How we are shaped by our environment!

How we are shaped by our environment!

Have you ever given a thought to how we are shaped by our environment? So where you live is shaping you, your habits, your desires, your idea of leisure time and the way you think and feel.

Living in a city versus living in the countryside

If you always have lived in a big city you became almost insensitive to noise and dirt – and you will feel insecure in a tranquil country place which seems boring to you with all the nature around and no usual entertainment and excitement.

River Tiber
Enjoying the river Tiber, the plants and animals, the clouds and mirrored pictures in the water

If you have lived always in the countryside you hardly can perceive its beauty and you probably are thirsty of the excitements available in a city. Being far from the places where you think “real life” happens, keeps you in a belief of lack.

Today we went on a bike ride through South Umbria. I noticed places where I was used to seeing sheep and cows – no sign of animals anymore. The young generation doesn’t want to continue the country life of their parents and grandparents. What are they doing instead? Increase the amount of people without stable jobs – but living in more fancy places than the old farm. – Is this REALLY BETTER?

Life in the ancient villages in Italy –  like it was time ago, but how long?

Then there are the little villages and towns, also threatened of being left for the big city, but still maintaining a good number of inhabitants – and others come to join them, especially from other countries, because they love ITALY.

Men chatting on the stair to a church in Calvi dell'Umbria, Italy
Men chatting on the stairs to a church in Calvi dell’Umbria, Italy

In places like Calvi dell’Umbria life is still quiet, especially on Sundays. People go to church, sit in Piazza and have a cappuccino or just hang around and chat. Especially men gather and just chat, even sitting on the church steps. Imagine this: no internet chat, but REAL LIFE CHAT. Can you feel the difference? And can you imagine how YOU would feel if you lived in such a place where the clock is still going slower than in the outside (success driven) world?

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This article was first published on August 14th 2016 on branded.me
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My addition in January 2017
 
There have been many earthquakes during the last few months here in Italy. Some villages in the mountain range of the Appeninnico were completely destroyed, others severely damaged. A ski resort was buried by an avalanche after the last earthquake and about 30 people couldn’t be rescued alive. People are deeply shocked and in fear, and there is a reason for it. This will increase the desire to leave these old places of beauty and different lifestyle. Who wants to live with the continuous fear of the “next big one”?
 
destroyed city
Destroyed city

Earthquakes in Italy is not a new thing. The plate boundary between the African and the European plate goes right through Italy and many villages and towns have been destroyed in the past centuries. Every 10 or 15 years another town collapsed, business as usual: the big outcry, the promises to rebuild the towns, the collected money, given by compassionate souls, disappeared in someone’s pockets. After 20 years or so coming back to the previous home town often is not a choice anymore.

So you might ask: If they know about the danger of earthquakes, why don’t they prepare? Why don’t they build their houses in ways that they don’t collapse with the first shock? In Italy magnitude 5.5 is enough to collapse the houses, while in New Zealand even with magnitude 7.5 the houses keep upright, with only a few exceptions. 

 

Dolce vita in Italia
People have a short memory. It is like the pain in childbirth: as soon as the child is born the mother forgets about the pain – how else could she think about having another baby? Well, Italian mentality is a little like this: “speriamo bene”, let’s hope that it won’t happen to me!
And even if somebody is conscious enough about the danger: what can they do? Living in those places traditionally means to be poor. That’s why so many people go away and try to make a living in the bigger cities, in the first place. So how could anyone afford to adjust their old house in ways to make it more resistant to the trembling of the earth?
Bureaucracy - the heap of files is huge
Bureaucracy – the heap of files is huge

The government announces subsidies for these measurements. Yes, you might get some money, but first YOU have to pay (for the administration practices etc.) – and you need to be VERY patient until they finally decide if you are chosen for the subsidies or not. After the big earthquake near Assisi in 1997 people couldn’t begin to reconstruct their houses right away if they wanted to ask for subsidies. And so they had to wait for YEARS until they could begin with the reconstruction. That’s why it took 20 years, altogether. But Assisi itself was reconstructed in 2 years or so. Why? It was the church paying and the many catholic people in the world who feel connected with the city of Saint Francis. They didn’t wait for the government to move.

Now we are in the awkward situation in this country: numbers get manipulated to avoid responsibilities. earthquake forecasting is denied and therefore ignored. Money disappears. Many people have a tender heart and are willing to help – and they don’t get a thank you and are even shut down. The egocentric culture of the leading class seems to reflect a huge part of the population and the more evolved people in this country have a really hard time to be heard, let alone included in decision processes. 
The well known integralist Jeff Salzman often says: “Evolution is beautiful but it’s messy.” In Italy,  you can see the messiness when you are here a little longer than a typical tourists stay.

 

Watch this explanation of the present risk of earthquakes in Italy as a consequence of what is happening all over the globe – earthquake-wise
 

Shadow and Success – Shadow and Change

Shadow and success

Shadow is a big issue in human life. Not only fear, but fear is one of the most fundamental. Another shadow theme can be thoughts like “I am not good enough”, “I don’t deserve it” etc, which often are deeply ingrained in people’s psyche and which are boycotting success and financial flourishing.

Chess figure - big shadow
The Shadow is bigger than we think

So, do we become wealthy by doing the work we think we need to do? Does it work always that way?

I don’t think so, even if you put all your good will and effort in it. Why? If the word “wealthy” has been connected with people you didn’t like, or you were envious of them, or you felt dependent or victimized by them in your childhood (or even later), it can be extremely, difficult to accept the idea and inner attitude of becoming wealthy,

skyscraper
Economic success – empty forms, cold an inhuman

On the other hand, as we talk about shadow, the drivenness to create success, no matter what the “cost” of wealth is, that can be a shadow topic, too.

How can you overcome that hidden inner attitude – of which you probably are not aware at all (and you might tell you constantly the opposite, positive affirmations – which haven’t worked for you.) If you are interested to find a way out for yourself (especially if you are a woman), you can contact me for a chat.

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This short article was first published on August 16th 2016 on branded.me

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As I am re-organizing my entries in branded.me to post them here in my “opinion” website, every time I copy and paste what I wrote before evokes new thoughts in me, from the perspective of NOW. (in this case end of January 2017, 5 months later than the original entry).

The Elephant in the Room

face, one side light the other dark
Half of our being lies in the shadow

Shadow is definitely the elephant in the room. Personal shadow of each one of us, and collective shadow of communities and nations. It needs a lot of courage to dare to see what is in the dark, to dig it out and to transform it into light. 

Shadow of a golden object on orange golden surface
Uncover the shadow – and the gold reappears

Every person has an invisible light hidden behind layers of cultural habits and norms. We internalize what we experience as right and wrong in very early age. This is inevitable for becoming a functional member of the group. Unfortunately, sometimes the particular gifts and capacities of people are pushed into the shadow realm and so these people have a difficult time to understand their life’s purpose – if they ever arrive to search for it. The “golden shadow”, once appeared on the surface, is tremendously empowering. 

SHADOW WORK – the only way towards health

shooting soldiers and a crying child
The future is at stake – destruction is possible if we don’t recognize it in ourselves

Most important for the health of the individual and for the bigger group is the work on the dark shadow. We need to dig it out, too, and own it as part of our humanness. All humans have the capability to do nasty things, to harm others and even to kill and destroy. If we don’t recognize this part in ourselves then the risk is very high that, one day when the right circumstances arrive, we will act in ways which before we would never have thought to be possible. Don’t say you would never kill anybody, if you have never contacted the killer in yourself. Don’t say you would never torture others – if you have never contacted the Hitler in yourself. Only if you know yourself from ALL perspectives, then you will be able to avoid the worst, but not by believing “you never would”. This is an ancient experience, and modern psychology (and history) have studied this phenomenon of human existence extensively.

The Holocaust Memorial in Berlin
The Holocaust Memorial in Berlin

The same falls back on societies. Germany has done a lot of shadow work to integrate the era of extreme inhumanity and cruelty during the last century. America seems not to have done any similar work. So why are you wondering that a man was elected President of the United States, who has the same personality characteristic as Hitler? And who, potentially, can lead the nation into complete disaster – and the whole world in the aftermath! (read this article for some clarification!

Every nation is built by individuals. When the individuals change, the nation will change. This is the good news:

If you want to change the world – change yourself first and be a role model for others in their process of growing up! 

Why Cyber War on my Website?

Why Cyber War on my Website?

What the hell are people looking for on my website? And why do they “attack” it. Whose enemy am I? What do I have that they believe to find when they attack my sites – and unfortunately those of many many others?

Is war still an attractive goal?

The meaning of the colors red and blue in Spiral Dynamics
The meaning of the colors red and blue in Spiral Dynamics

We believed that the times of war were over in the Western World, after WW II, and the remainders of war happen elsewhere on the globe. This may be true when we see war as a systematic way of killing the enemy for gaining their property. This is a concept of “red” and “blue” times in our societies (the colors of “Spiral Dynamics”), of the “egocentric” and “ethnocentric” level, where we care only for ourselves or our ethnic group. It’s THEM who are still believing that they can get something precious by killing the others and destroying their land. It never worked really well, except for a short time, and it still doesn’t.

But the mentality persists, real wars are going on, huge bloodshed of people, also of animals and the destruction of ecosystems in the name of …. WHAT? Fill in the blank and check if these are REALLY reasons for doing that, when seen from a higher perspective which includes REASON and LEARNING from the past. Unfortunately, human development, the evolution of consciousness, takes an incredibly long time.

The modern war on a global scale – attack and protect as an ongoing mindset

Coming back to my websites which were hacked and injected with malware. The wars have changed their appearance. Single people, or better robots, built by single people with mal-intent, are searching for I-don’t-know-what in normal people’s websites. We on our sites are talking about philosophy, personal growth, the evolution of consciousness, integral theory: What do they believe finding inside our websites? Or do they want to protest against the content? There would be better ways to do that.

I don’t want to respond to the call for war, I believe in pacific ways of living together. So why do I need to “protect” myself by paying people to take care that similar things won’t happen anymore? Well, somebody seems to want to get money, or by stealing addresses or bank info (not available on my sites) or by building up all this firewall and what not business, which obviously is a legal thing (but you get forced into it, anyway).

We can stop all wars – by growing up as humanity

trees expand in head
Growing begins in our heads

 

When will the war mentality finally end? In the cyberspace, in politics, between countries and groups, between single people, between businesses and institutions (sometimes called “competition”) and also in the personal life, fighting against our families or spouses, and , worst of all, against OURSELVES (which is rarely obvious to anyone who is doing it)

STOP IT and GROW UP!

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This article was first published on branded.me on August 20th 2016

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After the US elections and Trump as new president

Half a year later I am posting this article – and the topic is more pressing than ever. We have seen an election campaign in America which was more a war than a presentation of concepts and strategies. A war between people, the supporters of one party against the supporters of the other, and the protagonists literally fighting, attacking and defending themselves during times which should give an orientation to the population. Instead, it was a campaign for separation, and also from the dominant male position to the emerging female uprising.

MAle fist and woman bending down
We women need to stop being oppressed

Well, we have seen it, the patriarchal values are still very well in place. Women are still not united in solidarity against male oppression and humiliation. Women are still collaborating to hold themselves down.

Extreme feminism is not the answer, although in the 60ies it has brought forward the issue and kicked off the process. Now, 50 years later, we need to find a way to take a stand against intolerance and separation, against war and violence, and for human values of connection, appreciation, and love. We women cannot ask men to do it for us. It is our innate feminine capacity, caring and connecting, and WE are called to step up and create peace.

HOW can we create peace?

Certainly not by fighting in the way our civilization has been used to. We need to explore our own “weapons” which consist in self-confidence, coming out of the hiding place, speak up for what we feel is not right, educate our children in a way which creates appreciation and respect towards all beings and which enables us to hold and contain those who, out of their existential fear, fall into violence and destruction. We need to see far ahead and realize the consequences we will be facing if we don’t step up in time and propose an alternative to the old and outdated way of living together in families, businesses, countries and on the planet.

open a head
We need to get to know what we carry in our heads and to learn how to handle it

We are deeply challenged today, because we know perfectly well how we can achieve all this – and we resist strongly, because it requires us to change OURSELVES. It requires getting to know ourselves, to meet our shadow, the demons which we hold in us and which will come out in destructive ways if we don#t learn to integrate them and divert their powerful energies into something good.

We need to create peace in ourselves first, then in our families, then in our communities and countries. It sounds easy and utopian at the same time. Humans have always preferred to look for the enemy in others and to fight others for what they cannot see and accept in themselves.

It is time to grow up and become full human beings who are able to see conflict, embrace it without getting caught in it and transform it into something beautiful

10 years ago and now. What is better?

Ten years ago and now. What is better?

Where were you 10 years ago – and where are you now? I don’t necessarily mean the location – although this might have a major impact on you, too, and how life is going today.

Can you see yourself back then? What did you do, think, or feel? What were your moods, your worldviews, your ideas about yourself, your past and your future? How did you consider life? Was it worth living, a joy and positive experience? or a dreadful dragging ahead with fears, duties and pressures on your back?

Where I was 10 years ago

a balloon in form of a heart flies away. a child sends it away
Good bye love and marriage

10 years ago I came to the painful understanding that my third marriage needed to be broken, urgently, and that I had to change a lot of things in myself: expectations, ideas, assumptions and the way of handling myself and others. A complete UPDATE was due.

Talking about computers: It was the year when I could access the internet in a consistent way, the beginning of a completely new world where assumptions could easily be proofed true or false and tons of information were available with one click – so to speak.

When the world began to change

The “one click” revealed as a long learning curve which now, after 10 years, hasn’t diminished, but increased, I should say. In the first years I just did the absolute minimum online, emails, some websites, youtube. Most of my time I still spent growing veggies and taking care for my huge property, enjoying the fresh air, the movement and my physical strength.

6 Years ago I began to subscribe for online programs, did my counseling school online, typing and listening to audios, still movements during the day. My first website was up, I had learned to insert text every now and then, no big deal. Useless to say that hardly anybody really responded to it.

Screenshot of our homepage
The Power of Relationship website – lost and reconstructed

3 years ago a new huge website was needed for a new topic, lots of money spent, lots of time passed trying to understand the process and telling my webmaster what to do – he regularly didn’t understand me. Well, I had not really any idea about website construction and how things work, so how could he understand what I meant.

The new world requires continuous learning

Now: I am learning to do everything myself. I have understood that others who I pay for curating the websites don’t really care if there is SEO description or not, for instance. I didn’t know about that stuff and that it was needed. Now I do – and I learn. Vegetable garden? abandoned. Movement? eh, sometimes bike rides and walks, but not the whole day up and down the hill, as it was before. Strength? not anymore in the arms, more in the fingers from continuously hacking on the keyboard.

The more I learn the more I understand how little I know and how much there is still to learn. In many ways, it was better 10 years ago when I didn’t care about being findable on the Internet. Then I had relaxed shoulders (good), a quiet mind (good) and fresh veggies (very good). Today, well, the world has opened up (good and bad), I am in contact with many (good, as long as they are not too many -which is the case). Means “bad”? Not really. Writing in English and here (good), feeling often overwhelmed (bad), too much to keep in mind (not good) and so on and on….

How can we know what is REALLY good or bad before we see the bigger picture? BAD? or, GOOD? or WHAT?

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This article was first published in August 23. 2016 on branded.me

Addition below from January 23rd 2017

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It was the day before the first earthquake in Italy took place which killed 300 people. From then on my world has dramatically changed.

I have lost my faith in science and public institutions – completely.

    • Why? – it began with realizing that there were warning signs and people who talked about it – and nobody listened to them. The person I am following since then called “Dutchsinse” was trashed and hindered to speak up, literally shut down, many times, on Youtube.
    • I had believed that Google was a different enterprise with higher ethic standards as most of the big ones, where freedom of speech is valued. Nada, Youtube is Google, and whenever something important happens regarding earthquakes, the live stream of Dutchsinse goes down. I witnessed it more than 10 times, the last one 2 days ago when a 8.0 earthquake hit in the West Pacific, and last week when we had 5 very strong earthquakes here in Italy.  
    • The official services of the USA, Italy, but also the European Earthquake reporting service don’t report reliably what is going on. The data gets manipulated or deleted. How can that be? Scientific data – I believed – would be available for research, completely, and not picked by political or other considerations. I grew up with the belief that science would be searching for the truth and be as objective as possible. This belief is completely shattered – actually, it was already before when I first listened to the banned Ted Talk by Rupert Sheldrake about “the science delusion”:

It is a different thing when you just hear about these things and when you see them happen in front of your own eyes. I definitely was shocked to my bones!

  • The next big shock: Do you have any idea how much we are ruining our earth – just for getting fossil energy? Well, I didn’t, and I am sure you don’t, either. I had heard about fracking, but I downplayed it a little, hoping that it wouldn’t be soooo bad after all. But it is even WORSE than I ever could have imagined.
  • They have drilled hundreds of thousands of holes into the earth crust, many states of the US are packed with oil and gas operations – and waste water deposals. Highly toxic liquids are buried into the drill holes – and when shaken by earthquakes the poison floats freely into water reservoirs and wherever.
    Fracking in Los Angeles - La Cienega Blvd goes right through the extraction area. All the blank areas are filled with pumps and wells. In the middle of the city!
    Fracking in Los Angeles – La Cienega Blvd goes right through the extraction area. All the blank areas are filled with pumps and wells. In the middle of the city!

    Thanks to Google Earth you can SEE all the drill points with your own eyes, square kilometers after square kilometers, even right in Los Angelos and near Santa Barbara – where people think to live a wonderful life…… They are sitting on a powder keg! 

  • The next shock, for me, was the election of Trump as the new American President. A person who denies climate change and the dangers of what is done for extracting fossil energy. A man who humiliates women, who reinforces patriarchal power dominance and who plays with money and with people in his own egocentric way. Truly not the person we need for the change which is so badly needed for the survival of us all on this planet.

This article started out with the question: What is better, ten years ago or now. I am almost tempted to say it was then, because of the many shocks I had to face when learning about what is REALLY going on in the world. The illusionary dream of “everything will work out well”, the new age belief in the new era which will be highly spiritual and evolved, this dream has given way to an abrupt awakening into reality. It is painful, but certainly better than the ignorance in which I lived – and in which most of us are living. 

Hands holding good and bad
Embracing everything – becoming aware and doing what needs to be done

Shocks can be beneficial. Yes, the paradise is lost, again (as so many in my life and in yours, too, I guess). But now, when we begin to see clearly, we begin to know what we have to address, what we can work for, what our task is in our life here on earth.

Mine, for sure, is taking a stand, come out of invisibility and speak up against everything which destroys life, and to work for the evolution of consciousness in all people. Only the awareness of what is happening and the re-connection to our human values of life, love, and happiness can bring us further into the emergence of a world which is good for all beings.

If you want to know more about what we are doing – and where you might want to collaborate: visit our website TheWisdomFactory.net

 

 

Growing up – Personal Evolution is Slow and not to be taken for granted

Growing up

We grow up in an environment which teaches us what is real and who we are. In adult life, we often realize that there is something wrong with us and we don’t necessarily understand, that it is not US who is wrong, but the old conditionings which might have served us back in childhood, but have become a hindrance today. So the question is: how can we influence our lives and overcome the conditionings?

So many approaches came out since the 70ies who promise to resolve the issue. Well, they do – and they don’t. Everyone does a bit, a momentary relief, insight, jump ahead. We experience new states of being. But do they become permanent stages, a new self? more often than not they don’t. People slip back into old behaviors. It is completely normal, although tragic

girl meditating
Growing up – meditation can help

Evolution is very slow. Also our personal evolution. We can do a lot for it, to make it happen, but we cannot guarantee that it WILL happen – at least not the outcome we had in mind. Evolution goes its own ways and we can only prepare ourselves to go with it, when the time comes and the setting is right.

 These lines were first published on branded.me which I began to use as a public journal. Now I decided to use this website to collect my thoughts.
The photo is taken in an exhibition in the castle of Agripoli, Italy in October 2016

Summer, Autumn, Olive Harvest and earthquakes in Italy

Summer is over – what next?

This article was published on branded.me in October 2016 You see it here in its original version as a consideration after the summer – but before the huge new earthquake on Oct. 30th in Italy which we could perceive very strongly, but we had the warning and we knew it would come. This changed everything because being prepared takes the fear out of the equation.

As long as I remember I was always looking forward to summer – and then it was over too quickly. Do you know that feeling of needing to dress warm again, no summer nights on the terrace watching the stars, but…..

For many years in my life, there was the new beginning of the season, the school year, courses of all kinds. And the preoccupation: will I have enough students to get on until next summer, the longed for a time in a far distance?

Times have changed, outside in the world, inside in my home and inside myself.

Yes, there will be another winter – hopefully for me, too. No reason why it shouldn’t be, but only a few weeks ago, nearby, 300 people died in their beds, at night, during a 6.2 earthquake. It can always happen, to everybody of us. An earthquake of the one sort or the other.

house fallen down into pieces after the earthquake
After the earthquake
You wouldn’t want to have been in that house!

Spring will come again!

Then in spring, the beauty of the flowers, the warmth of the sun, deeply appreciated. Oh, could it never end!

 sunflower
The first sunflower

Summer Heat

Summer is great, but soon too hot and we wait for some cooler days, not too much over 30°, please. We drag along during the hot days, enjoy the cooler, but beautiful warm nights, one day resembles the other. too hot to do something important – and even the computers go into strike without ventilation.

Looking over the Tiber valley in Otricoli
Looking over the Tiber valley in Otricoli in summer

Autumn: the Olive Harvest is the most important thing

And now, again, almost autumn, the grapes mature, then the olives need to be picked, the year goes on, as always….

The fresh olive oil comes out of the centrifuge
The fresh olive oil comes out of the centrifuge

Life is so precious in its ongoing sameness and evolving differences, Taste it well before the earthquake surprises you.

 

Picking Olives
Picking Olives

PS: (January 2017)We have picked the olives, a German couple came to help us who, previously, had watched the TV program which had been shot some years ago here in my place. We pick them by hand – a wonderful work. I cannot imagine to use vibrating machines to do it instead. The noise and the holding up of the picking stick would destroy the meditative setting in the connection with NATURE.

Watch the video below. It might not be visible in some countries due to YouTube restrictions. Sorry if that should be true for you!

It was a nice time, warm weather and a good amount of olives. We had about 60l of oil, enough for the year and for give it away to family and friends.

If you are interested in helping us pick the olives one year (mid-end of September), please let us know)

Do you love Italy? – Yes, it is still “beautiful Italy”

Most people say they LOVE Italy, not necessarily the Italians themselves, but all the tourist who see the beautiful sides of the country.

Today I will post some photos for you which I took in the last few weeks, touring through Umbria in bicycle or in car, as a resident in Italy for 30 years.

Calvi dell’Umbria on Sunday Morning

Today I don’t want to talk about the many things which DON’T work in this country – and those are truly many many. Today I focus on what is still keeping me here, despite all.

View from Otricoli in the Tiber Valley
who doesn’t like CAPPUCCINO?
Or have a Pizza on the streets of Bolsena
Roman Theatre Ferento near Viterbo
One of those little shops with locally prepared food in Calvi dell’Umbria
Eremitage di Saint Francis “Lo Speco” near Narni
An old castle falling into pieces in Graffignano
A beautiful ancient church in Lugnano in TEVERINA
The beach at the lake of Bolsena

And finally, good night, the work day is over for today. Have a nice weekend!

What I will see tomorrow morning!
This post was originally published on branded.me in September 2016

THE WISDOM FACTORY – as seen by Heidi and Mark

Find our Live Broadcasts on the website of THE WISDOM FACTORY here

On this website here you find content related to our personal interests and discussions – always informed by our integral worldview, but often not directly related to integral theory.

We will publish here our blogposts and articles which we collected in the past – or we will create in the future.

 

Some of which might be published in other places, like  Youtube (Heidi), Wisdom Factory Channel, Paradiso Integrale Channel

Branded,me, Linkedin, Google Plus, Facebook or other websites like

The Integral European Conference   the Integral Leadership Review and more