Reciprocity – giving back

Reciprocity – the act of giving back for that what you are grateful for, what you see as valuable or ‘paying back equal’, whether positive or negative. This is my own, free definition of the word that I first stumbled upon in the book Braiding Sweetgrass, by Robin Wall Kimmener. She uses the word as a positive reference, as in paying back to Nature.

You can pay back to Nature by tidying the natural sites you visit, tending to plants, animals and elements, by singing or just … being grateful and expressing it in any way you can.

Pay back to the Land by feeding it with good compost, not using toxic materials and covering up bare land.

Pay back to your people by remembering to thank, to call, to give, to help. It might not be a big deal for you, but it could mean the world to them.

As a child I sometimes brought small presents to the Tree that was my friend, but as I grew up and I saw no one else doing the same, I concluded my action must be childish and stopped. In hindsight I wish I had continued, and that I would have had a mentor – it’s easy to wish, into the future or past. Now I am occasionally making talismans for trees – this seems to be a current in me that needs to flow, so I flow with it.

Earlier this year, I noticed a curious thing happening between me and my Spirit helpers. I was calling upon him and my spirit animal to support me as I was doing healings, and they obliged, but with a growing grudge. When I asked him what was going on, he let me know that he would really like some tobacco, as he had been asking for before. I had given ‘spirit tobacco’, but that’s not what he meant he said. Also my animal ally let me know what he was longing for.

I was puzzled. I didn’t know how to do it properly. A few weeks later, I found that Liv Wheeler from @Kontomble_medicine was giving an online class on the subject. I participated and learned that giving material gifts to our helpers in the spirit world is as real and important as their assisting us in this world. But of course! Now that I knew why and how, our home altar got offers installed, and I built/arranged an outdoor altar as well for our ancestors. The information is pouring in at high speed even now, two months later, the ‘orders’ are pouring in and I’m understanding increasingly more about how this reciprocity thing, between the spirit world and ‘our world’, works.

And how energy, goods and cravings work! It seems that in our daily, mind-centered modus we easily get the messages mixed up. What is really my craving or need, and what is theirs? What am I saying when I talk to them? Do I send messages of lack and wanting, or loving gratitude and joy? Remember; our thoughts are the seeds for the future.

Pay it forward, backwards or sideways. Surprise yourself and experience the true gift of giving – the joy and satisfaction of participation in the abundance of Life.

I will be organising a group offering for the ancestors and our spirit allies in January (in Abcoude, the Netherlands). Let me know if you would like to join!

 

Ecology, the original economy

A practical guide for managing transition stress

Disclaimer: after an edgy start I am offering solutions!

Autumn 2018: Traffic jams. Stressed-out people. Not enough money/time. Frustration.

Is this what we really want?

The economy-paradigm, which has been ruling our culture for quite some time now, seemingly regards “economical growth” as more important than the rapidly diminishing biodiversity and loss of forests and water.
And so it mercilessly whips everyone forth: work more hours, build more roads and heavier internet network, for food it comes up with industrial production and ‘healthcare’ is reduced to expensive pills and medical interventions – do we really want that??

It is within the power of each individual to make small and larger shifts in our lives in order to change the course of things.

I suggest we follow our individual inner guidance as we’re shifting from the destructive era to an increasingly creative and nourishing times. Your Heart feels what is wrong and what is better, whereas your Mind might be programmed to think in a specific way by the society you grew up in. With every change, trust the voice of your Heart over your Head. Why?
Well, how does a seed become a tree? How do two lovers meet? At times in your life there are so many synchronities happening that you just can’t explain it, logically it’s ‘not possible’…

There is an underlying intelligence guiding Nature and its beings, a Life Force that penetrates all organic things, connecting us to our world, our home that we call planet Earth. And that, the intelligence of Nature, wants all its babies – yes, humans too – to thrive and flourish.
Nature speaks to its family – we might say: via intuition or telepathy, nudges, hunches and ideas. Some people hear words or get visions, others hear absolutely nothing but still get a sense of feeling good or bad as they’re about their things.

The permaculture movement uses nature as model and mimics its design. An excerpt from Wikipedia: “Permaculture is a system of agricultural and social design principles centered around simulating or directly utilizing the patterns and features observed in natural ecosystems. ”

I entered this eco-thinking via permaculture, but via trial and error I’ve found that dogmatic things don’t suit me too well. So, whilst I’m gladly giving credit to the permaculture movement for waking me up into another way of doing things, I’m still an advocate of finding your own way.

After some years of intimate connection with MotherEarth and thinking (at various degrees of intensity over time) about our society in relation to Nature, a few key principles* to get those creative thinking-juices going:

  • nature is intelligent; observe and mimic actions in nature, take time to reflect
  • be mindful with resources; collect, store and use wisely
  • take what you need, don’t over harvest – leave the rest for others
  • in nature there is no waste. Reflect before you discard; how can this be useful in another function or to someone else?
  • I prefer local connections in food, resources and services… with the idea of strengthening personal connections, the local vitality and diversity

Nobody is perfect, we’re all a work in progress. Think and adjust, re-think and re-adjust. Have conversations about our actions and choices in relation to our quality of life with your children. Educate the children. Collect the trash thrown in nature by the arrogant (and leave it in a see-through bag at the doorstep of the arrogant).
Do what you can. Work towards making “what I can” a bigger space. Question. Have conversations. Nudge.towards.a.better.World.

And hopefully, before we know it, we’re in a much better scenario, with true freedom, vitality and joy!

* inspired by the ‘Twelve Permaculture design principles’ articulated by David Homgren;

  1. Observe and interact: By taking time to engage with nature we can design solutions that suit our particular situation.
  2. Catch and store energy: By developing systems that collect resources at peak abundance, we can use them in times of need.
  3. Obtain a yield: Ensure that you are getting truly useful rewards as part of the work that you are doing.
  4. Apply self-regulation and accept feedback: We need to discourage inappropriate activity to ensure that systems can continue to function well.
  5. Use and value renewable resources and services: Make the best use of nature’s abundance to reduce our consumptive behavior and dependence on non-renewable resources.
  6. Produce no waste: By valuing and making use of all the resources that are available to us, nothing goes to waste.
  7. Design from patterns to details: By stepping back, we can observe patterns in nature and society. These can form the backbone of our designs, with the details filled in as we go.
  8. Integrate rather than segregate: By putting the right things in the right place, relationships develop between those things and they work together to support each other.
  9. Use small and slow solutions: Small and slow systems are easier to maintain than big ones, making better use of local resources and producing more sustainable outcomes.
  10. Use and value diversity: Diversity reduces vulnerability to a variety of threats and takes advantage of the unique nature of the environment in which it resides.
  11. Use edges and value the marginal: The interface between things is where the most interesting events take place. These are often the most valuable, diverse and productive elements in the system.
  12. Creatively use and respond to change: We can have a positive impact on inevitable change by carefully observing, and then intervening at the right time.

The flow

“The flow of Life” is an expression that I use, and also:”follow your flow”. But what does that mean, exactly?
Let me share a short story with you to illustrate it more clearly.

Some years ago, we were camping near a river. Every morning we’d get up early to take our morning bath in the cold, fast flowing river, in the stillness of the golden morning light – before the canoes with loud tourists in them would swarm downstream.

After breakfast, some playing with our dog and reading, we’d return to the river to watch the canoe-show. The most typical family had a strong-willed corporate-kind of father, pioneering downstream with his son onboard. With strong, determined pushes with their paddles, they’d fly downstream at a high speed, their gaze fixed at the yet invisible finish. A little bit behind, and slowing down the father-son vessel, was the mother with their second child, yelling out warnings of dangerous currents here and there, and telling the pioneers to wait for them with an ever increasing irritation in their voice.

The most cautious current-fearing people (not limited by age or gender) would try to steer their canoe in this slight bend in the river, get caught in the currents and then tossed and stuck on the shore before our eyes. So, every now and then we stood up, walked into the river and pushed them free again, and with a friendly smile, wished them a good journey.

But one day there was this single canoe gliding in the middle of the river, apparently with no one on board. No wait, we could see a bent knee and a foot lightly resting on the knee, rising from the bottom of the canoe.

This one canoe that effortlessly flowed downstream, carried a passenger, lying on his back, his head pointing downstream and him gazing at the sky and the tree tops framing his view. He had all the time the river offered him to make his easy journey, enjoying the view and the trip.

This little story floated up from my memory today as I was pondering on some recent events – how, as I am allowing relaxation in my longings and doing, as I have more trust that all will be very, very well even if I’m not pressing on it all the time, Life seems to flow ever so sweetly, carrying perfect timing and wonderful experiences with it. Try it if you don’t believe me! In fact I urge you to do it, what ever your prejudgement might be – just…flow with Life, get in synch, hum along.

I hope this illustrates more the background of the short exclamations of Trust. Relax. Go with the flow.

Wishing you a smooth flow and beautiful views.

 

Your Spirit Animal

I recently bumped into a Facebook post (on a shamanistic group page) in which someone was saying that elements of shamanism are being ‘borrowed’ and used to market things, as shamanism is now “hot and sexy”.
Woo-hoo!! Finally I’m doing something hot and sexy :D

No but seriously folks, time is something that passes, and anything that is related to time (like hot and sexy fashion) will pass.

What counts is what do you do with the time that is given to you.

I’d suggest you go for that which resonates with you truly.
Not just entertainment with the upper layers of your Mind/Ego, but stuff that shakes your Soul and makes your Heart skip a beat or flutter faster.

For me that would be the wonderful world of the Spirit, as weird and unconventional it might seem.

An aspect of the (shamanistic) Spirit world is the company and assistance of our Spirit Animal.
“What’s my spirit animal?!” an eager explorer might exclaim.
Hold your horses buddy, first you need to know why you want to know your spirit animal.

A spirit animal is: transport, safety, communication, information, signs. And more.

I’ve made a little document for you to download and print out about it. I hope you enjoy it!

(Just in case you need some guidance in gearing your attention from the busy outside to the different realms of the inside, here’s a little meditation audio to get you going.)

 

 

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