Hema Vyas is an amazing psychologist and spiritual mentor who recently appeared at Positive Nights. She has great wisdom to share on how we can navigate climate change – read the insightful piece below to learn more!
In this sneak peek of a powerful article from our Spring 2019 issue, Davie Philip discusses how we can use new stories of hope and resilience to inspire ourselves to tackle the challenges facing our planet. To read the full article, pick up a copy of the magazine at your local stockist or subscribe here.
In this extract from our Autumn 2018 issue, Davie Philip talks about how we can change our collective mindset to one of collaboration and openness.
“With our thoughts we make the world.” – Buddha
By Davie Philips
Change is constant. However, recently the pace seems to be accelerating. To cope with this, and to make the transition to a healthy society based on fairness, wellbeing and sustainability, we need to shift worldviews and open our minds and hearts to fresh ways of thinking. So what kind of thinking would enable us to flourish in uncertainty?
Currently, we are locked into an individualistic worldview where reductionist or mechanistic thinking dominates. This mindset breaks everything down into parts to be analysed and measured. By understanding the parts and how they function, we presume we can understand everything important there is to know about something. This reductionism is useful for understanding inanimate things, or simple systems like machines, but can be destructive when applied to living systems. It also tends to lead to a silo mentality, which is inward looking and resists sharing information and resources.
We justify our superiority over the environment when we think we are separate and with this worldview we create fragile, linear systems. Through the diversity and complexity of their webs of relationships, and by sharing resources across their boundaries, living systems increase wellbeing and resilience. Observing these patterns and principles of natural systems might provide us with vital insights into how to redesign our socioeconomic systems to be collaborative, regenerative and resilient.
So, how might we shift our thinking?
Our current way of thinking is rooted in the industrial revolution. This period of human development was dependent on a mechanistic worldview and has dominated and influenced our behaviour ever since. In integral philosophy, worldviews evolve by including and transcending preceding worldviews. So rather than an ecological mindset replacing a mechanistic one, instead it provides a different perspective and access to another type of knowledge with which to navigate the world.
We cannot make the transformation the world needs without making an inner transformation in our thinking. With an ecological worldview we think in terms of process, pattern, flow, connectedness, and relatedness. I believe that as we become more conscious we evolve to hold an ecological worldview. According to theologian Thomas Berry, we will then realize that we live in a world which is a “communion of subjects,” not just a “collection of objects.”
Davie Philip is a group facilitator and trainer who manages the Community Resilience programme at Cultivate. Davie is collecting stories of transformational community led projects: if you are involved in something in your area, do send him an e-mail.
The Open Minds Conference, taking place from the 2nd to the 4th of March 2018 in Dooley’s Hotel, Co. Waterford, aims to bring together those who wish to explore deep truths about the world around them. By inviting a wide range of guest speakers to delve into issues as diverse as environmental pollution, meditation, the history of ancient Ireland and sound healing (to name just a few), the organisers of the conference hope to inspire attendees to create positive change in their communities and the wider world. For more information, go to openmindsconference.com or facebook.com/OMIC2018. Tickets can be purchased via Eventbrite.
PLEASE NOTE: THIS EVENT HAS BEEN POSTPONED DUE TO POOR WEATHER CONDITIONS (the Beast from the East). When alternative arrangements have been made, this article will be updated.
If you have been searching for an action-packed event that will broaden your understanding of the world around you and invite you to consider a breathtaking array of new perspectives, look no further than the Open Minds Conference taking place in Co. Waterford this spring. This three-day conference will play host to speakers such as DJ and music researcher Mark Devlin, health and fitness advocate Damien Mooney, and yoga teacher Tracy Boland. The inspirational two-time cancer survivor Bernadette Bohan and the well-known musician, artist and researcher Max Igan will also be in attendance.
Aisling Fitzgibbon, one of the Open Minds speakers, will be discussing the evolution of activism, and how people can effectively deal with pressing social, environmental or political issues while maintaining their own wellbeing. She brings a wealth of campaigning experience to the event, having spent many years raising awareness of the fluoridation of the Irish water system in her role as the Girl Against Fluoride. She is also the director of the Energy is Your Currency Community and the weekly Aisling’s Holistic Health Show. “The purpose of the Open Minds Conference is to bring conscious awareness to different topics that affect everyone, and then connect like-minded people,” she explains. “Once people start learning about health and political issues that impact everyone, they can start to feel quite isolated and negative. The idea behind the event is to highlight those issues, and then present positive solutions as to what we can do.”
Other topics that will be covered during the conference include natural health and wellbeing, nutrition, shamanic drumming, and lively discussions on a range of political and social issues. A full list of speakers can be found here. The video below – featuring the conference’s Executive Producer Trevor Eivers – will give you an idea of exactly what you can expect.
Trevor sums up the event by saying, “be prepared for a life changing experience, and to feel an amazing energy and vibration – the ripples of which will spread far and wide.” Aisling echoes this, adding that the fundamental idea behind the Open Minds Conference is “not to feel hopelessness or despair, but to actually realise just how powerful we are.”
The Open Minds Conference will be taking place on the 2nd, 3rd and 4th of March 2018 in Dooley’s Hotel, Co. Waterford. More information about the event can be found at openmindsconference.com or www.facebook.com/OMIC2018, while tickets can be purchased via Eventbrite. To learn more about Aisling’s work on conscious activism, check out her website, aislingfitzgibbon.com
Positive Life Optimistic October: Samhain Festival, Yoga gathering, Tantra @ Positive Nights & More!
Optimistic October! Autumn is here, bringing the beautiful colours in the foliage, the chills you feel when the wind blows on the early mornings and that lovely craving for the best hot cocoa in town! As every year, we get ready for Samhain, All Hallow’s Eve or simply Halloween and look forward to even more cozy nights next to our loved ones! Our Vibes this month is filled with beautiful events and as always lovely recommendations for your mind, body & spirit! Remember our Autumn issue of Positive life Magazine is now out! Sign up here to get a chilled copy in your postbox! Loads of love, from all the team. Join us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter if you haven’t already.x
Samhain & Yoga!
Samhain Yoga Retreat
Date: 27-29 October 2017
Location: Old Head of Kinsale, Cork, Ireland
Wild Atlantic Way Yoga invites you to celebrate the Celtic New Year with a 3 day relaxing retreat in Cork! The retreat includes vegetarian cuisine, accommodation and yoga classes.
Angel Therapy at Positive Nights
Corin Grillo / Angel Therapy
Positive Nights Event (Powerscourt Theatre)
Date: October 26th, 2017
This evening we welcome Corin Grillo to the stage. Weaving a combo of both traditional and energy/intuitive based therapies Corin provides an ideal environment for clients to make profound and often rapid positive changes. She works collaboratively with clients and help them tap in to their own inner voice, so that they can listen to their own wisdom on how to support and ignite their path towards healing.
Corin will also be hosting her own weekend workshop in dublin, find out more below:
Clothing with a Conscience!
Grown A clothing line with personal values that is conscious of the effects retail companies and their associated energy consumption has on the environment. For this reason they produce clothing with a shared responsibility for such impact. One TREE is planted for every T-shirt made. Their clothes are also very lovely! Slip them on this autumn and feel the vibes.
Vitamin C for a Healthy Autumn!
Abundance & Health : fresh new product: Altrient Vitamin C sachets. This high strength nutritional supplement is made to pharmaceutical standards to crash through your body’s absorption barriers -to get high potency vitamin C where you need it most, to your cells.
Visit abundanceandhealth.co.uk to get them and stay healthy and ready this season!
Yoga Gathering 2017!
October 27-30th, 2017
Seagrave House, Dunany, Co. Louth, Ireland
The first annual Kundalini Yoga is a moment when the timing is just right for a big and beautiful experience to unfold! Kundalini yoga teachers, inspirational speakers and Kirtan musicians will come together to share an elevated consciousness with anyone who feels the call to participate.
For tickets & more info visit wellwithin.ie/yoga-gathering
The Organic Trust in Ireland
The Organic Trust was established as a voluntary not-for-profit organisation. The Trust is the centre of excellence when it comes to organic inspection and certification. They have a very broad range of organic technical expertise available within their organisation.
You can learn more about their services and their work by visiting organictrust.ie
Queen of Tantra @ Positive Nights!
Date: October 5th, 2017
Positive Nights event.
The Powerscourt Theatre.
7:30pm – 9:30pm
On this very special evening Paul welcomes back the queen of Tantra, Dawn Cartwright! We will for sure have another beautiful evening to enjoy her wonderful guidance and insights into love & relationships.
Join Paul & Dawn for an evening of love and intimacy that is sure to inspire. You’ll be guided through Tantra practices that open the heart. A journey into the far reaches of human sexuality and Tantra.
A Sangha for our times.
By Davie Philip
Sangha is a word in Pali and Sanskrit meaning association, assembly, company or community and often refers to the monastic community of ordained Buddhist monks or nuns. When Buddha’s disciples asked him, “Isn’t Sangha half of the path to awakening?” the Buddha responded, “No, it is the entire path.” To realise our fullest potential we don’t have to join a monastery but I think we do need to live closer to one anther and to collaborate in meaningful ways.
We have sustained ourselves in ‘communities’ of one form or another for millennia. Sharing resources and creating a supportive environment to live in is at the heart of what it is to be human. Since we emerged from the caves, we have lived in large extended families, tribal networks or small villages where we were deeply connected with each other and to nature.
Considering our basic needs for shelter and community, is there an alternative to just buying a home and hoping that you might get to know your neighbours?
READ THE REST OF THE ARTICLE IN THE SUMMER ISSUE OF POSITIVE LIFE. PICK UP A FREE COPY IN ONE OF OUR STOCKISTS, OR SUBSCRIBE FOR €15 TO HAVE IT DELIVERED FOR A YEAR.
Davie Philip is a facilitator and trainer who manages the Community Resilience programme at Cultivate Living and Learning. He is based at the Cloughjordan Ecovillage and is a board member of GI Y (Grow it Yourself!) Ireland.
The Good Life 2.0 – Valuing Community and Collaboration
By Davie Philip
If we really want to make the transition to a world that is healthy, sustainable and just, what values would society need to hold? Our values are the driving force behind our motivations, actions and behaviours, and examining them more closely could offer an insight into how we might bring about lasting positive change.
In this issue, I want to explore what values we would need to cultivate to make our communities healthy and flourishing places to live and work.
Our values dictate who we are, they reflect the way we treat each other and motivate us to do what we do. Our cultural values unite us as a collection of individuals and define what is acceptable or unacceptable in society. If we want to achieve lasting and positive behaviour change, we will need to understand the importance of values in driving engagement with social and environmental issues.
At the Convergence Sustainable Living Festival earlier this year, we brought together a very diverse group of civil society stakeholders to explore how we might better work together for the future we want. We invited Tom Crompton, a change strategist at WWF in the UK, to help ignite a conversation on the subject. Tom has been involved in a cutting-edge research project called “Common Cause: The Case for Working with Cultural Values”.
Common Cause stresses the need to engage people’s “intrinsic” or non-materialistic values, versus their “extrinsic” or materialistic ones. Extrinsic values are centered on external approval or rewards. Intrinsic values tend to satisfy people’s deep-rooted psychological needs, and are inherently rewarding to pursue. It is these values that need to be championed if we are to develop the collective will to deal with today’s global challenges. Common Cause is working with a wide range of groups, including environmental, developmental and children’s charities, to engage and strengthen these intrinsic values. This work can be found on their website: www.ValuesandFrames.org
The intrinsic values that need to be strengthened include equality, self-direction, creativity, empathy and the recognition that our prosperity will depend on healthy relationships – both with one another and with our environment. They also include the value placed on a sense of community, affiliation to friends and family, and self-development. Intrinsic values are associated with concern about bigger-than-self problems, along with the corresponding behaviours that will help address them. People tend to be more cooperative and caring when they prioritise intrinsic values. Unfortunately, these are the values that have been weakened or even ridiculed by our modern media.
Our dominant cultural institutions foster values such as a desire for wealth, social status, image and power. The thousands of advertisements we are exposed to every day tend to reinforce these extrinsic values. Related studies have documented that the more people prioritise these values, the lower their level of well-being and the greater their stress levels. The unsustainable aspirations and unhealthy behaviors that are now normal in our consumerist society are primarily driven by extrinsic values.
Of course, the values we hold are never all-extrinsic or all-intrinsic, but psychological tests held in 70 countries show that values cluster together in remarkably consistent patterns. Each of us hold, and are influenced by, both sets of values. However, the evidence suggests that the stronger someone’s extrinsic aspirations, the weaker his or her intrinsic goals will be. There is a “see-saw” relationship between intrinsic and extrinsic values. It seems that people who principally value financial success are less likely to be concerned about the environment, and have less empathy for others. Those who are motivated primarily from intrinsic values tend to have a stronger sense of self, and are less likely to be motivated by money or social power.
The social psychologists also found that values are mutually reinforcing. If someone holds some intrinsic values to be important, they are quite likely to embrace other intrinsic values. If you value treating people equally, for example, you are probably more likely to be motivated to make change happen in your community. Engaging one set of values supports and encourages compatible values, and associated attitudes and behaviours. On the flip side, if you place more importance on extrinsic values such as wealth or power, you will also tend to be concerned about your social status and image. Like exercising a muscle, repeated engagement of values will strengthen them.
Whatever area you work in, whether you are active on peace, environmental or human rights issues, recognising the importance of nurturing intrinsic values provides a common purpose that could help us work together for deeper systemic change. The many disparate initiatives that are working for positive change are linked by the values that underpin them. This understanding could encourage greater collaboration within and across different sectors, and help to build new coalitions. This value-based approach could unlock an opportunity to increase participation in political change and involvement in community life, as well as helping organisations and projects to cooperate more effectively.
Is it possible to discourage extrinsic values and encourage intrinsic values in people’s lives and in society? Is it ethical to even try? No campaign or communication strategies are ever value-free. Therefore, the question really becomes, which values do we want to champion?
When creativity, self-expression and critical thought are encouraged, values of self-direction are more likely to be engaged. By facilitating deeper involvement and participation in community life, we can help give people a sense of empowerment, and instill a pride of place in our neighborhoods. Getting involved in a community garden or a Transition Town initiative can be a great way to nurture these values.
However, a changing social, economic or environmental context is a powerful driver of value change. The values that were prevalent during the heady days of the celtic tiger are very different from many held now. This situation could, therefore, be a catalyst for an awakening of a movement of people that not only demand political change, improvements to our health system, global justice and the protection of our fragile biosphere, but are also living the change. The change makers we need today are active in their communities, participating in local groups, growing food, and exploring how, together, we can adapt to these changing times.
Today, we are confronting so many profound challenges and facing a historical turning point. This actually could be a ‘once-in-a-species’ opportunity to connect and play a part in the next stage of our culture’s evolution. Long-term systemic change is urgently required, and will need a clear understanding of the values that will underpin this transformation. The economic system that will replace this bankrupt one, the educational and health systems that will supersede the current ones and the flourishing communities, livelihoods and environment that are part of the future we want, will require us, the co-designers of these new systems, to hold intrinsic values.
Davie Philip is the director of Convergence, and runs the Community Resilience programme at Cultivate. He is a resident of the Cloughjordan Ecovillage and a board member of GIY Ireland. He conceived and directed ‘Surfing the Waves of Change’, a Cultivate short film that introduces the concept of community resilience, which can be seen at www.cultivate.ie
Killbarrack Fire Station Goes Green
By Ruth Carson
Kilbarrack Fire Station is the first carbon-neutral fire station in the world. It is completely independent of electricity, composts all organic waste materials, has a recycling bay, and four biodiversity gardens that protect insect habitats and ecosystems. All this work has been instigated by firefighter Neil McCabe and carried out with the help of staff, including retired firefighters at Kilbarrack.
Weeks after his return he was approached by a family resource centre to see if he would be interested in setting up a walking group. “In a flash, I knew this was it,” said Keith. From his own experience he felt that reintroducing people to their natural environment could help decrease anxiety and stress, loneliness and depression, as well as having preventative health effects.
The scientific world has backed up Keith’s gut feelings, proving that walking in nature for just 15 minutes per day has an impact in decreasing many physical ailments, as well as benefiting mental health. After leading many walks and bringing communities together, the time was ripe for Keith to help take things to the next level. October saw the official launch of the first Green Prescription Programme in Ireland – a Donegal-based pilot programme integrating Healthy Walking Groups as part of patients’ prescription sheets, with local doctors coming on board.
Keith’s vision for this initiative is that by 2015, Healthy Walking Groups will be established in every community in Ireland. He believes the difference between heading out for a solo walk and attending an organised group walk is crucial. One attendee of a walking group said, “It gives me the kick I need to get up and out. It has also, unbelievably, introduced me to areas within my own locality I never knew existed.”
The Healthy Walking Groups are accessible and attended by all ages and backgrounds. They are also graded into 6k, 3k, and 1k walks, so there is something for everyone. Keith is currently writing a booklet outlining the process of setting up a Healthy Walking Group for those who are keen to take this to their own communities. He says, “Walking truly is a wonder drug. Getting hooked on walking can only make you feel better. All you need is a good pair of walking shoes and some rain gear. Well, it is Ireland after all.”
Keith has just published his first book, Journey in Wonder, describing his travel tales. It can be purchased from his website www.journeyinwonder.com
For more information on Healthy Walking Groups contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Celebrate Christmas while helping the planet and your finances!
by Davie Philip
Christmas is a time for celebration, giving and spending time with family and friends. For most it is a positive time, but it can also be a time of stress and overspending in the lead up to the big day, searching for appropriate gifts for our loved ones. Persuaded by the thousands of TV ads each year we buy more and more things to throw away and gobble up energy.
Christmas has become vital to the economy. Shop sales increase dramatically during the season as we purchase gifts, decorations, and supplies for the annual binge. The commercialisation of the festive season fuels consumerism and has become a time of recklessly high fossil fuel consumption.
Decorating homes with thousands of lights and plastic Santas to celebrate Christmas has become a high energy Christmas activity. Yet, any reminders of the festive season’s contribution to climate change and its impact on the planet are quite likely to be dismissed as the musings of the Christmas-hating Ebenezer Scrooge. ‘Bah humbug!’
However, scientists are now warning that we could soon be having a ‘green Christmas’ because of the dramatic effects of climate change. Trees that used to shed their leaves in autumn are now often still in leaf in mid-December. Experts say it is only a matter of time before foliage remains until the end of the month. Of course that is not the green Christmas we need.
Your Christmas gift to the planet could be cutting energy use and reducing consumption. But how do we keep our Christmas carbon footprints small? Here are a few tips to have a greener Christmas:
- Part of the joy of Christmas is the light’s which brighten our homes. The good news is there are plenty of way to reduce the amount of energy you use and carbon dioxide generated while still decorating your home with Christmas lights.
- Switching from conventional Christmas lights to LED lights will reduce your energy consumption by 90%, and because they don’t generate as much heat you could also be safer. A fibre optic decoration can light a whole tree from a single bulb, and is just as effective as a whole string of Christmas tree lights
- Turning one or more room lights off when you switch on your Christmas lights will make them look more attractive – and save energy. Try to only use your Christmas lights at night and when you are at home
- There are plenty of alternatives to plastic decorations and tinsel. Instead of using artificial Christmas decorations and lights, hang greenery from the garden or organic seasonal fruit that can be composted when the decorations come down.
- We dump millions of dead Christmas trees each year. Trees pump out oxygen and soak up CO2 so this isn’t such a good idea. As an alternative you could decorate houseplants or look around outdoors for fallen cones and branches to transform your home into a festive wonderland. If you can’t do without a tree consider a living one and plant it after the festive season.
- Christmas is an ideal opportunity to catch up with friends and people we haven’t had a chance to see for ages. If you know someone who may be on their own at Christmas, invite them along to enjoy your celebrations.
- Billions of Christmas presents are exchanged every year. Consider the impact on the environment the gifts you give. Think about what you are buying, where and how was it made, and is it really wanted? Gifts that help someone else live more sustainably, such as books or seedlings for a veggie patch are always a good idea.
- Keep the emphasis on presence not presents. The gift of time is always a great alternative; consider gifting tickets to a concert or a conference or vouchers for a massage.
- Many charities and environmental organisations offer gift services which not only solve the problem of the gift for the person who has everything, but also help others or the environment for years to come. You can buy a goat for a family in Bangladesh or organise for trees to be planted to offset the emissions from someone’s car for a year.
- To cut down on waste, you could wrap your presents in recycled paper, children’s drawings and paintings, or even glossy magazine paper. You could also save and reuse wrapping paper from gifts you receive. Using ribbon or string to wrap presents makes it easier for the wrapping paper to be reused.
- When planning your Christmas dinner think food miles and buy locally-grown, seasonal and organic produce. Buying local produce helps the local economy and is better for the environment because the produce hasn’t needed to be transported long distances in planes, ships or trucks to get to you. Also look for a ‘Fair Trade’ label on the produce you can’t source locally.
For more info www.cultivate.ie