A View Toward the Future using the Ancient Ways

Kim, “You have all these species of plants and animals here… how do you know which combinations to put together for your medicines?”   

Penan Elder, “We know which plants to put together because the plants sing!”

Page 292 – Embodied Awareness, Dr. Beth Hedva

Using less developed nations as our mass factory sights and offshore industrial waste dumps is an old model – a new version of a feudalistic class system/imperialism and colonialism – that is being overlaid onto our emerging global society.  Somehow, many in our society have come to want all of the pretty things with none of the reminders of the costs, inconveniences and damage that go along with obtaining them. Let’s explore more creative ways of sharing resources, empowering all people, and discovering the gifts that each person and nation has to offer.  Let’s find our collective way, and move beyond old models.


 I am curious about your thoughts on how to do this?

  • Envision . . . What would our world look like if we offered greater respect to the ancient and indigenous wisdom and teachings?
  • Consider . . . What are the healing practices of the people whose land is recovering from a disaster?
  • Imagine . . . What our world would look like if we asked for more guidance from those of us who have been through something similar and have learned from the experience?

One model that I like comes from First Nations Elders and friends in Canada.  When entering someone else’s territory, it is important to ask for ‘permission’ to share stories, resources and ideas.  This level of respect for the ways of others, allows for a different kind of relationship; a relationship that does not assume that “my way is the right way”, but instead offers a respectful exchange of ideas and practices.

Only by fully being present and by coming to know ourselves, can we all become the instrument for local, national, international and yes, universal healing.

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“Earth is home to all kinds of life forms, and we all have the right to be here.” Page 219 Betrayal, Trust and Forgiveness, Dr. Beth Hedva

In my last Blog I shared with you some thoughts and information on climate change and how it most impacts developing nations. I also introduced Environmental Justice and how each one of us can and does have an impact on our planet – both negative and positive.  I see that the Earth is now taking us by the hand and reminding us that we are all interconnected. If we injure the earth, we injure ourselves. If we injure nature, we injure ourselves. If we injure other nations, we injure ourselves.

Our lack of this awareness of interdependence reveals itself through mass disasters and is a wakeup call for our spirits to return to ourselves. We are reminded that our current ways of dependency on technology and mass industry is not a means of progress but has become a death threat to the land, air, water, fish, animals, our livelihoods, and our spirits.

Jordglob_i_händer_web wwwps.businessregion.se

As we continue on this journey of Embodied Awareness I ask you to sense your way into your connection to all other life forms on our planet, and where you are right now. Envision, and know, that everything on this planet is a part of your family.  It is natural to feel closer to some members or parts of our family than others, and to feel kinship strongly in certain places and not others.  But ultimately we are all related.  We are able to look out for one another and to stand in solidarity, strength, resilience, patience, and love.

“When in union and harmony with Earth, we have a new relationship with all of life.”

Page 219 – Betrayal, Trust and Forgiveness, Dr. Beth Hedva

“Natural and man-made disasters give people of all nations the opportunity to act collectively.” Page 208 Betrayal, Trust and Forgiveness, Dr. Beth Hedva

Did you know that climate change is impacting developing nations more than all others in our emerging global community?

With disasters repeating themselves every few years along the ring of fire, combined with the time it takes to recover from disaster (usually three years), those in economically developing nations are caught in a vicious cycle of constant loss and destruction.  According to 21st Century Challenges, “The vast majority of lives both lost and affected by natural disasters come from developing countries, underlining the link between poverty and vulnerability to disaster…  At the root of this disparity is poverty.  Simply put, people in wealthier countries have better access to the kinds of resources that help both prevent natural disasters becoming crisies and to cope with them when they do occur.”

Coupled with this natural cycle of volcanic activity, earthquakes and hurricanes, many developed nations exploit resources in less developed nations by using them as their dumping grounds.  For example, it costs only $2.50 per ton to leave hazardous waste in Africa as compared to $250. per ton in Europe.  In 2004 the tsunamis wave that swept across the Indian Ocean uncovered barrels of toxic waste that had been dumped along the Somali coastline; barely 200 km from villages on the Kenyan side of the border.

Let’s ask ourselves, what is “Environmental Justice”?

Victims of Typhoon Haiyan queue for food and water in Tacloban city, in the Philippines.

Victims of Typhoon Haiyan queue for food and water in Tacloban city, in the Philippines.

Over the years a definition has evolved. . .  Environmental Justice means that, every person (and nation) has the right to:

  • Quality of life (regardless of race, ethnicity, class or country)
  • A safe and healthy place to live, work, and play
  • Sovereignty, to manage their own resources
  • Enough natural resources now and for future generations (earth/food, shelter, air, water etc)

As we explore Embodied Awareness and the layers of understanding that in truth we are all interconnected (to the environment as well as all people and all life on our planet), let’s consider how we (as individuals as well as nations) can establish genuine environmental justice in our lifetime.

Please share your thoughts and visions with each other on the blog about the following:

  • How have you created environmental justice?
  • In what ways can you create your own version of environmental justice?

“…we are dependent upon one another, and every part of nature actually, in order to survive. We are not alone, even in our hour of need.” Page 213 Betrayal, Trust and Forgiveness, Dr. Beth Hedva

Your Personal Transformation Makes You an Agent of Social Transformation. Page 175 Betrayal Trust and Forgiveness (Beth Hedva)

As I ease back into the rhythm of sharing blogs with you, I feel the need to loop back around and offer a gentle reminder of what the true goal of Embodied Awareness is, and how we seek to achieve this in a universal way.

Embodied Awareness is much more than just being in touch with our own body’s sensations and feelings.  Embodiment is about Connection. Connection to oneself  and Connection to a greater Awareness that speaks to us through our senses—sight, sound, touch, taste, smell, and even more subtle senses like a gut feeling, empathy, one’s inner voice, inner vision, a sense of knowing and a greater sense of direction or purpose.

In this way, our senses connect each of us, not only to one’s Self (bringing in Self-realization), but also to each other, to our environment, and to our eco-sphere.

In the case of climate change, we are being offered messages from Mother Earth, calling to us to awaken and embody change. Some of us are listening and embodying this awareness and some of us are struggling to accept this.  Far too many of us remain in a state of denial, with negative consequences for ourselves and for those around us.


As the earth quake in Nepal leaves our day to day thoughts; as the “Breaking News” moves on to more current stories; I ask that you remember those who remain in a state of uncertainty and anguish. If you are moved to donate to those in distress from the two earthquakes in Nepal, and want your gift to have more impact, consider a regular small donation over the long haul, ($5 or $10 quarterly) sent to a local on-the-ground organization. I shared my recommendations in my first post, but feel it is important to put this to you again:

  • FSCN (Local Nepalese NGO working with disaster recovery for 20 years)
  • Plan International (Helping orphans, children, families and communities with grass-roots, sustainable community education and social enterprise projects since 1978)
  • MSF \Doctors Without Borders (Medical and public health support)

Regardless of whether you chose to make a donation and/or what agency you chose to give through, I ask that you consider the “bigger picture” and not just give to assuage the shock and helplessness that we all feel in this kind of situation, but  consider giving towards the rebuilding of the communities and in turn all humanity.

“Society is our Collective Body and Humanity is our Collective Soul” – Betrayal Trust and Forgiveness – page 177

In June of 2013, I was putting the final touches on my most recent edition of Betrayal Trust and Forgiveness.  At the opening of Chapter 8, “Betrayal of the Planet: Gateway to a New World”,  I shared with you some information and thoughts around the September, 2004 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) raising its estimate of global warming in this century to a possible 10.8° F.  I also shared about the possibilities of the impact—including an increase in natural disasters: earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions and changes in weather patterns.  And, I also described how, only a few months after the 2004 IPCC report was released, an earthquake off the coast of Sumatra, Indonesia sent a 20 to 30 meter tsunami waive across the Indian Ocean. The wave affected 55 countries from Indonesia to Africa, killing almost a quarter of a million people in its wake.  That event launched a ten-year cycle of increasing international mass disaster recovery work for me—starting with an invitation to train Indonesian psychologists and local volunteer recovery workers in Indonesia (where 170,000 people had died in the tsunami disaster).

A year after the 2013 edition of my book came out – and ten years after the December 26, 2004 S. E Asian tsunami – the IPCC released its latest findings entitled Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability.  This report states, “A key finding of the WGI AR5 is: “It is extremely likely that human influence has been the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century.” [WGI AR5 SPM Section D.3, 2.2, 6.3, 10.3-6, 10.9].”  This is not a surprise to many of us; however scientific evidence is now mounting for those who need it. It may take a while to grow in volume, resonance, and harmony, but the message of Mother Earth, reflected to us, is being mirrored to scientists world-wide to be acknowledged regarding the truth of Climate Change and Global Warming, and our link to these movements.


This acknowledgement from world leaders and scientists, who up until recently have had a deep interest in denying the human impact on our environment, supports the awakening of a new relationship to our Mother Earth. Climate change and “Betrayal of the Planet” is indeed a “Gateway to a New World”—Ultimately the success of our emerging new world is one that is built upon a global community that honors and blends ancient spiritual traditions and indigenous wisdom with scientific knowledge in ways that respect universal ethical principles and cross-cultural healing traditions.

While working in developing nations like Indonesia, and Haiti, and Sierra Leone, I have seen and experienced what I call ‘the disaster of disaster recovery’.  Specifically, the way a hierarchy of Foreign Service Provider’s nongovernmental organizations (NGO’s) swoop in to ‘help victims’, rather than empowering survivors (who comprise local helping professionals, recovery workers and local non-governmental organizations’).  International NGO’s often seem to extend a form of psychological imperialism together with food, shelter and emergency health services.

In the worst cases, I have more than once witnessed an unwitting creation of dependency on foreign NGO’s who send battalions of volunteers with a missionary-like zeal. These charitable ‘heroes’ have the luxury of leaving a few weeks after the shock of the crisis begins to fade from the news headlines. Locals do not have that luxury.   (In fact, disaster recovery research has shown that it usually takes communities THREE YEARS to rebuild after a mass disaster – but, that is a story for another time, and a different blog post.)

I await this next level of acknowledgement from social scientists and world leaders that we are all inter related and that we each must take responsibility for and action in lessening the negative impact on Mother Earth and all those who inhabit her. I encourage all of us to continue on with Embodying the Awareness of our Collective Body and our Collective Soul ; and,  I encourage all of us to Act on what we intuitively know is real; as it is through action that our intuitions are integrated, and made to manifest.