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Cultural Butterfly

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My Unexpected “New” (Newly Discovered) Occupation

It developed and showed up organically. I didn’t consciously plan or decide it.


A few days ago I discovered that I unexpectedly have a “new” occupation as a “land steward” as part of my “new,” larger occupation as a “steward of a Life-aligned, Life-centric culture. You might be saying, “What?Here’s the story: As you may already know, two years ago next month I bought a house with a yard that had been seriously neglected. I bought it based on a strong inner “call” and inspiration to regenerate it into healthy land. My previous blogs Moving Into a VERY Different Life: Unpacking myself before I can unpack my things and Coming Home To Myself in a VERY Different Life: it doesn’t look like what I thought describe that process. Just so you know, I’m not a gardener, have never been a gardener, and have never had any interest in gardening. My experience growing up was doing the watering, weeding, and mowing chores, and finding no joy in any of it. Given that history, this strong inner call was completely unexpected and a major surprise to me. Even so, the inspiration felt compelling, so for the past two years I’ve continued to follow the “bread crumbs on the trail” about regenerating the land. These “bread crumbs” have included reading innumerable websites and books, taking courses, talking to other people involved in caring for the land in numerous ways, and trying out different approaches. It’s been, and continues to be, a LOT! I’ve often felt as though I’m in a self-directed Ph.D. program with a very steep learning curve. Through it all, sometimes I lost focus, clarity, or inspiration, and couldn’t see or feel a bigger picture. Yet when I sit on the land and consciously connect with it, I feel a relationship with it, and with myself, that I’d never experienced before. Another serendipitous “bread crumb” for me in this process is that the Central Oregon area where I live is in the middle of a very severe 4+ year drought. It’s a rural area in which agriculture is the backbone of the economy and culture. The drought is having a tremendous impact on the farmers and ranchers, which then ripples out to the whole community. Last fall I was invited to join a group of agricultural stakeholders to see what we could do to address at least some of those impacts. That process has enlivened me and broadened my focus to the larger community beyond just the ¼ acre on which I live, and not just the local community, but the whole Deschutes River Basin and the interlocking ways in which we—the people, the land, the water, all the beings, the whole system—are all connected. Just a few days ago I realized how much I am, and have been, occupied by regenerating the land, the water, the earth. In noticing that, I was curious about what occupies me and how I would describe it. Then it occurred to me: I have a new “occupation” as a “land steward.” I am stewarding the land, the water, and the earth from the perspective of contributing to the greater good, the well-being and thriving of all beings. I’ve also realized it is part of my larger commitment and focus expressed through my Cultural Butterfly Project with a mission of “Weaving a world of well-being for all in a Life-aligned, Life-centric culture." Through this, I finally realize that my ”new” occupation is being a steward of Life-aligned, Life-centric culture. At least, that’s a way to language it at this time. Now I am more consciously and fully occupying that identity, claiming it, inhabiting it, and embodying it, with an increasing, deepening sense of coherence, integration, focus, joy, and commitment. This is what has strongly occupied me since 1970, without having any socially-recognized role or identity as that. For these 50+ years, it has been the common thread through my work with individuals, helping them express themselves more authentically through their jobs, careers, and work-in-the-world. It has also been the common thread in my focus on transforming our socio-economic culture. It reminds me of William Stafford’s poem “The Way It Is”: There’s a thread you follow. It goes among things that change. But it doesn’t change. People wonder about what you are pursuing. You have to explain about the thread. But it is hard for others to see. While you hold it you can’t get lost. Tragedies happen; people get hurt or die; and you suffer and get old. Nothing you do can stop time’s unfolding. You don’t ever let go of the thread. ~ From “Ask Me: 100 Essential Poems”, used by permission of Graywolf Press. I feel like I’m finally beginning to come “home” in this way. My process also reflects the new life-aligned cultural story that I see showing up now, which is the topic of my next blog, coming in just a few days. What’s your occupation, in the sense of what occupies you? I’m curious and would love to hear your responses. I offer my work, including this blog, as a ministry for our cultural transformation, so I welcome your support with tax-deductible contributions here through my website, as well as your comments about this blog to elaine@culturalbutterflyproject.com or through my website. In the service of a life-aligned, life-centric culture, Elaine


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