Gateways to Transformation Blog #1
This conversation is about the potential for human spiritual growth during times of chaos. This will be an ongoing series of blog posts from myself and others, who choose to also engage in this way.
“We create our heaven or hell (to borrow a christian concept) with every choice we make. I will say this again for emphasis. We create our version of heaven and hell with every choice we make, every day of our lives, every choice.” Alisha Adrian, 2020
I am normally a very busy person. I have two businesses that I run and interact in the world through. One is Gateways to Transformation, LLC. This is a risk and growth retreat center, where I as both a business owner and a licensed therapist and life coach, engage in growth and learning workshops, kids programs for enrichment, as well as ecotherapy, including specific IOP programs for certain types of psychological mental health issues. See www.gatewaystotransformation.com. for more information about this program. My second business is a mental health and trauma residential extended care program called Rites of Passage, LLC. See www.ritesofpassage.co for more information about this program.
The idea of choice and being able to actually make a choice that can change your own and others worlds, is something that most of the people I engage with are not certain about, both that there is choice and that they can actually choose something different than they have chosen in the past.
My thoughts have been centering on what is happening now in the whole world around us as the corona virus pandemic is making changes in how we are able to interact and live in the world at this time.
As I have moved through what I myself and the people close to me can do to continue to help others during this time, as well as keep my business’s safe so the people I work with feel safe and able to continue their work here, it occurs to me that this pandemic chaos (as bad as it is now), is also an opportunity for changing old outmoded ways of being and allowing ourselves to risk moving into a more expanded sense of community, more inclusive of the whole world, instead of the small contained groups, we have allowed in our various individual worlds until now.
It is a glorious bright and sunny, early spring morning at seven thousand feet in the Colorado mountains. Birds are singing, the snow is melting, and my dogs are popping in and out of the outside dog door to see why I am still sitting in the house, instead of being out with them, feeding horses and getting ready for my usual day.
My dogs feel my emotions and try to comfort me, but they have no concerns about pandemics or what is happening in the world at this time. They are simply joyous and live in the moment, adjusting to whatever situation happens in their lives fluidly. Because of this, they are always available and able to give what they can to help in any situation, giving love unconditionally. I myself both am and am not at the same time. As humans we are complicated.
I live and work on a beautiful 40 acre farm that we are in the process of reforesting through permaculture methods. We have all kinds of therapists here, both human and non-human. I love and honor all the beings I share this amazing adventure of life and living with, and this includes my love of the earth herself who allows us to live within the biosphere on her skin.
My own growth and evolution during this life has not always been easy or healthy. I have had many things including physical abuse, head injury and extreme trauma that I have had to overcome in my world, but this is also what has moved me into doing the type of work I love. I can now offer tools to help others doing risk and growth instead of staying stuck in their previous choices of how they had to live in the world.
As I watch the pandemic spread across the human landscape, I see also how humans, as they isolate more and are not constantly on the go, are allowing animals and nature around us to breathe a little deeper and start to emerge again in places that they have been moved unceremoniously out of by human movement into their previous environments in the world. The ozone is shifting back marginally into a healthier balance from environmental waste not being pumped into it, The waters we have polluted, both fresh and ocean are starting to clear in certain places.
I do see the pandemic as a horrible event, and I mourn the loss of human life that has and is occurring at this time in our world at this time, yet I also realize that this is something that we have also done, unthinkingly to countless other beings, both other humans and millions of other living beings, through trying to control our world in the ways that we have done it until now, since we started to claim land as something that was just ours, and twisted our psyche from being part of everything, to just being ourselves.
As attaching creatures (“neuroscience, we are primarily attaching creatures”), this part of being a larger community was the ability to see others as equal to be paid attention too, as opposed to less than us in some way and then simply something to use and throw away.
This error has led to so much suffering in the world, both our own, for after that we began the tortuous journey of being unattached from everything else in the world, while only attaching partially to other humans who we decided looked and acted enough like ourselves that we felt safe.
This continuing to try to isolate ourselves to be around only others we perceive to be like us to feel safe, has continued to a great degree in this modern world. Look at examples of both religions and cults. Both are technically defined as the same thing in the dictionary, ways to stay within a perceived safe group of people who have definite rules about how they have to live, so that you don’t have to look at choices. Everything is laid out for you. This also brings in judgement of self and others. If you don’t fit into those specific guidelines, you are bad. If you do fit in you are good.
This fear of change and need for safety has cascaded us into today’s world, where societal rules are still doing this. We are okay if we look like each other, if we are are workers and consumers and we contribute to the economy. We are bad if we are introverts, reflective, scientific or read too much, if we are not like others in our society, if we are women instead of men or have a different sexual orientation.
Women and men are not equal. This is shown explicitly every day in business, government, in society in general and in the everyday lives of couples and family life. Women and children are treated as inferior in many ways and when violence happens to them in the family or community, it is deplored, but also tacitly acknowledged that the person who got hurt shouldn’t have been doing what they were doing, or it wouldn’t have happened. Women shouldn’t dress provocatively. They tempted men, or a child should have not argued or stood up for his or her mother when their father hit her. This is normalized behavior that we deplore, but do not eradicate. This type of accepted behavior allows us to look on other people who do not fit into our scheme of what is safe in even more horrendous ways.
With “other,” anyone or other being not like us, we automatically lower that being to below us, distancing them to “non human” status so we can feel better about treating them as even more non equal to ourselves, putting them in prisons, or camps when we feel unsafe with them for any reason, and or eradicating them in the case the holocaust victims and of animals who share this world with us.
As organic beings we are all animals. That is a biological fact, but no other animal does anything like this. Because of this mindset, humans condone and allow all kinds of degradation to happen on this planet, This degradation affects all beings here including us. We are poisoning the air, the water and the land and even knowing this (it is generally known at this time) it is not stopped and often barely slowed. President Trump just stopped all EAP restrictions that have been put in place in this country just this week, because of the pandemic the government said.
So here is the crux of the matter. “Choice” allows us to create our own heaven or hell and each choice we make, each choice every day in every situation, creates the reality we live in. We have been creating hell here on this planet both for ourselves and every other being in the world for a very long time. Its time to make a change.
It’s not all bad. AbrahamMaslow (1943) created a pyramid of his conception of the human hierarchy of needs to be able to evolve into a healthy emotionally and spiritually complete human, what Bill Plotkin, author of Nature and the Human Soul, calls psychospiritual maturity. Where do you find yourself on this scale when limiting it to just humans? When opening up to all beings on the planet, including the planet itself?
Vita Hattangadi utilizes Maslow’s pyramid to show links to spirit and growth. The lower you see yourself on the pyramid the less you care about “other” than yourself. When your get up to the level of esteem, you are moving into spirituality instead of the dogma of an organized group or religion and the ability to value yourself as opposed to feeling like you have to be like everyone else. Societal and religious trainings start to drop away at this point and you begin to realize that all beings matter and that you can make changes in your world that go beyond being merely self-serving.
Today, as someone who works with both psychological residential levels of mental health and trauma as well as risk and growth or the ability to move yourself to the next higher level of the pyramid, up to and including self actualization, which I equate to being a fully psychospiritually mature human being, I am seeing those changes occur and how it changes lives always for the better.
During this pandemic, I am looking at what people are doing while this is happening around us. This is a terrible event for humans. Yet many many people who didn’t have to have stepped up to help in every way that they can. What can we do to use this to actually help ourselves to start to make changes, (to evolve) as well as just try to stem the pandemic itself, to use this time to make changes inside ourselves, so that we are able to move in the direction of creating our heaven on earth and not our hell. By making new choices in how we do things and treat each other and the rest of the world.
- Can we grow beyond the barbarism of killing things for pleasure?
- Can we grow beyond our current concepts of equality, so that everyone is seen as equally valuable for what they contribute to the world?
- Can we make changes in how we treat, what we call resources of this planet so that other beings don’t lose their own habitats as well?
Evolution normally happens very slowly, but big events can cause the opportunity for much quicker growth, as well as the possibility to devolve back into a more barbaric state. Your choices create your template for this. Your heaven or hell. You always have a choice. Lets evolve now.
Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Educational Psychology Interactive. Valdosta, GA: Valdosta State University. Retrieved [date] from, http://www.edpsycinteractive.org/topics/regsys/maslow.html
Bill Plotkin Soulcraft: Crossing into the Mysteries of Nature and Psyche