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— by Susan Eirich, Ph.D. — Gratitude is the emotion most associated with happiness and mental health. Gratitude helps us focus on what we have instead of what we don’t have, enhances the immune system, and fills us with a sense of expansiveness rather than contraction; warmth and calm instead of upset. The good thing is that it is easy, once we focus on what we have been given. Just the fact of being alive is the greatest gift possible and we all have been given it. Plus the gift of consciousness, an incredible human brain, the ability to enjoy beauty, and the possibility of developing according to our own inclinations. We each have individual life circumstances that vary...

— by Susan Eirich, Ph.D. — Conservationists are concerned with saving species. But an important new movement in conservation circles says it is also essential to recognize the inherent worth of each individual animal. This is the beginning of a major shift in our thinking about wild animals. One current in this growing movement is called Compassionate Conservation. The traditional species-focus is based on biology- if you lose a member, it is ok because the species can renew itself. Biologists are trained to give animals numbers instead of names, and aren’t allowed to get emotionally attached. The animals are reduced to statistics for population dynamics rather than considering...

— by Susan Eirich, Ph.D. — There is something new brewing and we can all contribute to it… In our Conservation Conversations, we explore many aspects of how we connect to animals and nature, but this last conversation was an unusual one. We explored the idea that we humans are the source of environmental destruction, and the cause of our destructive behavior is trauma. Generations and generations of trauma. Trauma that closes us down and closes our minds to other options. Makes us compartmentalize our thinking to keep ourselves safe from the chaos of fear. Makes us focus on the present, and stops us from seeing the consequences of our actions. Because we don’t feel safe, we...

— by Susan Eirich, Ph.D. — The Sacred Earth conference in Lucca was organized by Kamran Mofid, a person of great heart. This gave people the permission and sense of safety needed for the freedom to explore, together and without fear, as we all sought solutions to our current crises. Warmth allows us to open to new possibilities. It was so rich it will take a while to share all the ideas. Some I will share in the next Conservation Conversations and future blogs. But interestingly, one of the presentations that offered a beautiful, unique perspective on healing and moving forward was a project aimed at healing the trauma of the Nazi concentration camps. What does that have to do with...

— by Susan Eirich, Ph.D. — “We long for a better world for everybody, not only humans but for all life,” says Nancy Roof in this conversation, “but to get there we need to be much more conscious about what we are doing.” As editor of Kosmos Journal, Nancy’s goal is to foster global transformation by increasing our capacity to think at a higher level so we can make better decisions, spiritually and environmentally. Part of this is thinking in a larger frame of reference than we usually do, including more information than our immediate human focus and needs, and understanding that all our actions have consequences. When I go out to a restaurant now, it is a double-edged...

— by Susan Eirich, Ph.D. — “The Holy Fool is the most dangerous person on earth because s/he is willing to break from convention to take an action that is inspired from within.” - Joseph Campbell “Each of us was put here in this time and this place to personally decide the fare of human-kind. Did you think you were put here for something less?” Chief Arvol Looking Horse Having just come back from a wellness conference, I shared some of what we have learned about rewiring and helping us manage our wayward brains. One of the ways is toggling back and forth between two brain networks to get us out of negative thoughts and patterns (immensely useful!). Some others are...

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