January 27, 2016 2 Comments
As I excitedly told the custom’s agent returning from Paris with the words gushing out of me describing my adventure and the phenomenal gathering of people I had just been a part of, he responded smilingly, “Sounds like it was the place to be”. “Bah Oui Hey, THAT IS the NAME of it, Place to B!” And that is how the synchronicities were flying the entire time, in fact even before I knew that I’d be going there to participate.
And Indeed it was the Place to B.
It was the Place to Brief among climate activists, bloggers, journalists, entrepreneurs, artists and people representing their communities that have already been in the last years affected by global warming. This alternative media session of organized talks and workshops took place mostly under one roof, where many of 600 people from 40 countries who the attended it and participated slept under one roof, headquartered at the St. Christopher’s Inns, conveniently located at a triangular point within a few hundred meters of both the Gare de l’Est and the Gare du Nord, in central Paris. The event of information sharing was geared towards rewriting the story and presenting new ways to approach Climate Change from the media standpoint and learning about a plethora of techniques already successfully in practice to make a difference with better knowledge, understanding, information about degenerative agriculture as opposed to regenerative and sharing success stories of all sorts of entrepreneurs who are out in the world using their ingenuity and actions to dramatically affect peoples’ lives.
This epicenter gathering of people sharing information about ways to talk about climate change and sustainable alternatives and tremendously successful projects took place simultaneously during the two week sessions of heads of state meeting together just a bit northeast of Paris at the COP21, the Conference of Parties ‘Sustainable Innovation Forum 2015’.
The Place to B and particularly the Place to Brief, was conceived of by a French journalist and writer
The Place to B: Place to Brief was conceived of and founded by the journalist and author Anne-Sophie Novel and the director of production Nicolas Bienvenue. They were surrounded by a team of people who coordinated the continuous flurry of learning events and entertainment, with a tremendous group of visiting presenters, entrepreneurs and activists who each delivered their scintillating information and testimonies of successes and inspirational savvy from all corners of the world. Anne-Sophie thought of the idea in response to the journalists being blocked out of the Copenhagen Climate Summit in 2009. She marched forward with her terrific idea of creating a focal point where activists and news media could gather, and more and more people joined in with their support and energy towards the idea. It certainly did involve a huge commitment and coordination from so many people, with a packed two week schedule of events.
I, as well as many people will be seeding this information. I’ve learned so much that I was unaware of, such as the distinction between degenerative and regenerative agriculture. We were all introduced to so many new perspectives and ways of looking at everything; new information about methods of agriculture, devices that can be made quite easily at a very low cost that can dramatically aid peoples’ lives, save lives and improve their quality of life. We were also endowed with a lot of historical insights peeling away what we don’t learn through the media, such as why the economy is the way it is, why the degradation of the environment has spun out of control the way it has with the evolution of the Western profit-driven capitalist world. Speakers like Amy Goodman, Vandana Shiva and Naomi Klein shared their powerful insights.
At the same time, there was an uncanny – as if carefully planned – theme of information that talked of re-creating the story, probing for different ways of framing the situation, different ways of presenting ‘climate change’ to the public. The event was infused with spirituality, in the sense of feeling a connectedness, a buzz of excitement coming from a group of people brimming with inspiration and aspirations. There was a palpable empathy there among the participants, who had come from all over the world, each inspired to learn, gather information and express their ideas. One felt a connection with others, with oneself and with the cause of tipping the direction that humanity has taken to a new trajectory. There were meditation classes, yoga sessions, dance, music, artist workshops, loads of media discussions, lectures and continual briefings about what was being discussed at the COP and more importantly, what we could all collaboratively and collectively learn from one another. Certainly, the task of all who were there, is to keep spreading this information of hope and the knowledge that we can each do something to make small changes that will aggregate to make vast ones.
Every Small Gesture Has Significance
Many little voices make a tremendous noise, and many little gestures, create big changes.
It was in a meditative state that I posed these questions, what may be the best thing for me to do to connect, to use my skills…and after a bunch of synchronicities fluttered towards me, I took a leap of faith to Paris within a week of learning about the Place to B through having reconnected with a former colleague of years back who happened to be one of the organizers.
One of the workshops I attended was the Transformational Media Summit : Storytelling and Media for a Better World. The New Story summit was hosted by Jeremy Wickremer, co-founder of Transformational Media Initiative In his presentation, Jeremy Wickremer spoke of the fact that each of us are potentially change-agents, with the capacity to do actions that can have a big impact on the environment – our own lives, our communities and the larger environment. And that what is more potent than merely drawing up solutions from a logical methodology, is to start with the right questions, which prompts creativity in itself.
Specifically, he mentioned that your intention – within the guise of a question – will often be answered. He more recently wrote in an article “Our Invisible World” about the fact that many things which steer human behavior, emotions, health, psychological and spiritual well-being have to do with the energy that lies beneath the actions. And that the common illnesses which affect modern man and the crisis of violence that threat human cultures, have to do with a disconnect. This disconnect is within our own selves, our patterns and habits of how we live our lives. There is a disconnect within ourselves, among one another and that humans have with other creatures and nature; which is presently resulting in the greatest magnitude of habitat destruction, dissemination of species and global ecological balances and health.
The biggest disharmony of all is perhaps our relationship with the natural world.
Eisenstein, in his Sustainable Man video about The New Story, which I wrote about in my other blog, talks of stepping out of this paradigm of control and allowing oneself to be of service to this larger body of which we all are a part. And that as we direct our questions and intent to ask ‘what we can do to serve?’ that indeed, the answers and direction will arise in response to the intention.
Daniel Goleman is the psychologist, science journalist and author of “Emotional Intelligence”. He posits that non-cognitive skills can matter as much as a person’s I.Q. (Intelligence Quotient) for workplace success in “Working with Emotional Intelligence”. In 2007, Goleman wrote about “Social Intelligence” and in 2009, “Ecological Intelligence: How Knowing the Hidden Impacts of What We Buy”
Besides the rational means of digesting information, there is the whole realm of the invisible. I’ll call it the domain of the heart. Herein lies the capacity of a person to intuit something and feel whether the information is in alignment with the words. A person can sense whether they feel good around a person, or uneasy. A person can have an impression beyond the rational, about whether the words of another person seem to convey the same as their gestures, or whether something is not quite in synch. One can sense whether something they read or see feels accurate and sound, or whether there is something amiss. Many animals can sense with a heightened capacity – with sense organs much more highly tuned to frequencies beyond those of human beings – to see, hear, detect movements and subtle alternations in the environment.
I mention the heart literally and figuratively as a metaphor. The heart is the central organ in the body – lets just talk about human beings – that is consistently circulating oxygen, nutrients and carrying away wastes throughout the body. The heart pumping station, is also by its nature generating an electromagnetic field which is larger than that produced by the brain. The heart also has a complex system of neurons, cells that are consistently transmitting information to the rest of the body. When the heart is in synch in the individual with feelings of joy and love, this invisible field expands. When an individual is more channeled into negative emotions of fear and anger, this field constricts.
The perception of the heart has everything to do with the health of all of the other organs of our body, of individual health in general, of the health of societies, permeating into healthy relationships with other organisms and with the health of the earth, which is an organism just as we are.
The heart is also metaphorically an organ of connection with others. Besides wonder, exuberance, joy and gratitude that a person can feel within him or herself, the words love, compassion and empathy typically imply a connection with another.
And as we begin to take tiny actions that follow the logic of the heart – which knows that each act is significant – the logic of the mind of the older world begins to be replaced. This power of repetition which can physically build muscles, is what occurs mentally, neurologically. Each time you think differently, you are rewiring your brain. This concept called Neuroplasticity has to do with the brain’s ability to reorganize itself by forming new neural connections throughout life. This rewiring allows the neurons (nerve cells) in the brain to compensate for injury and disease and to adjust their activities in response to new situations or to changes in their environment.
Listening to Intuition is the Wisdom of the Heart.
My introduction into the wisdom of the heart probably began through readings of Deepak Chopra. A physician and author, meditation guide and founder of the Chopra Center; who introduced this awareness that has been understood for Millenia in various Eastern spiritual traditions, of the effectiveness of meditation and this connection to the vast unknown dimension of energy. Chopra has teamed more recently with Oprah Winfrey to bring this domain of the spirit, of tapping into the hidden world of energy through stillness and meditation.
I then was introduced to the practice of ‘Heart Rhythm meditation’ which purports a harmonious and healing relationship within oneself and the universe beyond, through simply aligning the rhythm of one’s breathing to the rhythm of one’s heart beat. It is a practice introduced to the West by a Sufi Hazrat Inayat Khan who descended from Pashtuns, an ethnic group originally from Afghanistan and Pakistan. This meditation practice was brought to me by a certified AMA physician who understands the multidimensional healing that this practice provides – from reducing stress, to lowering blood pressure, creating a more harmonious heart rate and allowing oneself to access in this stillness, the domain of energy that stretches way beyond the physical heart and body.
So called ‘primitive people’, without having had the use of technological tools that more ‘advanced’ civilizations have had at their disposal and for their distraction, have had thousands of years of penetration into the invisible world that the modern Western world has only been starting to grasp is in the last 50 years. And with the spiritual and emotional well-being deficit that modern man has come to feel, this dis-ease of the human spirit, disconnect with oneself, growing obesity, growing psychological disorders and reliance on quick-fixes such as pharmaceuticals, and growing disharmony and feelings of isolation, have reached towards and cherished many ancient traditions that have evolved in the Eastern World to ease their dis-ease and treat their disharmony with something more than a quick fix of treating the symptoms instead of the disorder. They have reached towards practices of meditation, yoga, t’ai chi and walking into nature and silence, with a visceral understanding that these practices have short and long term benefits.
I will do my best to deliver in chewable-sized increments all that I’ve learned over a series of blogs.