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Wikimedia Commons/Gregory H. Revera

Before I met my intentional community,  Upstart , I went through what you could say were some dark nights of the soul. Several years after going back to school and getting an Environmental degree, I still hadn’t made the difference that I had so desperately wanted to make and this was difficult to take to say the least.

Not able to find a way out of this, I found my myself going through prolonged periods of feeling profoundly depressed and confused, greatly disillusioned about what was happening to the environment and what my purpose and role in all of it was meant to be. During these times, nothing seemed to offer any hope or meaning and I would at times become almost paralyzed as to what I might do or how I might respond.

Although I had a loving group of family and friends (including especially my partner, Richard) who helped me heal so that I largely got ‘better’, these feelings lingered for quite a while, even after the darkest periods had lifted for me.

Making a shift

While it would be an oversimplification to say it was the only reason, my feelings started to shift more significantly for me when I got involved with Upstart. There I found a group of people who would listen to me, and appreciate all that I had to say, no matter what I had been through or where I was at. This acceptance, as I came to understand, was encouraged in the community through our practice of the post-judgement and post-grievance mindset which I talked about earlier.

I also learned through my involvement with the community about collaborative thinking which encourages the adoption of these mindsets, so as to help people work generatively together towards creating a world in which we can not only survive, but also thrive. As I started learning about these ideas, I started to see their potential power to bring about the impacts that, as we say in the community, we deeply want, need, and value.

In coming to understand the power of these ideas, I began to find a sense of meaning that had been missing in my life. That is because slowly started to realize that I wanted to not only practice these ideas in my own life, but also be part of a culture of such practice that also seeks to share these ideas with others.

Internalizing the change

In addition to the amazing sense of acceptance that I experienced with Upstart, another important reason existed as to why I wanted to be part of such a culture. It was because I began to see that protecting the environment was could not be achieved just ‘out there’ by stopping those who I saw as degrading the planet from doing so. Instead, I started to see that changing human behaviour was a complicated process and that being angry at, and judging, those I saw as acting in ways that degraded the environment would not help the situation.

Rather, I came to also understand that my anger against, and judgment of, these so-called degraders was just the ‘same side of the coin’ so to speak. That having these feelings was only perpetuating environmental destruction that so horrified me, because it got in the way of me from forming connecting relationships with those people in my life who I deemed to be less environmentally concerned with me. Without that, how could I even begin to start thinking constructively about how the human population as a whole might work more effectively together to protect the environment?

heartSizedIn seeing my role in it all, I came to see the idea that NO lines of struggle exist, that there really are no ‘good’ and ‘evil’ sides anywhere. Which includes the struggles going on inside the human heart. By thinking otherwise is to be in the coercive, and thinking this way, whatever side one is on, only creates more of the same poor thinking that is destroying our planet to begin with.

Rather, real change starts to happen from the inside out, when there is a shift in our very own *hearts* and we are able to see those who offend us as real human beings, also needing the same love and care that we would give to those we identify as ‘us.’ This was a profound realization in me, one that I will unashamedly share I am still in the process of fully internalizing.

Change possible everywhere

I had an exciting realization with this shift in my thinking. If I was also contributing to the challenges facing the world, then I could also play a role in turning the situation around. Not by forcing other people to do what I thought they *should* do AND by learning how I could achieve this through modifying the ways I interacted with others.

With this, I saw that the work of change making can happen anywhere, with each and every person that I encounter.  It could happen in my home, when out visiting friends and family, at my daughter’s school and dance studio, at the grocery store, at pretty much any place that I went! To put it another way, as I did in my last post, change can happen in and around the kitchen sink!

In becoming aware of this, I saw that I did not have to necessarily perform public, grandiose acts to cause change. For instance, I did not need to go on an environmental march or to protest, or even necessarily attend environmental meetings or visit a voting booth, as important as all of those activities can be. I could simply connect with others wherever I was at, and let change unfold organically and naturally from there!

Back to the micro

microscopeSizedThose that have read my previous post may realize that I am touching again on changes that are possible at the micro level. To reiterate for those that did not read that post, I talked about how making changes at the micro-level can provide the training ground for bringing about changes at the macro-level.

For me though, leaving it there doing so does not even begin to fully shed light on the matter. This is because, as I have come to believe, working at the micro level in one’s more private life is about more than just learning about how to increase one’s effectiveness at change-making in more public arenas. It is about this embracing the amazing, self-expanding idea that you CAN be a change-maker no matter who you are. That you will not, and cannot, be held back!

It doesn’t matter one @#$&! bit that you are only making small changes and are not having the broader impacts that others seem to be making. You can make change and that is all that matters! Bringing this back to myself, I no longer needed to feel, as I have in the past, left out or on the outskirts of environmental activity happening in the world. Rather, the possibility of change, and consequently the hope and meaning that I have so longed for previously in my life, exists everywhere I go, just waiting for me to see it!

While I had believed all this, I had perhaps not believed it so deeply until the falling of my family’s Christmas tree. With that experience, I got to witness firsthand the incredible impact of practicing at the micro. If doing the “work” can have such an impact on my family, I do not care how small and insignificant my contributions to bringing about change seem to be. To the environment or anything else that I care about passionately for that matter.

The igniting of hope

Flame of light

Photo provided courtesy of fotomoments.

As a result of that experience, I have found a sense of great hope re-igniting in me. Perhaps this is also due in part to the time of year, which I feel brings with it a strong sense of expectation and excitement with it. For me, I will say that I almost had a sense that a feeling of hope was hanging palpably in the crisp, cold winter air a few days ago when my family went to see Christmas lights at a park.

Part of it is also an awareness of the long process of learning that my family has been on to get to the point where were able to respond as we did. And, I cannot also help but acknowledge that taking the time to reflect on how what happened connects to my work with Upstart has heightened my sense of hope for the possibilities of what are doing as a community.

Yet, there is more. More that I would like to try and share with you before leaving my reflections on the falling of my family’s Christmas tree. More that I would like to share about what this experience has stirred in me with regard to the current environmental state of this planet, thoughts that I would like to do so in a deep and meaningful way. So, if you will be just a little bit more patient with me, I would like to do so in my next posting, which I an planning to provide soon…

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At last! On New Year’s Day no less with the holiday season nearly over, the time has come to try and finish telling you this Christmas story! The time has come for me to reveal to you why I shared with you the hopefully enjoyable story about the falling of my family’s Christmas tree and my work around the collaborative with my intentional community (which I will call here  “Upstart” for short).

After years of exploring these ideas in my community, I am so excited to get to this point! At the same time, I will share with you for reasons that will become more clear, that I am also feeling quite terrified because for me doing so is, well, deeply personal. Yet, nothing, absolutely nothing could be more central to my view of what is needed to deal with the current ecological crises on this planet.

Unearthing my reasons

soilSizedOne of perhaps the most obvious, as well as important to me, reasons why I chose to share this story on my environmental blog is this: what happened with the Christmas tree ‘calamity’ at my house is just a micro example of what ideally could be happening at the meta-level on the world stage.

I say this because just as my family sought to manage, mitigate and learn from the situation, humans might handle the cumulative effects of smaller actions (e.g. engines burning fossil fuels), and larger environmental disasters (e.g. oil spills) occurring around the world in a similar fashion.

That I would feel this way is not a surprise for me. My intentional community makes a practice of looking for macro applications of micro examples. In fact, this is so much the case that we frequently say that change happens at and around the “kitchen sink.” By that I mean, the way we do the dishes, or put up a Christmas tree for that matter, can help prepare us to handle bigger, more complicated challenges in bringing about the changes we deeply want, need, and value.

These changes include for me nothing less than saving and restoring entire ecosystems, in at least as much of their existing and/or potential biophysical complexity as possible. Along with caring for the species in them, including the one species that perhaps stands the greatest to lose with the environmental changes underway, namely humans our selves.

Through the eyes of a child


A picture of Liliana that I particularly love. © 2017 Alisa McClurg

As impossible a goal as that may sound, other reasons have inspired my writing, reasons that could help further make possible the protection and restoration of earth’s ecosystems. This includes a consideration of the amazing impact this I felt we had on my daughter by treating her in a caring and non-judgmental (or as my community might also say, collaborative) fashion when our tree fell. Rather than punishing her for what happened, we found ways to, as we like to say in Upstart, nudge and nurture her learning in the situation.

For me, this experience stirred an even stronger recognition of the importance of treating all children in this way. Which is so important, because after all as the saying goes, the future of our planet depends on them!

While this notion is not unique, being involved with my intentional community has really driven home that point for me. In part this is because our work greatly focuses on how to interact with children in ways that make deep sense. Consequently, books (including the one I mentioned earlier, Honey I Wrecked the Kids) on child psychology and child development are common reading in my community. Far from being just theoretical ideas, I can truly say this and other aspects of our work has had a profound impact on us, if only how my daughter has been so enthusiastically welcomed into and cared for in my community.

Nurturing ourselves too!

Another, perhaps even more inspiring reason has caused me to share with you what I have so far relates to how the learning that my partner and I have done. For me this has been through my direct involvement in Upstart, and Richard largely through a process of sort of osmosis where I have been sharing with him what I have been learning. I believe that this gradual nurturing of our learning enabled us to respond in the way did.

I find this pretty exciting because it suggests that other adults could go through a similar learning process about how to how to respond to the world in ways that make deep sense. I feel passionate about this because, while children may be our future, WE are the ones with the power to alter that future, with all its pressing environmental and other issues, right now. Children simply cannot afford for us to wait for them to do all the work for us.


As much as this idea is also not unique, my involvement with my intentional community showed me just how possible it is for even adults to learn how to modify their behaviour. That is because my community is, you could say, a motley collection of mainly adults. We are of varying ages (some of us who have joined in their teens while others are older, if not in their senior years). What is more, we have been engaged for quite some time in what you could call a selfishly altruistic fashion to bring about our own personal transformation, in order to help us bring about the type of change that we want to see in the world.

Preparing to Dig Even Deeper

As I considered all of these reasons that inspired me to share what I have here around the falling of my family’s Christmas tree, I can see their appeal to me. Far from being nice ideas meant just to be considered in our quest for environmental sustainability and resilience, I believe they are precious jewels of wisdom that need to be brought along with me always in my journey.  And yet, something more to do with my passion for the environment has inspired me to share what I have, if you will only give me a little while longer…

Though I haven’t quite finished this Christmas story yet, I do believe I have a bit more time as the holiday season has not quite ended. As my daughter reminds me each time she sings the tune, really as we are still in the “Twelve Days of Christmas”! Hoping you will stay with me just a while longer so that I can finally finish my telling of this story for you.

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Christmas Tree Entry [1]  [2]  [3]  [4]  [5]  [6]

For those that have kept reading up until this point, I really appreciate you doing so! And I realize that, niceties around how my family handled our fallen Christmas tree aside, suggesting the adoption of a post-judgment mindset as I did in my last post might sound far-fetched. After all, how can a society without a moral compass of what is right and wrong even operate, let alone not just fall into total chaos?

With this in mind, I will explore here the main reasons I have come to believe that adopting a post-judgment is so powerful and effective. While I by no means aim to exhaustively explore this topic, I hope to at least to provide an introduction into some of the key ideas my intentional community focuses on around this topic.

Discarding what we don’t want

One of the most important reasons for adopting a ‘post-judgment’ mindset is that it can free people from the stranglehold of unwanted guilt and shame that being labeled in a negative way can experience. These feelings can be challenging to deal with, if not severely crippling. Ironically, rather than ‘correcting’ unwanted behaviour, this practice is often counterproductive by creating anxiety and other unwanted emotions in the one being labeled.

Because thinking clearly in a state of distress is so difficult, the application of such labels can give rise to more of the same behaviour that led to the labels being assigned in the first place. Furthermore, assigning negative labels to others wastes valuable resources that could be used to get at the root causes of why they are acting in the way that they are in the first place.

Taken to the extreme, the anger that comes with this labeling can give rise to hateful, divisive, if not long-lasting, grievances. This in turn wastes even time, because grievances prevent us from being able to work in relationship with others. This is a concern for us, given as I talked about in my previous post how working in with others is a critical part of how my community tries to bring about the change we seek. So important is getting beyond grievance that my intentional community had adopted the term ‘post-grievance mindset’.

The final letting go

While negative labels are dangerous, positive labels are as well. This is mainly because positive labels can cause us to elevate our self-image to such a height that almost inevitably we will experience fear and anxiety over some anticipated mishap or misfortune which could knock us down from our ‘pedestal’.

Of course, those being labeled still have the choice as to whether to accept them. They can decide to continue operating from a judgmental mindset and assume those labels apply to them, and thus set themselves up to experience all the possible accompanying unpleasant emotions that come with that. Or they can choose to operate from a post-judgmental mindset and decide to not see themselves in such a way.


Wikimedia Commons/Mylius

While whether the one being labeled is able to do this is uncertain, one certainty exists: no one who embraces a judgmental mindset when assessing his/her sense of self-worth is safe, or at least safe for long. Those who operate from it find themselves like a pet hamster on an endless treadmill where they are constantly running from, or keeping at bay, failure. Escape is simply not possible!

Because adopting a judgmental mindset causes people to feel themselves being controlled by some authority external to themselves, whether tangible, such as in the form of a person like a teacher or police officer, or an abstract one, such as pre-determined views of morality and how society should operate, my intentional community refers to this mode of operating from coercive thinking. Or simply the coercive. Those who adopt a grievance mindset are also acting from the coercive, because they feel that they have the right, based on some similar authority, to hold a grievance against another.

The gift we can all give

As I talked about in my last post, we as a community seek instead to be accepting both our selves and others, in whatever state or situation that we find our selves and/or others to be in. Freed of guilt, shame and all the other unpleasant emotions that come with judgment, and the similar undesirable emotions that come with grievance, we are able to make clearer choices about how to act in ways that make deep sense. Which, to repeat what I also mentioned in my previous post, means acting in ways that have the impacts that we want, need, and value.

Having said this, withholding from judgment and grievance does NOT mean that we in my community believe we can do just do whatever we feel! Far from it! Doing what makes deep sense means that actually we seek to respond to situations with great care, in ways that bring to bear the full resources of our learning and training. What is more, as I’ve said earlier too, we often connect with others in our community to help us in doing this, because they can bring added knowledge, understanding and other resources to a situation.

Given that this approach helps people to work together better to achieve the impacts they want, we in my intentional community call this collaborative thinking. Or simply the collaborative. And I believe others in my intentional community who practice this mode of operating will also tell you that its freeing qualities for both themselves and others make it truly a gift! What is most wonderful about all this is how it is practice we can ALL undertake, and give freely to one other!

The long awaited revealing

As for how all of this relates to the events regarding the falling of my family’s Christmas tree, it is this. How we responded when our Christmas tree fell enabled us to manage our impacts on each other, and thus get us in the end what we deeply wanted, needed, and valued.

To achieve this, the focus was on not judging or developing a grievance against Liliana for what happened, and so not assigning labels on her such as ‘bad’. Instead we focused as a family on what impacts we wanted to have, dealing with the situation at hand by calmly cleaning up the mess and eventually putting the tree back up. Well, ok, Richard did most of the clean up job. AND we as a family worked together to create the container for this to happen more easily by holding space for ourselves to deal with the feelings that arose in the situation, Richard’s, Liliana’s and mine included.

Liliana was provided with natural consequences for what had occurred so to inspire her to ‘pitch in’ and learn how to help in this and future situations. This is as opposed judging her and providing a punishment, which as I talked about earlier, could have made her feel inadequate, or even worse, resentful or revengeful. That would have only led to later challenges down the road in working with her!

While we did share our feelings with her about what had happened, we did so in a way that would help her develop empathy and thus better equip her to manage her impacts in the future. In other words, our impacts would affect her future impacts!


In short, together we were able to move to a place beyond judgment and grievance so that we could quickly put the situation, or at least the unpleasant parts of it, behind us. Consequently, minus the lack of a new tree stand immediately, (and even managing to get that eventually!), we were able to find our way to a real life happy ending. And that, I feel, is perhaps the greatest gift that my family too could give each other this Christmas!

I know, I know! I still haven’t got to the part about how all this relates to the environment. That is coming in my next post, so you won’t have to wait long now!




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Christmas Tree Entry [1]  [2]  [3]  [4]  [5]  [6]

daytimeTreeSizedJoy to the world! Our Christmas tree, which I talked about its falling in my last blog post, has been resurrected! We found, a new stand, so the tree, could be put back up! To us, it looks just as beautiful as before, minus the loss of a few ornaments and bits and bobs here and there. If Scrooge could be here now, it might warm even his cold heart.

Hope you enjoyed my story about this, AND I realize that, besides the part about how we fixed and reused our tree, the link to what exactly this has to do with the environment is not clear. As to then how exactly this all relates, well…I will get there. First though I will ask you for some patience while I share why this story is so important to me.

Present-ing my intentions

The telling of my family’s story about our Christmas tree is, to be honest, a “coming out” of sorts. It is a coming out for me to talk about my intentional community, the “Upstart Collaboratory for Collaborative Culture Designing” (which up until now I have mentioned only briefly).

In case you have never heard of an intentional community, generally speaking such communities place an emphasis on social cohesion and the sharing of resources and responsibilities. While some types of intentional communities involve living together, as in the case of eco-villages, that is not the focus of my intentional community. Facilitated largely by our key “wisdom-keeper”, Jean Robertson, our aim is instead to create a common cultural ‘platform’ (about which I’ll describe in a moment) from which to operate. Our shared intentions around this are what make us an intentional community.

As to what is the goal of this cultural platform, it is nothing less than to be able to collaborate effectively together to work towards bringing about a world in which we not only can survive, but also thrive. To me, nothing could be more exciting!

Developing our gifts

The “work”, as we call our efforts to develop our selves and our community, is impossible to completely describe here. Especially since, in order to effectively bring about the change we seek, we place a strong emphasis on learning from a wide range of material. Psychology (including the book on child psychology I referenced earlier, Honey I Wrecked the Kids), anthropology, human physiology, economics, business management, philosophy, and systems thinking are just some of the topics we explore.

We also tend not to think of our learning as happening on an individual basis in ‘silos’, and rather as an activity that we do together. Doing so provides perspective, understanding, and both accelerates the process and maximizes the impact of what we are learning given how we can ask each other questions when we are feeling confused as well as share what we have learned with others in the community.

So much do we recognize the importance of learning in community that we often refer to it as ‘co-learning’. In a similar vein, my community sometimes refers to the work that we do together as co-practicing and co-generation of value, to further emphasize how our impacts can be amplified by working together.

The gift of acceptance

Just as with our learning, maximizing the desired impact of all our efforts is important to what we do. In fact, to say this would be an understatement. For us, a central piece of the work is learning how to better manage our impacts with each other by responding to situations in ways that makes deep sense.

By responding in ways that make deep sense, we mean doing so in ways that bring about the results we truly need, want, and value.  For us this is based on what I said previously, as to how only by doing this, can we create the world in which we not only survive, but also thrive!

giftSmallerA central guiding principle to help us manage our impacts is to try and avoid the tendency, so pervasive in mainstream culture, to judge both others AND our selves. My community aims instead to adopt what we call a ‘post-judgment’ mindset, in which we try to *accept* others, and ourselves too, as they/we are without ever assuming that we are better than than anyone else.

In the process, we withhold from assigning judgmental labels to people such as ‘good’ or ‘bad/evil,’ ‘right’ or ‘wrong’, and ‘success’ or ‘failure’ etc. Which, having personally been on the receiving end of this acceptance from others in my intentional community, I can tell you is truly a gift!

More to come…

Although I could say more about this, I hope for now though that you will understand that exhaustively exploring the ideas presented here in one post is simply not possible. My aim though is to provide more on all this soon, along with eventually how all this relates to the environmental theme of this blog.

Suffice it to say for now that my community aims to ensure that no one, (sorry Santa!), gets put on the naughty list! That includes Scrooge, and a few others that may come up too. Not to mention, of course, my daughter, whom I could say was quite happy to see that Santa still visited her this year!

Before finishing here, I’d like to explain why we still talk about Santa in our home despite me having these ideas. To that I will say I try to talk to my daughter about how Santa and his elves (Yes! She has an elf too!) are more concerned with her welfare than deciding whether she is being naughty or nice.

I will admit that, at times, I wish I could take such a shortcut to getting the behaviour from her that I want! AND I want her to be developing a central locus of control within herself, because eventually she will need to be able to determine what makes sense to her on her own without my guidance!


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As though Ebenezer Scrooge himself had descended upon our household, this December I found myself overcome with a sense of compassion and sadness for my six year old as she sobbed, “Mommy! Is Christmas cancelled? Is it?!? Is it? Christmas is ruined! This is the worst Christmas ever!”

What had happened was simply this: for the first time ever, our Christmas tree had fallen down. Our many years reused, artificial, found in the crawlspace when we bought our house, yet beautiful-to-us, ornately decorated tree that my daughter and her daddy had only just happily put up earlier that afternoon.


Surveying the damage

While it took a while to sort out what happened, eventually my daughter told us that she might have accidentally brushed up against the tree while she was playing behind it. In the process the Christmas tree stand snapped which meant it couldn’t be put back up right away.

My initial urge (once I allowed myself to get over my initial feelings of horror and panic) was to wrap her up in my arms and tell her everything would be all right. And, as much as I wanted to, I knew this was a valuable learning opportunity. An opportunity to learn what it means to ruin something she really, REALLY cared about, and not have anyone rush to the rescue and make it all better.

So I waited a minute, simply offering her a loving presence while she felt her grief. While eventually cradling her in my arms, I still was careful not to sugar coat the situation. So when asked me, “Will Santa still bring me presents?” and “Do you think he will understand?” I did not rush to answer her. Not out of a desire to make her feel guilty, AND wanting to give her an opportunity to introspectively look inside and consider what had led to what had occurred, I asked, “What do you want Santa to understand?” She looked back at me with confused and wondering eyes, not sure what to make of what I had said.

Picking up the pieces

While it would have been easy to act out of frustration, and I will share that I too in the past may have struggled to manage mine in similar situations, I am happy to say that is not what happened. My husband, Richard, who had done the bulk of work in erecting and decorating the tree, had responded initially by saying, “Liliana, I’m very upset with you! You know you are not supposed to play behind the Christmas tree!” That, though, was as tense as things got.

Moments later, in his typical practical way, after surveying the damage, he said, “The tree stand is broken. The stores could still be open. They might have one, although probably not, because they don’t make stands like this anymore.” On that faint hope, out the door he went.

bulbsWhen he returned with no stand, the Christmas tree could not be erected and the holiday could not as a result be ‘made right’, at least not yet. He did though get a box and asked Liliana to put the bulbs that had fallen off of the tree into it. Which delighted me. This giving to her natural consequences instead of punishment, that is. Meaning letting children experience the natural fallout that occurs as a result of their actions.

A framework for dealing with the fallout

The reason I was so excited about the giving to Liliana natural consequence is as follows. With the several parenting books that I had been reading (and sharing with Richard I might add), I had come to learn that punishment (in any form, no matter how mild) does not work. Punishment only breeds resentment, revenge, or feelings of inadequacy in children, as discussed in Honey, I Wrecked the Kids by family therapist Alyson Schafer. None of which I, or I imagine any parent, wants. Liliana’s sense of what needs to happen in this and future situations would most ideally be driven internally by what she most deeply wants and cares for. No amount of reprimanding or lecturing from her parents could bring this about.

If either of her parents had rushed in to ‘fix’ things and comfort her in her early moments of despair, she would not have had the opportunity to develop her internal ability to comfort, hold and regulate herself in the face of life’s adversities. She might have gathered the takeaway that somehow mom and dad can be relied upon to make everything better, and that she does not need to try and regulate her own self.

By us also remaining relatively calm and not acting from a place of anger, Liliana was experiencing others not judging her and consequently also not becoming wallowed with grievance. The latter of which, for clarification, can be defined as “a wrong considered as grounds for complaint” or “a complaint or resentment, as against an unjust or unfair act” ( Whereas a grievance lingers on, we were showing her that we could get past our anger, pick up the pieces, and move on.

That did not mean withholding from letting her know how we felt about what happened – it was only natural and important to let her know that we were upset and hold space for those feelings. How else could she learn empathy for others’ feelings if her parents never allowed themselves to show her theirs?

A time to move on

The impact of all of this on Liliana was nothing short of incredible, at least as far as I was concerned. At first she was nervous to talk to her daddy after what had happened, given that in the past he might have been still upset. However, Richard too has been working on learning many of the ideas I have been studying. Seeing how he was approachable, she went up to him on her own and said, “Daddy, I’m sorry about the tree.” And happily, he accepted her apology. (I had suggested to her that she say was ‘sad’ about what had happened. Sorry implies feelings of guilt, as though the one harmed has the right to feel a grievance against the harmer. And at least they were communicating, which, considering the disaster that had just happened, made me ecstatic!)

The fog of what had occurred gradually lifted from our household, and by day’s end, Liliana and her dad were laughing and goofing around like they often do at that time. The damage was only material while the emotional connection was still alive and well. She ran to me joyfully later in the evening and said, “Mommy, when I was playing with daddy, I forgot all about the tree!”

That, I must say, was fine by me. A time exists for crying, experiencing growing pains, and reflecting. And a time exists for laughing, playing, and being in the present. What is more, I feel great happiness, or you could say glad-itude, for the universe giving us the opportunity to experience both. Glad-itude for how, despite life’s inevitable challenges, we were able to manage our impacts on each other and create the loving, wonderful time around Christmastime, that we so deeply want. And I feel deep wonder at the mystery of life and how it unfolds as a result.

As for why I posted this on my environmentally-focused blog, I will share with you that I struggled with whether it made sense to do so for quite a while. I feel I have good reasons why I did this though, and will explain in a couple of posts to follow. I look forward to sharing these posts with you soon!

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