If we stuff ourselves - with information, food, things, beliefs, opinions, appointments, dead-lines,… - it becomes increasingly difficult to feel and sense what IS and what wants to BE, and the perception of our own inner truth is blurred.
Photo by Gunter Hauer
In recent months I have been part of an experiment to directly communicate with whales. The intention is to signal openness to communicate and to learn how to exchange information on a conscious level.
My personal intention also is to offer to be a spokesperson (amongst many other human spokespersons) for the whales and other species so that their messages will be heard in human communities. Since long I am receiving messages that tell me about the changing Ocean habitat. Like creatures on land, the creatures in the Sea are more and more affected by the changes.
There are factors humans can’t influence in a direct way* (the changing earth magnetic field, natural features in the landscape, natural occurrences like earthquakes, tsunamis, etc.) and there are factors we can.
If we start to directly get in touch and learn how to communicate, we will get a better and clearer understanding of what other species are experiencing, of how they see the world we live in, and we will be able to address the important factors and collaboratively work towards balance.
Yesterday I got a message from some whales near Nelson (Aotearoa/New Zealand). I admit that I find it challenging to “translate” the messages into human language. I receive these messages in form of visual imagery, feelings, sensations, observations… It is like the whales (or other species) briefly “make me” experience what they experience. As soon as I try to translate this into words, I feel it's not so easy to not adding my “flavor” to it. I also find it not easy to express the imagery and perceptions I get in human language, as sometimes they are so different from how I/humans normally perceive the world and I feel there are no words that seem to adequately describe the experience. I wish I could just do what they do with me and “beam” the experience into your head/body :) I can’t do this (yet), so my "translations" will be mere approximations to what they show me…
The whales sent me pictures of how they feel. First I saw their skin and it looked “not normal” = a bit uneven, flaky, marks here and there… Suddenly, I felt their skin as if it was mine. It felt kind of itchy and “not right”. It was a feeling of uneasiness (not pain or strong itches, but just “not well”). I felt very uncomfortable. I also got the impression of an overall feeling of “unwellness”. I felt “not good in my skin” at all!
After that they showed me how underwater noise affects them. I heard high-pitched sounds, and low rumbling sounds that penetrated my body and made it vibrate internally. Some sounds were ok, others were plain unnerving and some hurt my “ears” and other parts of my body. The worst thing was that I couldn’t escape the noises. I couldn’t just switch them off (which I wanted to after a while)! It wasn’t only the loud, dominating, painful noises – it was also the “background” noises that constantly ran in the background and “blurred” my audio-receptivity. It was just too much. And it drove me nuts after a while that I couldn’t turn the noise off (me = me as human, the whales didn’t send me this feeling!).
I asked if they couldn’t avoid it somehow. They showed me images of deep waters that were calmer. Then they showed me images of shallower waters (different colors, different feeling than "the deep"). I felt the need to swim closer to the coast, to rest and relax and play – the pull of the water, the whole atmosphere in the water felt much “easier” and quite attractive nearer to the coast. There were babies and younger ones, some old ones and one adult whale that had a cut on his back near one of the flippers that was heavily infected and the whale seemed to be quite weak. I could feel a sort of relief coming from them that they didn’t have to brave deep waters. (All these words – relief, brave, easy – are my desperate attempt to translate what I feel into human language and they don't seem like a perfect fit. They feel merely like rough approximations, but I hope you can “feel between the lines” and get the message :)
The next thing they showed me, or rather made me feel, was the water temperature. It felt too warm, and I felt really uncomfortable – a bit like being in a pool, wanting to swim, but then the water is too warm to move your body… Again: I couldn’t escape that feeling. I could dive deep – away from the coast – but I always had to come back up to warmer layers. And the diving cost me energy – I could feel this very intensely in my body (I/human felt physically tired the whole afternoon after this experience). I also saw how the whole underwater environment is affected by this change in temperature (food sources, parasites, plant growths,…).
All in all, I felt the whales being alarmed and not feeling well.
It’s up to us humans to make sense of these messages: Marine biologists and other scientists could set out to verify and explore these issues in detail. There is so much we humans can do, following these guidelines, to make changes that are needed to sustain life on this planet. Let’s start addressing the issues mentioned above: water quality/pollution, noise pollution, water temperature & its effect on ocean habitat. Let’s deal with the factors that are human-created and that we can influence/change. (And yes, there are factors we cannot influence or change as said before: we can simply leave them aside :)
Animal communicators (or whatever you want to call them) could work together with and alongside other researchers to give them clues and act as direct links to the “studied objects” :) And thus accelerate the process hugely and make it more efficient.
The whales (as well as many other species) are waiting for us to get in touch and collaborate!
*From my experience, shamans and certain people can actually influence these factors as well by directly linking into the energy field and working with universal life energies. However, this takes a lot of effort and concentration and energy and, when addressing large scale issues (e.g. climate change), needs a certain critical mass of people doing it to be effective.
We tend to only spring into action when things have a "tangible" and direct effect on us. Some of us have habits that can cause harm to our body/mind/soul and affect not only us but also other bodies/minds/souls, but because we don't drop dead straight away... hey, we might get away with it?!
If young people act like this, we usually call this kind of behaviour and attitude "irresponsible", "immature", "short-sighted"... or plain stupid :) Yet, most of us do it all the time...
When "issues" arise and "symptoms" show up that could guide us to have a closer look and to bring back balance, we often choose to "take a pill" and want a "quick fix option" - or ignore them altogether.
We can take painkillers and not address the root causes of our migraine. We can give someone Ritalin to "calm people down".
However, we need to be aware that there are other choices and options as well.
Whales and dolphins often link into my consciousness, and especially during this time of the year (December-February), I am quite alert and try to be receptive for their messages. During this time, there often are mass strandings near the place I live. They happen due to various reasons - some human-related, some not. So far, people’s main strategy to deal with strandings is to get the animals back into the water. This seems the obvious thing to do, right? Interestingly enough, often whales re-strand and it sometimes even looks like "they deliberately come back to land to die".
It surprises me, that only few people seem to be interested in exploring the root causes for stranding on a deeper level. Scientists have to be very careful as they cannot “prove anything” and often are concerned about their funding and reputation. It’s also an easy way out to point at all the reasons, that we humans can NOT influence – and come to the conclusion that it has always happened, there is nothing we can do, really, and so on. There are also efforts that only come from a specific angle, e.g. keeping the whales away from certain coastal areas – which, interestingly enough, doesn’t always work. It might prevent strandings in a certain area (e.g. beepers, setting up lines to shut off challenging terrain, etc.). But whales and dolphin often re-strand or strand in other areas. The message I got from them recently (see “Talking Whale") gives us initial indicators why and points out that a more holistic approach might be needed in order to address strandings.
Unless we address and eliminate human-created factors of strandings we won’t contribute to a situation that is sustainable for the whales/ocean habitat/us humans.
Communicating with the whales gives us a clearer picture of what they are experiencing and what the underlying issues are from their perspective. Together we can then set out to find balance.
P.S.: This applies to many other areas of life as well: communication with out own body and soul, communication with our children & young people, communication with our elders, communication with people who don’t share the same language, culture, values, opinions, beliefs,… How often do we shut our communication partner down and/or impose our own solutions and worldviews onto “them” without listening deeply and trying to perceive the world through their “eyes”?
When we learn to open up, to tune into “different vibes” and to listen deeply with an open heart and open senses – to our body, our children, other cultures, other species – we will make the next evolutionary steps towards well-being and balance for all life.
After sitting in silence for a while, listening to the birds weaving their polyphonic magic - sharing pure joy of life and beauty with all -, watching the colours of the night sky shift from blue-greyish into a mesmerising kaleidoscope of pink and red and orange and yellow, I looked into the flowing water and thought of the many lessons and insights the rivers, streams, oceans, waterways on this planet have taught me over the years. I feel huge gratitude for it.
"The river holds many lessons", I said. "It has taught me and will teach you a lot, beyond words. It taught me about how to shift mountains, for instance, simply by persevering..."
We were quiet for a few moments, then my son said: "It taught me a lot already... that there are fast stretches and slow ones, and that all you need to do is go with the flow. It takes a lot of energy to go upstream, while it's much easier to go with the flow."
by this “imprint” that is installed by modern-day society: the feeling of not being/doing enough, contributing enough, of not being a valuable member of society – and, on the other hand, mums “being pushed” (by themselves or others) into the “workforce”, to “get a job”, to earn some money, to contribute to the family, community, society, or quite simply: to survive – instead of sharing their unique gifts and talents and being valued for it by the community in one form or another.
Being a mother, the guardian of the home, was and is acknowledged, highly respected and valued in the few remaining indigenous cultures on this planet and traditionally in well-functioning communities. Not so in modern societies where the value-adding benefit and contribution to the community/family/society is mainly measured by money. Jobs are valued and ranked based on their monetary outcome. There is no direct monetary outcome linked to the “mum-job”, and this creates a pretty strong social and cultural “imprint”, even in women (and men, for that matter) who “rebel” against it and aim for different values: Jobs that aren’t measureable in money, aren’t valued which translates into: if I am not getting paid, my contribution has no value = feeling of inadequacy, sinking self-esteem.
This applies to the job “mum” (same for “dad”, of course!) as well as to other jobs like “artist”, “philosopher”, “healer/shaman/witch”, “activist”, “visionary” etc. In tribal societies these positions within the community had a respected place and were valued. They were seen as vital roles contributing to the balance, sustainability and well-being of the whole community. There were the hunters & gatherers, later the gardeners and cultivators, entrepreneurs, and many more, running around, doing “stuff”, being busy – and there were also the ones who sat on mountain tops, in caves, secluded huts, the ones who tended the home fires, listened deeply, were in touch with other realms, played, dreamt , etc., and all of them were respected as they brought balance into the talking circle, into the community.
n‘academically’), to get “a good job” (usually this translates into ‘well-paid’), to live a “happy life” (usually this translates into ‘financial security’), then I wonder if they really will find what they are looking for when going down the road that society around them models – and sadly, I meet many who don’t. I also feel sad, when I see so many young women feeling “restless”, “inadequate”, “like missing something essential”/”empty”, longing for community, for a nurturing space – like we all do.
All the roles mentioned before are not only important, they are essential for a healthy and thriving community.
It’s time to shift the “money myth” and to see the community value and benefit in things and activities that are not directly linked to a monetary outcome.
It’s time to value and acknowledge people who donate their energies to the community/to humanity in various different ways: as volunteers in various forms, as activists, as philosophers, as artists, as elders, as young ones, as meditators, contemplators, visionaries, as mums and dads.
It's time to allow them to share their gifts with the community by actively supporting them. There are many opportunities and examples of how we can do this: creating collaborative, cooperative models to support each other (Buen vivir, Care, Commons, Ecommony, Shareconomy, Gift economy (another example here), etc.), establishing a basic income (see recent Finland experiment), slowing things down and opening pathways for open communication, mutual sharing and nurturing in many areas. I see inspiring initiatives spring forth everywhere, and I am sure we can and will come up with many more solutions to concretely create an infrastructure to allow for shifts to happen and to welcome and integrate community-oriented values and skills.
I am a mum of a daughter, and want her to see her value, no matter of her degree, certification, external factors and social/cultural rankings. This is my wish for everybody! We all have to give something – whatever that “thing” might be, it is of value for the whole. We might not see it at first. We might have to develop it. But it’s always there.
However, I met and meet a lot of people who seem to think they are “not enough” or they do not “earn enough” (money).
A lot of women sometimes struggle and feel “inadequate” because they are not earning (enough) money. They feel like they are not “good enough”, even though they are doing amazing things for their community: raising children, doing voluntary work to benefit their community, putting their energy and heart into campaigning for the well-being of the planet, creating beauty and insights, etc. etc. etc. – in short: they pour a lot of energy into nurturing the balance, beauty and well-being of their community and life in general. What could be more important and valuable for humanity?
If you feel inadequate, restless, “not enough” in whatever way sometimes or if you know a mum who does, please consider the following:
Being a mum (no matter of how many/few children!) is a full-time job. Actually, it is more than your usual full-time job as it isn’t a 9-5, 40-hours-a-week kind of job. It doesn’t stop. The responsibility for a young child is always there. And mum can feel “it” – all the time… As they get older they might not need mum so much anymore on a physical level, however, it is hugely valuable if there is a safe haven, a place to land, to recover, to enjoy when coming back from teenage explorations and life’s turmoil. Holding a nurturing space for children to grow, for family to evolve, includes an amazing variety of tasks: preparing/growing food, creating a safe place, a homely atmosphere, managing tasks and needs and wants, being there and listening, giving advice, supporting the overall growths and development of future citizens physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually - and so much more. In order to do this job, especially in modern-day societies where mums often aren’t supported by their families, community, etc. but left to their own devices, it is, in my view, also necessary that mum holds a space for herself to refuel, regenerate, replenish her energies. Otherwise – and I see this often and know it from my own experience – it is easy to become exhausted and unbalanced.
In my view, being a mum (and dad, of course, but as said before I am focusing on mums here) is one of the most important jobs a human can have. Again: What could be more important for humanity than raising children to become well-balanced happy grown-ups? The important bit here is: well-balanced and happy. This is a huge task in itself and requires a lot. The saying ‘It takes a village to raise a child’ shows that, ideally, this task is fulfilled by many. However, in any case, “mum” is a very important figure in every child’s life, and in modern societies with single mums on the rise, they are often the center point for a child.
Why is this important role not seen and valued? Why do some mums feel like they are not doing enough in terms of “contributing”? Why are some mums pushed back or “do feel the pressure of having to go back into the workforce” instead of seeing their huge value and, at the same time, being valued and supported in staying at home and/or in giving their energy into projects/work that serves their community? I am not talking about mums here who choose to work in a regular job. I am talking about options and having choices, and about how a mum feels about herself and how mums are valued in society.
corresponding issues of inadequacy, lack, exhaustion, frustration, etc. and to establish new value systems and patterns in our collective consciousness.
… we honor and acknowledge those amongst us (including ourselves) who give their energy into “family/community matters”? Support them = provide food, shelter, security for them, because we see the value in their contribution?
… our political leaders and doers had advisors who contemplate and connect with the bigger picture and include the voices of mums in their decision-making processes? What would political decisions (on a communal and international level) look like then?
… there were balancing ad-wise-ors in other areas as well? People who stepped out of the busyness of modern day life and therefore are able to contribute a balancing perspective?
I just came back to our peaceful home after a trip to Germany. I visited my mum in Freiburg, a town of about 230.000 inhabitants near the Black Forest. It’s a university town with a lot of students and a mix of cultures and backgrounds. People are well-educated, well-fed, and a lot of them would call themselves open-minded. Close to France and Switzerland, Freiburg has always been open to visitors, other cultures and languages, and is “bilingual” with French-German High Schools and a French Quarter. Over 2000 currently refugees live in Freiburg - numbers raising.
People open their homes and help where they can. Community halls and gymnasiums are transformed into temporary emergency accommodation. The army builds emergency shelters. Container cities are established where ever there is space. People are asked to open their homes and/or offer their holiday homes if they own any.
Winter is coming – and refugees who arrive at the Mediterranean coast burn plastic bags to keep warm. City councils and organisations in Freiburg and surroundings are overwhelmed. There is a protocol to be followed, but the case officers are under-staffed, time is ticking, and the stream of refugees doesn’t end…
The feeling of urgency is omnipresent.
And the reaction of the people isn’t unanimous.
There is love, compassion and empathy, people who are willing to share and to acknowledge differences and to abstain from their normal consumption in order to help.
There is fear, anger and frustration on the other hand. People who are scared that their community, country, continent cannot sustain so many new arrivals, that there is not enough for everyone, that crime rates, unemployment and social security is at risk. That their status quo is in danger.
I heard many voices, many stories.
Some based on first-hand experiences, some based on second-hand information and media stories. A very diverse range of perspectives and emotions.
I can see where people are coming from.
As often in life: there is not one answer, one size fits all.
We need to choose which way we go, where we want to stand.
My question is: How can I not share and help in such an emergency? I can see the fears and concerns, however, I personally couldn’t close my heart and door and leave people, literally, standing in the rain.
What would you do if someone knocks on your door – literally or metaphorically?
My brother opened his house to Syrian refugees. He helps them to deal with the authorities, to learn German, to cope with life in a new environment, in a culture that is foreign to them. He is 76 and I admire his dedication to help. Yet he also sees the challenges that come with the current migration flood.
One thing is "emergency care" - to deal with the acuteness of people fleeing their homes with just what they can carry, literally running for their lives, many dying on their way. Another thing is, how to deal with the human condition that makes this possible: Wars are not only a clash of differences, but also a huge money-making business. Hence, there is a lot of interest to keep the war machinery going worldwide. And this is another story...
I see a great opportunity in this: an opportunity for us humans to rise to the next level and to learn and grow TOGETHER. To learn how to communicate with each other despite our differences. To balance each other’s differences and not to fight them.
Tolerance, acceptance, respect, compassion, empathy, gentleness… all those “relationship and social skills” that are so valuable for a sustainable and balanced human community, no matter what culture and background. In the past, humans have not been able to overcome this challenge. Wars and abuse, no matter on what scale, between individuals or between tribes, privately or publicly – humans battled in private relationships as well as in armies against each other. Our harmonizing and connecting skills aren’t that well developed – yet. I feel that this is a unique and precious chance for us all to open our hearts, to look at our fears and worries, to let go of the need to control and to embrace the unknown, to embrace our differences. Easier said, then done, perhaps. Big lessons, but what a gift to receive if we choose to accept it, to experiment with it and to at least give it a go and try.
In the train on my way to Frankfurt, I overheard a conversation between a man and a woman. They were complaining about the number of refugees in their village: “2 refugees for every 100 locals”, the man said, “ this is frightening. They only come here because of the money anyway. We should send them straight back.”
At the next stop a family entered the compartment: A woman with two little children and a baby, and a man. She was wearing a headscarf and they had no luggage apart from two plastic bags. The train was very full, and there were only two seats free in our compartment. The man opened the door, smiled and pointed towards the seats. “They are reserved”, said the woman next to me and waved her hands. I was surprised as I hadn’t seen a sign and stood up to have a look: they weren’t! I signaled the family that they could sit down and offered my seat to one of the small children. They all obviously didn’t speak German, but their beaming smile was reply enough. The mother looked exhausted and her baby was fast asleep in her arms.
The German couple was showing clearly that they weren’t overly pleased about the turn of things. The children didn’t seem to notice. They smiled most charmingly at them, and when they didn’t get a reaction, they asked their mum something in their language. A brief conversation followed, then the man opened one of the plastic bags. It contained some sort of bread that smelled delicious with a red spread on top. The children cheered and thoroughly ripped the bred in small pieces. With their charming smile they then offered the bread first to the man and the woman, then to me who was standing at the door. They smiled and giggled and obviously enjoyed themselves.
It was priceless to see the “dilemma” on the faces of the man and the woman: the conflict between their aversion against “those refugees” and their “good education”. The man refused to take the bread. The woman curtly nodded and took the bread, not sure what to do with it. The children watched us closely, so I took a bite. It was as delicious as it smelled.
“It tastes great”, I said – and the woman carefully nibbled at it. She obviously liked it – to her own surprise. “You should try it – it tastes GOOD,” she said to the man. He reluctantly took a bite from her piece. The children were still watching us closely – and when they saw the surprised look on his face, they hurried to offer him the piece he had refused minutes earlier.
He took it, and – he smiled. “Thank you!”
They looked very content, and their parents smiled as well, offering more bread when we had finished our pieces. They hadn’t eaten yet, and there were only a few pieces left. So I asked them in sign language to eat, too. The children said something in their language, which we didn’t understand. Their father asked: “English?” He spoke no German, but a bit English and was able to explain to me that they had just arrived from Belgrad and where on their way to Hamburg to a refugee home. They were tired and so glad they could sit, as in the last train, they had had to stand for some hours. So they wanted to share their food that they had been given in Munich with us. “People here so kind”, he said. “They help and give us clothes and free ride.” And he smiled.
When I translated his words for the German couple, their faces changed. They smiled, and not just with their mouths. “Thank you”, they both said. And the woman stood up and got a bag with some mandarins out of her luggage.
For the next hour we sat there, sharing food and smiles and the atmosphere completely changed. And when one of the small children fell asleep and the mother struggled with both the baby and a toddler on her lap, the man who had connected with the other child invited her to sit with him. He took out a pen and a notebook and they played some drawing games, laughing and joking without words.
When I left the train in Frankfurt, we all hugged and wished each other a good journey.
The others had another couple of hours ahead of them… who knows what gifts they held for them…
Do you see the white triangle? This is an example of the brain making sense of a picture for itself, by filling the gaps.
There is no white triangle - or is there?
Nature over there, me here? Is there an individual ME? Or is it the brain creating the illusion of an individual ME?
When I talk about "SELF" I don't mean the "ME" that the brain creates. I mean the energy field that we are that is intimately linked to and in constant exchange with many other energy fields forming an overall pulsating, ever-changing, evolving, colourful field of life/death.
So Nature/Self are just aspects of the same field. Through feeling Self, we are able to feel Nature. Through feeling Nature, we are able to feel Self.
If we feel connected, it is all the same.
(= If we are able to perceive this connection, not only with our minds, but with our whole body-mind-soul complex)
If our perception of connection is interrupted (read my other posts about Self connection), we might need to take some conscious steps to re-connect and to re-activate our connection channels.
Listen to the trees...
I recently mentioned this in a talk to some permaculture students. "Well, trees don't talk. How do we do that?" one student said. The good news: Like every life form, trees do communicate = they send and receive energy. They might not speak English, and we might not speak Tree - however, we can learn to exchange and receive messages in a different way.
Other life forms usually communicate in a very subtle way. They send energy waves, mind pictures, holographic images, feelings/e-motions (energy in motion) that aren't as strong as, for instance, words. The good news: once you are accustomed to perceive and translate the subtle impulses, you will be amazed by the simplicity and efficiency of this direct and clear form of communication. And it will also help you immensely with "inner-species communication" when dealing with your fellow humans. No more misunderstandings and assumptions. No more mis-interpretations and "false friends".
How to start to learn this way of communication
Here an example:
If you plant trees, ask them where they want to be planted - you will be surprised by the guidance you will get! Be still and listen...
Listen to the land, the garden, listen to all the different life forms around you...
Get in touch with them, connect with them and communicate with them. Establish a relationship. Be still and listen!
You will receive a message or an answer to your question - give yourself time to learn how to perceive it.
Find your individual way. A lot of people naturally and intuitively communicate with their pets or with their plants while gardening, etc. They do it in a verbal or non-verbal way: some people sing while planting, tell their dog how their day went – whatever way you choose, make a connection, establish a relationship. Trust your "gut feeling" and follow it.
Ask the next tree you want to plant: Where do you want to be?
Then simply wait, be still and perceive what "comes up". Where does it “feel right”? It’s that particular feeling. The more you practice the "listening", the more you will actually perceive/receive, the more you will know. Instantly. With certainty. The knowing will come. It just happens. Trust the process. Like a child that is exercising its leg muscles, playfully and consistently, until it can finally walk and run. Exercise your "communication muscles", your "language skills" - just do it, again and again. You will become more and more confident, you will become clearer and clearer, you will know - and expand your perception of life. You will gain a valuable communication tool that you can use to connect with other earthlings, with your own species as well as with other species.
Another valuable "side effect":
The budding relationship that you are establishing, will enable you to feel and live the connection, that is already there, and integrate it more and more into your doing and being. It will help you to balance all sorts of dis-traction, things that are and have been pulling us away from feeling the connection (these things/habits/life styles can be quite dominant, noisy and loud, and persistent).
Do it with (your) children to nurture their natural innate ability to communicate in this way. Remember the last time a 3 year old shared with you what the cat just told him? Did you ban the story into the realms of a "vivid imagination"? When children (or adults, for that matter) do what people sometimes call daydreaming, they drift away and enter a different state of perception. Teachers and parents often try to bring them back and make them focus on the task at hand, or they simply interrupt them, unaware of what's happening. In many day care centres and schools, activities like daydreaming are rarely respected and uninterrupted, they are certainly not encouraged and nurtured.
In this way, we condition our children (and have been conditioned ourselves) to not connect, to not keep their fluency in "connective energy language" and to not enter dream space...
Hold a space for it and allow your Self to enter and to dwell in it now...
The story of interbeing