What does it mean to you to contribute to regeneration for people and planet?
Are you contributing in the ways you want to?
How can you translate what our podcast speakers say into your own life so that you and Earth both benefit?
In the new episode on the Humans & Earth podcast, I talk about the importance of letting go of the blocks that prevent us from making the contribution we desire to make in the world. I share some of what I’ve learned about how resolving trauma and claiming your authenticity affect your readiness to offer your talents or compassion to the world.
This matters because your individual transformations impact planetary healing.
Your transition beyond what’s blocking you can be a collaboration with global transformations occurring for humanity and the natural world.
Your healing or upleveling is part of humanity’s healing and upleveling.
Over the course of 2019, three healthcare practitioners I respected each independently told me that if I wanted to recover my health and uplevel my contributions to the world, I needed to address my past trauma. That wasn’t what I wanted to hear. I was looking for a quicker fix and encouragement that of course I was ready to step up and bring my big ideas to the world. But it turned out that the doctor and psychologists were profoundly correct: my well-being and contributions were blocked by both trauma and fears of being my authentic self. The healing stage I embarked on in 2019 is the origin of my new podcast episode and a new Guide to Healing: Resources for Self-Empowerment that’s now available on the Courses tab of the website.
In the Humans & Earth podcast, I bring you inspiring speakers who offer insights into how Earth and humanity can heal and flourish together. Yet lately I’ve felt that I want to offer you more support with developing your own contributions. How can you translate what our podcast speakers say into your own life so that you benefit, and so does life on Earth?
Most of us who step into our desired contributions—whether in our homes or neighborhoods or on a larger scale—realize that authentic contribution usually requires inner transformation: emotional, spiritual, and physical. That is, if you’re yearning to make a healing change in your household, town, workplace, or your creative offerings to the world, you likely need to address whatever emotional, spiritual, or physical blocks hold you back from making your desire a reality.
We all feel blocked at times, and we all hold ourselves back. If you listen to people who are deemed ‘successful’ or are viewed as having made ‘significant’ contributions, they all have stories about inner blocks they had to overcome.
Maybe you want to introduce a new sustainability practice in your workplace but you’re afraid of being judged as a ‘tree hugger.’ Maybe you want to start a home garden but worry your family will say you’re creating too much work. Perhaps in your volunteering or healing business you want to talk about regeneration and ways we can collaborate with nature—and communicate with it– instead of causing harm…but you’re worried people will label you too ‘out there’ or ‘unrealistic.’ Maybe you yearn to help restore our planet but a part of you holds back because that part is afraid to be that hopeful. (We’ll be talking about this in our April gathering.) Or maybe you have a big idea but feel you don’t have the right qualifications to make it a reality. We could go on and on listing the fears and worries, and the types of low confidence and self-doubt, that prevent us from living our biggest, boldest, most joyful, soul-guided lives.
I’ve been on this transformative path for a long time and am ready to offer new types of support for your own transformations and upleveled contributions. (And yes, that includes you whether you are contributing to the world’s healing in quiet ways through your peaceful and wise presence, or through dynamic actions at any scale, small or larger.)
In our new monthly group we’ll be playing with the emotional and spiritual transformations that allow us to become whatever kind of healing presence we want to be. I’m also offering you something else new that addresses the physical and spiritual side of transformation, and soon I’ll bring forth a Guide to Flower Essences that addresses the emotional side.
This matters because individual transformation impacts planetary healing. Keep reading and I’ll explain.
To put it simply, if you’re well-being isn’t strong, it’s tough to contribute to the world in the ways you might want to. Whether you struggle with physical or emotional health challenges, they can hold you back.
I’ve experienced this myself and transformed beyond it, so I feel it’s time for me to start sharing what I’ve learned about how to improve your well-being so you can be the healing presence you want to be.
To take just two relevant topics today, I’m going to discuss the importance of recovering from trauma and living authentically. Both turn out to be highly relevant to your ability to serve, contribute, or lead. Both are getting a lot of attention in terms of wellness, but I want to also connect them specifically to your readiness to offer your talents, visionary insights, or compassion to the world.
I have a new offering through The School for Humans and Earth. It’s called A Guide to Healing: Resources for Self-Empowerment. It’s for you if you want to contribute more to regeneration for people and planet but feel held back by health challenges. The Guide is very inexpensive and accessible. I’ll be referring to it in today’s episode, but whether or not the Guide is right for you, I want to share with you today some of its core ideas.
One of those core ideas is that when we need to improve our wellness, we often experience 3 phases:
- Phase One: Diagnosing the problems
- Phase Two: Trying to treat symptoms
- Phase Three: Healing by transforming your lifestyle and consciousness
I want you to notice that these three phases are as true for an individual person’s life as they are for what we’re experiencing on Earth right now. We’ve been diagnosing our environmental problems for a few decades. We’ve been trying to treat the symptoms of environmental decline by tweaking our systems, such as by reducing our fossil fuel usage and our emissions of carbon and toxins. But it’s become abundantly clear that to truly heal Earth and humanity, we need to transform our lifestyles and our consciousness, not just improve or tweak them.
This similarity between the individual and planetary healing journeys is one of the many reasons I’m giving attention to why improving your wellness is relevant to your contributions to the thriving of people and planet.
Health problems are a topic I haven’t discussed publicly very much, though they’ve been a major part of my life. (I share more about my story in the Guide itself.) But I’m realizing that it’s time for our newsletters, courses, and gatherings to support you more in becoming whatever kind of healing presence on Earth you want to be. And for quite a few of us, this involves transforming health challenges so that we can live in the creative ways we long for.
I’m someone who has dealt with a variety of health challenges since early in life. I’ve lived through the stages of seeking diagnoses, trying to treat symptoms, and eventually realizing that transforming my lifestyle and consciousness are the keys to healing.
I’m not ready to describe my health history on a podcast episode that might receive 100s or 1000s of downloads. But I’ve shared more in the Guide, which you can access if, like me, you’re on your own healing journey and want to learn more from mine.
What I’ll share here today is that if you’re trying to live a thriving life and contribute to the well-being of people and planet yet getting derailed by health problems, I want to encourage you to consider that your health problems aren’t just highly uncomfortable, but that they also may be your doorways to the life you really want to live. Your healing journey can be a collaboration with global transformations occurring for humanity and the natural world. We’re living in a time when both individuals and societies are transforming.
- Maybe you’re one of the people who deals with health problems that are challenging to diagnose or resolve, yet you suspect they have some origin in stress or trauma.
- Perhaps you sense that your body’s symptoms are connected to the way you’re living in separation from your true identity, values, goals, and dreams for yourself and life on Earth.
- Maybe you feel stuck in the stage of coping with your health challenges but sense you’re ready for transformative growth.
Whatever kind of healing your soul-mind-body system needs is part of your overall self-development and self-empowerment. I know this for sure. Your healing is also part of humanity’s healing and upleveling. The goal is to curate your soul-mind-body self as an empowered, creative being. Then you’re more free to live however you desire to here on planet Earth
Even if you feel lost, desperate, or hopeless about your health, you can find your empowered, self-restorative responses. So many people have discovered this, including me, that I know it to be true.
My new Guide to Healing addresses how to heal trauma you may have experienced in your own life. However, I think it’s important to note that it’s possible that you’re also experiencing trauma based on your exposure to news media and your concerns about the state of the world. Although it’s good to be informed about what’s occurring in the world around us, those of who are very sensitive and/or feel deeply concerned about the future of life on Earth may be traumatized by news about climate change, natural disasters, or human or animal suffering. For more discussion on this topic and how to curate your news feed, you can read my Guide to Informed Optimism and listen to Humans & Earth Podcast episodes on Wise Focus and Informed Optimism.
Just about everyone has experienced at least some trauma, because life happens. But those of us with significant health issues very often have experienced more trauma than we realize. Trauma affects how the brain works, and the brain, of course, guides the function of the rest of the body. Persistent trauma patterning in the brain can shift our brain function, our biochemistry, and how our bodies’ systems function. Trauma can occur in dramatic forms, such as accidents or violence, or in ongoing forms, such as repeated emotional or physical stress over time. A simple definition of trauma from the work of the pioneering trauma researcher Dr. Bessel van der Kolk is that it consists of an event or experience that was overwhelming to a person’s nervous system and thus left a lasting imprint on their mind, brain, and body.
We can note that trauma recovery needs to occur for individuals and whole cultures. Resmaa Menakem is one person who has discussed how centuries of traumatizing conflicts in Europe created traumatized peoples who then explored the world from 1500 onward and transferred their trauma to other peoples via behaviors such as colonization and enslavement. Gabor Mate has also spoken about the trauma of whole societies of people.
The effects of trauma on the mind and body are too complex to describe fully in today’s episode, but to offer some brief useful information for now, I’ll note that neuroscientific evidence shows that trauma changes how our brains function, and a brain stuck in old or current habits of stress and distress (also known as the fight-flight-freeze neurological states—and we’ve also now added Fawn and Find) will very likely create emotional and/or physical symptoms. These can range widely from anxiety, depression, or a dissociated lack of emotion to pain, fatigue, immune system dysfunction, digestive system problems, blood pressure problems, neurological symptoms, and many more. Some of the foremost physicians and scientists writing books and giving talks on this topic include Dr. Bessel van der Kolk, Dr. Gabor Maté, Dr. Steven Porges, Dr. Norman Doidge, Dr. Cathleen King, and others I mention in the Guide.
To link this to another podcast episode and an article I’ve written and shared recently in the newsletter, I’ll note that a simple way to understand trauma is that it puts you in a Red Brain state. However, if you want to be peaceful, healthy, and a creative, regenerative presence in the world, you need to spend most of your time in the Green Brain state, as defined by Dr. Rick Hanson.
In the Guide I talk about how to assess your own trauma history, and what to do to integrate the parts of yourself that are traumatized, especially via somatics and brain retraining, and I talk about books, resources, and programs that can help you heal so you can move forward with your life of contribution.
Experiencing trauma can be terrible, and healing it can be challenging, but the good news for people and planet is that many experts believe that as we continue to resolve trauma patterns in human populations, we will treat one another and the Earth with loving care rather than domination. It’s looking like helping individuals and groups of people heal from trauma is actually relevant to solving climate change and other environmental problems.
You can be part of a generational shift as someone who assesses and resolves your own trauma patterns and then becomes stronger—and wiser—and thus able to contribute in beautiful ways to what humans and Earth need in this era of regeneration.
It truly is a privilege to be able to access healing tools that your parents, grandparents, great-grandparents and earlier generations could not access. Trauma recovery is a heroic journey, and one that can greatly enhance your ability to be a healing presence to others, be they people, plants, animals, or Earth.
When you bring your nervous system into the Green Brain state by resolving trauma, you become the kind of calm, insightful, optimistic, collaborative, hopeful, and creative person who can help humanity create an era of regeneration for people and planet.
As I hope you’re seeing, your own wellness is part of how we heal our planet.
Now I want to talk about the connection between whether you’re living authentically and how this relates to how much you can help Earth heal.
If you are experiencing health problems, it’s very possible you are not living in the authentic and self-empowered way that your soul-mind-body system desires.
This matters for more people—and plants and animals–than only you. We are in a time when important changes are occurring in human culture, and will keep occurring, as people express their uniqueness: their unique perspective, ideas, needs, concerns, vision, and talents. Everyone’s insights and creativity are needed to help build the regenerative ways of life that are already developing. If your perspective or vision are being held inside you, this may harm your health, and it prevents you from contributing whatever humanity needs that YOU are here to contribute.
How do you know if you are living authentically? Well, if you feel you can be ‘yourself’ only in a few areas of your life but not in others (or only when you are alone), you probably are often living inauthentically. If you cannot be your ‘real self’ in your workplace or your close relationships, you are almost certainly living inauthentically. This creates friction or tension between who you really want to be or what you really want to express, and in contrast, the ways you are restricting, censoring, or dividing yourself. Living inauthentically can be a form of intense stress that substantially impacts your mind-body functioning.
When you relate to yourself and others in inauthentic ways, you experience soul-mind-body stress. You also may be shutting down your heart and its yearnings in order to follow your mental judgements about ‘the way you have to live.’ Shutting down important parts of yourself in order to feel ‘safer’ around people who may not accept all of you is extremely taxing on your soul-mind-body system. It can be both a result of trauma, and can traumatize you in an ongoing way.
To consider some examples, if you love the arts or working with children but are working unhappily in accounting, or you’re a spiritual person working in an exclusively rational environment that is suspicious of spirituality, or if you live or work in any setting where you see possibilities for beautiful transformation but people around you shut down your ideas, you are experiencing inner conflict related to authenticity. If the person you want to be is rejected by people and institutions in your life, or if you frequently feel unsafe speaking your truth, setting healthy boundaries that protect your well-being, or being ‘different’ from others around you, you are experiencing the soul-mind-body crisis of needing to be inauthentic in order to be accepted in your family, friendships, workplace, or culture. This creates tremendous mental/emotional stress and strain that then can affect your mental and physical health.
Human cultures and systems tell us how to live: how to behave, what to believe, how to dress and eat and exercise, etc. We get to decide whether we agree. Currently many of our cultural assumptions and systems are harming us and the Earth and need regeneration. If you feel uncomfortable in the ‘boxes’ into which your culture tries place you, it’s possible that you’re here to help change those boxes. Although I have been committed to higher learning for most of my life and gaining a Ph.D. and teaching in my field has brought me much satisfaction and even joy, I’ve also struggled continuously with the unavoidable reality that I have not only ‘standard intellectual’ interests and abilities, but that I’m a highly spiritual person who also cherishes intuitive, holistic approaches to life and believes they need to be included in how we learn and live. It’s been an intense journey for me to give myself permission to believe that all of my knowledge, skills, and passions are valid and valuable, and that I can contribute to the world using all of them, not just those that are more culturally ‘acceptable.’ The benefit of this journey has been that I now feel more fully myself, more in integrity, and closer to actualizing the fullness of how I seek to contribute to, and enjoy, this world we live in. Becoming all of yourself is a worthwhile endeavor. Because it reduces your mind-body stress and can energize you with new experiences of peace and joy, it is highly health-supportive.
I know for sure that we are more powerful and capable than we realize. Also, we are privileged to live in a time when we have access to a larger array of healing tools and resources than most human populations have had available. So get excited, because if you’re dealing with health issues, addressing them may be the key to many kinds of transformation in your life, and a lot of support is available at this time.
People tell me that it doesn’t make sense for me to have lived through the variety of long-term health challenges I’ve experienced and not share what I’ve learned. And although it’s vulnerable for me to bring my new Guide to Healing to you, it’s been in my mind for a long time. It’s time to bring it forth.
You can access it on the Courses tab.
Your healing is part of humanity’s healing and upleveling. You can find your empowered, self-restorative paths to contributing to the world. I’ve studied many people’s stories of transforming their emotional and physical health. So many people have discovered transformation, including me, that I know it is real, and it’s accessible to you.
We are living in a time of rapid human upleveling, and ample assistance is available to those who choose to participate.
I wholeheartedly believe we can bring humanity overall to a healthier state and restore our planet. I know we’ve already begun. To keep going, we need more people who are physically and mentally well, and thus strong and able to co-create renewal for people and Earth. This doesn’t mean we’re searching for a ‘perfect’ standard of wellness. It doesn’t mean you can’t contribute to the world if you’re unwell. But the more you’re thriving, the easier it is to be a healing presence in the world. You can be one of the many people who are advancing their own well-being and then contributing to the world in brighter ways. That’s been my path, and now I’m sharing it with you.
Check out the Guide to Healing if it’s a fit for you. Watch for more resources coming soon on turning to flower essences for emotional well-being. And you can look forward to two upcoming podcast interviews with an expert in the new plant studies that are bringing much higher levels of respect and insight to how we relate with plants, and an expert in using flowers and gardening for mental health and community transformation. And if you’re on our newsletter list, you’ll receive information about our new monthly online gatherings, where we’ll practice some of these things together.
For Humans & Earth,