Edited recording of the session: Click here.
- Welcome and Participant Check-in (Ben Roberts)
- Introduction of the Speakers: Barbara Kaufmann and Sommer Albertsen (Ben, Barbara, Sommer)
- Technical Details for the Call and for Viewing the Film (Ben)
- Introduction to the Film: “How Do Human’s Heal a World?” (Barbara)
- Viewing the Film (All)
- Small Group Discussions (All)
- Full Group Harvest/Questions & Answers (All)
- Presentation by Sommer Albertsen (Sommer)
- Closing and Thank You (Ben)
About the Speakers
This information, as well as information about the other speakers during the Earth Week Speaker Series, is provided in the announcement on the Charter for Compassion International website: http://www.charterforcompassion.org/index.php/environment-reports-and-documents/earth-day-speaker-series-and-presentations-2016.
Barbara Kaufmann: Walking Moon Studios
”One Wordsmith” Barbara Kaufmann “writes to simply change the world.” www.onewordsmith.com Writer, author, artist, filmmaker, impresario, minister, healer, and spiritual advisor—trained conventionally with a Business Degree in Management, Nursing Diploma, and in seminary as an ordained minister while training unconventionally with gurus, Sufis and shaman in alternative healing, Spiritual Emergency, Interspecies Communication and Shamanism, she dreams out loud of “a more humane narrative on the planet.”
Lifelong global and local activist, leader and citizen diplomat, she believes fiercely in the power of “Story,” communication, connection and agency—especially through the arts. An award winning author she’s written for the Huffington Post, magazines, organizations and is the founder and steward of “Words and Violence” Project compendium on bullying (including the planet) now in its 4th edition. An original member and officer with Sister Cities’ Russian-American partnerships that begun during the cold war and nuclear arms race, she wrote and administrated the grant that built the infrastructure for the decommissioning of weapons of mass destruction in her sister city region in Russia. She is a staffer, writer and contributor to the Charter for Compassion International. Barbara Kaufmann released the film “How Do Human’s Heal a World?” that is being shown as part of the webinar. She produced the film for the Charter for Compassion International.
Sommer Albertsen: Compassion Games International
Sommer Joy Albertsen is a member of the Leadership Team as Compassion Games International Relations Coach & Artistic Outreach Director. She is passionate about bringing together complementary partnerships, creating connections between people and organizations who are committed to a kinder, more just, and sustainable world. She has a Bachelor’s Degree from Western Washington University in Therapeutic Recreation which she continues to amplify with new programming skills and working with individuals’ plans for quality of life and well-being. She is a natural leader in advocating for women and girl’s empowerment, people with various disabilities, elders, social justice and environmental issues. Her business, Island Joy Wellness, includes her work with Compassion Games, as an Energy Brilliance Healer, and Brown Belt Nia Teacher, where she employs her knowledge and experience to support both individuals, and communities around the world in aligning with their highest calling.
Summary of the Call
Sommer and Barbara discuss grief and how we can process our feelings about what is happening to our planet in ways that are healthy, motivating and inspirational so we can move past it and go about the work of stewardship for the Earth.
On Earth Day last year, Barbara’s “Walking Moon Studios,” released the film “How Do Human’s Heal a World?” The film was originally produced for the Charter for Compassion International and is now in its second and HD edition.
This film came out of conversations with people that began in Barbara's Charter for Compassion booth at the Midwest Renewable Energy Association Fair and have continued in subsequent gatherings. Her medical arts background alerted her to a pattern that emerged when she initiated conversation about the stewardship of Planet Earth. Every person she spoke to was exhibiting some stage of grief which accompanies the process of dying; many were frozen and feeling helpless in their inhabited melancholy. The film is designed to embrace that all-too-human sadness, validate it, thaw the energy frozen in its helplessness or hopelessness, discover the love that actually fuels it, and transform it into fierce compassion and inspiration.
Sommer Albertsen teaches healing through movement and dance as a wellness coach and teacher of Nia. A member of the Leadership Team for Compassion Games International, she is passionate about creating connections and partnerships that allow for people to find their highest human expression through movement and cooperative games that highlight human brilliance through cooperation in movement with survival of the kindest, not the fittest. Sommer sees movement as medicine and has put together some exercises that will help us move through our grief and reach for that inner brilliance so that we can employ it in healing our planet.
Welcome and Participant Check-In
Ben Roberts: Greetings and welcome to the Charter for Compassion International’s Speaker Series for Earth Week. During our call today, we’ll be screening the film, “How Do Human’s Heal a World?” We have Barbara Kaufmann and Sommer Albertsen with us to discuss the film and provide tips and exercises we can do to handle our feelings of grief and help generate compassion for the Earth. We are using the Maestro conference social webinar interface to view the film. To connect with the social webinar, click on the “Join Event” button provided in the confirmation and reminder emails you received for the call.
For the next few minutes, we invite you to share with us about why you have joined the call today. Press 1 on your phone to be recognized.
Jon Ramer: Yes, this is a big day and big week. It’s a big time for our planet. I’m glad to be part of the Charter for Compassion and Compassion Games and participate in a call like this. I look forward to hearing from Barbara and Sommer.
Abby: Hello. I am from Olympia, Washington. It is beautiful here. I am very interested in the topic today. I have a long history with Earth Day and Earth Week. This next step of healing the planet is important. We need vertical and horizontal alignment.
Ben: Thank you for your comments and welcome everyone. Now we’ll proceed with the speakers for today.
Introduction of the Speakers
Ben Roberts: [Ben summarized the information in the “About the Speakers” section above.]
Barbara Kaufmann: Hello and welcome everyone to the Earth Week Speaker Series. My colleague, Sommer, and I are setting the stage for the rest of this series. Our backgrounds are complementary. We have different, yet similar, perspectives. Sommer has worked with people to release feelings and stress. If problems are held in, they can cause stress. We want to move that energy through the body instead of holding it in and getting stuck. Sometimes if we hold feelings inside, we can distract ourselves in unhealthy ways. My studio has been making videos for a while. The film we will watch today came out of my experience at a conference about the environment. I was talking with various people there and I noticed a pattern among them. People were exhibiting one of the stages of grief. As a member of the health profession, I saw brokenness and a spiritual emergency.
Sommer: Hello. I am Sommer Albertsen. I am happy to be here will all of you. It is a powerful day. I am in Seattle Washington, looking out over Lake Washington. I feel the Earth is very happy that we are having this conversation. I am grateful to be a part of this call and will provide some movement exercises in the second half of the conversation.
Ben: Thank you Barbara and Sommer. We are glad you are here to help put us in our bodies instead of just our heads.
Technical Details for the Call and for Viewing the Film
Ben: Now, we will be watching the film “How Do Human’s Heal a World?” The link to the film is at the top of the social webinar screen. We will watch the film and then move into small groups for discussion- groups of 4 or 5. We will spend a few minutes in that mode and then return for full discussion with Barbara and Sommer. Then, we will ask for you to do some movement to help process the film.
To view the film, first you need to access the social webinar. Click on the “Join Event” link to access the social webinar from your reminder email. Or go to https://social.maestroconference.com/ and put in the email you used to register for the call. Or, you can view the film at the link: bit.ly/earthweekfilm. Otherwise, you can just listen to the film through your computer speakers. Press 5 on your phone if you have difficulty.
Introduction to the Film
Barbara: The film will bring up feelings. Try to stay in your body and observe how you feel. Don’t watch it with your intellect. Use your heart. Don’t try to mentally fix anything or judge. Be with the reality of it. There is a great gift in this. Thank you for being here.
Viewing the Film: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e4LnxdxfkgU&feature=youtu.be
Small Group Discussions
Ben: Now we will give you the opportunity to speak briefly in small groups. There are a couple of guidelines. You are self-moderated. We suggest no cross talk. There is just time for each person to share about the feelings that come up. Make space for everyone to have time to speak. We will have ten minutes total in our groups. You’ll get a one minute notice before it’s time to stop. It is okay to pass. When speaking, please start with your name and where you are calling from, if you are okay with sharing that.
Barbara: I would like everyone to take a really deep breath and feel the oxygen and air going into your lungs. Breathe deeply. Breathe with Mother Earth and realize that we do this for her and for ourselves. Take another deep breath now. Now we’ll go into our groups to talk, and then we’ll come back together to discuss further.
[Small break-out group discussions occur.]
Full Group Harvest/Questions & Answers
Ben: Welcome back. We now have about ten minutes to process together. To make a comment or ask a question, please press 1 on your phones.
Barbara: I was able to hear some of your comments during your small group discussions. Thank you so much. There was discussion about the Federal Court ruling on the lawsuit filed by the Earth Guardians: http://www.commondreams.org/newswire/2016/04/08/federal-court-affirms-constitutional-rights-kids-landmark-climate-case. We will have a leader from Earth Guardians on our Speaker Call on April 22nd. Also, I want everyone to be aware that there is a body of work, “Words and Violence”: http://voiceseducation.org/content/words-and-violence. The last edition focuses on ways we bully the planet: http://voiceseducation.org/node/7866. There are many good articles there. The film we just watched was designed to take people into their feelings instead of their heads. People have this low-grade melancholy. In Indian music you hear a musical droning tone in the background. After you hear it for a while, you may forget it is there. I wonder how much of the acting out (the anger, the road-rage, the shootings, the stress, etc.) on the planet is related to the underlying melancholy we feel. When I talk with people, I see that sadness. Then, I tell them about the Charter for Compassion and the Environmental Partners Sector and I watch people change before my eyes. Their body relaxes and their breathing gets deeper and their eyes get brighter. They say “oh” someone is finally doing something. We are piloting a program to bring environmentalists together. We will share with you eventually after we have analyzed and downloaded all the information. We will want to hear your feedback. If it is useful, you are welcome to do that.
Abby: Thank you Barbara for your insights and taking time to put together the film with the expertise you have to evoke feelings and emotions. There is a lot of covering up people do because people do not know where to go with their feelings. They don’t know what avenues to take. There is aching for connections and the release of these feelings. My experience of the film was that it was both heartwarming and heartbreaking. Your film simplifies. I love the Maestro platform that allows us to talk in small groups.
Lesa: Thank you for this powerful and inspiring film. I felt saddened by it and yet immediately compelled to take action. While I was watching the film, I posted the link on Facebook and encouraged people to watch it. Taking action to change habits and help the Earth can be hard when we are feeling stressed. We need support groups to help us stay the course in difficult, stressful times. The Compassion Games serve this purpose. Barbara: I have a quote from a Hafiz poem (http://spiritualityhealth.com/blog/jc-peters/dont-surrender-your-loneliness-so-quickly): “Don't surrender your loneliness so quickly... Let it ferment and season you...” In my work, I use shadow and light. We can do in the bright light what we’ve already done in the shadow. You can invite people into your home and process feelings together. What is behind the sadness is a deep, deep love for the Earth, for life. We feel this! Denial and distractions are common. We can share the film, the Charter, and build the scaffolding to help create a better world.
Marilyn: Barbara was referring to a number of organizations that are partners of the Charter. We feel with our hearts that this is something we have to do. There is comfort in coming together with people who are actually doing things. In our small group discussion, we heard from Dorothy who is from Cape Town, Africa. One of our partners is also from South Africa- the “Green Times” publication. On Tuesday, we will hear from Speaker Marc Barasch with the Green Earth Charter. The Charter for Compassion
International has joined with Marc in a mission to green the world in one generation. We need to plant one billion trees. I invite everyone to go to the Environment page on the Charter website. There are almost sixty people and organizations doing outstanding work. You might be interested in joining them.
Presentation by Sommer Albertsen
Ben: Now Sommer can take us into our bodies.
Sommer: I am looking forward to getting everyone in touch with your “feeling intelligence”. We have tools inside of us to help us process what we feel and how alive we are and the brilliance and love that is inside of us. As Neil DeGrasse Tyson says, “The universe is in us.” Let’s take a moment to consciously breathe. Let us breathe in and out together. Think about your feelings from the film. Notice where in your body you feel sadness or feel grief or the different feelings that may have popped up that you still may be experiencing. Without any judgment, just witness. As I was watching the film, I felt tears come into my eyes when I saw the seal with the plastic in its mouth. I felt tension in my biceps and the right side of my shoulders. As I’m speaking to this the bottoms of my feet feel heat. These are just different sensations.
Create a space for self-compassion. Chief Phil Lane, Jr. says that everything starts within. I feel that is it difficult for me to show up for people unless I have actually processed and taken care of myself. I want to bring that into the awareness of this moment. All of us are different in how we process stress. The opposite of compassion is this aching. It is our collective problems that come from not processing our feelings and not allowing ourselves to feel. When we take care of ourselves, we are taking care of the Earth. Every step we take is either in love or in fear. Think about how humans heal the world. It is by allowing and liberating ourselves to feel. Talking about feelings can be very vulnerable. Looking at the world through our unhealthy frames and unhealthy habits, we may see vulnerability as weak or small or not powerful. What if we reframe that? The frame is part of the problem. How do we each think about vulnerability? A different frame can be to see the importance of expressing what we feel to help us feel alive. I am looking outside and I see this tree. It is in the shape of a heart. Sometimes I just cry because it is so beautiful and that is okay because it reminds me that I am alive. We bring up feelings, we are aware.
Sometimes, we don’t allow ourselves to feel because we don’t know what to do with the feelings that emerge. Movement can bring us healthy ways to process our feelings. I know some unhealthy ways are turning on the T.V. or going on Facebook. It gets me away from feeling. I know that if I actually decide to make space for myself, for conscious compassion, I will choose to not go on Facebook. It may take more effort to be in love than in fear. It takes less energy to be numb and in fear. However, in the end, making the extra effort is healthier and stirs us up. When we process, we have all this space in our bodies to be in love and be able to help the Earth and help others. If anyone has questions, please raise your hand by pressing 1.
I invite you to breathe love in through your nostrils and breathe out pain and intentionally and consciously decide to take care of yourself. Allow love in and open up to the sunlight and let your heart open up. Breathe deeply.
I have three different tools to share today and also a video that you can access at the end of the webinar to help you process feelings that are difficult and uncomfortable.
1) Mindful embrace: I am a Nia teacher. We talk about bilateral movement. You can join me. You can stand up or just do the bilateral movement with your hands by passing something from 1 hand to the next. Bilateral movement pulls us out of stagnation or “stuckness” and pulls us into this experience. Now if you want to join me- breathe in calm, peace, and breathe out stuckness. Move from left to right. It can be soft movement. While doing this, just exist with the feelings you have. Witness the places in your body where you feel stress. Bilateral movement releases the nervous system. It takes us from stress into embracing the moment. You can do this at home, with a ball in your hand. Movement can be accompanied with music. Music can be healing and help connect you with your body and the Earth. You can use soothing, relaxing music.
2) Shaking it out: I like the song by “Florence and The Machine” called “Shake It Out”. The body is a vessel and tool for us to understand our thoughts and feelings. Go to that place where you feel emotional build up. I feel it now in my heart and back. Now shake into your body. I “ssshhhaaakkkkkeee” [saying “shake” while shaking the body] into my heart and back space. The sound of allowing your voice to shake into that spot helps break up the stagnation. It helps your whole body lighten up. “SSSHHHAAAKKKEEE” into that.
3) Relaxing into the moment: I’m sure you can get a feel for it. Since we are running out of time, I will refer you to the video on YouTube for this third exercise. [Find the video link in the “Resources” section below in these notes.]
Thank you for inviting me into this conversation. I also work on the Compassion Games Leadership Team. Join in the Compassion Games “Love This Place: Serve the Earth Week”: http://compassiongames.org/. I am available to help out.
Closing and Thank You
Ben: Thank you so much Sommer. Now I am bringing up the Charter donation page on the webinar screen. Please help support the Charter and this kind of work. We can really use that support. Also, you can go to the Charter’s website to donate. Barbara, do you have closing words?
Barbara: If you go to the Earth Week Speaker Series announcement page, http://www.charterforcompassion.org/index.php/environment-reports-and-documents/earth-day-speaker-series-and-presentations-2016, you will find a useful article and also the link to the movement video. [Also, see the “Resources” section below in these notes.]
We sometimes think heartbreak is a bad thing and it is not. It can lead us into new spaces and places. We will find a way to create a better world. Thank you so much for being here.
Ben: Thank you for joining us and thank you Barbara and Sommer.
Here is a Naomi Klein quote from “This Changes Everything”, p.471:
Indeed, a great deal of the work of deep social change involves having debates during which new stories can be told to replace the ones that have failed us. Because if we are to have any hope of making the kind of civilizational leap required of this fateful decade, we will need to start believing, once again, that humanity is not hopelessly selfish and greedy--the image ceaselessly sold to us by everything from reality shows to neoclassical economics.
Paradoxically, this may also give us a better understanding of our personal climate inaction, allowing many of us to view past (and present) failures with compassion, rather than angry judgment. What if part of the reason so many of us have failed to act is not because we are too selfish to care about an abstract and seemingly far-off problem--but because we are utterly overwhelmed by how much we do care? And what if we stay silent not out of acquiescence but in part because we lack the collective spaces in which to confront the raw terror of ecocide? The end of the world as we know it, after all, is not something anyone should have to face on their own.
Thank you for being in one of those collective spaces today. Good bye.
The film “How Do Human’s Heal a World? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e4LnxdxfkgU&feature=youtu.be; https://youtu.be/JTXkf-Hfd5c
Barbara Kaufmann: www.onewordsmith.com
Article: Gift in the Shadow of Climate Change (PDF): http://www.charterforcompassion.org/images/menus/Environment/PDFs/Gift-In-the-Shadow-of-Climate-Change-2016.pdf
Movement Video: Movement as Medicine (PDF): http://www.charterforcompassion.org/images/menus/Environment/PDFs/Movement-As-Medicine.pdf
Video Words and Violence: http://voiceseducation.org/content/words-and-violence
Words and Violence, 4th Edition, “Bullying the Planet”: http://voiceseducation.org/node/7866
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Report: http://www.charterforcompassion.org/index.php/environment-reports-and-documents/the-world-talks-climate-change-an-existential-conversation
The Federal Court ruling re: the lawsuit by 21 youth (Earth Guardians) against the fed government and fossil fuel industry: http://www.commondreams.org/newswire/2016/04/08/federal-court-affirms-constitutional-rights-kids-landmark-climate-case
“This Changes Everything” (Naomi Klein): http://thischangeseverything.org/