The deep heart of humanity

Dark Elegy, Suse Lowenstein

In these days of grief and astonishment, we may be tempted to seek refuge. To look the other way, to change the channel, to think that we are far away and, anyway, what could we do? To want to flee from anguish is human; it is more human to choose to harbor it, and to avoid the easy shortcut of cynicism.

It is not easy to live in a world where atrocities like the ones we have witnessed these days can take place. But the risk of giving in to despair or disengagement is too great.

A few years ago I interviewed the pacifist and international mediator Scilla Elworthy, founder of the Oxford Research Group, an NGO she created in 1982 to establish a dialogue between the world’s nuclear weapons policy makers and their critics, for which she received three Nobel Peace Prize nominations.

Our conversation stayed with me. Scilla pointed out in no uncertain terms the importance of the “human factor” in helping to resolve long-standing, seemingly intractable conflicts. Above all, to be able to listen to the emotions and needs behind the other’s positions and claims, and for the other to be able to listen ours. This seemingly simple proposition requires enormous courage, and a determined commitment to our common humanity.

She told me about activists like Pakistan’s Gulalai Ismail, who together with other courageous youths, through the Youth Peace Ambassadors, managed to disarm almost 200 young suicide bombers by seeking them out in their villages and talking to them, with an open and respectful disposition.

Scilla stresses the role of women in peace negotiations: “Women consult with the victims of war – the teenage orphans, the mothers of the disappeared, the starving widows in destroyed homes – to bring their concerns, which would otherwise go unnoticed, to the table”, she says. “They emphasize needs over ‘bottom lines’; e.g. they insist on attention to re-hab of the wounded, PTSD, care of war orphans, burial of the dead.  This is why involving women in peace negotiations lowers the likelihood of conflict resurgence, and invites the participation of the population as a whole.”

In fact, she shared, “A statistical analysis of 182 signed peace agreements between 1989 and 2011 revealed that peace agreements where women are involved are 35% more likely to last for fifteen years.”

Sadly, peace negotiations or agreements are nowhere in sight? We live in the arms of heartbreak: aching for the lives atrociously cut short; holding our breath for the hostages and what they must be living through; fearing for the suffering of on both sides that will surely grow like a cancer with the escalation to come.

Why, then, talk about women and their protective impulse?

Because the fierce loyalty that was born millenia ago, in the light of the maternal-filial bond, among ancestors so remote that they did not even have a name, remains a beacon for humanity.

The beacon of compassion does not belong to one gender, to one nation, to one class of people. It knows of no causes nor enmities: all children are its children; all elders, its elders; all lives, its lives.

The crimes that have been perpetrated, and those yet to come, violate this foundational principle. But they cannot destroy it; not if enough of us gather around its fire, shield it, defend it.

May that boundless belonging help illumine, protect, and once again enthrone the deep wisdom of the heart.

In these devastated days, may we be able to say, with the poet Adrienne Rich:

“My heart is moved
for all that I cannot save:
So much has been destroyed.
I must cast my lot with those
who, time after time, tenaciously,
without extraordinary power,
reconstitute the world.”

The Earthrise Project

The Earthrise Project

“We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.”

The Hopi Elders

The Earthrise Project

The Project

The creation of a collective narrative to promote and accelerate the deep transformation we must bring about to heal the pressing environmental and social crises and create a future of hope and possibility for all.

The mission is to create a myth for our times: a weaving together of the many generative stories that are being spun by thinkers, mystics, artists and activists the world over into a single, rich tapestry to help portray, fortify and usher forth the emerging era.

Key Concepts

The Earthrise Project

Joseph Campbell once described myths as “energy evoking and directing images” whose task (one of four main functions) is to bring forth in individuals “a sense of grateful, affirmative awe before the mons trous Mystery that is existence”.

These images have guided humankind through many a dark night. But the hegemony of linear thinking and banishment of mythopoetic language and imagination has driven myth from its rightful place as nourishment for the soul, and left it languishing as a historical artifact, or even as another name for “untruth”.

This information already exists, but the story is being told in fragments. How much more powerful would it be to create a unified fabric with social, biological, artistic, spiritual and environmental strands, that could reach the mainstream population and promote the tidal wave of changes we so urgently need?

The Name

The Earthrise Project

“Earthrise” is the name given to a photograph of planet Earth and some of the Moon’s surface that was taken from lunar orbit by astronaut William Anders on December 24th, 1968, during the Apollo 8 mission. Nature photographer Galen Rowell described it as “the most influential environmental photograph ever taken”.

Joseph Campbell predicted that this striking image of the blue-green dot floating in infinite space, without a single border in sight, would be the inspiration for a new, global myth for mankind. Although this has not come to be in the way he envisioned, the symbol remains as potent today as the day the photograph was taken.

“Earthrise” could speak of the need to transcend individual stories and cultural and ideological narratives, to prioritize the story of a unified Earth (with its human and non-human inhabitants), rising from the ashes of environmental destruction and social and economic polarization, to an era of collaboration, integration and collective intelligence.

The Challenge

To bring together a group of writers, poets, scientists, activists, environmentalists, artists– who are already expressing important fragments of the new story, for a series of working sessions, to help put together the outline of a guiding story.

The story would offer a vision of the world we are ushering into being, in its many different dimensions, such as:

  • Restored intimacy with Nature, in a planet recognized as wholly alive and conscious.
  • Compassionate, just and inclusive social relations and dynamics.
  • Purpose-centered economies, where experiences and right livelihood are valued over consumption.
  • Access to a dignified living for all.
  • Shift to renewable resources and wise use of them.
  • Invigorated democracies, local decision-making, decentralized governance.
  • Verdant cities that promote and facilitate healthful living.
  • Community hubs connected through interlocking networks of exchange and support.
  • So much more!

With the help of seasoned writers, the story would then be edited for clarity, precision and evocative power. The text version of the story would be seeded with hyperlinks to invite people to dig deeper in areas of personal interest (providing further education and opportunities to join existing initiatives and contribute).

The next step would be to create an audiovisual telling of the story, and a set of practices, rituals and activities to help embed the myth into daily life.

Jane Benyus, creator of Biomimicry (one of these vital strands) states that Life creates conditions conducive to life. This is an invitation to join forces in order to create the Story to feed all stories, the Life to feed all lives.

For the Children

The rising hills, the slopes,
of statistics
lie before us.
the steep climb
of everything, going up,
up, as we all
go down.
In the next century
or the one beyond that,
they say,
are valleys, pastures,
we can meet there in peace
if we make it.
To climb these coming crests
one word to you, to
you and your children:
stay together
learn the flowers
go light


Gary Snyder

Choose Aliveness! - Embracing your Shadow

Embracing your Shadow

Choose Aliveness! - Embracing your Shadow

“Both light and shadow are the dance of Love,” wrote the mystic poet Rumi eight centuries ago, and it is just as true today.

In depth psychology, “the Shadow” refers to those aspects of ourselves that we cannot see or accept as our own. But not seeing or accepting them does not make them disappear; on the contrary, they show up in our lives, and in the world with all the force of the Unconscious, and make decisions for us that we often regret.

When we approach them with courage and and open heart, they lose their sometimes frightening demeanor and reveal themselves for what they are: hurt, repressed or immature aspects or our psyche, that require our love and attention. Once we grant them what they need, they free up great stores of playful, creative and luminous energy to invigorate our lives.

Carl Jung, the father of depth psychology, assured:“Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.” In this Saturday’s session, we will the most effective practices for mining our shadow, taking our lives into our hands, and accessing a goldmine of vitality and autenticity.

Meet you there!

Questionsinfo@fabianafondevila.com

Format: Online. You will receive the audio, video and notes to keep for a lifetime.

Tuition: U$D 30 to $ 50. Choose your donation according to possibility, and in relation to the value you feel you receive. You can make the payment via Paypal, to the following address: alfredo.berge@gmail.com

Sign up here!

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Choose Aliveness! - Practising Courage

Practising Courage

Choose Aliveness! - Practising Courage

Courage was once thought to be what heroes displayed on the battlefield.

Today we know that life demands courage in much more subtle and everyday ways, that there are many ways to be brave, and that sometimes having the moral strength to refrain from taking action is the noblest act of courage.

In this month of deep exploration, we will see th eways in which courage beckons in our hearts, how we can cultivate it on a daily basis, and to what challenges it’s wise to apply it.

One question that will guide our path is: “Does making this decision expand me or diminish me?” The path of courage is the path of growth, and of making our lives all that they’re meant to be.

Join us, so we can grow courageously together!

Questions: info@fabianafondevila.com

Format: Online. You will receive the audio, video and notes to keep for a lifetime.

Tuition: U$D 30 to $ 50. Choose your donation according to possibility, and in relation to the value you feel you receive. You can make the payment via Paypal, to the following address: alfredo.berge@gmail.com

Sign up here!

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Choose Aliveness - Activating Love

Activating Love. Cultivating Connection

Choose Aliveness - Activating Love

Love is at the center of our yearnings, our striving, our highest highs and our lowest lows. It runs through our stories like silver thread, and often defines them.

But for all its importance, we know precious little about what love is, what it asks of us, and what practices and behaviors pave the way for it.

In this session we will explore a new vision of love, which focuses on what happens in our hearts and bodies in the presence of this essential, life-giving emotion.

We could say that this is the “Master Key” of the nine keys to vitality that make up this course, since it has the power to nourish and open up our heart, which is the center of our aliveness. We hope you will join us for this transformative adventure!

Questions: info@fabianafondevila.com

Format: Online. You will receive the audio, video and notes to keep for a lifetime.

Tuition: U$D 30 to $ 50. Choose your donation according to possibility, and in relation to the value you feel you receive. You can make the payment via Paypal, to the following address: alfredo.berge@gmail.com

Sign up here!

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Choose Aliveness - Playing with Life

Playing with Life

Choose Aliveness - Playing with Life

“The creation of something new is not achieved through the intellect, but by the instinct of play acting from an inner need. The creative mind plays with the object it loves,” said Carl Gustav Jung.

We celebrate the first part of the equation (creativity), but relegate the second (play) to the world of children, and dismiss it.

The truth is that play is an antidote to discouragement and apathy, a stimulus for brain development, and an elixir of youth.

To take advantage of this disposition of the soul – which in human beings has no expiration date – we will explore ways to integrate play into daily life, use it to achieve our goals and meet our challenges.

And we will learn a “key” to help us return to humor and lightness, whenever we need it.

Questions: info@fabianafondevila.com

When: Saturday 29th, 10 AM PT / 1 PM EST / 5 PM GMT

Format: Virtual. You receive the audio, video and notes to keep for a lifetime.

Tuition: Tuition: U$D 30 to $ 50. Choose your donation according to possibility, and in relation to the value you feel you receive. You can make the payment via Paypal, to the following address: alfredo.berge@gmail.com

Sign up here!

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Choose Aliveness - The Garden of Aliveness

The Garden of Aliveness

Choose Aliveness - The Garden of Aliveness

Welcome to “The Garden of Vitality. Nine Keys to Engaging with Life Fully”!

In this bold and lively ten-month exploration, we will learn nine practices for coming alive, finding joy, purpose and meaning, and developing intimacy with others, with the world, with ourselves.

Each key includes a specific practice, mantra, gesture, question and suggestions for applying it in different areas of life.

Although each key is powerful on its own, together, the nine keys create a symphony of vitality, embodied presence and power.

They also straddle two core components of aliveness: desire and surrender.

As we are at once individuals and part of a larger organism (humanity, Mother Earth, Life), our life force directs us both towards our highest personal expression and self-realization (desire), and to find our belonging through connecting with and nurturing the needs of others (surrender).

Here are the nine keys:

1. Open your eyes. Awaken awe.

2. Play with life. Create your adventure.

3. Activate love. Cultivate connection.

4. Feed the body. Nurture your inner animal.

5. Practice courage. Develop fortitude.

6. Cease the war. Embrace your shadow self.

7. Create the future. Live in possibility.

8. Say yes. Find your purpose.

9. Be the sun. Give yourself permission to shine.

10. Give thanks! Nourish a grateful heart.

I hope you will join in this journey of the body, the soul and the imagination!

Learn more about “The Garden of Aliveness”:

Format: Virtual. You receive the video, recording and notes after each meeting, and they are yours for life!

Frequency: Monthly session, on the last Saturday of the month.

Duration: From March to December. 

Launch: March 25th, 10 AM PDT / 1 PM EDT / 5 PM GMT.

Tuition: U$D 30 to $ 50. Choose your donation according to possibility, and in relation to the value you receive. You can make the payment via Paypal, to the following address: alfredo.berge@gmail.com

Questions: info@fabianafondevila.com

Sign up here!

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