This month’s front cover is dedicated to a special woman who, through her trust in the Divine, let go of her ego and co-created a community that continues to flourish today and set new standards for what it means to ‘be in community.’ Many of you know of the Findhorn Foundation in Scotland and the social and ecological work it is doing worldwide. If you want to know more, go to www.findhorn.org.
Dorothy Maclean has written many books detailing her knowledge of the devic realm, and her ability to trust the messages she hears. She now lives in the United States and, at the age of 87, travels world-wide with her assistant Freya Secrest, sharing her knowledge and encouraging us to connect with our inner knowingness. One of her recent book focuses on trees. Her article about them is on page 24-25. If you wish to learn from Nature, you need to take time to be in it, and if you are interested in joining Dorothy, she will once again present at the Johnson’s Landing Retreat Center this summer. Visit www.JohnsonsLandingRetreat.bc.ca for details.
Recently, I watched the movie Sicko by Michael Moore, which reminded me of the children’s story, The Emperor’s New Clothes. So many good people are now waking up to the knowledge that multi-nationals and Big Pharm are greedy organizations. Like the tailors who diverted the money that was supposed to be woven into fine clothing, the corporations have left Americans naked. Why is it so difficult for the majority of Americans to accept the fact that they have been taken to the cleaners and now have to figure out how to have a health care system that works for their benefit? Throughout the movie, Michael interviews citizens in France, England and Norway who live a comfortable lifestyle and have a health care system that takes care of its citizens. Even Cuba does a better job, selling inhalers for only twenty-five cents compared to the hundreds of times that amount that Americans are being charged.
I am thankful the Canadian government has universal health care as a human right, but that may change soon: the Food and Drug Act is being challenged, Big Pharm is lobbying hard to change the rules, and rumours of privatization talks are creeping into the media. Soon we may lose our right to buy easily accessible, reasonably-priced herbal supplements. My hope is that Canadians realize that our health care system may become the property of the vested interests of the corporations and their shareholders and if you believe their propaganda, it would be “for your own good.” Which reminds me of the book by Alice Miller, For Your Own Good, one of the most illuminating and life-view-changing books I have ever read. Alice studied philosophy, sociology and psychology and took her doctorate in 1953 in Zurich, Switzerland. As a researcher on childhood, she is the author of 13 books translated into thirty languages. In For Your Own Good, she profiles the life of Hitler, to show why he did what he did, and goes on to discuss prisoners who had brutally murdered children. Her thesis is that once we injure the integrity and dignity of a child, and even if the consequences are not visible right away, as adults, this dynamic violence can deform some victims who take revenge on whole nations and become willing executors for dictators and other cruel leaders.
In later books, Miller explains that society’s ignorance remains immovable and that most people tolerate human violence because of the way they were forced to obey as children. If no bonding happened when they were a newborn, or if they were hurt as a baby, the psyche has to act out the pain because the body cannot put it into words. In her more recent book, The Body Never Lies, Alice writes about the importance of feeling our feelings and re-parenting ourselves so we can live a better life. Alice Miller thinks that once we become aware of this dynamic, genetic conditioning, the chain of violence against humanity can stop, and she devotes her life-work to this enlightenment.
Many of us are learning to reprogram/reparent ourselves and today there are literally hundreds of ways to start that process… which seems never ending to me. There is meditation, yoga, breath-work, tapping, life coaching, rolfing, counselling and/or non-violent communication training, to name a few. It is best to have guidance when first stepping onto the path of awareness, but how do we reach the ones who need it the most, and from their point of view, need it the least? Isn’t it wonderful to have both the freedom to choose and the opportunities to choose from.
On March 1st and 2nd, Richard and I added Dynamic Governance to our understanding of how a society can operate, as taught by John Buck from Maryland,USA. Sociocracy, we learned, was developed from the Quaker principles by Kees Boeke of Denmark, who was an internationally known peace activist and educator. During WW II, he was arrested for helping Jews travel to safety. In his pocket they found a declaration that said “No Dictatorship,” which almost cost him his life. Kees had analyzed the weaknesses in the democratic system, such as endless debates in parliament, mass meetings where the most primitive of passions are aroused, over-rulings by the majority, unreliable election results and government actions that were rendered inefficient by the minority’s persistent opposition. He saw strange abuses creep in and dictators winning elections through intimidation. In his teachings, Kees reminds us that we have taken for granted for too long our present system and that we do not realize that the party system and majority rule are not an essential part of democracy. If we really wish to care for each other’s welfare, we must set aside quantitative principles and find another way to organize ourselves. He advocates a kind of democracy that does not depend on power but cooperation.
Kees Boeke is perhaps best known outside the Netherlands for his book, The Cosmic View: The Universe in 40 Jumps (1957), which served as the basis for a movie called The Power of 10 and an interactive website, www.powersof10.com that was created so that children can realize their relationship to the world, and feel connected as a whole. In 1926, he founded the Children’s Community Workshop where he implemented the values he felt would lead to a peaceful society. After World War II, Queen Juliana of the Netherlands chose his school, for she liked the idea that her children would learn with other children, and together they created a self-governing community of over four hundred students and teachers that promoted respect for all. During the workshop we practiced Circle Meetings, which is used to reach agreements. One person presented a request, then everyone in the group said what they thought of the idea, then the facilitator condensed it into a motion. If need be, the motion would go around a second or third time with amendments so that everyone felt heard and was part of the agreement. This process activated a common search that brought our group closer together as we looked for ways to get everyone’s needs met. Rather than the expected stalemates, we experienced mutual trust and a desire to act in the best interest of the group.
If you are interested in learning more about this useable system of governance that has proven its effectiveness in the workplace and beyond, then please read John Buck’s book, We the People, Consenting to a Deeper Democracy or visit www.sociocracy.info. Eric Bowers who organized and co-presented the workshop in Nelson, BC will present this topic at the upcoming Spring Festival of Awareness. To end, I would like everyone to know that I am going back to my original publishing schedule of five times a year. This will allow me time off in July for a family reunion and for visiting with the many guests that arrive at the Retreat Center during the summer. The next edition of Issues will appear June 1 for June, July and August, then a September and October edition, followed by a November, December and January Issues. This schedule will also allow me time to resume hosting the Wise Woman Festival in September at Naramata. Christina Ince and Marion Desborough will be my partners in this endeavour as Laurel, Samarpan and Urmi have decided not to continue. I am also excited to announce that Lori Ann said she will be joining us next month to help with publishing. Yeah!