ECO-Tours only purchases trees and dirt to plant them in...

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Starting Our Walkabout

It has been twenty-five years since our founder, yours truly Tony C. Saladino, rode my bicycle around the five Great Lakes. my intention back then was to spread the word about living a higher quality of life while reducing the negative impacts that we have on Mother Earth. This is the same message that I share in my writing and on ECO-Tours today. After twenty-five years, one would think that we would have advanced further than we have, but the tide is turning and the change that we might see in the next twenty-five years could be exactly what I had hoped for in the late eighties. When I was preparing for the Great Lakes Tour, I researched and documented hundreds of environmental catastrophes that had unfolded during the previous hundred years or so. Oddly enough, as I traveled, many of the citizens in each location knew little, if anything, about the contamination that poisoned their particular neighborhood. In the cases of well-documented or extreme contamination, they might be more likely to know about the threat, but would also, far too often, believe that the problems were either too big to be dealt with, that everything possible had already been done, or that the remediation had rendered the contamination to be non-threatening. In one particular case, a local resident told me that "Everything has been cleaned up." The next day, as I rode out of town, I saw what they really meant. The contaminated river that had once been in the center of town had once again become "pure" only by pumping the industrial waste over to the next watershed to the east. Many of the same problems are confronting us today. How we define them, what we choose to do to remedy them and what our options are for the most part remain the same but how we see ourselves in relationship to the planet is changing and this has the power to open up new opportunities that have not existed in the past.

Whether we know it or not...
 We are wrapped in a swirling matrix of intention, affection, electro-magnetic forces and relationship AT ALL TIMES!
Those who have heard the term walkabout, may not be completely aware of both the finality and rebirth or "newness", that is produced by such an activity. When we discern the fact that what we have always thought defined any aspect of experience can be utterly vanquished with a new level of understanding, so too, the sense we have of who we are can only grow through the process of letting our old definition of self fall away like the exoskeleton of an insect. From the moment that the staff is thrust into the soil, an act of centering, there can be no real returning without the loss of the prior self, or at least the perception of who we thought we were. Rites of passage to new awareness have been documented from the earliest days, although their meaning is more essential for the person who experiences them rather than those who have the events explained to them. What takes place is a spiritual realignment to our higher selves, the compassionate, creator, our maker, or a host of other linguistic techniques that seek to codify that which transcends description. I, for instance, knew not the term mercabic event, the state of being the mercaba, when I first experienced it. On the walkabout, we seek something that we cannot name for the pure sake of be-ing it. I have heard a lame attempt using English to attempt to describe the state of trance that pilgrimage can provide us is "enjoying the ride", or that travel is more about the trip than the destination.

When I designed this paisley, it invoked trance. I was on a journey of self without walking a step.

Just as when I planted my first tree, when I realized that this tiny root was to be the center of its own universe, standing like a giant umbus, connecting Earth and Sky, night and day and season after season a testament to my passing, liberated me and thrust upon me, imbibed me, as with saltwater taffy, folded back and in upon its stretching self to infinity, to become an agent of their desire, speak for them, create a world that has space for them, perhaps one even that honors them, not as products of one man or one organization, but of humankind. We can find precious few places that the hand of man has not had terrible consequences for. in the case of a tree planted, it is evidence that a human has chosen the path of hope and trusted that later on, their efforts would bear fruit. We may never understand that the power of befriending a single bird, who may use your newly planted tree as a perch will have down the linear timeline that duality would have us believe in. Just as likely, the spiral of time is like a giant slinky, bending and flexing as we change our ability to imagine. In my mind, the wisdom of my own ancestors can be followed back centuries and my responsibilities attend to only seven generations because at fifty, I'm barely able to fathom seven sevens and not sure whether it is even within my grasp to "go bigger". What would be the point? We are either in tune with the eternal chord, or sadly out of time, or tragically out of step with the Universe. planting each tree is a centering device that brings us back after our flights of selflessness, a waypoint in common parlance today. The route back to what we have left behind, a portal back to our former selves, without the baggage of preconception and habit.

Our efforts to transform our lives spill out into the vastness of the world, perhaps even, the universe.

This too had been a hurdle for my limited vocabulary. I was taught to realize that the Universe is unfolding as it should, yet who would want to stagnate in bad old habits and ignorance-land? Is there a value to ignorance? Of course, for many, who have not had credible rites of passage or who never took the time to break from old patterns, accepting new vision and responsibility, there is a streak in our culture that revels in that. The longevity of wise phrases like "old habits die hard." tell of a long, unbroken cultural habit, our comfortable way of going through life. The journey, as it happens, is only as meaningful as we are willing to invest in the process. As we go, we perhaps use the skeleton key to kill of parts of our ego-induced sense of self. The more we sanctify each moment, every blessed step along the way, the more profound our realizations. Often, those with no map of the spirit realm, the experience can be disorienting. Remembering that awareness itself is on a continuum, and that we can never have the right vocabulary to relate to everyone, is an essential first step to realizing that the only story that really matters is our own. Only one person on earth has the power or responsibility for your growth. The rest of  the world has been geared to enhance duality. My learning, study, awareness and path have led me to humbly accept the wisdom of others and share what I can, not as a recipe for enlightenment, but as a beacon of hope that you too will find your own way back to a sense of self that is more fulfilling, more rewarding and more rewarding to ever greater numbers of organisms than you were able to be in your former self. I am enriched if only one individual takes this to heart and grows, even just a little because within a few generations of that event, the world will be miraculously changed for good.

We are at once individual and part of a hive of humanity that numbers many billions. Changing one tiny aspect of  our lives can now happen nearly instantly, worldwide. I submit that we are poised on the threshold of  the Age of Aquarius with all the tools and ideas available, we just need to get on about our own unique walkabout and make the development of a sustainable culture rather than one based on exploitation and rape of the planet a priority. World production of oil has begun to shrink and through conservation we can forestall the inevitable skyrocketing price, but before we can ask others to live efficiently and less materialistically, we need to be able to do those same things for ourselves. I have owned six homes and each in turn had 1/3 to 1/2 the energy requirements when they were sold as when I bought them. Most of the people who bought those homes were unconcerned about the energy they were saving. Some probably never questioned why they had lower than average bills. Human beings generally have a hard time linking causes and effects that are not closely paired in time, so the burning of a light, all night that you only have to pay for next month will never make the connection for some, but as energy prices rise, and they are doing so worldwide, increasing attention gets paid to things that escalate in price. A friend once told me that he had a home, similar in size and similarly placed within walking distance to downtown that had escalated to five times what he paid for it because the price of fuel tripled. The wealthiest people want to move to town when they find that they could pay themselves that much more if they just got rid of one car. creating liveable cities will occur when we all learn to become mostly self-sufficient and learn to utilize local resources in ways that minimize our reliance on foreign fuel, faraway production and extractive processes that yield more waste and less useful resources. The same problems will exist and compound themselves the longer we try to ignore them. like the dripping faucet that is not attended to, the leaks only increase over time. to have a chance at reclaiming the planet, we need to stem the flow of toxic compounds into the environment, we need to begin fixing carbon, and sanctifying the planet that is our life support system here on Starship Earth.

Just as our ECO-Tours allow individuals to center themselves, undertake a pilgrimage and proceed without a specific goal in mind, so too, many of the rites of passage are designed to enlist dreamtime for the betterment of our entire culture. In theory, the closer we each become to reflecting our true self, the better off we will all be. My sister put it succinctly when she asked, "Whom do you serve?"
The eventual realization of sustainability requires that we will no longer use the term green, or necessarily sustainable either, they will just be the only game in town. The very thought of operating outside the sustainable system will become alien. I have never made a single significant ecological act because it was green or sustainable. I did them because they were the right thing to do. In these posts, I hope to bring people from around the world into a place that allows them to understand who they really are, what an amazing part of the environment they are and how they can utilize their brief time on  the planet to leave a lasting legacy of peace, security and hope for future generations. I want to be the cheerleader for those events in the future when they say "We are standing on the shoulders of giants...", but they will be including us in their reference. None of this work is meant to self- aggrandize, or build myself up, but to spread a foundation for future growth if and when the conditions are right for it. In a perfect world, each and every one of us would find our niche, thrive, flourish, procreate and nourish the environment for another generation of life. just a few generations ago, it was still common to do just that, time has come for us to rediscover how that was done. we may never document every way that was done, but with our superior communication technology, we now have the power to be a worldwide tribe, each capable of cross pollinating social and cultural domains without limit. A tiny impetus toward change multiplied by billions is the equivalent of a cultural tsunami that has never before been seen on our planet. Whatever location we choose to thrust our staff into, it will only serve us if we come back to it at some point, just for reference. If not to find our way back to the shadow of our former selves, at least to let us know what direction we were facing before we left.

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