Can you suspend disbelief long enough to consider that this is a possibility and do some research on your own without dismissing it out of hand? Can you begin an integral approach in solving what can be solved and preparing for what cannot? What if your way of life depended on it? What if your very life, and those of your loved ones, depended on it?

More information

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Integral Perspectives: More Than One Path

Recently, I've been thinking, doing, living, and exploring the many, many different paths to living an Embodied Integral Life. Ken Wilber, who continues to popularize this movement that is both a philosophy and a stage of consciousness, has masterfully built upon on those integral souls who came before and created a framework (the philosophy) that allows the expansion and explosion into Integral Consciousness (the stage).

One of the ways I've been able to step into the embodiment of Integral is through George Leonard and Michael Murphy's Integral Transformative Practice, which created a framework on living an Integral Life that included diet, exercise, meditation, intentions, service, cognitive development and more. A friend and I co-founded the northwest's first ITP group, which lasted for 2-1/2 years.

A couple years ago, Integral Institute introduced the new Integral Life Practice, which has become their branded version of the original ITP from Murphy and Leonard. Well and good.

But these are only a couple of versions of ways to practice the embodiment of Integral. Since then, I've become aware of paths to other Integral practices.

There's the Shamanic approach from the Total Integration Institute in Tucson, Arizona, founded by Diamond and River Jameson, who originally came up with Ken in Marin County in the 70's, and who have developed their own unique and powerful approach to what it means to embody integral consciousness. River and Diamond's process is intentionally integral as they have an embodied understanding and teaching process that is life changing.

There's another Shamanic approach offered from the founders of Venus Rising at Isis Cove in the Smokey Mountains, a conscious community in North Carolina, founded by Starwolf and Brad Collins, who use, among other practices, Shamanic Breathwork as a shadow process which I've written extensively about on this blog. Isis Cove, while not intentionally integral, nevertheless embodies integral practices.

The point of all of this is, that there are many paths to living an Integral Life. Ken's All-Quadrant-All-Lines (AQAL) model and framework puts a philosophical and spiritual construct around what it means to be integral that can be applied to any practices and path. For that, I am eternally grateful.

And now, on with my path.....

Monday, October 15, 2007

GW Bush Wins Nobel Peace Prize!

In an article buried on the back pages of the mainstream print media, and heralded on Faux News at 3am last night, the Supreme Court ruled that Al Gore's Nobel Peace Prize Award has been overturned and awarded to George W. Bush, for the contributions he and his administration have made to global warming.

None of the articles or news mentioned just what those contributions have been.
(note: file under "satire, because some people will, no doubt, not get it)

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Shamanic Breathwork(TM) Process Revisited

Regular readers will remember my earlier blog on why I believe Shamanic Breathwork (TM) is an Integral Process. In fact, in my opinion, it's one the best Integral practices out there.

Today, in Seattle, we held the third regular meeting of the newly-formed SeattleIntegral Shamanic Breathwork(TM) group. We had six men and two women participating in this powerful process.

Since what happens in Las Vegas stays in Las Vegas (and confidential breathwork groups, as well), I can only tell you about my experience.

Led by the skilled SBW facilitator Jeff Berger, who is also a transpersonal Psychiatrist, we dived deep into our individual subconscious minds, producing breakthroughs and realizations that would usually take six months of therapy to uncover. That's one of the beauties of SBW: It's ability to bring up exactly what needs to come up, whether we recognize it or not.

This is my 10th breathwork, and while no expert, I'm not new to it, either. Each experience has been different for me. Today, as I began the controlled breath process and to the loud music designed to touch all of the energy fields of the body, the acid trip-like qualities of the breathwork began to kick in.....It took a while, and I soon realized I needed resistance to kick it in for me. I had my co-journeyer (someone who protects and takes care of us while in this altered state) apply pressure to my stomach that I could push against. That was the beginning of what was to become a rebirth experience, and eventually a state of bliss and non-dual realization through the rest of the process.

Once again, if you have the opportunity, this is a practice that can change your life.

Graphic by Gary; click to enlarge

Thursday, October 11, 2007

My God Can Beat Up Your God

I found this blog through the BlogRush link to the left. Like all mythic based religion, the writer claims to have learned that Allah is not Her Jehovah (although she doesn't say how). Her God is clearly separated from any other false God. You'd be hard pressed to find a more dualistic perspective, except perhaps from same mythic consciousness found in Islam and every other fundamentalist religion. It is, after, the level of consciousness that determines fundamentalism, not a particular religion.

This is a consciousness that divides and separates, that seems concerned with God's wrath and God's love in about a 60/40 split.

I wonder, as I looked for healthy amber/blue aspects of the writing, how later stage consciousness communicates with this thinking? It's certainly not a matter of telling them they have a limited perspective. That would just be preaching at them while they're preaching at me.

It's got to be exposure to later stage consciousness in their own lineage, in this case, later perspective Christianity. People like Father Thomas Keating, and Br. David Steindl-Rast who talk about Contemplative Christianity and embodying Christ-Consciousness within themselves. It's also partly about creating disorienting dilemmas that cannot be answered by their present stage of consciousness. It is also, I think, more attention to being "Christ-Like" through the New Testament, as opposed to the "Angry-God" consciousness so prevalent through the old testament.

Last, there is only love, because we are all God's creatures and we are not separate: we are one.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Spiritual Exploration for Men

Drinking beer, sports, and watching TV can be a lot of fun for men, but they're not exactly ways that we can push each others' edges. Being masculine at later stage consciousness, and living the life men most deeply desire, requires that we face our fears, open against the urges to close down, overcome what's getting in the way of our inertia, find our direction, and be authentic.

The Men's Challenge Deck, by Rob Biagini, and based on David Deida's book The Way of the Superior Man, is designed to help men connect with their deepest levels. It's purpose is "to create safe, structured situations where men challenge each other to overcome perceived limitations and and learn together from their experiences."
The deck is to be used in groups whose direct purpose is to enhance each member's personal and spiritual growth through the practice of encouraging each man to live at his edge. The men's group I facilitate, Integral Warriors: Embodying the New Masculine. is just such a group.
We are here to encourage, scold, love, challenge, consult with, listen to, learn, cry, and laugh with each other; to share what's going on with each other, in our lives and our missions. Most importantly, this group reflects the truth about myself to me.
We often see ourselves differently than the rest of the world sees us. It can be be both a great gift and shock to receive this kind of feedback. In the words of the Scottish poet Robert Burns:

Oh wad some power the giftie gie us,
tae see ouerselves as ithers see us.

Who Are You? Who Am I?

Turns out I'm a Benevolent Creator! Ha! What a shock! The folks at Personal DNA claim it's your true self revealed. Well, I cannot argue with the results one iota.

I admit I'm a test junkie. I love taking personality and developmental tests. I've done the Enneagram (I'm a 7 with an 8 wing), Meyers-Briggs (ENFP), The Leadership Developmental Profile (couldn't be scored, but believe I'm a strategist, a long story), and many more.

Why do I agree with the results of Personal DNA? Several of us at SeattleIntegral have joked for years that my role as co-founder and long-time leader (finally changing!) has been that of a benevolent dictator. Add that to the creation of SeattleIntegral, now at well over 200 members, and it all adds up.

By clicking on the Benevolent Creator graphic above, you can take the test, too. I urge you to take it (it's free!) and see where you fall.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Change is Good....I think....

Those of you who are regular readers of this blog will notice a slight change. I've added a feature called Blog Rush that's supposed to help increase my traffic (that's it off to the right on the main page).

BlogRush is a free service that was created to help bloggers solve their #1 need: More Readers For Their Blog. By adding the BlogRush Widget to a blog, a blogger can get instant distribution for their latest blog post titles across a network of related blogs.

The only downside I see so far is that you have to categorize your blog., and my choices were Philosophy and Religion and Spirituality. I chose the latter. Well, what do you expect from a 2% of the poulation perspective? I may change later.

Now, I know that I'm going to be linking to all sorts of religious sites. I'll be watching and blocking sites I find that I consider to be unhealthy versions of Blue (Spiral Dynamics)/Amber (Wilber's Altitudes) - mythic, authoritarian consciousness - unless I can tie that blog in with a lesson for a later stage consciousness perspective.

So far, it looks interesting. Out of about 10 sites I've looked at, most are healthy versions and there have been a couple of Buddhist/Yogic blogs that showed up. I also want to find out if there's a way I can recommend sites without actually linking to them. Perhaps some of the rest of you Integral Bloggers might join me!

By the way....I deleted the Integral Salon Conversation with Alex Rollin. It's time to retire a good interview.

UPDATE, Later the same evening: I may change to the Philosophy category later on.....So far, Religion and Spirituality seem far too rooted in Mythic consciousness - g.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

The Integral View Made Simple

Here is an essay created by Lawrence Wollersheim for Integral Spirituality. It's one of the best summaries of Integral I've seen, and perfect for your family and friends who still think we're drinking the kool-aid (yes, I know...they are not paying attention).

I've provided it with a link to another website (actually a series of websites) I highly recommend: Integral Praxis. Some of the best writing and blogging on the Integral Approach out there.
"At this moment in time, a dynamic, new worldview appears to have burst upon the global stage. It is called the integral worldview. A worldview is a meta-paradigm of reality, a unifying cultural consciousness that both underlies and conditions an individual's way of knowing, seeing and acting in the world.

A new worldview emerges when the previous worldview no longer adequately solves new problems that are arising. Each new worldview provides more effective solutions that simply cannot be seen from within the constraints of the previous worldview."
Read the essay, and then visit the rest of the blog. Important stuff.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Sacred Sexuality

I haven't written about relationship, or my relationship, in a while, but I assure you, it is as blessed as it has ever been, with a continuing deepening, a relaxing, and a continued and reinforced knowing for each of us that this is my Beloved. In honor of that, I wrote a ceremonial piece for my beloved as I give her the gift of receiving and relaxing into her most sacred feminine self. This is her time and it is my honor to provide.

We are here tonight
To honor the Goddess
Particularly this Goddess,
Anyaa,
Who honors so many other Goddesses.

We create this Sacred Space
For Anyaa,
Who holds so much Sacred Space
for so many others
on their way to becoming Goddesses.

I call on all Gods
And Goddesses
To sanctify and hold sacred
This time and this moment.

I call on the four directions,
and the earth and sky,
and inhale the fragrance
of this beautiful, sacred woman.

In sacred love, I invite
Anyaa to relax
into her most feminine place
trusting and allowing
this man who loves her
to give her this gift,
in love,
with no expectation,
but simply as a way
to honor her
for the gifts she brings
in service to all.

This is the gift
Of the consort
To the Goddess.

Nothing to do with Integral......

....but way too good not to share!!! (See....I'm not losing my sense of humor!)

- G
video

Friday, October 05, 2007

Alternative Energy Sources: Why They Won't Help

Nuclear, Solar, Wind - they're either antidotes to our petroleum addiction or naive pipe dreams. Here's why each source is destined to succeed - and doomed to fail.

Cellulosic Ethanol
Why it It will work: By converting the sugars found in pant cell walls into fuel, the US could reduce petroleum consumption by 30 percent.
Why it won't work: The enzyme required to convert cellulose biomass into sugar is still too expensive, and current pretreatment processes waste too much sugar. Bad ROI.

Corn-Based Ethanol
Why it will work: Cheaper to produce than gasoline,, and now technologies are reducing the amount of fossil fuel required to make it.

Why it won't work: Converting the US's entire corn crop would produce just 12% of the nation's vehicle-fuel needs and emit only 13% less greenhouse gases.

Geothermal

Why it will work: An MIT report found that the US could produce 100 gigawatts of electricity by 2050 by tapping the heat found in subsurface rock.

Why it won't work: It's hard to access that rock without inadvertently causing seismic activity. Solving the problem could cost $1 billion.

Liquefied coal

Why it will work: At the current production rate, US coal reserves will last for 200 years — and that's not counting potential reserves that we can't yet tap.

Why it won't work: Turning that coal into liquid fuel requires vast amounts of water, an increasingly precious resource.

Nuclear

Why it will work: Zero — carbon — emitting next — gen reactors promise 7 to 17 percent higher efficiency than traditional plants, and they're much less likely to melt down.

Why it won't work: Nukes are a political third rail; nobody wants a reactor in their backyard. And there's no fully safe place to put spent fuel.

Solar

Why it will work: A coming silicon glut will drive down the price of photovoltaic cells. New, thin — film technology could make the method even cheaper.

Why it won't work: Highly refined silicon panels may never be as inexpensive or productive as fossil fuels. Without continued government subsidies, solar could die.

Tidal

Why it will work: Underwater generators can harness the power of tidal motion, potentially costing less than traditional dams and causing less ecological harm.

Why it won't work: Only 40 sites on Earth offer tidal ranges greater than 16 feet, the minimum to make electricity. And those will work for only 10 hours a day.

Wind

Why it will work: Longer, lighter blades have helped double turbine efficiency. Wind at next — gen offshore installations is 90 percent more powerful than on land.

Why it won't work: Where wind is, people aren't. No one has come up with economical transmission and storage solutions for this far — flung, intermittent power supply.

(Source)

Of course, some of these solutions, like wind and solar, are available to individuals, but they do nothing to alleviate the societal needs and the following social and economic collapse that is sure to happen. This is nothing new. Societies have always collapsed. People will survive, but it will be a very different world. This is entirely predictable, given that catastrophic events preclude huge shifts in consciousness, perhaps the price of admission to the global shift many have been waiting for....but it's gonna be painful.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Life After the Oil Crash

(A lot of this is not my writing, but it's my take)

If you've been wondering why the Bush administration has been spending money, cutting social programs, and starting wars like there's no tomorrow, you may have your answer: as far as they are concerned, there is no tomorrow.

As one commentator recently observed, the reason our leaders are acting like desperados is because we have a desperate situation on our hands.

In 2003, the BBC filmed a three-part, relatively apolitical, documentary entitled "War for Oil" about the role the Bush administration's knowledge of Peak Oil played in their decision to invade and occupy Iraq. As the documentary explains, in private the Bush administration sees the war in Iraq as "a fight for survival." From a purely Machiavellian standpoint, they are probably correct in their thinking.

For what it's worth, Bush's Crawford ranch is completely off-the-grid and equipped with the latest in energy saving and renewable power systems. It has been described as an "environmentalist's dream home." The fact a man as steeped in the petroleum industry as Bush would own such a home should tell you something.

On a similar note, Dick Cheney's personal investments indicate he (or more accurately, whoever handles his money) is expecting economic collapse.

Neither Bush or Cheney (or really, any administration) can be honest with the American people about the severity of what is unfolding. If they were honest with the country, half the nation would refuse to believe them while the other half would likely panic.

Here is what I think is the ugly reality. Life After The Oil Crash.

An integral solution? Spiral Wizard Ben Levi from the Spiral Dynamics list writes:

  • Identifying ways to become much more efficient in how we generate and use energy;

  • Downshifting our energy consumption and tapping into alternative energy sources such as solar where we can;

  • Shifting our focus to becoming horticultural- based, where a significant % of the population (i.e. 20-25%) produces food for the rest (not just the 3% in the current agricultural/ energy-intensive model);

  • Designing everything in the spirit of "cradle-to-cradle" design, where everything is food for everything else (no more 'waste' to throw 'away', because there's no more 'away' anymore).
Get self-sufficient in terms of efficiency, food, transportation, and 'cradle-to-cradle' lifestyle. It's certainly going to take major change in all four quadrants to make this happen. Take care of your loved ones and build community.

Integral Warriors, Week 2, con't

Joe Perez, one of the members of Integral Warriors, posted this about his experience of how and why we wait to give our fullest gift. Joe is one of the most fearless and open men I know and I am proud to call him brother.

His powerful book, Soulfully Gay, is must reading for anyone interested in transformation.

Integral Warriors: Week 2

As I move through the process of facilitating the men's group, Integral Warriors: Embodying the New Masculine, based on David Deida's book, The Way of the Superior Man, every meeting, every moment, is a learning experience. I'm not going to be able to write about what some of those experiences are, as it might compromise our vow of only sharing our own experiences with others outside the group.

The problem with being the facilitator is that much of my experience is wrapped up in how others show up.

That eight other men showed up for a second week was truly remarkable to me. Part of being in a men's group is learning how to give whatever our gifts are to the world, and I seem to have a gift. An undeveloped gift, to be sure, but a gift nonetheless.

Last night, over an after SeattleIntegral meeting drink with several SI members, one of the men who is in the men's group was telling others around the table how it is that I hold space for these men, how my wisdom and brave example of opening and telling my truth led the way for others to feel safe in doing the same. Very much appreciated, but I'm by no means the only one doing that.

To me, it's amazing how quickly these nine men are bonding. I shouldn't be surprised. I've seen it happen in mixed groups where shared altered states create a quick, and firm, bond. I've just not seen it done with men. Also, most men who are moving into later-stage consciousness just aren't able to have these kind of open conversations that push our edges with the other men in their lives.

This creates more love and freedom for myself, these men, and the world. It moves us through our fear and allows all us to begin to actualize our personal gifts to the world.

I am honored and humbled to hold space for these remarkable, brave men.