A traditional stone inukshuk, an Inuit cultural symbol used as a landmark to guide travelers in the far north, showing they are on the right pathPhoto by: Stock Photo

 by Susan Eirich, Ph.D. —

It is so hard to follow up on our good intentions and resolutions! According to one theory our forebrain, where our will is situated, is not yet fully developed to override temptations. In that sense we are not yet “grown up” as a species. Disadvantaged against the powerful pushes that are hard-wired into us for survival we fail again and again. Kindness and compassion for our fate! We didn’t choose our brain structure.

Yet we have another kind of wiring as well – the capacity for seeing beyond the immediate and obvious; for overriding our innate weakness in order to live by our values instead of our drives. We also have the capacity to see our weaknesses, evaluate them, and set up internal and external structures so we direct our lives instead of being driven. (Example of an external structure: me having chocolate only in my writing cabin so I have to go down there to get some, in hopes once down there I will write. Only moderately successful, but hey…).

Another example of an external structure is belonging to or setting up a support group with coordinated intention. That has been the vision for our Conservation Conversations. The last two have been devoted to how we can find the light within; and becoming the light in these dark times so we can be an inspiration to others. In addition to our brain wiring there are so many external pressures against finding our light within. Once we do, how can we help each other maintain it?  How can we spread it outwards to inspire others? As we share our own struggles, insights and successes and listen to others, we all grow stronger.

Other than my chocolate example, some things I personally try in order to support myself in living my values is to live as simply as possible, not using more than I need and carefully evaluating what it is that I really need. Another is checking from what position I am operating from: Traumatized Child? Then realizing that is not my current reality and not necessary any more – I can move to a different operating system (place) in my brain.  Need for instant gratification? That is not how I want to guide my life nor is it a source of self-respect.

Another is to try to connect with my self through meditation; and through meditation to connect outside my self with the universal, or Source. There I find grounding and support for overcoming my various human frailties and fears. Others find this through prayer, nature, music, art, close community – there are many paths, few of which are supported by our general culture. We need to change this…..

Our most recent conversation, Becoming the Light in These Dark Times, Part 2, attempted to help us find a way out and up. Miriam Trahan talked about the need to refine our own access to the inner light that is coming into reality in this moment. She noted that even though things are breaking apart, this leaves space for new awareness and organization and new things are coming into being. She perceives a very high refined quality of light coming into our reality right now and believes that if we have a personal practice of any kind that connects us to this light; if we practice allowing the light through on a regular basis, it infuses our energy field and creates its own coherence. This coherence is a really important way of raising our vibrations. In a beautiful insight she stated that our life is the creative field for which we are responsible. Read more of her thoughts here

Miriam sees us as pioneers, and thus it is really important that we encourage each other…this is real. This is really happening……

I agree whole-heartedly. The shift in human consciousness is an upwelling around the world. It is a source of great hope. We need to do all we can to encourage it, in ourselves and others, for the sake of all Life.    

Dr. Susan Eirich is the Founder and Executive Director of Earthfire Institute Wildlife Sanctuary and Retreat Center. A licensed psychologist, biologist and educator, her goal is to widen the circle of conversation about conservation to include the voices of all living beings.

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