I’m learning so much!

I’ve been living in the Bay Area for about six weeks now. I’m pursuing a graduate degree in Integral Ecology. And I can’t think of anything I’d rather be doing, though I do miss my loved ones back home.

So – what is this integral ecology?

Here’s a description from the school.

Here’s my attempt at a simple explanation: when you look at the science, when you feel in your gut somehow you know – there are major environmental changes ahead of us. In order to understand the ecological situation and how to respond, we need to integrate other threads that matter to us – political and social justice, history and cosmology, philosophy and spirituality, psychology and media, activism and community building, love and art, all into a way to move together as an Earth Community.

We at CIIS are collecting all the elements that led our planet to this place and time, swimming all the global wisdom currently arising, and weaving these remarkable perspectives into a creative, and helpful, and hopefully peaceful way through the coming transformations.

Alright – like how?

We draw from indigenous sacred knowledge and quantum physics. From deep ecology and ecopsychology, from permaculture and the universe story. Archetypal astrology even. We go WAY back through time and WAY deep through consciousness. We move towards one the ground activism and environmental justice, promote diversity and responsibility, celebrate the Universe every day and renew our compassion and solidarity with all expressions of Earth.


Right. What kind of job are going to get after school?

With a degree in Integral Ecology, I can help communities and individuals establish new relationships with the Earth. This could include building local systems which allow groups to perpetuate for future generations their sources of food and water and sustain their social and spiritual well-being, right in conjunction with the health of their bioregion.

I can help us deal with the emotional responses (remorse, fury, despair) that erupt when we realize what we’ve done to each other and Earth. I can help facilitate healing across disparate groups. At least I can try my best every day.

But these are just issues we’re likely to recognize as Americans. Over the next decades there will also be hundreds of millions of climate refugees around the world with flooded or desertified homes. A degree in Integral Ecology should be able to inform relationships between all of us. Integral Ecology is a burgeoning field, and yes, a growth industry, though I’m not in it for the money.

So, ok, lemme share just a couple awesome things I’ve learned this month…

1. If you hold your pinky at arms length in front of the night sky, behind your pinky (by conservative estimates) are a million galaxies, each with hundreds of billions of stars like ours.

2. The universe is constantly moving, it moves towards creativity and complexity and diversity, and it is fueled by love.

3. The center of the universe is any point you measure it from. So, you.

4. Everything emits light constantly. Everything is permeated through and through with it. Light can travel across space and pop into existence. It exists outside of time. I don’t know what this means. We barely know anything about these vast expanses. But what we do know totally blows your mind.

5. Questions that seem to be arising from the Integral Ecology field and which interest me in particular include, but are not limited to –

  1. How do we move from a competitive to a collaborative culture?
  2. How do we embody new and ancient stories at the same time?
  3. How do we teach non violence and responsibility?
  4. How does the soul of the Earth communicate with her self-reflexive children?

6. Redwood’s roots are interconnected, as are their canopies.

And, if you’re looking for something that’ll really blow up your perspective, here ya go, care of my professor Sean Kelly.

Eschatons – Eras That Are Ending Now (Times Are Approximate)

  • 65 Million Years – The Cenezoic Era: We are currently in the middle of a mass extinction of animal and plant species. The last time a dying off of this magnitude occurred was when a meteor wiped out the dinosaurs. That 65 million years has marked the most beautifully biodiverse period in the planet’s history, and it is ending right now. We are the cause.
  • 200,000 Years – The Era of Homosapiens: There’s an argument to be made that through a combination of changes – biologically through our exposure to toxins, biomechanically through the internet implants we’re all about to want, on a level of consciousness with exponentially rising global awareness, and just because the label homosapien or “wise man” can’t really be what we call ourselves anymore – we are mutating into a new human.
  • 12,000 Years – The Holocene: The period of stable climate since the last ice age. Ending. This balance is what allows for agriculture. A rise of 2 degrees interferes with pollination. At 104 F photosynthesis ceases.
  • 5,000 Years – The Historical Period: If you define history as narratives of warring men, which is what most of our early history consists of, then this is (thankfully) no longer the only script with which we work.
  • 5,000 Years – The Mayan Great Count: On the morning of the Winter Solstice two years hence, the Sun (our first Father) will trace a direct elliptical path through the exact center of our galaxy, the Great Rift in the Milky Way (our first Mother.) There may also be aircraft carriers smashing into the White House. But I’m hoping that the unprecedented global recognition of 2012 as a date of change allows for the greater possibility of manifesting that change together.
  • 2,000 Years – The Piscean/Christian Aeon: The astrological Age of Pisces coinciding with the arising of the great religions and religious wars, though it’s associated most closely with Christianity and it’s water and fish symbology. Somewhere in this current couple hundred years we’re moving into the Age of Aquarius. This could signify a move away from monotheistic spirituality and towards lives experienced through freedom, equality, and awakening.
  • 500 Years – The Modern/Western/Capitalist Era: This is the world we know. The one we think is so real, so solid. It’s been defined by progress! individual autonomy! commodification of everything, mechanical reductionism, genocidal expansion, blind ambition, limitless growth, you know what I’m saying. At the moment these guys are entrenched and they ain’t going down without a fight. But (and I believe this more and more) as we bare witness to each other in all our unique human incarnations and voices, as we finally recognize our interdependence with life on the planet, and as we begin to know ourselves as something unbelievably greater – a knowledge it’s taken us exactly 13.7 billion years to discover – even those forms that seem most fundamental and foundational will begin to peel back.
  • 100 Years – Cheap Oil: Oil is dead. Long live migratory birds.

There’s no time frame or blueprint for how these eras will shift. But it’s all going on in our and our children’s generation. Some books I could recommend starting with: The Great Work by Thomas Berry, Cosmic Conversations by Stephan Martin, Coming Back to Life by Joanna Macy, and The Universe is a Green Dragon by Brian Swimme.


Anyway, it’s a lot to grapple with. I intended to debut this blog during the Autumnal Equinox/Harvest Moon, cuz I’ve been on a quarter year writing thing, but here we are at the new moon already. I’m finding so much that’s fueling my passions here, so many conversations, real blossoming communities – it’s hard to alchemize these elements into blog posts. But – these are stories I’ll devote my whole life to expressing. So, no worries about my little new begintegration blog.

Thank you for journeying with me. I’m grateful for any and all questions or comments, and I want to stay in touch, thank you. I’m making new friends in SF and Berkeley, but the movement includes all of us.

We all have this beautiful innate creativity that loves bursting forth when given the chance. It is, not coincidentally, very much like the supernova that created the earth and me and you. It will transform.

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