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PAUSE: Seven Dramatic Validations of Our Lifely Viewpoint
We’re hitting the PAUSE button on our Lifely blog this week to bring you a post that is out of the ordinary.
Much has happened over the past few months and it all came together this past week. Seven experiences led me to see in a new way how what we are doing really fits into a bigger picture.
Seeing those pieces and writing them out really validated for me the rightness of what we are doing and showed me that we are not alone.
This is a long post, but it is divided into seven stories and then there is a conclusion.
* Validation #1: Ralph Waldo Emerson and the Transcendentalists
* Validation #2: Utopia
* Validation #3: Freemasonry and The Founding of the USA
* Validation #4: Finding My Own Utopia
* Validation #5: Madame Blavatsky and the Theosophical Society
* Validation #6: The Anthropocene Epoch
* Validation #7: Religions Worldwide Advocate Responsibility for the Earth
* Where We Are Going Now With Lifely
Larry and I established this Lifely blog in 2019, on my birthday, June 18. It was our first attempt to begin to communicate our explorations about approaching our human lives in the context of all Life. We explained our understanding of Life as being made up of spirit and matter and stated our intent to apply this to all aspects of everyday human life. We did what we could to communicate whatever we could from this viewpoint.
A year later, on 19 July 2020, I tripped and fell and broke my left kneecap. This resulted in spending almost two months lying in bed while the bone healed and another month with limited activity while in physical therapy. As I write this today, I have just last week been cleared for all activity, though my body is still regaining strength and stamina.
In addition to recovering from my injury, during the same period of time I have been living adjacent to two massive wildfires—one after the other—that have been unprecedented in their size and destruction. At any moment the wind could have shifted and burned everything I owned, including all my books and research materials. The unprecedented intensity and size of these wildfires, plus the number of named hurricanes and their size have given us some indication that massive climate change may come sooner than previously predicted.
And then there has been the social disruption of the covid-19 pandemic, the undoing of the economy, and the insanity around the upcoming election.
Collectively we are all living in a time of chaos, uncertainty, and collapse.
And yet, we here at Lifely see this as a time of opportunity.
During this down time from the “accident,” I have had ample time away from my usual activities. And in this space “outside” of normal life, I have had seven dramatic experiences that have validated for me that our Lifely work is not only on the right track, but is part of our ongoing human evolution.
These validations have shown us not only that we are doing exactly the right thing with Lifely, but have also given us an immense leap forward in understanding this subject, seeing much more profoundly its depth and breadth and has opened new directions moving forward.
Ralph Waldo Emerson and the Transcendentalists
For the first two weeks after my fall, my body needed all possible energy to heal its broken bone. It had to sleep much of the time and I couldn’t think clearly. When I was finally able to stay awake and think, I began to read.
The first book I wanted to read was The Spiritual Emerson, a collection of Ralph Waldo Emerson's most known works on the subject of spirit and nature. I had read the Introduction to this book many years ago. A few weeks before I broke my kneecap I suddenly wanted to read the Introduction again because it had some historical information I wanted. I couldn’t find my old copy of the book so I ordered it again. The book had arrived just before I broke my kneecap, so I started reading it.
To my surprise, Ralph Waldo Emerson’s spiritual viewpoint was exactly the same as the viewpoint I had come to on my own. I may have been influenced by reading bits and pieces of his works many years ago, but now as I was reading all his spiritual essays one after another, I continued to be amazed as I turned each page. Emerson really validated what I know to be true. I saw that even though in today’s world my viewpoints are unusual, I am not the only one who has ever thought this way.
Emerson wrote the first ideas that became the foundation of a literary and philosophical group, now known as the American Transcendentalists. These writers shared Emerson’s key understanding that each individual could transcend the physical world of the senses into deeper spiritual experience through free will and intuition. To Emerson and the Transcendentalists, God was not remote and unknowable—they experienced God directly through experiencing their own souls and by their own interconnection with nature.
Much of what I hold to be true may, in fact, have come from Emerson and the works of other Transcendentalists who shared his views. Henry David Thoreau, who described his simple life in his classic book Walden followed in Emerson’s footsteps, and Louisa May Alcott, author of Little Women, learned about nature on walks through the woods with Thoreau. Poet Walt Whitman was also influenced by Emerson. I visited the homes of Emerson and Alcott on a trip to Concord, Massachusetts, which are carefully maintained. Sadly, the site of Thoreau’s house on Walden Pond is now a tourist gift shop full of souvenirs.
Ralph Waldo Emerson was the son of a Unitarian clergyman and was a minister himself until he discovered through his own awareness that one could have their own personal knowledge of the divine without an intermediary. He advocated for nature and spoke out against the industrial factories that were encroaching on the Massachusetts countryside in the mid-1800s. Later he lectured for the abolition of slavery, women’s rights, and living a moral life.
Despite his views that diverged from the rampant materialism of his day and our current society, Emerson is credited with establishing a literary tradition of America, being separate from that of the Old World. He is considered to be particularly American in his ideology, insisting on both the primacy of the individual and a democratic faith in everyone’s capacity for wisdom. His greatest goal—which we share—was the regeneration of the human spirit.
Historically, Emerson's viewpoints are considered to have central importance in the history of American culture.
Nature, whose floods of life stream around and through us, and invite us, by the power they supply, to action proportioned to nature…
We must trust the perfection of the creation so far as to believe that whatever curiosity the order of things has awakened in our minds, the order of things can satisfy.
— Ralph Waldo Emerson
After reading Emerson, I was searching for more information about him and one of the results that came up was about utopian communities in American in the 1800s.
The word utopia is common in our English language. It means “an ideally perfect place, especially in its social conditions, government, and moral aspects." And there is an opposite word dystopia which is "a society in which people lead wretched, dehumanized, fearful lives.” Note in dictionary definitions these are imagined places, but to me, these words are very descriptive of two states of society that actually exist today.
I recognized Thomas More from the Academy Award winning film A Man for All Seasons, in which he stood up to King Henry VIII in protest to the King’s separation from the Catholic Church and refused to acknowledge Henry as supreme head of the Church of England. But I didn’t know he had written any books, and especially not Utopia.
Utopia is a fable about an imaginary island where people live an ideal life. Even before I started to read the book, I realized that I am doing exactly what Thomas More did. Larry and I are taking our philosophic viewpoint and extrapolating a way of living that comes from that. Thomas More lived at a time where a tyrannical king was creating difficult conditions. The first part of the book comments on life as it was in his time, and then the second part describes his version of an ideal life.
But it turns out Utopia was not the first book to imagine a society based on spiritual principles, or the last.
Then after Utopia, there is the incomplete utopian novel written in 1626 by Sir Francis Bacon, also in Latin, called New Atlantis, again offering a vision of the future of humankind. Read a free copy here or buy the book here.
Fast forward to 1937 and James Hilton’s bestselling novel and popular film Lost Horizon, which introduced us to the utopian lamasery of Shangri-La high in the mountains of Tibet. Both the film and the novel were huge popular successes. The novel was the first “mass market” paperback. It became one of the most popular novels of the 20th century. Read a free copy here or buy the book here
But beyond imaginary utopias, as industrialization, urbanization, and other modern changes came to America in the 1800s, many responded by creating actual utopian communities based on a variety of viewpoints. Search on “utopian communities” in your favorite search engine to learn more about these.
The most successful utopian movement in American history, and my personal favorite utopian community was the Shakers (until now I didn’t know the Shakers were a utopian community). Years ago I lived in a little village that had a workshop which made Shaker furniture and I fell in love with the whole idea of Shaker life (as I understood it at the time). Larry and I built four authentic Shaker chairs with our own hands and we have a lot of Shaker pegs on the walls. And we always visit Shaker historical sites whenever we are traveling and see one. While we don’t agree with everything about the Shaker philosophy, we love the beauty, logic, order, and peacefulness of Shaker life.
After seeing all this, I had to acknowledge that our intention to create a lifestyle based in the spiritual and physical laws of life is actually perhaps the latest iteration of a long-held utopian ideal that goes back at least 2000 years, if not further.
This was a huge validation for us. There seems to be an inherent desire in humankind to find our highest good and live from it. We think it’s possible.
In fact, America itself turns out to meet the definition of a utopian experiment...
Freemasonry and The Founding of the USA
The next book that came to mind to read was a book I had read about fifteen years ago called The Secret Architecture of our Nation’s Capital: The Masons and the Building of Washington DC. This book shows how our capital city was laid out and designed in very specific symbolic ways to support the founding intentions of the country.
Freemasonry is a fraternal organization in which members are united in the common goal of becoming better men. It is the oldest such organization in the world. Many accomplished men who were instrumental in creating the American Revolution were Freemasons—including George Washington and Benjamin Franklin.
For centuries, values of brotherly love, relief, and truth have been passed from Mason to Mason in a timeless effort to make good men better. "A Freemason is a man who is committed to bettering himself and his community, having taken a solemn vow to help and mentor his Masonic Brothers do the same. A Freemason is a man eager to be part of something bigger than himself, with a reverence for history, compassion in his heart, and a desire to create a better future.”
While reading this book I learned that one of the most basic symbols of Freemasonry is the “two pillars.” As the Masonic story goes, when the sacred knowledge was revealed to Man, it was carved on two pillars. One was of a column made from marble with a globe encircled with a zodiac on top. The other was made from brick with a globe of the earth on top. What fascinated me about this was the mission of all Masonic initiates is to find the balance between these two pillars—to relate in the world a way that was harmonious with both the realm of spirit and the realm of Earth. Not only is this exactly the goal of Lifely, but we have similarly divided the spiritual and the physical as two separate subjects that are completely different, to be combined by the reader in a way that suits their own individuality.
I then went on to read Revolutionary Brotherhood: Freemasonry and the Transformation of the American Social Order, 1730-1840, which documents details of how Masonic lodges contributed to the creation of a cooperative social order in early America. Fundamental to thei teachings was an acknowledgement of the existence of God and universal love for all humankind. These benevolent feelings for others served as the principle method of union among men of different religions and politics. Regardless of their individual differences, there was a common spiritual nature in every member. Some lodges even included women and blacks. By belonging to their local Masonic Lodge, patriots learned to balance self-interest and common good in a way that brought to life the new American values.
From reading these two books now, I could see that prior to our materialistic industrial society there was another deeper wisdom that was known in earlier cultures, and I wanted to know more about that. I began to look for resources that would fill in my missing background about this ancient wisdom.
I wasn’t entirely unfamiliar with Freemasonry. I was born into a Masonic family. My father was a Freemason before I was born, his mother and her brothers and sisters were all Freemasons (my great uncles were Freemasons, my great aunts belonged to the Order of the Evening Star, the branch of Masonry for women). While they never openly talked about their Masonic training, they all approached life with their Masonic values, which I lived with every day in my family.
Like any other organization, Freemasonry has adapted with the times, so the organizations of Freemasons today isn’t exactly as it was at the time of the founding of America. But the wisdom still exists in the world to be found and brought to light in ways that can be useful today.
I have since been doing a lot of research on the viewpoints and intentions of the founders of our country and will be writing much more about that as a foundation for restoring our country.
Finding My Own Utopia
I actually have spent most of my adult life working to make a better life for myself and others. I started creating a life beyond industrialization in 1978 by removing toxic chemicals from my home. This led me to look deeper and deeper beyond the industrial consumer lifestyle, into nature. And so I had an idea of how it might be if I lived in nature, integrated with an ecosystem, but I had never experienced it.
When I woke up that morning, I wasn’t expecting to go anywhere.
It had been a difficult summer. Living just north of San Francisco, Larry and I had been experiencing unprescedented wildfires which had created skies so polluted that we could hardly breathe. Many days Larry and I would escape to the beach where we could usually get clean marine air for a few hours. One day the air was so thick with smoke the light everywhere was orange for a whole day. We had 30 straight days of hazardous air alerts.
We made it through that month, but when the next wildfire started only two weeks later, we just couldn’t go through that again. On Monday, 28 September 2020, when ashes started falling from the sky like snow, we decided we needed to go someplace else.
For the past three summers, every time there was a wildfire, our friend Jean would say, “You can come here and stay with me in San Francisco if you need to, or drive up the coast and stay with Joseph.” While we knew Jean well, and could easily cram ourselves into her studio apartment, now we needed to get as far as possible from the smoke, and San Franciso was no better in that regard.
So we decided to go to Joseph. It was a split-second decision. It was the door that was open to us. We didn’t know Joseph. We had only met him once many years ago. But it was clearly the right thing to do.
So we packed some things and got in the car and started driving north. We texted Jean to tell Joseph we were on our way. Joseph was actually driving to San Francisco. But we were told to keep driving and he would give us directions to his house later.
We drove north on Highway 101 all afternoon. We drove out of the smoke from our local “Glass" fire right into the smoke from the “August" fire, which is the largest forest wildfire in California history. Smoke, smoke, smoke for hours.
We stopped for dinner and then forged on. By the time we reached our exit, it was dark. Not sunset, pitch black dark.
We hadn’t realized when we started that from this point we now had to drive 24 miles of unfamiliar winding roads without streetlights. Fortunately, our GPS reception continued, even in the remote areas to come, where we often lose reception.
At first the road was not too bad, just slow. But then we had to cross the the 1000-foot mountain that separates the inland valley of California from the coast. As we progressed higher and higher the road became more winding and steep. Though we couldn’t see anything but trees on either side, we both had the feeling that there was a steep decline on the other side of the edge of the road. There were forks in the road where we had to choose the correct direction, and hairpin turns Larry couldn’t see coming in the headlights. I was sitting there watching the curves on my GPS in the dark, calmly saying “OK a hairpin right is coming coming coming coming now! Turn!” Without our GPS, Larry could have easily driven straight off a cliff.
Finally we reached our destination. It was all we could to to fall into bed, exhausted, and sleep.
* * * * *
We had been invited to a beautiful, unique house, conceived, designed and hand-built by it’s owner from mostly reclaimed, recycled, and salvaged materials.
It was three stories, with an entry and storage on the bottom floor, then the kitchen and living area on the second floor, and two bedrooms and a large bathroom on the top floor. A big staircase spiraled around from floor to floor, thirty-two steps from the bottom floor to the top. I counted because I was still in physical therapy from my broken knee. (And, of course, my exercise that week was to climb stairs). Joseph had made all the handrails from stripped local tree branches. They were sanded smooth and finished so they felt good in my hand. Because my knee was still healing, I had to walk sideways up and down the staircase, holding on to the rail with both hands.
Our room was on the third floor in the treetops, with a skylight and windows. We could see the stars through the skylight and out the window on the wall above our bed. We opened all the windows and the room filled with sea breeze. Later when I had removed my clothes and I was lying on the bed, a waft of breeze came in the window and landed exactly on my back with a gentle caress that felt intentional, like the clean ocean air was saying, “Here we are. Welcome. You are safe now.” We could hear the ocean waves in the distance (the next morning we learned the beach was right down the street at the bottom of the hill).
The entire house is thoughtfully designed for its purpose and use. There are many delightful unexpected spaces and views. Very eclectic. All the wood was light so it all felt very airy and spacious. Many windows opened the living space to the outdoors.
There is art everywhere. The walls are covered with watercolors of the California landscape. Nooks and crannies have lovely artifacts, such as a large mushroom of a local variety made of wood, which you find is actually a container when you remove the top.
The kitchen and bathroom are both designed to comfortably accommodate two people. In the kitchen there are two workspaces, each with it’s own cutting board and drawers and cabinets for storage. I was told on the second day that one was for plants and the other for animal foods. I had intuitively already used those stations exactly correctly. The bathroom is very large with both a large shower and a tub and two vanities—one very boxy and masculine and one very curvy and feminine. [Hmmm…after a week I finally realized that maybe this single man designed this house with the idea that maybe a woman might someday come live there.]
The house was heated by a wood stove with a beautiful unique design. Everything was as nontoxic as he was able to make it.
I felt at home immediately.
* * * * *
When we first arrived in this place, I knew nothing about it, except that it was on the coast and would probably be away from the wildfire smoke.
I’ve been up and down the coast of California a number of times and usually coastal towns are towns with at least one street of little shops and restaurants for tourists.
And so I expected the same here.
I was hungry. I wanted breakfast, I wanted coffee. But there was no little cafe.
At the boat launch there was a convenience store with a deli counter and coffee. We ordered breakfast burritos that were not to my taste.
Larry and I were sitting at a picnic table outside the store. I was almost in tears. I wondered what we were doing here. Was I going to be able to find any food to eat? Where is the town? What have we done coming here?
Within minutes Larry said, “Let’s go to the farmer’s market!”
A sign had gone up while we were sitting there. We walked maybe 75 feet to where three vendors were setting up: a vegetable farmer, a meat and poultry farmer, and a massage therapist.
I went first to the massage therapist. I had been wanting a massage so I decided to try her. $20 for 20 minutes. Everything about this was perfect. The massage table had a purple cover. The fog was coming in so there was a wind. I got our sleeping bag out of the car and wrapped it around my body so my body was warm even though the wind was cold. The bodyworker just did simple things to relax my body and my body did indeed relax.
Then I bought chicken feet and beef bones for soup from one farmer and a variety of vegetables from the other and I was happy.
There was no town, there was no breakfast cafe, there was no coffee, but I had everything I needed.
I smiled and said to Larry, “We’re in Shangri-La!” That’s what I felt like. We had driven for hours to a remote place, navigated a treacherous road, and ended up in a place that was perfect for us.
If we hadn’t been invited it would have been unlikely that we would have ever come to this place. There is only one road over the mountain to get to it, so nobody drives through as they are going somewhere else. You need to somehow find out about it or be invited, as we were. And you have to make an effort to get here at all.
* * * * *
Our host arrived the following afternoon.
We had met him a couple of times when he and our mutual friend had been at the same events Larry and I were attending. We didn’t know each other, but he was happy to help out when we needed a place to stay, and trusted us because we had been friends with his friend for many years.
Joseph is very different from most men I have met, but very similar, actually, to Larry. This should not have been a surprise to me, since Jean made the introduction to both of them. She actually looks to meet men in hardware stores because she knows they will have some skill. And both of them are very skilled about making all kinds of things.
While getting to know Joseph I realized that there is a Lifely “type” of person that exists and can be observed as having certain characteristics, whether they intentionally developed those characteristics or not, the characteristics have emerged in them and evolved over time and have become dominant in them.
He refers to himself as “earthman” and by observing him I now can define “industrial man.”
Like me, Joseph the earth-oriented-man grew up in the country, as opposed to suburbia or the city. Not the country like deep Appalacia, but the countryside at the edge of a town. Fifty years ago when we were children, much of what is now crowded suburbia was then fields and orchards and farms. We had creeks to play in that no longer exist. We both had that similarity of childhood where nature was around us. Larry likewise lived at the edge of a subdivision where he could easily walk up into the wild hills behind his house and explore.
Jospeh first came to this place in 1986 for a surfing trip while he was a student at Humboldt State University, from which he graduated with a degree in environmental engineering. He loved the place then, but went on to work in his field while living in the San Francisco Bay Area.
While he was dedicated to helping the environment, he didn’t like having a desk job or the industrial consumer lifestyle. So when he was laid off, he started helping out a friend in his construction business. Joseph enjoyed the work and learned every aspect of building a house while on the job.
When he decided he wanted a home of his own, Joesph looked around for a place where he could enjoy living, do something he enjoyed to make a living and could afford to build a house. This was the place.
Again, like Larry and I, he wanted to build his own home. He didn’t want to live in a box made of toxic materials designed for the masses. He wanted to build his own home to suit is own needs and aesthetic, with this own hands and skill. It look Jospeh twenty years to obtain the land and design and build his house. But he did it. All on his own skill and self-determinism.
Again like Larry and I, Joseph is very intelligent, thoughtful, and interested in nature, which is why, I think, he lives here.
Like us, he thinks and acts outside of the industrial paradigm.
Instead of having a job in an office for income, he is a fisherman. Instead of going to the gym, his body is strong from lifting boxes of fish and carrying building materials and walking through the forest foraging for mushrooms.
He has a TV, but it isn’t hooked up. He prefers to read and do crossword puzzles to going to movies.
Jospeh is very open and warm and interested in life. We immediately fell into a pattern of living together without having to discuss any rules or agreements. Knowing I love to cook, he opened his kitchen to me, telling me I could eat anything there and showing me all his spices and condiments so I could explore new flavors.
The thing that impressed me most was his understanding of and integration into the local environment. He chose to live here because he loves to surf, and indeed his life revolves around surfing and fishing. So he knows the ocean. In the morning he takes off and says with obvious delight “I’m going to go check the surf!” And the condition of the surf determines his day. His life is all about living in the ecosystem, not industrial society (that said, I do see he still uses some industrial products, but he does not orient his life to being an industrial consumer).
This integration into the Earth and specifically a local ecosystem is exactly what I aspire to in my own life. To do that, one needs to live in an intact ecosystem, which Joseph has found and chosen for himself.
“It was an evolution,” he says. “And I’m still evolving."
When I mentioned to Joseph how much I appreciated his openness and generosity of sharing his home and his kitchen and food and life so freely with us, he said, “I like to be generous, and as I am generous I find generosity comes back to me.” Oh, how the world would be different if everyone lived this way!
* * * * *
Once I understood the structure of this place, I immediately loved it. Without the overlay of industrial commerce, I could just experience myself in the ecosystem. The sense of relief I felt was tremendous. There was no distraction, just me and the ecosystem. Mountains with forests, ocean and sky.
We were in the King Range National Conservation Area, a spectacular meeting of land and sea that encompasses 68,000 acres along 35 miles of California’s north coast. Mountains thrust straight out of the surf with King Peak (4,088 feet) only 3-miles from the ocean. This remote region is known as California’s Lost Coast because the landscape was too rugged for highway building. It is the nation's first National Consvation area, designated in 1970 through an act of Congress. In 2006 more than 42,000 acres in the heart of the NCA were designated as wilderness, a place where no roads or other development will occur—"where people can meet nature on nature’s terms."
This area is rugged and remote and incredibly beautiful.
It is very quiet here at night. My body sleeps very deeply
Here we live and breathe and eat and sleep in nature, against the rhythms of the ocean and the fog and the wind.
On Wednesday morning I got up and made french toast with butter and maple syrup and fresh raspberries. I never make this at home.
Though I had brought work to do while I was here, I wasn’t doing it. I was just allowing myself to rest and do whatever I felt moved to do. I allowed myself to be here.
I went to get a massage from the massage therapist I met at the farmer’s market. She does something called advanced myofascial release therapy, which I had never had before. Fascia is a framework in our bodies that connects and protects our organs, muscles and body parts. It runs in “sheets” through our bodies. When it is in good condition, it helps our bodies move freely and allows fluids such as blood and lymph to move unencumbered. It was obviously time to improve the condition of my fascia, and I will continue to help heal this system of my body.
To be here is all about nature and being part of the ecosystem. You can’t help being aware of nature because it’s right there. All the houses are built in the natural ecosystem. Nature is not separated in a park. Joseph said in a few weeks when the first rain comes, his whole property will burst into wild porcini mushrooms.
There is a small library. You walk in and take what you want and bring it back. There is no librarian or check-out. Honor system.
They are working on taking the power of the entire community off the grid.
One day we walked around the boat launch. There were no BMWs in the parking lot. All the vehicles were trucks or SUVs. Everyone was dressed in rugged clothing and wore rugged shoes. They were busy fishing or repairing boats or doing other useful things. Lots of smiles.
Joseph told me there was a great community there. Lots of communication and connection and doing projects together to better the community. When I found I had left the keyboard for my desktop Mac at home, he immediately posted on the community board online asking if anyone had an extra one. I loved that. Community sharing and resourcefulness and helping each other rather than relying on consumer commerce and multinational corporations for everyday life. It reminded me when I used to live in remote towns. When there was a storm, neighbors checked every house to make sure every one was OK (I learned that when the water really rose in the creek everyone would come to my house because it was on the highest ground). We all had the same raspberries in our gardens because one neighbor gave them to everyone he met. At Thanksgiving, we all went to the community center for the day and cooked the dinner, then ate it together. I miss that.
Larry and I both loved it there. We didn’t want to go home. We started looking at lots. Could we possibly live here?
* * * * *
I couldn’t help but notice that after struggling with fire for six weeks and then choosing to leave, the only route open to me was water.
I came to a place where life is defined by the ocean. The very land is not just a beach, but is a promontory into the ocean. I can see that to live here I will need to learn the rhythms of the tides as beaches appear and disappear with the moon. After a few days I was already seeing various types of fog and it’s patterns. The passing of whales is part of the flow of life here, like they are neighbors passing by in the spring as they migrate north and again in the fall when they migrate south. The town water supply comes from springs and streams. The ocean provides an abundance of food.
I am drinking all this water up physically and spiritually as if I have been parched for a very long time. I am becoming aware of needing all the elements—earth, air, fire, and water—and water has been missing and even what water I have had has been not whole water or polluted. My body just wants to drink drink drink this water from the ground, my lungs want to breathe, breathe, breathe, the air moist with water from the sea.
This was one of those times when escaping danger resulted in the best possible experience. I got to see that which I had been imagining could be really real. My utopia isn’t only imaginary, it already exists and can exist for me and Larry and more people in more places.
* * * * *
And then there was the fish.
When I was a child my first two experiences of fish were store-bough frozen halibut baked with mayonnaise slathered on top, and tunafish sandwich made from canned tuna packed in oil and white bread, also with mayonnaise.
After those two experiences, I never ate fish again. No, that’s not right. Occasionally I would try to eat it and not ike it and it would be years before I tried it again.
But here it was different. There were fish actually caught that day right from the ocean that was just down the hill.
I took a bite and my world changed. I was eating the ecosystem.
My Extraordinary Experience Eating Directly From the Ecosystem
Madame Blavatsky and the Theosophical Society
On 8 October 2020, I was ordering a book on amazon.com when I noticed a suggested kindle book. The title indicated it was a book about women who had contributed to the making of modern America. I bought the kindle version just to see who these women were. And I found one of them was Helena Petrova Blavatsky.
I didn’t really agree with the author’s overall viewpoint but I was very interested in finding out how HPB influenced modern America, because I had my own connection with her.
When my parents married, neither of them had a religion. But when my body was six years old, they suddenly decided that I needed some spiritual education. They actually took me around to different churches and dropped me off for Sunday school so I could choose my own religion. At age six! When I showed no interest in any of them, they looked around and found a meeting place of the Theosophical Society, which was founded by Madame Blavatsky.
I loved going to the Theosophical lodge. We read a book written especially for children that was full of stories about the basic spiritual truths. We sang hymns I still remember with poetic words about the truths. At Christmas time we had a Tree of Life with ornaments that represented each kingdom of life—rocks and minerals, plants, animals, and man—with little white lights running all throughout to represent spirit. Everyone there was so kind and loving and caring about me. Even though I was in a child's body, they treated me like an ageless spirit.
I scanned the chapter in the Kindle book and this statement caught my attention:
HPB’s mission was to spread the message that we are spiritual beings to the West and prevent America from drowning in the deadening materialism and colonialist exploitation.
I was stunned when I read this. That’s MY purpose. That’s the purpose Larry and I hold together with Lifely.
This was during the Victorian “Gilded Age” when industrialism was changing the whole structure of society from one where individuals created with their own hands the stuff of their own everyday lives using the materials of nature to being dependent on the products of industry made by machines for their everyday existence.
Women had little respect or standing at this time, yet HPB became the rage of New York’s creative society.
Madame Blavatsky founded the Theosophical Society in New York City in 1875 for the purpose of bringing the timeless wisdom of spirit found in all religions to a society that had been overcome by materialism. Today this ancient wisdom is needed more than ever. It is not a religion, it is simply truth about spirit and nature that can be used by anyone to discover their own spiritual nature.
The basic goals of the Theosophical Society at its founding were:
- to form a nucleus of the universal brotherhood of humanity, without distinction of race, creed, sex, caste, or colour
- to encourage the study of comparative religion, philosophy, and science
- to investigate unexplained laws of Nature and the powers latent in human beings.
Madame Blavatsky wrote two copious books on the subject of science and theology Isis Unveiled (pdf) and The Secret Doctrine (pdf). They were very controversial books in their time, but now, more than 100 years later they are still in print, and commanding respect as predictions she made have been coming true. Her books are available around the world in many translations. [If you wish to order print copies of her books, I suggest you order them from The Theosophy Company. There are many edited editions. The Theosophy Company publishes the original editions without alteration. All of HPB’s books and other Theosophy books are available as free pdfs in English plus six languages at Theosophical University Press.
Back to me…Because my parents were Theosophists, these two books and others were on the shelf in my parents home starting when my body was six years old. I attended Theosophy Sunday School for two years, until my family moved. At that time, my parents hosted a Theosophical study group in our family home since there was no local lodge. When my mother left her body, all the Theosophy books were entrusted to me, where they sat on my shelf unread until 2017, when I sold them, rather than move them with me from Florida to California.
But then, in the spring of 2019, I suddenly wanted all these books back. I tried to get The Secret Doctrine from the library, but couldn’t. I tried to order it online, but couldn’t figure out which edition to buy. Having an intention to buy this book, suddenly I got a call to do a consultation in Los Angeles. While driving there I said to Larry, “There must be a Theosophical Lodge in Los Angeles,” and sure enough there was. It turned out to be the office of The Theosophy Company, which is the publisher of her books. We went there and bought all of HPB’s books. I brought them home, put them on the shelf, and they sat there, unread until a 8 October 2020.
When I opened Isis Unveiled, the very first page, the Publisher’s Preface spoke of how “public knowledge of or even belief in, the actual existence of perfect Men…had for long centuries been lost to humanity. Modern materialistic science was steadily conquering the domain of human thought as well as of physical nature: mankind at large was fast losing all faith in immortality, all interest in other than material existence and material well-being.”
And in the Preface, HPB wrote, of human “transgression against the laws of nature instituted from all eternity,” and, “Is is too much to believe that man should be developing new sensibilities and a clear relationship with nature?”
When I began to read the first chapter, every word I read was about concepts I had already come to myself, through my own study, observation and realization.
Though I had not ever opened these books, I had traveled a corresponding path of recognizing that the materialistic view of our modern society was destructive of both man and nature and that there is another dimension of good that exists on which we can build our human experience. An ancient, eternal foundation that needs to be restored.
It’s exactly our premise as well here in Lifely.
As I write this I am reading an excellent biography called HPB: The Extraordinary Life and Influence of Helena Blavatsky, Founder of the Modern Theosophical Movement. This well-researched and documented book outlines her own self-development and brilliant accomplishments in a world where the ideas she was working with were virtually unknown.
While reading her biography I realized that I have to attribute my own awareness of myself as a spiritual being to her, for I am aware as a result of a process given to me at the Theosophical lodge when my body was six years old—a process that must have come from HPB.
Madame Blavatsky was born into a Russian aristocratic family but left that all behind her as an adult, She traveled extensively and lived simply.
In the summer of 1873, she came to America as an immigrant and by September she had applied for naturalization papers to become a citizen of the United States, Five years later her citizenship was granted,
[I am] now a citizen of America, my adopted country, and the only land of true freedom in the whole world.
In America, she met her first supporters, founded the Theosophical Society, wrote her first book, and established ideas that went on to inspire many other
While Theosophy encompasses the highest truths of all religions, it also has inspired new spiritual activities:
- Rudolph Steiner was a Theosophist before he developed his own “spiritual science” of Anthroposophy. Later an anthroposophist worked with George Lucas’ wife to add the spiritual dimension to the hugely popular Star Wars movies.
- Author Frank Baum was a Theosophist before he wrote The Wizard of Oz series of books that became, according to the Library of Congress, “the most watched film ever.”
- Inventor Thomas Edison was a member of the Theosophical Society and often visited Madame Blavatsky at her New York apartment.
- Scientist Albert Einstein was known to keep a copy of The Secret Doctrine on his desk at all times.
- Gandhi was introduced to Theosophy in 1889 when he was living in London as a law student, Instead of studying, he was being distracted by Western industrial culture, After restoring his own spirituality, he went on to lead India to freedom and self-government in 1949, without the violence of war. He called Theosophy "The Brotherhood of Man."
Though Theosophy is not immediately obvious in our world today, it is actually woven into many aspects of modern society. Many noted writers, architects, scientists, inventors, psychologists, painters, musicians, actors, politicians, feminists, and religious figures have been living and communicating Theosophical ideas for more than 100 years (see Famous People in the Theosophical Society).
Coming back to my Theosophical roots after a lifetime of wandering through our material world validated that somewhere within I have been on the right path all along. And for Larry and I to now devote our lives to this message is a fulfillment of what I was obviously born to do.
The Anthropocene Epoch
I was just finishing up this post when another validation came to my awareness.
Apparently there is a new epoch on the geologic time scale called the “Anthropocene.”
First, let me tell you about the geologic time scale. Just as humans divide time into usable units such as minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, and years, geologists have their own scale of time that subdivides time into much longer useable units so they can place events into time in the past.
These segments of time were distinguished and defined by the occurrence of major geologic events and the appearance (and disappearance) of significant life-forms. The segments are identified as epochs, periods, eras, and eons.
For some centuries now, we have been living in the Holocene Epoch, Quaternary Period, Cenozoic Era, Phanerozoic Eon. It began about 11,000 years ago after the last glacial retreat. It corresponds with the appearance, growth and impacts of the human species worldwide.
But recently, some scientists have begun to define a new epoch called the Anthropocene. “
The Encyclopedia of Earth states, "The Anthropocene defines Earth’s current geologic time period as being human-influenced, or anthropogenic, based on overwhelming global evidence that atmospheric, geologic, hydrologic, biospheric and other earth system processes are now altered by humans.”
Though this term has not been officially approved for scientific use, human impact on the earth is now being acknowledged as a geologic event. Some call it the geological “epoch of humankind” as the creations of industrial man have have now overcome the spiritual creation of nature.
Along with the acknowledgement of man’s impact on the Earth has also come a new ethic called anthropocene stewardship. Here are some excerpts from an Antrhopocene Manifesto.
Civilization still operates as if reality is about organizing inert, dead matter [fossil fuels] in efficient ways. It is impossible to achieve sustainablity with our prevailing “operating system” for economics, politics, and culture if the underlying “bios”—our unconscious assumption about reality—remains tied to an ideology of dead matter.
On a profound level, nature is threatened by ignoring the principles of fertile, imaginative interpenetration, which shape existence.
The real opportunity of the “Anthropocene” is to create a new bios for our thinking—an Enlivenment. This means to understand that man and nature pertain to a reality creating embodied processes of transformative relationships, expressive meaning, and true inwardness in biological subjects.
The scope of the “Enlivenment” perspective is comparable to the shift in modern physics which realized that any observer is entangled with the system being observed. Biological entanglement happens emotionally and experientially through shared aliveness with other living subjects.
The according “policy of life” strives for a civilization in which institutions and economic practices follow the maxim that life shall be.
Yes! A human life that is “entangled with the systems with nature and operates on the maxim that “life shall BE" is exactly what we are working toward as well.
Religions Worldwide Advocate Responsibility for the Earth
This morning I was all ready to publish this post, but needed to go to the farmer’s market first while it was still open.
As I was walking down the aisle, a woman called to me from her booth. I had seen her before but had never spoken to her.
Twice a week she comes to the farmer’s market and displays a table of books for sale, written and autographed by local authors. I told her I was a local author and we started talking.
I looked at her table of autographed books and two books caught my attention:
|The Sacred in Nature: The World’s Inspired Writings on Religious Responsibility for Earth||
The Spiritual Values of Wilderness: A Guide to Religious Experience in Nature
Another validation! Over and over again, from the beginning of humankind, religions have been teaching the spiritual source of creation and our responsibility as humans to respect and uphold God’s creation. And that’s exactly what we are saying too.
But these are not the only two books on the subject. Search “spiritual values of wilderness” or “religion and nature” and you will get many results.
In addition to the validation of the books, it turned out the woman at the table also has a group that supports writer’s with publishing, marketing, and other aspects of getting their books written and into the hands of readers. I had been looking for exactly this, and it appeared. No, it not only appeared, but the woman also called out to me to come to talk with her as I approached.
Where We Are Going Now With Lifely
I know this has been a very long post, but as I was working on it this week, more and more validations kept appearing.
Just this morning, when I was reading at 2:00 AM, not sleeping, I came across #8, the story of how Gandhi left industrial life in London to pursue a spiritual life, which eventually led him to free India from colocalization and re-establish tradition religion and life patterns there. This is such an amazing story that I decided end this post with seven validations and I will tell you about Gandhi in a separate post.
Our highest purpose with LIfely is to bring you inspiration and information to help you find your way out of the industrial world and create a life based in spirit and nature. We know it can be done because we are making this transition, and now we are finding many examples of others who have done just this.
Larry and I have two basic guiding principles which have served well and continue to serve us well in our own lives:
* to support freedom of the human spirit, individually and collectively
* to make choices in daily life that support and sustain all Life
Humans need to co-operate with each other and nature, because all forms of Life thrive with love and care.
There are laws of spirit and laws of physical matter. When they are known and applied, Life goes well for everyone and everything. When they are not known and not applied, life does not go well for anyone or anything.
We all swim or sink together.
The laws are known. We are just working as fast as we can to compile them and put them into a comprehensive program. Until then we will continue to publish laws and applications in bits and pieces in our Lifely blogs.
We hold that human beings are basically good and will do the right things if they know what is right unless they are overwhelmed with information or force to the contrary.
What is required now is a complete reimagining of human life from a very different viewpoint. We are certain it can be done broadly because we are already doing in in our own relationship and in our daily life together.
I now clearly see that Larry and I have picked up an ancient torch and are carrying on an evolutionary path toward realizing our potential as the human species. It is not only within us to live in a way that integrates our human lives with each other and the natural world, it is our natural state.
Instead of feeling isolated in our industrial society, we now see that what we are doing here with Lifely is part of a long continuum of efforts to create a way of life based in spiritual values and sustaining life on Earth, which is also widening now across the globe.
What we are doing is a 2020 iteration of an evolution of humankind.
We are laying a foundation of a philosophy and then putting together pieces of the puzzle to create a new way of living. Many of those pieces are already emerging, but collectively we don’t yet experience the whole.
Now that I have written out everything that has been happening over the past few months, I not only see the validations but also the opportunity for alliances that I hadn’t seen before.
The whole subject is opening up before us and we are even more excited about it than ever before...
DEBRA REDALIA, Co-Founder of Lifely, has been researching and writing about lifestlye topics for more than forty years. After her first book on nontoxic consumer products was published in 1984, she went on to be the leader in this field as Debra Lynn Dadd. In June 2019, she retired from writing about toxics and industrial consumer products to establish The Lifely Group with her llifepartner and soulmate Larry Redalia. This next step into life beyond industrialization is the result of a lifetime of research and making lifely changes in her own life that have given her greater health and happiness.