Language as we know it emerged together with linear time and abstract thought. As a linguist and a parent, it has struck me how the labelling of things seems to actually create distance between us and the object rather than creating a more intimate experience of it. It is used literally to create subject and object, leaving out the inter-subjectiveness that is the reality of all things. This talk explores the impact that language is having on our experience and interaction with the world, and how we might use words more consciously to build relationships and interact co-creatively with all life. This talk is part of the Merry Musings series that is available for credit at Ubiquity University – click here.
I wrote this piece over the summer in one of those moments where something is so clear it just flows through you. I wrote it as the introduction to a potential new book that is currently calling itself “Full Circle – the Simple Act of Coming Home”. I have had two major pieces of writing unpublished on the digital shelf for a while now – Volution Theory and the Pain and the Promise. For some reason I haven’t felt the urge to get them out there yet – it feels like “Full Circle” might be a way to make that happen. I’d love to read in the comments what you think of the title and framing below.
Have you ever felt that we’ve somehow lost the plot? That this incredible, complex expression of life that is you and me shouldn’t be facing a future of suffering and struggle primarily of our own making? That in fact after all these billions of years of evolution we should actually be thriving and celebrating with the rest of life we have grown up with on this planet of ours?
They feel to me like very valid questions to be asking, and ones that I have been on the trail of for many years. I’m writing this book to share what I have discovered on that quest: that it is really very simple, and that once we have made the choice we need to make, we can trust that the rest will reveal itself.
The simple truth is that we have forgotten one very fundamental aspect of who we are: that we are Earth. This is Earth writing to our self and you are Earth reading a message from our self. We are Earth trying to work out how to prolong this experiment that is humanity as Earth being aware of our self. Breathe it in.
Remembering this is our simple medicine. “Simple” derives from the Latin meaning a medicine made from just one constituent, usually a plant. This is our simple medicine. One constituent only. Remember our interconnectedness as Earth.
Simple is not the same as easy. “Easy” derives from Old French and Middle English meaning comfortable or tranquil. The simple step I am describing here is unlikely to be comfortable or tranquil, neither for us as individuals nor for us in our collectives of communities, organisations and nations.
The reason for that is that to re-member (i.e. “put back together”) our felt sense of interconnectedness, we have to revisit the moment that we forgot it. And that moment is full of pain as we realise the suffering we have caused to ourselves, each other and the rest of life through that simple act of forgetting.
However, as we start to feel that pain, we start to come back to life. Deep down, through the tears and anguish, we feel our systems start to settle, and we know this is the right path. A choiceless choice is made as we walk the path of truth and reconciliation. As we peel back the layers of conditioning that have protected us from that traumatic separation, more light is able to enter, and the journey ahead reveals itself, one step at a time.
The good news is that we don’t need to discover anything new. The part of ourselves we need to reintegrate is still there. We just need to stop for a moment, dare to go inside, feel what is there and trust life to show us the way. Simple, not easy.
It is my belief that this step is the greatest way we can contribute to successfully engaging the current challenges we are facing as humanity. All our problems stem from the illusion of separation. Once we remember we are Earth, we plug back into the natural intelligence that has got us this far and can continue to take us as far into the future as we choose.
This book describes the collective human journey that has brought us to this point, the moment of forgetting and how that has played out individually and collectively, some stories of people healing that split in themselves, and examples of what it might look like if we reached a critical mass who made the simple but not easy choice to re-member, to come back home.
Cycling home from my shopping trip to the local community farm, it struck me how simple it really is to do what needs to be done to create healthy communities and lives. The list started unfolding so I thought I’d write it down and share. Feel free to add to it in the comments!
Buy and eat food that is:
- grown as locally as possible
- grown organically, ideally bio-dynamic
- plant-based with additional dairy and meat if needed
- as unprocessed as possible
If travelling, then use the following modes of transport in this order of priority:
- public transport (bus, train, ferry)
- car (i. hydrogen ii. electric iii. petrol – electric cars charged from renewable energies)
- Reduce energy consumption through energy-saving devices and insulation (do allow for a free flow of fresh air)
- Source energy from renewables, as locally-owned as possible (e.g. solar power cooperative)
- Recycle grey water
- Share resources (e.g. tools, cars, pizza ovens) with the neighbours so not everyone needs to own everything
- Design neighbourhoods for a healthy balance of autonomy and community, with lots of nature, edible trees (fruit and nut) and plants, water catchment
- Design for ecological and human vitality (and support all the other sections)
- Provide for collective needs as locally as possible, keeping ownership of business as close to the consumer as possible, ensuring greater accountability
- Immerse kids in nature
- Understand developmental stages and design learning habitats to reflect relative amounts of structure and freedom
- Make it more about discovery than dictatorship
- Focus during in-person learning on development of core soft skills through interaction
- Breathe through your nose and learn to use your breath consciously
- Stretch and exercise
- Promote vitality and prevention through healthy diet, lifestyle, exercise and habitat
- When support is needed, make the assessments and interventions as holistic as possible
- Encourage matching between people’s passions and skills, and real needs in the world
- Find ways to discourage over-production and waste
- Reward more ecologically beneficial products and services and internalise real costs of negative impacts
- Provide a basic unconditional income to cover fundamental needs
- Support all communities and practices that help people connect to their inner worlds (e.g. religions, wisdom traditions, modern spirituality) as long as they are respectful of other communities
- Raise awareness and provide experiences of our interconnectedness with all life