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Anneloes Smitsman on the Feminine Perspective on Climate Change

Interview with Anneloes Smitsman by Phil Bolsta
 

Watch Anneloes Smitsman’s interview:


 

Welcome, Anneloes. Thank you for joining us today.

Oh, it’s so wonderful to be here with you, Phil. THank you so much for having me over.
 

Anneloes Smitsman, is a storyteller, visionary, legal strategist, and catalyst for transformational change, conscious leadership, collective thrivability, and wisdom-based education and innovation. She’s the author of the bestseller, Love Letters from Mother Earth: The Promise of a New Beginning, a collection of 13 letters in the voice of our Earth Mother for the actualization of our collective wisdom potentials. [She is also the Founder & CEO of EARTHwise Centre.]

So many challenging issues are converging right now — everything from climate change to global warming to biodiversity loss to growing economic and political polarization. As these issues reach critical mass, our survivability as a species might even be at risk. You hold a unique feminine perspective about climate change and these interrelated issues. What does that perspective look like and how is it different from the general perspective we typically hear about?

That's a very interesting question. Well, first of all, I've been working on climate change education and raising awareness on climate change action to help not only to mitigate but also with regards to climate change adaptation for over a decade. So this has been through my work with schools, providing climate change education also in the corporate sector, developing corporate sustainability programs for businesses. And really what I've noticed is by only focusing on the outside perspective, what we're seeing in terms of our impacts on our rising greenhouse gas emissions, on the loss of biodiversity, on the eco-systemic collapse, it's difficult to engage people into a narrative that can truly mobilize the transformational change that is now required.

 


Click here to watch this TEDx Talk by Anneloes Smitsman:
“Our World in Crisis: How Love Can Provide a Solution”

So, having worked in this field for such a long time, and having been raising awareness about it for such a long time, I have to honestly say that I feel the real impact of that kind of approach where we're working more on a factual basis about what's going wrong, what is collapsing, why it's happening, what we need to reduce... somehow that doesn't seem to mobilize the actions, and the deeper consciousness shifts. So the feminine perspective of this — or the deeper also spiritual and wisdom perspective of this — is to really look at climate change, our sustainability crisis, and our ecological crisis, by asking what does it emerge from? And that if we're really looking much more deeply, from a systemic perspective, then what we can see is it is deeply also a crisis of identity — it's a crisis in relationship.

 


Thrivability Education & Climate Change training by Anneloes Smitsman for students and teachers in Mauritius

And what we are seeing now is [in many ways] the results of a loss of connection — a loss of connection with each other, a loss of connection with life and loss of connection with our beautiful planet as a living being, a loss of connection also with the future generations and the wisdom of our ancestors. And that loss of connection has been emerging for hundreds if not thousands of years; it's not just happening right now. So for me, climate change is really a systemic problem, a systemic issue that indicates that we as a species have been growing divided and we've been growing apart from each other. And that what we are seeing right now is the outer results of that eroding process [that has been taking place] for a very long period of time.

 


Official opening of the Le Morne Mountain Maroon UNESCO World Heritage Trail, 2016.
Click here to learn more about Anneloes' Maroon Heritage work.

And then the perspective that I've lately been inviting people more into, is to understand where does this dualistic perception, this kind of division, this disunity, where did that all arise from? Really what happened that we as a species, ourselves… if you're looking at Indigenous wisdom communities, we can still see that they held that very dearly, that sense of unity and that sense of continuity over time from the ancient wisdoms to where we are as the present generations, and then seven generations ahead. So they held that very deeply, that understanding of our unity in diversity, of a deep relationship with each other, with life. So what is it then that, for so many of the systems and societal models that we have developed today, that we have grown so divided and that our incredible diversity as a humanity, instead of strengthening us like it would do, for example, in our natural ecosystems and in a forest, instead of that strengthening us and making us richer, we've grown more divided within that.


 


Click here to watch a recent webinar Anneloes hosted with Chief Phil Lane called
“Responding to Runaway Climate Change — Indigenous Wisdom for Planetary Health”

So if we're tracing this back, then we can see that over time also through the economic models and the political models that we've been developing, we have been overemphasizing certain abilities of our humanity at the cost of other abilities such as a disconnected rationality, and also a dualism within ourselves and within our relationship with our environment and our relationship with each other over long periods of time. And we are now a little bit like this frog... when you put a frog in warm water, and you're warming it very slowly, it's not going to jump out immediately, and it may actually sit still there until it dies. So what we can see now as a humanity as well, the warning signals have been there for a long time. People have been advocating for change, have been raising the alarm bells for decades now.

 


Source: Daniel Wahl, “Human and Planetary Health: Facing the Crises,” Medium, 2018

So we are slowly boiling our own environment. We've been eroding the very conditions for life to thrive, not just for now, but for hundreds and hundreds of years ahead. We notice it, and yet still it's like in some ways we have been frozen to truly take the deep actions that are required and really come together and unify in a way that celebrates that diversity that we have to bring forth that innate wisdom.

 


Source: Steffen et. al. Planetary Boundaries: Guiding Human Development on a Changing Planet. Science, January 16, 2015. Design: Globaïa
 

Another way of looking at it from a feminist perspective of climate change is that what we're seeing with all these divisions, and not just climate change, also the social divisions and the ecosystem collapse points as you just said, all these points coming together... is that if we're looking at that from a feminine perspective, and for me a feminine perspective means seeing that deep wisdom of conscious dying, [which is also] the wisdom of birth and new growth.

Because as a woman we're so close, and we have that relationship with life, so deeply also into our bodies. Also in the deep mystical traditions, what we're seeing is that the feminine wisdom often holds that wisdom of the Sacred Darkness. It's the wisdom also of the Mystery, that allows us in times of crisis and in times of not knowing to come to a place of that surrender, to that Sacred Darkness, to seek answers and to seek solutions in very different ways than we have been doing now. And that means also embracing a process of conscious dying to the old ways, the old ways that have really now come to the point of the fullest stretch, you can't stretch it any further. And [life is] clearly showing that many of those old ways are dysfunctional, even though sometimes we're still trying to fool ourselves and think it's working, and that we can then really embrace that many of these old ways, we can't stretch them any further.

They're not going to take us into the future. That if we want to really give birth and connect with the future possibilities, we can't enter into that from where we're standing now. We can't enter into that by holding onto all these different worldviews that we have developed, and we definitely cannot enter into that by keeping all that duality and that polarization alive. It really requires that we are able to let go, allow what doesn't work, what we know so deeply doesn't work to fall away and in what is falling away, then to surrender to answers, to insights, to intuitive awareness from sources and directions that we may not have explored and really go into that Darkness.

 


Painting by Anneloes Smitsman, 1989
 

And from within that Darkness, then to truly find that evolutionary impulse of Life and to really ask ourselves deeply as a species as well, What does this ask of us right now? [What does it ask] each and every one of us, and how can we really come forth through this crisis, so that it doesn't have to all go through this incredible breakdown. How can we also work on the breakthrough? So that's the feminine perspective that I hold and specifically also in what is necessary to come to a point of where we can go through a birthing, a birthing of a new way.
 

That's fascinating. And you mentioned in our conversations and in publications that there's a future waiting to be born through us as you were just referring to. What does that mean exactly? A future waiting to be born through us?

Yes. Again, as a woman, you experience this... I mean, for myself at least I experienced this most intimately, during my own two pregnancies. And so when you are pregnant of your baby, you are so closely in touch with that future that is waiting to be born, now in many ways... So I have this deep faith and this trust that there is a deep, innate wisdom of life that comes forth in the darkest hours, and that there is a deep innate intention of the universe and of the cosmos itself for it to want to evolve into its next stages of growth and for it to want to flourish and for it to thrive. So this future waiting to be born, it's like all evolutionary potentials that are there, they are already in the field. They are already potentially also within us.

It's waiting to be born, meaning that it's waiting for us and that, it's not going to do it like the old way, that as a humanity we very often approach. And it's not going to work if when we see a problem, we try to fix it, we try to analyze it, or sometimes we try to dissect it, and we think we can fix it through some quick solutions. The crisis that we are going through now is so much deeper than that, but it's at the same time an incredible invitation as a rite of passage that you could almost see as an initiation. When you go traditionally, also in Indigenous wisdom, cultures, when you're going through an initiation, what you are answering is the Call for the future waiting to be born, and in that case that is also your own future self.

And as you answer that call for that future waiting to be born through you, it's also how you are supporting the next stages of the Universe to come into being as you. So again, if you're holding this as a kind of planetary birthing and then if we're looking at, as... Imagine that right now that the real call from the Universe right now is to say, Look, the pressure is on, the pressure is building. The transformational change is incredibly important right now. What we do now and what we don't do, and how we change, how we enter into this is going to matter more than at any other time in our history ever. To become the difference that makes the difference, this is essential right now.

So what we can see then if you're holding this as a birthing process again, is that at the time, as a woman when you're about to give birth, you will see that the pressures are building up. So the baby has expanded into the womb and it's about to enter into its next phase of its life. But as a woman, as a mother, you are born also by the birth of your baby. So what we're seeing then is at that time when the pressure is building up, when it's time for our birth, when we need to engage into the birth canal, to become that future waiting to be born... is that we're starting to see that the womb starts to contract from the top. And what starts to happen is that the life support system that has been supporting the baby for all this time, it will now give the incentive for the baby to come out.

And so you see that the placenta will start to become more calcified and the womb starts to contract. So we are also going into our own contractions right now. So what we're seeing right now is that our present condition, it's like this contraction [of the womb] from the top. Many of our present conditions look like a contraction, which is telling us that we can't continue the way we have been. We have to change, the pressure is on. In the same way as we take this metaphor of this birthing, if the baby is head up and its feet down, it's not going to properly engage. It's very, very dangerous. So if we're going through this kind of species rite of passage right now, with our head up and our feet down, we're not going to properly engage. So it asks us to bow down, and this is also bowing down in humility, bowing down in the surrendering of those many things we don't know.

We understand what the crisis is, but we don't fully know yet how we are going to transition through this. And also when we're looking at the old mythologies, here you very often saw [the posture of] holding upside down, the hanged man upside down. There is something that happens [in that posture, like] the bat, the medicine of the bat, which also goes head down. So there's something that happens as we're going head down and surrendering, really taking that birthing position, what happens is that we start to change our perspective of what's going on. It's almost like [with our] head down, we are reconnecting with Mother Earth, instead of trying to approach this to resolve this all from a much more intellectual [perspective].

So the present now, [our current reality], and the constrictions and the contractions of our present time, where we're seeing the ecosystem pressure is building up, collapse points building up, growing divisions... all these different steerings that we talked about before, that's like the pressure of the womb, that is now starting to build up. But why is that pressure of the present there? To make sure that we’re going to engage, that we're going to go through that birth canal. When we are entering into the birth canal, it's also the realization: You know what? You're not going to have many options to go sideways. And what you can see right now, and even some of the climate change negotiations that are coming out, there's more and more reports that are saying, Look, we probably have only 12 years. We have to reduce global warming to 1.5 degrees. Even try to limit it to 2 degrees is really, really dangerous. We have to do whatever we can.

It's also that realization that when you're going into the birth canal, the options are narrowing down, we don't have this space to wiggle around and say, Let's try this or postpone this or surely we can still increase our emissions. No, it's time that we accept head down is going to get more narrow. But the future waiting to be born as a mother, when you're giving birth, you can feel the pressure is building, you feel the contractions building, but you know what your birthing is for, because you know it is for a future that is waiting to be born. The future of your child, your own future as a mother, the future of Life, and the continuity of Life through you as well. So for us as a species as well, once we really accept what is being asked of us right now, to be properly engaged:

 


Source: Wise Woman Quest with Anneloes Smitsman, The Shift Network
 

We work with the pressures, we work with the challenges, we accept the evolutionary calling within that, we accept what needs to narrow down so that we're not going to wiggle our way out, but properly engage. And then we keep our focus on that future. What's that future that's calling us forth? And that future that's calling us forth is not a future of death and collapse and species extinction. It's a future of a deep consciousness shift, it's a future waiting to be born to really realize the unity to come back into wholeness, to come into that... we can truly become what it really means to be a human being from that deep love, and from really working with the Universal intelligence and the wisdom that is here for us.
 

Well, you're using the analogy of the womb for giving birth to a new world, a planetary birth. So a new future can be born through us. In this metaphor, I'm not quite clear, is Mother Earth the womb?

I like that. Yeah. Both. So in many ways... you could say Mother Earth is the womb, but if you're looking at it symbolically, like what is the womb? Is life responding to how we as a species have been growing and the impacts thereof. So what does a womb do? The womb wisdom. It helps to receive the evolutionary potentials, contain them in the appropriate way, provide support and growth and maturation for that to happen within that womb space and then it helps it to transit into a new phase. So from that perspective, it's not like... When we are seeing from this perspective of duality, we may think that a womb is only an organ or is a womb this or is a womb that? That's a very dualistic perspective, but if we're seeing that we are life, life is a unified reality, [a different view opens up].

So that means everything that takes place within [Life as a unified reality], everything that we're doing, Life is going to respond. So in response to our own crisis, in response to also these relational breakdowns, it's like Life is responding to us and providing in this process of so much collapse and so much death, it's providing a womb space, that you could almost visualize is happening right around you, so that we can all access that. We can access it on a planetary level, and that is also with Mother Earth, by connecting with that feminine wisdom, but also on a cosmological level, by really connecting with what is it within the Universe itself that it's able to bring itself forth? What is within the Universe itself that it can bring forth new galaxies?

So the womb wisdom itself, at least how I work with that… from the feminine perspective and feminine narrative that perhaps may help in this crisis is that the womb quality and the womb wisdom itself is Universal. It's not only for women, it's essential in how the Universe is able to renew itself, to bring itself forth, to birth its own galaxies, and as a constant evolutionary process. So we can visualize that also within ourselves, within every cell even of our being, all around us, within the planetary context, at a species level.

So the womb emerges and it comes forth. Whenever there is this process of deep transformational change, whenever there's this process where from the future that's not yet born we're calling forth on new visions, on new potentialities, on new ways of being, and that is coming forth... and that deep growth impulse is coming forth. Then it's like the womb wisdom comes right there in order to be able to receive that, and bring that forth and bring that into being.
 

Thank you for clarifying that. That's really interesting. And I love your perspective. But how can we each become the difference that makes the difference as we prepare for a better future?

And that is the golden question, which we've been asking ourselves for thousands of years. My personal view on that and also my own commitment is that it begins really by seeing within yourself and being incredibly honest, what world, what future am I feeding? So through my intentions, through my actions, through my interactions, what am I focusing on, what am I giving energy to? Am I feeding right now, division? Am I feeding an unhealthy and polarized duality? Am I feeding disunity? Am I feeding more scarcity and fear? Or am I feeding and bringing forth this beautiful power of love, generosity, and the conditions for Life to thrive? Am I bringing forth and focusing on this future that's waiting to be born and my own evolutionary potentials within that?

So to really make the difference, to become the difference that makes the difference, it's incredibly important that each of us restores that deep unity with Life, with the Source of all things, and with the evolutionary process of our Universe as well. And that wherever that old duality, these old divisions, have been living within us, this is the first step to really do the inner work; is to within our own whole self and our whole being, to come back into our wholeness, into unity vision, and dissolve [those old divisions]. I'd almost say all these [dualistic] worldviews and mental concepts have grown out of that lack of actualized unity, [the unity potential] that has always been there for us. So that's the first step.

And then of course it's also in the practical application, so once we are very clear that this is my commitment, I know what world I want to support here, I know what I'm here for and I'm committed to really be that change, and to be the difference that makes a difference. Then it's also really looking at what are the practical actions that I can take. Of course, what we know right now as well when it comes to our ecological crisis and our climate change crisis that we do need to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and it's critical. We need to reforest out planet. We need to restore and really nurture the restorative capacity of our planetary systems. We need to focus on our planetary health.

 


Source: Thrivability Education projects by schools in Mauritius, EARTHwise Centre
 

And you think seven years, if not more, ahead in terms of the future generations. We really need to look as well right now at where are the impacts felt the hardest? For example, I'm phoning right now from a small island in the Indian Ocean. So, we are very, very vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. And unfortunately it's many of the more vulnerable countries and developing countries and poorer countries that are hit the hardest in this process. So it's also doing what we can, each and every one of us also in the concrete actions that we need to take to reduce our emissions, to reduce the impacts of the ecological footprint, to do what we can to restore our planetary systems.

But to do this really from that deep love and that vision, again of that future waiting to be born, rather than from fear, because... This is what I've noticed as we started this call and all this work for climate change we're doing is that very often when people are doing this from a place of fear they feel discouraged, they feel, Well, how can my impact make any difference? And how can we even stop climate change? And what I hear a lot is that people feel it's already too late. And what I tell them then is, I don't know the impacts of my actions. I don't know fully the impacts of everything that I do. All I know is that, if tomorrow is the last day of my life, I want to be able to look at myself and know I've given everything I have. That I've done whatever I could to help raise awareness, to create the changes that are necessary to mobilize also the actions on the ground. And most importantly to remind each other, and remind ourselves, that there is a deep beauty in Life and that there is an incredible wonder in nature itself, and that we are nature and it's worth everything we have to help save this, to help protect this.

And I want to say, let's not just do this because we think, Oh, let us protect our human society. No, we’re sharing this planet with billions of other beings, and we are One in our membership of Life. Let's really be also in responsible membership, loving responsible membership. It's in the rest of our harmony of Life and do what we can for the good of the whole, for all of us.

 


Source: Global Footprint Network, 2019
 

Yes. It's going to require countless incremental actions from millions of people probably until we reach critical mass, and every thought, every action we contribute to that might be a difference maker. You've mentioned in your work that climate change is not a sustainability crisis. It is instead an identity and relational crisis, which has grown out of our disconnection with life and each other. So could you share more of your thoughts about this and how we can find our way back to each other and back to life?

Yes. Like I shared also early on, is that we are looking at climate change really as an outcome of a long process, and this started thousands of years ago already... when we're looking at [when it began], often it's mentioned the industrial evolution or revolution. I would say it goes back to the agricultural revolution. So as soon as we started to modify our relationship with the land, also by the tool use we started to develop, as a humanity we felt that we... Well, we believed that we gained more and more control over nature and I think this is also where we went wrong because by believing that through the tool use we developed, we could now control nature and we could adapt nature to our needs. You could see that our sense of identity and our sense of relationship started to change.

And then also this growing individualism that started to come out of that... much later, of course. But from an evolutionary perspective, of course what we can see is that there are... depending on which culture we've been in, we have chosen different trajectories, different developmental trajectories. And you've seen in a lot of the Indigenous cultures, the developmental trajectory was to stay in closer relationship with the land. In some cultures it's even meant that you don't use all these different tools like all the agricultural practices, [whereas in other] cultures it was okay. So what we can see is that as a humanity, we've had different choice points in terms of how are we now relating with nature.

Do we see ourselves as an integral part of nature or do we see ourselves as separate from nature? And what we could see is that the societal models that have become most dominant have also been developing through the very principle of dominance. So dominance over nature and every time certain cultural groupings dominate other cultural groupings, and this model of competition. And so what we can see therefore is that there's been this eroding of our foundational identity in our membership with Life. But from an evolutionary perspective, we could, for example also say, that sometimes we don't get to appreciate what that really is, and we don't appreciate the full value of something until we almost destroy it and lose it.

I really hope that we don't have to learn it that way. That it doesn't take us this incredible crisis in order to wake up to the value of Life and to the value of each other. And that's why I feel that this sustainability crisis isn't about a crisis of resources. It isn't about a crisis in terms of our energy production and fossil fuel production and emissions. These are all manifestations of a much deeper crisis of identity. And especially now, what does it mean for us now to be humans? I have two small children and my son asked me recently, "Mama, what does it mean that we are the species that is destroying our habitat and not just for ourselves but for so many species with whom we share this planet? Who are we as a species that we are so destructive?"

There's a deeper crisis of identity. What does it mean right now? What does success mean? What does progress mean? And it comes back to what we value. What do we feel is important? What do we place our focus on? And I think that what we are going through right now is really inviting us to examine these deep questions, that we need to do this together. And that's again, the invitation is what's also starting to emerge, and that is what's beautiful as a new narrative right now, and how this crisis is also helping us to come together in whole new ways, is that everybody is realizing even also at the corporate level where people were competing so much with each other, is that nobody has the solution. Not one single person can resolve this. We need each other and we need to be living into these questions together.

 


Source: James Davies, Rodrigo Lluberas, and Anthony Shorrocks, Credit Suisse Global Wealth Databook, 2016
 

And we can only resolve this by truly collaborating and to restore our connection with Life, because it's also when we come back, really to our direct connection with Life and understand that we are Life, and by stepping out of and letting go of this dualistic perspective, and let go of all these belief systems that are based on that early disunity and fragmentation. So then we really come back to and trust into that realization, what does it mean to be alive [and to be Life]? What does it mean that Life is a unified reality? What does it mean to be that wholeness and what does it mean to be in our togetherness right now? Then if we live into those questions and we open to them, Life comes forth with its incredible support, incredible guidance, incredible inspiration.
 

Yes. This seems to be a crisis of intention, ignorance, and apathy too, and in your book, Love Letters from Mother Earth: The Promise of a New Beginning, you talk about the three keys for actualizing our unity in order to come out of the paradigm of division and disunity. What are these three keys and how realistic do you think it is that we'll actually be able to migrate to a new paradigm?

So let's start with the last part of your question, to migrate to a new paradigm. The word paradigm means “pattern.” So the deeper question is then, how do we bring forth a new patterning? And we cannot create a new patterning by thinking about it, we cannot create a new patterning by writing about it. The patternings that we bring forward are based on how we stand in Life and they're based also on our worldviews, how we relate with ourselves, with each other, with Life as a whole. And then what are the behaviors that are emerging based on that deeper relationship? So what we see, for example, the pattern that connects, or the pattern that the forest brings forth, the pattern that the cloud brings forth, the pattern that the frog brings forth, the patterning that an ant brings forth, in how it takes care of its habitat.

You can see that all of these patternings that are brought forth, there's a wonderful, ecological feedback loop that is within that, where you can see these conditions for Life to thrive are constantly there. Now when we're looking at a human patterning, that's very often what we're seeing is that we have this patterning of expanding to collapse. Instead of working with the diversity, we compete. So where the three keys of actualizing our unity come forth, is the first key is really talking about what we need to understand in the manifest world that we in right now… What is happening? How are we seeing this manifest world? All the different evolutionary potentialities that have been made manifest, are they able to converge into whole new ways or are they somehow getting stuck because there's still that destructive dualism that is there?

 


Anneloes presenting “Into the Heart of Systems Change” — PhD research at ICIS, Maastricht University, the Netherlands
 

Which brings us then to the second key. And the second key is by working with the principle of the trinity or the tri-unity. And it's basically saying that whenever you have two principles, you need a third principle in which the two can converge, and that also by having the trinity perspective, you understand that, when two principles emerge, like say, the feminine and the masculine principle, they both come from a common source. But if we are starting to see the two, as if the two is the beginning point, so there's this dualism, then we start to go into: either or, it's this or it's that, or I need to favor this one at the cost of that one. Then what we start to get is again these divisional dynamics.

 


Source: Wise Woman Quest with Anneloes Smitsman, The Shift Network
 

Now when we are looking at many of our societal systems, including our political systems, have that duality inbuilt. [For example], if you're going to vote for this person, [it's often implied that you're] against that person. It's so many of our systems that we can see that are ecologically not sustainable, are not leading to thrivability, and are not evolutionary have again that dualistic model and a polarized model behind it which is based on that mechanistic, disconnected, fragmented worldview that we talked about earlier. So in the second key, by working with the trinity principle, is that what we see is that when something starts to now become diversified, it starts to appear as two or as a four, or [further] diversification, and starts to increase, that there is a common sourcing.

Also the trinity principle means that when there is a principle of two, if they're held as a two, then there is this tension, but if there is an alchemy between the two, that means there is a third point. In that third point there's like a sacred union as a creative unity; it can integrate, it can converge, and through that new Life and a new whole and a new One can start to come forth. And that's why in the second key in the book, it is explained as the creative principle. Often, when we talk about co-creation, people hear the word "two," [however], the creative principle happens in threes, not in twos. And that manifestation happens in four. But if you don't have that trinity principle at the level of creation, then what happens is that you manifest the duality.

 


Source: Love Letters from Mother Earth by Anneloes Smitsman
 

However, if you have inbuilt the trinity at the level of creation, then when that creation manifests, it has within it already, the possibility for convergence, the possibility for integration, and this is what... especially right now when we're at this point when we have diversified almost to the maximum it's incredibly important that we now have these points where we meet up, we link up, and we can converge. And in this convergence we also find our ways back into that unity, and that's also coming back again into the womb, where we can then by that convergence, by coming together in whole new ways, by finding again what matters, what's really important. That is the third key in the book, which takes you now to seven stages, seven gates of the Dark Goddess in the book, to really prepare for a new birth.
 

Is there any final message you would like to share about the feminine perspective on climate change and the rite of passage for humanity?

Thank you. Yes, there is. There's a call, there's a deeper evolutionary calling that is here for all of us. And I would like to say explore where does that evolutionary calling, where does the future waiting to be born live within you? What does it require from you and what can you bring forth? How can you show up to be the difference that makes the difference? And how can you bring forth these incredible resources of the future generations that are already within you? So in the feminine perspective as a woman, we can feel very deeply that continuity with Life. Really standing in that feminine perspective that is united with the masculine perspective. I really want to make that clear as well, that when I'm talking about the feminine perspective, it doesn't mean that the masculine is not in there, it comes from a very, very deep union of the feminine and the masculine perspective.

So in the feminine perspective right now, it's to find within yourself, to reach in so deeply and to reach out to each other so deeply, to embrace what is going on. To allow to fall away and to die what cannot help us to go over the thresholds. To surrender to that Sacred Darkness. That is the place of the unknown. And to be available to what wants to be born through us and how we can become that change that is required. And what is it in you, and in each other, of these beautiful new evolutionary potentials, this new vision, this new narrative as well, of this opportunity for us as we go through our species’ rite of passage, where does it live in you? How can you meet that? How can you be present to that? How can you nurture that?

 


 

Like this little new baby that is being born and right now we are the mother giving birth, we are the midwife supporting this transition, and we are the baby being born. We're playing all of those roles at the same time. So to really be present within yourself to... where does this planetary birthing live within you, where does this deep evolutionary transformation of change live within you, and also how can you take the concrete actions right now that are necessary to help stop runaway climate change? To stop this ecosystem collapse, to restore our planetary health, to strengthen our biodiversity, but do that really from a place of very deep love and very deep care because we are Life.
 

Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and your wisdom with us today, Anneloes. And thank you for the critically important work you're doing in the world. I hope and pray that your voice and all the many voices that are sounding the alarm about climate change are finally heard and acted upon.

Thank you so much. This has been a wonderful conversation, Phil, and I hope so too. And I trust that somehow we are going to rise. We are going to rise through this and we will say yes to this. Yes.
 


Anneloes Smitsman, (PhD(c), LLM), is an author, storyteller, visionary, legal strategist, and catalyst for transformational change, conscious leadership, collective thrivability, and wisdom-based education and innovation. She is the CEO & Founder of EARTHwise Centre from where she leads the WOMENwise Quest and the Leadership Quest; she recently began teaching Wise Woman Quest, a 7-week live video training for The Shift Network. Her unique training programs, teachings, and wisdom-based methodologies have empowered people and organizations from around the world to develop, optimize, and actualize their greatest potential.

Anneloes is the author of the bestseller, Love Letters from Mother Earth: The Promise of a New Beginning, a collection of 13 letters in the voice of our Earth Mother for the actualization of our collective wisdom potentials.She was recently awarded the “Africa’s Women Leaders Citation 2018” by CMO Asia & World Women Leadership Congress. She holds a Masters degree in Law & Political Science from Leiden University (the Netherlands), and is currently finalizing her PhD thesis, titled “Into the Heart of Systems Change” at Maastricht University (the Netherlands). Anneloes developed the EARTHwise Thrivability Education program (formerly Education for Sustainability) since 2012. This program has served as a model for the transformation of conventional educational systems in Mauritius and beyond. She has trained over 300 teachers and supported over 20,000 students since 2012.

She also played a key role in various social change movements, providing legal and transformational strategies for how to leverage and unite local efforts with international frameworks through a shared vision. In 2012, Anneloes developed the main methodology for the 2012 Rio+20 Global Dialogues, which was adopted in nine different countries from 2012-2014 to contribute to the UN Conferences for Sustainable Development. Together with a local team in Mauritius, she has organized and facilitated over 20 dialogues for more than 1,000 people.

She was born and raised in the Netherlands and lived there until 1996. Following her calling, she lived in South Africa, Australia, and most recently, Mauritius. Anneloes serves on the Board of the Global Education Futures and is a founding member of the Creative Board of the Laszlo Institute of New Paradigm Research.

Click here to visit the EARTHWise Centre website.

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This article appears in: 2019 Catalyst, Issue 5: Inspiring Women with Soul