Wiping Love Off the Mirror

Woke in the night
to the ancient voices
of denigration and unworthiness
to never-can and never-will
be enough for the self-love
of relaxing into “just as I am.”

Caught the vocal little bugger
in the act of repeating his mantras
as though he owns my ears and heart
“You are not enough…
man enough or good enough
Look at what you didn’t complete
yesterday or in your life
Look at all the projects…
You never finish what you start!”

That’s when I saw Perfectionism
clearly enough to grab hold of the parasitic sucker
and so I held tight despite
resilient sinewy winding convolutions
of justifications and accusations
of truths and partials until I saw

How even my truth-telling to self
so easily becomes yet more self-critiquing
through humiliation and belittlement
just more strategies for flagellation
for improving and making worthy
what is already whole.

It is a hard thing
to see such about one’s self
this tendency for self-destruction
for stealing success from your own heart
for wiping love off the mirror of one’s soul.

Wow. That was an intense unleashing of much I would rather not look at.

How many decades have I been on this journey of self-improvement anyway? And to then recognize the squirrel-wheel that self-improvement so easily is; and always is when there is no foundational grounding in innate worthiness and belonging.

I’m reminded here of the Rumi quote: “It is not about seeking for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself you have built against it.”

The same might be said of our sense of worthiness and belonging, of aliveness itself. Achievement and productivity easily become a short lived narcotic on a cultural path of false promises.

And what a journey this is, to restore into our hearts and souls and spirits that which is antithetical to a consumerist culture. Would it not collapse in some way, might it discover a path into transformation were we each to know the freedom arising out of recognizing and owning the beauty of who we already are?

The spirals of our breakthroughs into greater freedom always come in stages of revelations or recognitions, releasing yet a bit more of what does not serve while embracing or saying “Yes!” to a just bit more of life, and to who we are too.

Let the journey continue for each of us, this learning to see the violence of where and how we diminish ourselves and each other. And let us say “Yes!” once again to the innate wholeness and worthiness of who we already are. This is the wild resiliency within… awakening.

Note: Interesting that the phrase from my youth, “Just as I am,” shows up here. It’s the title and a refrain from gospel song beloved in fundamentalist and Evangelical circles. And it’s a song I grew to despise as I saw into the manipulative messaging of innate unworthiness embedded within such worldviews.

We are each on a long spiraling journey. Self-compassion is as valuable an ally as one can find.

Granite Swirls from Grand Canyon


Posted in 1 The River of Life — The Art of Living, 7 The Shadow Realms, Eco/Positive/Depth Psychology, Emotional Intelligence, Personal Resiliency, Personal Stories, Poetry of Resiliency, Self-Change | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Getting Naked to Self and the World

“There is nothing you can see that is not a flower;
there is nothing you can think that is not the moon.”

— Bashō Matsuo, Zen poet 1644-1694

Allowing one’s self a wander into the wild is to invite a slowing down into your life. Even as the mind opens with curiosity as to patterns previously unnoticed, a stillness descends.

The feet find their way along first one game trail and then another, going nowhere but where ever they feel led in the moment. So it was I found myself walking into the middle of a near dozen mule deer on an exquisite June evening in the Sangre de Cristos, as the southern terminus of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado and New Mexico are called.

The evening still carried the heat of a near Solstice day though we were on a shaded east facing slope in an area of mixed pine and aspens. The air carried musky scents of deer now too, as well as that of summer soil and heated tree needles and leaves.

I cannot say who was the more surprised to discover this human amidst the lanky four legged ones. They were women all, so far as I could see; mostly adults but with a few yearlings among them.

Despite our mutual surprise there was no startle reaction. They stared a bit before returning to grazing, though a couple thought to slowly begin a kind of high step sneak-away walk; just in case. I left my gaze in a soft focus while continuing a rhythm of observing, walking a bit, stopping and observing more, intentional steps and breaths.

Finding myself in their presence, their beauty and grace enlivened the experiences of awe and humility and of belonging within me. I eventually walked out of their company, and a few of them out of mine, with the same I-am-forest consciousness I first entered among them with.

It was from the presence of this experience still vibrating within that an hour or so later I sat down and shot this video, curious to see what might reveal itself to me. My reflections do not actually start until about 49 seconds in. I recommend giving yourself the gift of slowing down enough to let the stillness of the forest in as you wait. That means taking a few intentional breaths.

And if this presents too much tension in your system, notice it, take a breath… and then click ahead to that time in the video. A transcription follows.

I have come to realize, that every now and then, a man should crawl out of the skin he puts on to be human. And become naked again to himself and the world.

And alow the realization that he is man, or woman if you will, only because he is also tree, and grass, and leaf, and pine needle, and deer, and antler, and serpent, and robin, grouse, hawk, rabbit, cricket, lizard. Name what you will. He, you, I are all these things too. They live within me, as they live within you.

That butterfly that becomes the chrysalis, that crawls out of its own skin eventually, after a molecular regeneration into another being, that transformative capacity lives within us too. And in that is hope for ourselves personally, and for the world.


Note: “That butterfly that becomes the chrysalis,” is a phrase that will undoubtedly catch the attention if not hackle the scientifically informed or literal minded among us. And rightly so.

More ‘accurately’ of course, it is the caterpillar that spins the cocoon, becoming chrysalis becoming butterfly. The phrase is just what came out of my mouth at the time so I allow it poetic license and find myself a bit intrigued by what my unconscious was pointing toward.

From this mythopoetic perspective, the phrase is perfect and is a reinforcement of the the preceding message: “Every now and then a man should crawl out of the skin he puts on to be human….” The caterpillar and butterfly and chrysalis are of course one being even as is a man and a butterfly, whether the man possesses the gift of sight or wisdom to see and know this or not.

“Once upon a time, I, Chuang Chou, dreamt I was a butterfly, fluttering hither and thither, a veritable butterfly, enjoying itself to the full of its bent, and not knowing it was Chuang Chou. Suddenly I awoke, and came to myself, the veritable Chuang Chou. Now I do not know whether it was then I dreamt I was a butterfly, or whether I am now a butterfly dreaming I am a man.”

Butterfly on hand

Posted in 1 The River of Life — The Art of Living, 4 The Ecological Self, Indigenous Science/Wisdom, Inspirations & Strategies from Nature, Personal Stories, Poetry of Resiliency | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

What if I were to tell you

What if I were to tell you
everything you learned in church and school
of how to be who you are
is wrong?

You know the truth of this.

But how will you live
allowing this shattering awareness into your life?

How will you navigate and find your way,
you blind man walking by candlelight amidst milky galaxies
within and above and below and all around?

Sometimes it is easier to forget
you ever knew this inner light.
Tempting, not to pick up this ownership of your life.

But then you remember, like a seed awakening
the aliveness of awe and wonder that love to bubble
up-from and down-through
your feet and groin and heart and throat and mind

and you know again
what it is to drink at the spring’s source
the thirst quenching Water of Life

every sip restoring and informing the truth of who you are


Posted in 1 The River of Life — The Art of Living, Eco/Positive/Depth Psychology, Inspirations & Strategies from Nature, Poetry of Resiliency, Spirituality | Leave a comment

I saw the most wondrous thing today!

I saw the most wondrous thing today
A Tree—an oak actually
her long gangly arms reaching skyward
gnarly roots stretching out all around
together weaving a tapestry of community
fungi and bacteria and other plants and trees too
all in conversation and communion

And me, for a moment belonging tooResilienty Gangly Tree
breathing this tree’s oxygen exhaled and
she inhaling my CO2 gratefully offered back
as though we held hands like lovers
the two of us each alive
sensing and touching and exploring the world around
through our own particular gifts of intelligence and senses

For a moment she had me convinced
and I bathed in a kind of soul medicine
stood in the presence of an awake being
one capable of feeling and knowing and caring
the universe holographically mirroring itself and then

And then I snapped back on myself
like a rubber band stretched too far in the hand
and I remember my proper human superiority in the world

It is after-all, rationally, only a thing you look at
my father and mother and teachers, preachers and politicians of the world say
inanimate, useful for shade and firewood and lumber
yet something strange is happening within as I listen to these inherited truths

The world grows poorer, somehow less
as though all the butterflies and rainbows are being sucked out of it
it’s like a great amnesia is spreading across my vision
and I…I grow foggy as though with Alzheimer’s

I can’t seem to remember who I am
yet something about the light of the moon
glistening like falling jewels off shimmering tree leaves
scratches at the doors of my memory

Like so many of these eco-mytho-poetic reflections that come out of me, I did not see where this one was heading when it started. I only felt this sense of awe and gratitude at the experience of sharing presence with this grand tree and then came a great sense of grief for our cultural loss: co-creatively and reciprocally partaking in the world as full community members.

I see this as a kind of developmental of ‘loss of orientation.’ History suggests it had to be this way for a time. How else might humanity ever discover our true place on the Tree of Life except we forget it for a time? We are now however entering the Age of Consequences for this story of human separation from and dominance over nature.

The consequent great forgetting within the human soul and psyche, of our place in a world of interbeing, of living embedded within a universe of presence—is an unspeakable blow to the collective and personal spirit. It is this wound that leaves us insatiably unsatisfied with substitutions of possessions and power.

The antidote for the wound-of-forgetting is to eat again from the mystical and mythological Tree of Life, the Tree of Oneness. Innate response to nature’s beauty, such as awe and wonder and gratitude, are carriers of this healing available to us but for the opening to them. Their energy is transformational and as practices, they are cultivable.

Nurture yours, for in this is our hope in an age when little boys in men’s bodies would rule the world.

Posted in 2 Our Ground of Being, Cosmology, Eco/Positive/Depth Psychology, Indigenous Science/Wisdom, Mythology, Personal Resiliency, Poetry of Resiliency | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

When Choices are Nightmares

Tell me,Ghost Tree
have you ever walked
into a nightmare twice?
The second time
of your own choosing?

I intend to ask
not what you might think.
What I want to know is

Do you know
the deepest longings of your soul?

Do you walk life’s path
in intimate accord with your spirit?

Do you have intercourse with your spirit and soul?
When did you last converse and confess
make love with their fathomless yearnings
the ones that frighten you most?

Tell me
Do your roots know the moist fiery intimacy
of Life’s spiraling whirlwinds
life birthing death and death midwifing life
two entwined lovers, spark and flame

And who are you
and what was your question?

Have you been born again?
I mean, really!
And how many times might that be?

Have you yet learned to let go
of all that no longer serves you?

Do you still cling to your wounds
as though they define you?
Who might you be without them, anyway?

Have you not learned to fly,
to stretch your wings like arms opening to Life
exposing the nakedness of your chest and heart
vulnerability for all to see and know?

You care and love
beyond knowing how.

And yet you do not know
will this nightmare of surgery
repeated yet again
will this ride through the dark
painful hallways of fog and recovery
serve those last remaining hungers for
for a story worth living

or might it be time
to let such aspirations go
like blue birds on the wind
an azul fire of dancing wings
with nowhere else to go
embracing what-is at last

an endless invitation from Life
to own this dream in a partnership of co-creation
seeding it with lucidity and presence and awareness
as a life worth living
A resounding Yes to Life
choices be damned

because the question remains the same
Where is the flow
what calls forth
how is the Life Force within
awakened, nourished and vitaized?


“Your rotator cuff is completely ruptured, again. It’s like you never had the surgery,” the doctor announced over the phone to me. This news came just over four months into an incredibly painful recovery period; my heart and gut hit the floor.

“F**K!” I screamed aloud into the phone. “Yeah. It really sucks,” the Dr. said.

This nightmare of a torn rotator cuff began on a wilderness journey and after another three nights in, the surgery was an outcome following shortly upon access to skilled medical care.. Six weeks and twenty-four hours a day in a sling-and-pillow was but the start of a long and painful road to recovery. And now it is all in vain.

Worse than in vain! Repeat surgeries of this type have a lower success rate and a more prolonged and difficult recovery than the first time around. “You could also do nothing,” the doc says, “and live with it. Or you could get a shoulder replacement….” None of this was what I anticipated hearing, but the new MRI results do explain the continuing intensity of pain I experience.

The opening eco-poetic reflection of this post also followed an unexpected course of exploration and questioning. It surprises me yet with its ending, both in tone and statement: “Choices be damned.”

The satisfaction of such exploratory writing for me is in getting to watch where and how my mind and system are traveling. And in this case, a kind of deep earthy wisdom reveals itself.

Regardless of whether I choose to have a retry on a once failed surgery, starting from the beginning again on recovery, or to leave it alone or to go for a shoulder replacement (an easier recovery, apparently), there are deeper life-orienting questions my soul wants to point me toward.

No matter which difficult challenging path I choose, no matter the level of pain chosen to endure, no matter the anesthesia or narcotics applied to my living, my unconscious is suggesting Life’s fulfillment is something of its own to be attended to. No matter what.

Regardless of the game trails we follow in search of nourishment or comfort, regardless of the events we encounter along the way, our souls and spirits desire something from us.

A TED Radio Hour program on decision making, Decisions Decisions Decisions, provides an interesting reference here. The crux of difficult decision making, according to Ruth Chang, is to ‘commit’ to a choice. Let go of thinking there is a right or wrong choice. Seek instead for some hitching post of meaning you can tie your choice to and give it your all.

So yes, “choices be damned,” because it is too easy to become lost in the mundane and hypothesized differences a choice might make. Instead, focus on the creation and nourishment of meaning making. Focus on leaving a trail of beauty in whatever life story you choose to write.

Therein is the wild resiliency, this choice to be a conscious creator of meaning.


Posted in 1 The River of Life — The Art of Living, 3 The Power of Arrival, Dimensions of Resilience, Navigating the Narrows, Personal Resiliency, Personal Stories, Poetry of Resiliency, Self-Change | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Cairns in the Wilderness of Your Heart

Have you noticed
         how the world is woven
of delicate webs of friendship
         care and empathy and love

vulnerability and risk
and trust     and being self-true too
all while holding an other within
     —within your own body as one?

Talk about tough and tender
     wrapped up in one fleshy package!

What’s a fellow to do
       a gal to feel
if not—
       when you hurt
I hurt too?

And when you feel joy
       I celebrate with you.

Have you noticed too
     how vulnerable these eternal threads become
upon entering the human realm and how
     only placement of attention sustains them?

Now tell me true
    of your own attention
how is that friend you carry inside?

You know
    the one looking back at you
        when you glance in the mirror?

The one that talks mean to you
    like no one else can?

And how is that longing inside you
    for the dreaming into fulfillment
        of a more beautiful world
where the Tree of Life stands rooted
      rising strong and naked and exposed
for all to own—
      beginning with you?

And what would it take my dear friend
    to bring care and love
                          even friendship
    to each of these others, too?

Can your self-meanness and fear-of-the-other…
    what if…
they are each cairns in the wilderness of your heart
    marking your trail home?


A ski accident occurred. You friend needs help so what do you do? In this  case I was Resilient Mountain Landscapegraced with the freedom to grab a rental car and drive 4 hours to Durango so to drive her and son and car back home. This blessing of being able to actually do something tangible, useful and meaningful for a friend, well…it is a gift.

And this recent gift got me to thinking about friendship and how we care for  it. And these reflections eventually took me to the intimacy of my inner friend and questions about the care and attention I bring to him. And to her. These dual aspects of another inner oneness.

The anima and animus, in Jungian language. The masculine and feminine aspects within Cairan of the Hearteach of us that seek a holy marriage of intimate and sacred friendship. Yet an inner war, between our own ‘others,’ can leave us feeling in conflict with the very one most in need of compassion and care, our own self.

There are so many ways of coming home to this self. Friendships, the inner and outer kind, are but two of the many cairns along this journey through the wilderness of the heart. May you find kindness to yourself and to some other on this very today of your life’s journey.

Posted in 1 The River of Life — The Art of Living, 3 The Power of Arrival, Emotional Intelligence, Personal Stories, Poetry of Resiliency, Spirituality | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

One Wound—Two Stories and the Oval Office

I confess to being baffled by the challenges of meeting and engaging with the human world these days. I’ve held back in allowing my creative expressions to flow freely and am paying the price as I attempt reintegrating, what with my perfectionist proclivities and paradoxical grandiosity and need for anonymity. Throw in a hit of narcissism and an upbringing in an authoritarian family and religious environment and well…you get someone who is easily triggered by today’s political climate.

Herein is the opportunity, is it not. For me and for each of us, that is, to move toward where we feel our stress as an invitation into a new story, into information for our own evolutionary transforming.

This is not easy. I know. Yet this is the evolutionary edge humanity is now poised at, this becoming aware of the unconscious stories and shadows driving our lives. As has often been said, ‘They own us until we own them.’

A fundamental story owning western civilization is the mythology of the separate individual. It fails the fact and truth test both scientifically and spiritually. Yet growing beyond it, into an alternate mythopoetic story of wholeness and belonging, of innate worthiness is to risk re-opening an adult mind and heart into embracing the willingness to…yes, to ‘not know.’ This story invites us to live in a relational state of reciprocity with Earth and all our neighbors, with humility, awe and wonder again informing and vitalizing our spirits and souls.

All of this converged on a recent hike into the forest for me when, after picking up a near dozen haphazardly discarded plastic water bottles and aluminum cans, I burst forth with this video. It was also provoked by Mr. Trump’s insulting proclamation that the North Dakota Access Pipeline was not controversial… that he had received not a single phone call opposing it. He lacks the empathy of spending any time in the moccasins of a Native American once again witnessing violations of treaty lands, as though historical genocidal government policies were not already enough violation.

And this after the White House already closed down the public comment phone line; a move which fits well with an authoritarian leader and no loyalty to fact, truth or even reality.

Say No DAPL. Water is LifeTruth is, we and our children’s future well-being is hinged to our capacity to leave Earth in better conditions that we inherited her. The awakening to this spiritual and practical principle is increasingly leading to the greening movement within Christianity and other religions.

The scientific application of The Precautionary Principle also advises an approach equally considered spiritual, and one that reflects Native American wisdom:

In our every deliberation we must consider the impact of our decisions on the next seven generations.” — from the Great Law of the Iroquois Confederacy

It is time we recognize this pipeline is not about energy. We have available to us the potential to mimic nature in the production of energy should we choose to pursue it. Renewable energies, with less subsidies than the fossil fuel industry , are more profitable technologies of the present and future. It is time we recognize DAPL and similar projects are subsidies to a dinosaur of an industry fueling the wealth of a few at the expense of the planet and the health of your children.

OK, I’ve opened far more issues with this post than can be addressed in the same; perhaps this will help me once again open the flow of creative expression. I’d like to leave you with this quote from Albert Einstein in closing:

“A human being is a part of the whole, called by us the universe, limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest—a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a prison, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons close to us. Our task must be for all humanity and the whole of nature in its beauty.” — Albert Einstein

Notes and Resources:

The video was kindly captured by my friend and business partner, Cheryl Slover-Linett of the non-profit Lead Feather. You can view some of our shared programs here. I gratefully acknowledge that no humans or trees were hurt during the making of this video.

Posted in 1 The River of Life — The Art of Living, Deep Ecology, Ecology, Emotional Intelligence, Indigenous Science/Wisdom, Inspirations & Strategies from Nature, Models of Resilience, Raves, Resiliency Videos, Science, Spirituality, Story | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

I am not a fickle lover

Today I fell in love with light sunlight in resilient pine tree
the way it freely falls from the sun
and hangs like diamonds in the sky
gathered by green pine needles
as though this tree’s life depends
on such attraction of fire.

I saw light penetrate and
illuminate a leaf wearing nakedness without shame inviting vulnerability of me
enough for embracing and drinking of this life.

Such a simple thing
resilient leafto brighten my heart so.

Tonight however, I shall fall in love with darkness too
for I am no longer a fickle lover
but drawn to intimacy with the unknown and unseen
and am held in truth’s unclothed revelation
entwined as one with birth and death
bedded under a moonless sky.

I am a lover spent and content and seek no other
than this entirety of the world.

Posted in 2 Our Ground of Being, Deep Ecology, Eco/Positive/Depth Psychology, Inspirations & Strategies from Nature, Poetry of Resiliency, Spirituality | Tagged | Leave a comment

Have you received the gift?

“Not until we are lost do we begin to understand ourselves.”
— Henry David Thoreau

Do you know the gift
of what it is to be lost?

Do you know what it is likeold-growth forest trail
to wander through the world
searching for the spelling
of your true name

To hone the wild of your eyes
for seeing the path of your heart
the soul’s need for receiving and offering

Have you grown a love of faint game trails
as you shun the navigational maps and highways
of those deluded with the surety of their beliefs

Trusting through desperation when possible
and un-trusting of every inherited answer
you find only one faith remaining

The alertness of one who knows emptiness
It descends upon you like a confession wrung from your soul
while the gift of alive awareness rises within like the sap of Spring

Now, now at last you are ready
ready to learn how to live
swimming in the unknown waters of deep mystery

Quenching your adventurous thirsty spirit
for beauty and wonder and awe
surrendered at last to the breath that breathes you
lost you are no longer

If you don’t know the trees you may be lost in the forest,
but if you don’t know the stories you may be lost in life.”

— Siberian Elder



The gift of becoming lost first came to me as an adolescent, as it does to many of us, when I first questioned the inherited Truth of my fundamentalist upbringing. It was a gift that damn near killed me as I searched high and low for a map of Truth to replace the one that no longer served me.

This journey I now see as a kind of ‘coming home’ journey. It is the journey of finding both interior and exterior references for how one is at home in the world. I suspect most folks settle for the assigned reservation of cultural conditioning wherein some outside authority informs us of who we should be in the world.

This image arises for me as I prepare with my partner, Cheryl Slover-Linett of Lead Feather, to guide a journey into the Navajo homeland of Canyon de Chelly, with our native guide, Elenor Yoe. The Navajo were a people exiled out of the womb of homeland to the Bosque Redondo Reservation, a landscape cursed with bad water and soil and unfit for a proud and independent people.

Their story, like many of the Native American peoples, is one of tenacious courage and vision, of struggle to reclaim and retain identity and life itself in the face of cultural collisions and genocide beyond any individual’s control. The book, Blood and Thunder: The Epic Story of Kit Carson and the Conquest of the American West, by Hampton Sides, is a riveting read for a sense of this early history and of the Navajo exile and return to Homeland; 1868, at last.

Resilient Navajo PrayerWe will carry a spirit of inquiry into this sense of what it is to come home to ourselves as we journey with our small band of adventurers into the magnificent and storied landscape of Canyon de Chelly. The backdrop of Spider Rock and sheer sandstone cliffs, of Anasazi ruins and hogans and ancient foot paths and the stories of a determined peoples hunger to return to homeland will inform our own personal and collective inquiries into what it is to live in exile from ourselves, and too of what it is to live ‘at home’ in the world.

The truth as I now see it (note the small ‘t’), is that by virtue of human history we have all become exiles from the homeland of Earth, and so from ourselves too. We have collectively learned and incorporated (brought into our corporal body) a story of human separation from nature and unworthiness for life, a story whereby only some external authority can save our worthless butts from damnation. It is a cultural mythology destined to drive and feed the unconscious self-destructive hungers of the human species while we take out untold numbers of all our relations as well.

But there is another way. And it is to this ‘return home to our selves’ that the opening piece of this post points us. I will write more of this in the next post.

Posted in 2 Our Ground of Being, 3 The Power of Arrival, Cosmology, Inspirations & Strategies from Nature, Personal Resiliency, Poetry of Resiliency, Self-Change, Spirituality | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

How many selfs make a Self?

Pardon me,
but perhaps you can help?

You see,

Aspen Sky sm

Resilient Aspen Self

I have become,
much to my chagrin,
a lover of questions
and now I am indeed confused
for I wonder,
What is the self?

And how many selfs
does it take to make a Self, anyway?

Since over half of the 60 trillion plus cells,
in your body and mine too,
some three pounds of micro-critters
are bacterial and fungi and viral…,
rather than human cells,
tell me, is your true self human
or is your true self perhaps bacterial?

And is not each bacterial cell a self
and each human cell a self too?

And now, stay with me please,
do not all these some trillions of cellular selfs
make a self too, as in your self?

Or take a tree if you wish.
And take the species and even particular tree
of your choosing, please.

Now if this oak or aspen or cottonwood or ash or maple…
if this tree does not, can not, live on its own
but only through the ecological commerce
of symbiotic relationships with other species,
you know, various and specific bacterial and fungal species…
that allow the tree’s intake of mineral nutrition
and that foster its immune system for example,
might you tell me please,
where does this tree’s self begin—or end,
exactly now?

And if this tree, say a pine tree,
also has fungi living inside the body of its needles
much the way you and I have mitochondrial bacteria DNA
living inside each one of our human cells,
tell me, where does the self of this tree end and begin?

And what too of a human self?
If you or I, if our self be woven biologically
of more micro-critters than human cell selfs,
some 10,000 various species of bacteria at that,
and if our self be woven too
of stories—of stories of identity
interweaving ancestral lineages of family
and religion and profession and ethnicity
and economic status and—wait!

Who are you anyway?
What are you?

And what is this thing we call a self
and how many selfs does it take to make a Self, anyway?

Or perhaps, might you know,
How many selfs does it take to carry a soul?

Might you help me please?
For I have come to see
we are more like the forest and the trees
than we are different and now…


Albert’s Squirrel with pine cone: Wikipedia

Now I see that the forest and I
and the soil and sun and rain
and that cute bushy-tailed tasseled eared Albert’s squirrel
and you too, yes, seems to me, we are a self too.

What now, what am I—are we—to do
with all these selfs anyway?

Do you suppose, perhaps,
there are enough of us for a party?
A Grand Self-Celebration of Our Selves, of Life itself, you know!

I wonder,
who else might we invite?


The awakening of our wild resiliency is also an awakening to the ‘interbeing’ or interdependency of our entangled nature with each other and all of life. I (and others) reference this as ‘the ecological self,’ meaning that we are in fact ecological beings in the very essence of our nature; ‘superorganisms’ as science is coming to understand this nature.

This is not a reduction of human biology, spirit or of soul as some might fear. Rather it is an opening into deeper wonder and awe as we open to the mystery of what it truly means, this being human. It is also the reclamation of our birthright of innate belonging and worthiness for life.

Below are a few of the references at play in my field as I wrote the above piece.
They’re All Part Fungus (Science News)
Finally, A Map Of All The Microbes On Your Body (NPR)
Humans Carry More Bacterial Cells than Human Ones (Scientific American)
Scientists bust myth that our bodies have more bacteria than human cells (Nature Journal)
How Bacteria “Talk”  (A TED Talk with Bonnie Blasser)
Who are “Me, Myself and Us?” ( A TED Talk with Jonathan Elsen)
Healthy Soil Microbes, Healthy People (The Atlantic)

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Larry Glover aspires to discover what being human truly is, particularly in a paradoxical world woven of Larry's resilent smilemystery and consciousness and fire and water and air and earth and spirit and soul too. He struggled from an early age with a madness that would destroy himself, which he came to recognize as a cultural story of separation and unworthiness for life. Larry now leans into our shared love of nature to inspire and deepen what it is to truly love your self, through his writing, speaking, coaching, workshops and wilderness retreats. Learn more of how to engage with Larry at larryglover.com

Posted in 4 The Ecological Self, Aspen-Body Wisdom, Cosmology, Deep Ecology, Ecology, Inspirations & Strategies from Nature, Personal Stories, Poetry of Resiliency, Science, Spirituality | Tagged , | Leave a comment