Caravanning towards the Future

August 11th, 2014

Every year, we gather together with friends and family to make a pilgrimage to the BurningMan festival in the Black Rock Desert of Nevada. For 2014, the theme of the festival is “Caravansary,” a place where groups of travelers stop to get supplies, exchange information, and interact with people from other cultures. For centuries, people traveled in groups called “caravans” because they were less vulnerable when they combined resources, shared expenses, and protected each other. A caravansary, or gathering of caravans, is an amazing place. Here we can freely exchange ideas and practical applications, expand our awareness of different cultures, and learn from everyone we meet.

The Cleu caravan makes our pilgrimage to the desert where our combined efforts create Black Rock City, a place where there is no trading or bartering, no buying or selling, just gift-giving and human interactions that are free of commerce. This is a temporary autonomous zone, a place where we can choose how to define ourselves, sharing and participating with others who are as free as we are. Sure, there is law enforcement in Black Rock City, reminding us that the world defined by counties, states, and federal government still has some authority. However, our collective creativity brings into being a city where most of us feel safer than anywhere else, where we feel more protected and supported than in any other city in the world.

Black Rock City is made up of many caravans, all converging in a single place, coming together with a shared intention: to give, to celebrate, to release, to enjoy! We follow the 10 principles of BurningMan: radical inclusion, gifting, decommodification, radical self-reliance, radical self-expression, communal effort, civic responsibility, leaving no trace, participation, and immediacy. We become bigger than ourselves when we join together in our Cleu caravan, and bigger than our own group when our caravan becomes part of Black Rock City. We share, support, and protect each other, and give freely of our time and energy to create a city that we want to live in.

When you contemplate the future, think about the road you are on. If you are traveling alone, look around to see who else is moving in the same direction. Form or join a caravan with others who share Cleu values. Go camping or do other things that require you to share resources and work cooperatively. Give your Cleu circle wheels, and let it roll! Envision all our caravans coming together as one great caravansary to imagine and create the infrastructure of a better world.

The Big Four Values

May 6th, 2013

Make the Cleu vision and values a part of your life. You can do this on your own, but forming a Cleu circle with a few others will give you a greater sense of spiritual community. Use the human rites of music, art, drum, dance, song, and story to bond, the way people have been doing since the beginning of Consciousness. Engage in the spiritual practices that are a vital part of most religious and spiritual traditions, including study, meditation, service, pilgrimage, and mentoring. Read the Cleu Book together. A Cleu circle should be a transformative, participatory occasion that keeps people coming back.

As your circle evolves, begin to focus on the Big Four values: Air, Water, Food, Energy. These are basic survival needs that must be met in order for there to be harmony among people. From world peace to individual health, we are all dependent on our relationship to Air, Water, Food, and Energy. To put it simply: Air is Life; Water is Life; Food is Life; Energy is Life. Use the Big Four to create ceremonial aspects to your circle: Join in a breathing exercise to reflect on Air; use Water in a ceremonial way; host a communion with Food; and light a candle to represent Energy. Try different ways to honor the Big Four.

Providing a structure that leads to more Consciousness about the choices we make as individuals, families, communities, and the world, will increase the spiritual impact of your circle and help guide your decisions about how to use your resources together. By focusing on our most basic needs, you will be better able to set priorities, learn about local issues, and find allies. You are not alone. Spiritual activists, indigenous people, and cultural creatives have been working together to protect our Air, Water, Food, and Energy for over fifty years, and we have learned a lot about the power of the circle.

Now imagine Cleu circles connecting to other Cleu circles in a network that is as flexible, strong, and resilient as linked chainmail. Visualize a shining fabric of circles, healing our communities and our world. We are the clue to our own future.

Signs of a New Paradigm

January 1st, 2013

Happy 2013! I’m looking for signs of a new paradigm, and I have to say, I see them every day. Global consciousness is an unstoppable force, and we know another world is possible.

People everywhere are standing up for universal human rights despite oppression. Global awareness about climate change makes fossil fuels seem so 20th century, and people are rising up in all kinds of ways to defend the planetary atmosphere from excess carbon. More people are choosing organic food and fair trade products, and making healthy choices in daily life. Workers are finding solidarity, and students are fighting debt. Occupy groups all over the country are raising awareness and creating cooperative infrastructure with local churches, providing relief for disaster recovery and ongoing conditions of poverty. Peace is here if we want it.

Social media are giving us ways to connect that were never possible before. We can freely learn and share with people all over the world. Facebook gives us a way of archiving memories and comments with friends and family. Twitter expresses our collective tidbits of conversation and information as a global community. We are learning to think as one people on one planet, but we continually discover that nothing replaces face-to-face communication.

To feel truly connected, we need be in the same place together. Find your spiritual family by looking for people with a clue. Meet in circle often, weekly if possible. Read the Cleu Book and celebrate your human rites of drum, song, and story, music, art, and dance. Share resources to develop your spiritual community, and together, be the clue to a new paradigm.

This End is a new Beginning

December 21st, 2012

As darkness becomes dawn, the longest night gives way to longer days in the return of the light. According to the ancient Mayan calendar and other prophecies, the 2012 winter solstice marks a transition, the end of a cycle, a paradigm shift from the old to the new. We are called to witness the birth of a new world.

We have come a long way, baby. We have freed ourselves from tradition and defined ourselves as individuals. The capitalist culture treats us as consumers, marketing desire and greed, spreading a mass media version of reality, a zombie shopocaplyspe. We live in a world of human-caused wonders and disasters. Global consciousness is awakening. We know that we have changed the climate, collapsing the stable conditions that have supported both civilization and biodiversity for thousands of years. The planet is warming, bees are dying, great cities are flooding, and a young man shoots down children in a massacre-suicide. We are stunned, but we must confront our shadows. We must act on behalf of our existence as a conscious species on a living planet.

Now is the time to reflect on your vision of a world you choose to live in. How will you claim your spiritual identity and live by your values? Remember that you are greater together. Look for people who have a clue. Keep in mind that everyone has a clue, but not everyone wants to know. Find people who are clue-seekers and human rites guides. Get a space where you can gather in circle weekly. Take time to celebrate and grieve, share and serve. Practice our human rites of music, art, drum, dance, song, story, and circle. Build up your community infrastructure so that you can meet the new paradigm with open arms.

Let us join together to preserve Life and affirm Consciousness on the Earth. It’s up to you, fantastic speck of stardust that you are!

You are the Cleu.

Hurricane Sandy speaks

October 29th, 2012

Hurricane Sandy speaks to us as Earth– as wind, rain, and surging ocean. Superstorm Sandy warns us that more global warming means more disasters. Will we listen?

Hurricane Sandy was nicknamed the “Frankenstorm” for being a strange mixture of natural and unnatural parts, creating a terrifying sum. Unprecedented megastorms are increasingly the new normal of living on a warming planet. Bill McKibben says we need to do the math, to stop driving the climate to a future of environmental disaster on what he calls a new kind of planet: “Eaarth.”

As the spokesperson for 350.org, McKibben reminds us that 350ppm of CO2 in the atmosphere is the upper limit for a healthy climate, one capable of sustaining civilization as we know it. Now that we have hit 392ppm, extreme weather events have multiplied all over the planet, from wildfires and droughts, to hurricanes and floods. Warmer air holds more water, and warmer oceans give storms more energy. Physics and chemistry dictate the cost of human greed for cheap energy and great profits. As people with a clue, we respect the scientific consensus on the human causes of global warming, and we commit to creating a more sustainable future.

Despite the human suffering caused by extreme weather events, we can all appreciate how community comes together in emergencies. Witness the depth of altruism that exists among human beings. We truly love each other despite our differences. People who go through hard times find all kinds of ways to help each other. The spirit of giving renews our faith in Consciousness. We are the Cleu!
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Isles of Wonder: London 2012

July 27th, 2012

Instead of the usual experienced athlete, seven teenagers with potential lit the Olympic cauldron at the London 2012 Olympics. From the Olympic torch, they passed the flame to 204 petals representing all the nations competing in the Olympics. When the petals were raised, they formed one glorious blossom, shining as One.

We are all Olympians. Reflect on those moments when synchronicities occur, patterns or coincidences that seem like magic, except that they are part of the fabric of the universe. Envision a piece of medieval chainmail, a rippling metal fabric made of interlocking circles. When we connect, synchronicities happen. Meeting in circle and connecting with other circles provides both power and protection, making us strong, flexible, and resilient. Whether we engage in friendly competition, or cooperate to create a greater harmony, we belong together. When we can do both for the benefit of all, we excel.
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