We are excited to share with you the inaugural edition of Growing Edge.
Our hope is to support your grounded and engaged spirituality as you
take on the challenge of bringing about personal and cultural
transformation--whether it is through your inner work, your ministry or
In it, we provide insight and practical opportunities to both nourish
your spirit and encourage you to follow your dreams.
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Our Blue Boat Home
by Denise Rushing
Sun, my sail and moon, my rudder,
As I ply the starry sea,
Leaning over the edge in wonder,
Casting questions into the deep.
Drifting here with my ship's companions,
All we kindred pilgrim souls,
Making our way by the lights of the heavens,
In our beautiful blue boat home.
Blue Boat Home
Compassion may be one of the more powerful ways we
transform our world for the better: it allows us to see things from
another point of view and it is one means by which we can live our
positive intentions. Compassion is not a weakness--it is, in fact, a
decision to connect and relate with our fellow sojourners, both human
and non-human, and in the process engage in the positive transformation
of ourselves and our world.
Cultivating compassion starts with self-compassion:
understanding what motivates us, suspending self-judgment and negative
self-talk, and allowing ourselves to be present to whatever we are
experiencing in the moment. The act of noticing, of paying attention and
of experiencing gives us the information we need to make decisions and
choices about where to spend our energies. This ultimately leads us to
take action that transforms our own internal structures and, in doing
so, the world around us.
Compassion is a gift, and thus both to offer and to receive compassion
is a blessing. Paradoxically, by cultivating compassion, we also
experience the pain of our world and the pain of others while at the
same time living life more fully.
Cultivating compassion, as a practice, creates the conditions for
positive change in our own lives. The decision to cultivate compassion,
and the powerful practice of noticing but not judging, in itself creates
Many communities around the globe are endorsing the International
Charter for Compassion as a way to bring awareness to their own
community and promoting the cultivation of community compassion through
action. The Charter for Compassion is a worldwide effort launched by
noted religious scholar Karen Armstrong and elaborated in her book
Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life. The Charter for Compassion
document, now translated into more than 30 languages, transcends
religious, ideological and national difference, and is supported by many
leading thinkers from many spiritual traditions. From the Charter:
"We urgently need to make compassion a
clear, luminous and dynamic force in our polarized world. Rooted in a
principled determination to transcend selfishness, compassion can break
down political, dogmatic, ideological and religious boundaries. Born of
our deep interdependence, compassion is essential to human relationships
and to a fulfilled humanity. It is the path to enlightenment, and
indispensable to the creation of a just economy and a peaceful global
The full text of the Charter for Compassion is well worth reading and can be found online at www.charterforcompassion.org.
As I see it, we need to ask ourselves in our deeds and in
our language: What are we teaching our children about what it means to
...The wide universe is the ocean I travel,
And the Earth is my blue boat home.
Denise Rushing has been empowering organizational and
cultural transformation for over thirty years as an author,
environmental engineer, entrepreneur, community leader and ecological
designer. Visit her on the web at: www.DeniseRushing.net
SoulWork Adventure: Thoughtful Observation
by Loretta McCarthy
Recently I drew a circle in the soil - five feet in diameter. At its center was a small, newly planted Mendocino cypress tree (Cupressu goveniana ssp pigmaea).
I was curious. What kind of changes, if any, would happen in a week's
time? One tiny space in an evolving universe - what wisdom might be
offered to me?
I decided to spend a few minutes each day being attentive to this circle
and noticing what I saw with openness and wonder. Because I usually eat
at least one meal each day at home, I chose to take my "cypress tree
circle" time immediately after eating a meal. Varying the time of day
literally brought a different light to each observation.
This is what I noticed:
Spending five minutes outside after a meal can be as good as dessert. Maybe even better!
Looking at the same space with open eyes and a soft gaze allowed me to
see diversity within what seemed uniform. Rocks and twigs and walnut
shells hidden in the midst of the more evident decaying leaves.
After four days, the line I had drawn had almost disappeared.
The choice to include this simple practice in my daily routine filled me with a new sense of anticipation and delight.
Making a decision and faithfully following through with my choice
brought a couple of surprises. An example is in the picture of my circle
You are invited into a SoulWork Adventure of your own!
Choose something in nature that appeals to you. (a plant, a rock, an
outside view, etc.) Decide to spend two to five minutes a day, for a
week or more, quietly observing it.
Write down your observations / feelings / thoughts.
Tell a friend about your experience.
Invite them to embark on their own SoulWork Adventure.
For more SoulWork Adventures (free), check out Permaculture SoulWork on Facebook or Twitter.
Loretta McCarthy is
deeply engaged in tending and cultivating the garden of her own soul and
empowering others to do the same. For decades, Loretta ministered as a
spiritual companion and retreat facilitator, primarily in urban
settings. Today, she cares for the trees, the chickens and other living
beings at Dancing TreePeople Farm. Loretta offers SoulWork Adventures for groups and individuals.
Permaculture (permanent agriculture) is an ecological design framework inspired by living systems. The ethics, root practices and principles in permaculture can be applied to the garden, the farm, and indeed any living system including human structures.