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Reposted from Op-Ed News

[Editor’s Note: I am no longer a psychotherapist. I am an author, teacher, and life coach.–CB]

A lot of psychotherapists in the past reflected on feeling good or thinking rationally. These therapies were about getting people to adapt to a decaying and dying culture. Only a few psychotherapists have ventured into venue of diving into the stench of manure instead of trying to paint a picture of sweet smelling roses. Carolyn Baker is one of the few therapist that know that without manure, flowers die.

Dianne Monroe writes on therapist and author Carolyn Baker’s website:

         I believe this ability to see both within and beyond the boundary of something (galaxy, community, culture, civilization) is an important quality    of Edge-dwelling — one that can be discovered, learned, cultivated. It’s a practice we can grow within ourselves.

         This ability to see both within and beyond is a crucial quality for our times living within and at the edge of a crumbling civilization, entering an epoch of human-created climate change whose impact on our Earth is not yet known.

         This is a huge edge to be living on.

Our times invite and call on us to look inward at our civilization, to view with clarity its underlying dynamics and motion — and also to look outward beyond the horizon of our times — to view honestly the perils of the climate change our civilization has caused and with hope to vision the potential to create a human culture that lives in harmony with our Earth and all its varied life forms.

Carolyn Baker is such an Edge-Dweller.  She writes “with unrestrained passion and urgency” about navigating the collapse of culture. According to Carolyn, it is no longer a debatable issue that our culture is, indeed, collapsing.  The signs are everywhere, for those with open eyes.  Our ecology, politics, economy, personal and social conditions have all deteriorated.  Our politicians no longer are in hiding regarding who actually supports them.  It is those large-scale corporations, who are nothing less than sociopathic entities that politicians such as Romney, and his counterpart, Obama and the Supreme Court justices, proclaim as “people.”

We need to die to our current cultural myths and expectations in order to bring forth a new resilient, equitable, and Earth-friendly culture.  This is so scary that many remain in total denial of collapse despite the horrifying changes in weather, employment, economic divide, and violence that constitute our daily “news.” To get our collective heads out of the sand, we must find a way to face our fear of fear and befriend all the other negative emotions such as grief and rage that facing our true circumstances will inevitably bring forth.  We must grow to understand that there is also a great joy in discovering the community, courage, and commitment that facing our challenges bring.

One of the first things we need to die to according to Carolyn is the American Dream. I hear George Carlin say, “We have to be asleep to believe in such a dream.”  I bet Carolyn would give a thumb’s up to Carlin’s words.

Ultimately, I believe Carolyn knows that our awakening entails a realization of our current collective dream that primarily originated in Middle Eastern and Western Civilization. One of the best reflections of the beginning of this dream comes from Daniel Quinn’s Ishmael, which speaks to the Bible’s Genesis story regarding Cain (agriculturalists) and Abel (hunting/gathering cultures and nomadic herdsmen).  The arrogance and violence of Cain has turned into a planetary nightmare for human beings specifically, and for the Earth as a whole.

Yes, Able, in the form of Native Americans as well as indigenous persons throughout the world, still suffer at the hands of Cain.  As the ruling and benefiting class becomes smaller and more elite, more and more of us are suffering under the scorn of Cain.  It is no longer just the fringe that are impoverished, abused, and exterminated; it is “we, the people.”  And the story is NOT finished.  It is still occurring.  The Native Americans and other indigenous peoples are beginning to speak up and are being heard by more and more Europeans regarding the sanity of their lifestyles.  Many from the 99% are finding the courage to speak out and risk all they have to join in the protest.

Thus, Abel may be able to reclaim the sanity of his way of living.

In advocating for Abel’s lifestyle, Carolyn is not a love and light type of lady who believes positive thought will guide us into wonderful times.  Indeed, I would support her by saying that the psychology of the positive thought movement was sparked by the elite (or Cain) to keep us from realizing the pitiful state we are in.  Indeed, I would say we need to dive into the sh*t, compost it, and plant in order that the flowers shall bloom.  In my reading of Carolyn, I would bet she would agree with me.

  To help people ready themselves for the upcoming trauma of western civilization’s end, Carolyn wrote a book, titled, Collapsing Consciously:  Alternative Truths for Turbulent Times.  For some information regarding this book, watch the following Vimeo video:

http://vimeo.com/84141762

Carolyn has written several other books.  These are:

Navigating the Coming Chaos:  A Handbook for Inner Transiion.  

This book provides the reader with a toolkit containing emotional and spiritual preparation for an uncertain future. It offers an opportunity to step across an evolutionary threshold in order to become a new kind of human being living in conscious”self-awareness of our intimate connection with all life in the universe.

Sacred Demise: Walking the Spiritual Path of Industrial Civilization’s Collapse speaks to the collapse of industrial civilization.  According to Carolyn, this collapse is rapidly unfolding and offers us an opportunity far beyond mere survival, even as it renders absurd any attempts to “fix” or prevent the end of the world as we have known it.  Sacred Demise is about the transformation of human consciousness.  It speaks to the emergence of a new paradigm as a result of our discovering the purpose in our going through the collapse process.  This will help us to come home to our ultimate place in the universe. Our willingness to consciously embark on the journey with openness and uncertainty may be advantageous for engendering a quantum evolutionary leap for our species and for the earth community.

THE JOURNEY OF FORGIVENESS: Fulfilling The Healing Process emphasizes the process nature of forgiveness. In this book, Carolyn has come to believe that forgiveness is not an event willed by an ego, which desires to be free of guilt.  Nor does she encourage us to comply with the admonitions of modern awareness gurus. Rather, forgiveness, Carolyn insists, is a conscious journey requiring a thorough knowledge of the offense(s) and its effects, as well as the most essential pre-requisite, self-forgiveness.

The book offers a compassionate yet courageous challenge to look deeply into the wounds inflicted, the emotional and spiritual effects of the wounds, and the psyche of the offender(s) in order to enter and complete what is nothing less than a daunting rite of passage. The author’s style, poignant, poetic, and frequently disturbing, relentlessly dispels all illusions of quick-fix forgiveness but offers supportive, no-nonsense exercises for embarking on a life-changing, transformative journey. 

Perhaps we can take this book to another level in which we make amends to the planet Herself?  Furthermore, it speaks to us in the form of Abel learning to forgive Cain, even when he refuses to acknowledge his psychological and spiritual illness that is destroying both him and the rest of the planet.

Coming out of Fundamentalist Christianity is an autobiographical account of Carolyn’s journey from growing up in a rigid, troubled fundamentalist Christian home.  At an early age, she discovered her attraction to women, and discusses how she survived and fled the oppression of her family of origin.  Then, in later years, she came to terms with and joyously embraced her sexual orientation and a life-affirming spiritual path. The book is an account of foolish errors and wise choices on the way to embracing all parts of herself and her total humanity-the people, places, and experiences that shaped those choices and helped form and inform who she is today. Carolyn’s current deep engagement in social justice activism is informed by and echoes her daunting journey and reverberates through the last section of her book as she takes to task not only Christian fundamentalism, but what she considers the naïve and irrelevant politics of the gay and lesbian community.

Reflecting on her personal experience Carolyn states, “ As a young-adult fundamentalist Christian, agonizing over my sexual orientation, I might have found liberation, comfort, and affirmation had I had access to a book that blessed it and illumined its compatibility with my unquenchable heart’s desire for the sacred.”

Then, to top it all off, there is Carolyn’s What Your High School Textbook Didn’t Tell You.  Yes, we speak against the commies, both Russian and Chinese, and say, “look!  They don’t tell the truth about their history!”  To that Carolyn asks “and we do?”

In this book, Carolyn speaks to how we arrived at where we are now: a society dominated by corporations and their interests, an economy based on war and the weapons industry, trillions of dollars missing from federal government agencies, the annihilation of our civil liberties and the shredding of the U.S. Constitution. If that doesn’t cause you to feel a punch in the gut, there is more. The book also speaks to the dumbing-down of America and the reduction of our educational system to its lowest common denominator.  Yes, indeed, no child is left behind in our corporatized system of brain washing and dumbing down!

True education is about bringing forth potential from within a human being.  It is not about convincing a person of Argument A or B.  Nor is it about indoctrination into a system.  It is about bringing forth that which lies in potential.  Or, as Jesus Christ says in the Gospel of Thomas:

If you bring forth that which is within you, then that which is within you will save you.  If you do not bring forth that which is within you, then that which is within you will kill you.

Yes, there is a reason this book did not make it into the Bible’s cannon.  It says nothing about baptism, or being saved by the hands of a preacher or priest.  It says specifically for us to bring forth the potential that is within us.  This is our evolutionary potential.  The Gospel of Thomas ultimately speaks to Carolyn Baker’s works.  Carolyn serves as a midwife assisting us to bring forth what is within us, in potential.  If we do not bring forth our potential, then we will, simply, go extinct with a lot of other life forms on this planet.

  If it is too frightening a task for you to wake up and smell the stench of pervasive decay that surrounds us, Carolyn offers direct help in the forms of life coaching and an ongoing blog at her website: www.carolynbaker.net .  She knows that none of us can do it alone.  Carolyn speaks truth to power in a way that encourages, emboldens, and refreshes us.

To listen to an Envision This! Episode with Carolyn, visit:  http://www.blogtalkradio.com/envision-this/2014/02/13/carolyn-baker-shares-transformative-truths-for-turbulent-times

Carolyn’s website is at http://carolynbaker.net