The Through Line

By Clare Dubois, founder of TreeSisters


Hi, everyone. I'm hoping this is working, starting my usual journey with Facebook Live, not knowing whether anything's working at all. And I wanted to come in here because it just feels like a really special time. It feels like, oh my God, the most different kind of an Easter we've ever had. An Easter where so many of us have had to slow down dramatically. And I'm going to talk about something my husband has taught me, which has been so incredible, which is all about white water rafting actually, but it's so incredibly relevant to where we are at this time in history, in our world.

And before I do that, I just want to acknowledge and send love to all of you out there who are really struggling right now, who are really struggling. Many of us know people who have got Covid, who've lost people due to Covid, who are ill right now, and the myriad of different ways in which this is affecting all of us so, so much. And there are no words really, there's just the process of getting through it. And I've found prayer extremely useful, especially for those that I love who I'm fearful for either because they're very ill or they're hanging on, or they're alone.

But somehow here we are. And so how do we navigate this? And so I wanted to share an analogy. I talk about this quite often, but it's such a beautiful analogy, and I find it so incredibly... I don't know, focusing. And one of the things that I'm needing a lot right now is focus, because it's so easy to just get drawn out of your center into fear, into overwhelm, into the panic on social media, into the nightmare and out of the opportunities that are also here. It's like wherever there's real struggle. There's also so much growing being done, and there's so much love that becomes available and there's so much sort of accelerated evolution happening to all of us because we're out of our normal shape.

And actually isn't it an amazing thing that we're out of our normal shape? Because the entire world is changing shape right now, which hopefully means that by the time we come out the other side of this, there's been sufficient internal change at a collective level to ensure that we cannot slip back into the world as it was. And that's to me the extraordinary thing about having Easter right in the middle of this alchemical transformational moment because it's a rebirth moment. That's what this symbolizes.

So my husband, Mark, is a whitewater rafting... Gosh, he's a legend here. That's what they call him. And he tells us about the classes of rapids, the five classes. Class one is a completely flat river, class two there are some riffles, class three there's some rather interesting rapids, class four, I've never been on a class four, I'm not that brave. Class five is where you can die. You can still get down, but you can die. It's an all hands on deck, all focus needed. It's extremely dangerous. And he keeps telling me, this is before Covid hit, "Climate change. We're in a class five rapid. We're in a class five rapid." The whole of humanity is, whether people are awake to climate change or not. Those of us that are, are kind of facing down the rapid, those of us that aren't have got their back to the rapid. And what do you do? How do you get through?

And having been on the water with Mark many times, we're sort of approaching a rapid, we'll sort of stop on the side of the river and he'll stand up in the back and he'll look, and he'll be looking for the through line. Where is the through line? Where is that kind of perfect line that if you can make it has the least obstacles? It gives you the highest likelihood of getting through unscathed. Now, nothing mean... There's no guarantee in a river, even if you've done that river a hundred times and it looks benign, there's no sure knowledge that a whirlpool won't get you, or a shredder rock won't get you, or you'll get snagged on something that you can't see. Anything could happen, which is why it requires the focus of everybody, not just one person focusing and everybody else looking around. It requires that kind of diligent attention to where you're going and where you're going to and also that really clear knowledge that you are going to make it to the other side.

And how he describes it is that if you... Whatever you focus on, you're magnetically drawn to. Which is so like life, isn't it? So if there's a huge rock that you're focusing on because you're trying to avoid it, the likelihood is that you'll go straight for it. If there's a whirlpool that you're trying to avoid, and again, that's where you're focused, whatever you're focused on you will be drawn to. And so at this time it's like focusing on the nightmares, focusing on the money issues, focusing on isolation, focusing on like the things that we struggle with the most. It's like we're amplifying them. It's also like we're increasing them.

And one of the things that I've found that's fascinated me actually during this time of increased silence, is I'm noticing the quality of my thoughts and I'm noticing the power of my thoughts, and I'm starting to notice the texture of them. Now, years ago when I took mushrooms by accident, having scoffed my way through a cake that had no idea was full of them, I remember distinctly being able to see and sense the texture of my thoughts, and then in that moment be able to start using them for my own healing. And in this time, not under the influence of mushrooms, I've started to notice the same thing, I've started to notice, "Wow." I can be so flippant and completely unconscious with how my mind is working, but actually I'm starting to notice the ripples in my own being when I'm thinking and those thought processes have power, just like our words have power and our actions have power.

Our thoughts have so much power and I know that, and we all know that because that's why we join at full moon, that's why we pray, that's why we do intentional circles, that's why we focus on bringing things into being because we know our thoughts have power. You know how as you're going along in your path, you can kind of learn things again and again, and sort of drop to a different depth of connection to that awareness? I've had it all over again with how I use my mind and how my thoughts are affecting my reality and how my thoughts are affecting my experience. And almost like what I'm thinking about, I'm plugging my vital energy into, my life force into, and I'm funding it. It's like putting gas in a car. It's like if I'm focusing on that rock over there that I don't want to... That I'm angry with, that is the thing that is an obstruction to my through line, to where I want to go, I'm funding it. And that's another way of saying I'm growing it. I'm growing it.

And that hadn't really landed for me until this patch of time that wherever I focus my attention, whatever I'm focused on, I am growing that thing. I am giving it my life force. I'm literally taking anything that I've generated inside myself and I am putting it into that, whether it's my objection to American politics, or how it's being done in the UK, or consumption, or any of the things that I can get on my high horse about and just get really pissed off about. Wherever I'm focusing on them I'm removing my life force and I'm actually strengthening that thing that I'm objecting to. And all of those things are things that are off my through line.

They're obstructions because where do I want to go? What do I want my life to be? And where do I want us to go on? And what's the life I want humanity to have? What do we want and how are we going to get there? So if we're not focusing on the obstacles, and if we're not funding the things that we don't want and that we fear with our life force, what are we funding? What do we want? And how do we want to get there? Because that is the... That feels like the new green shoots.

I think probably many of us have got seeds coming up. And yesterday I could have sat and actually watched my beans coming above ground, they were growing so fast, it was astonishing. And overnight, nine more things popped up. And I'm fascinated with that process of watching seeds grow. It's been one of my favorite things. And those seeds are sitting in the darkness. They're sitting in the darkness waiting for the nutrients that they need to push above ground. And what are the nutrients that we need to be watering the seeds that we're carrying?

[inaudible 00:10:01] has been that fertile ground of a dream, a dream of a humanity that is in reciprocity with the natural world where we give back. Well then that is the destination that I'm holding. That's the chart that I'm plotting. That's the intention that I have through all the obstructions of the systems in this world that are designed to kill everything, to this other possibility that I long for, which is a humanity so in love with the natural world that we simply are incapable of continuing on as normal, and we've created a world that is in sacred reciprocity and that is also consciously seeking to restore.

So what if every seed that is needed is here. Many of them have already come above ground. Many of them are being watered right now in this silence. Many of the seeds of increased awareness. The fact that in India you can see the Himalayas for the first time for 30 years in certain places, skies are clearing everywhere, wildlife is returning. There are signs, very like measurable signs that we can see that there is another way that's possible and there is another experience that's possible through that way. That's another quality of the through line.

How do you want the people in the boat to be with you? If you're going to focus on this destination that is a particular quality of your life inside a particular quality of humanity as it is, who do you want with you in the boat? I mean, actually the whole of humanity's in the boat, but how do you want that humanity to be? Do you want it to be stuck on its devices, not looking for the shredder rocks? Do you want it to be fully alert? Do you want it to be alert and in love?

When I go down the river with Mark, it's like, "Look at these birds. Look at these plants. Let's stop and look at these things. Look at the quality of the light on the water." Like, let's look at the majesty, the absolute majesty of nature. Be enthralled.

Rafting isn't just about, "Find the rapid. Conquer the rapid and get down to the next rapid." It's about what does it mean to give yourself to the river to actually be in relationship with the river, to let it have you, to trust it, to lean back in it, to be carried by it, to trust that the river of life right now knows exactly what she's doing with us even if she's sent us to our rooms to think about how we've been living. Maybe she's sent us to our rooms to dream a new way of living, and maybe that new way of living just needs watering in the soil of our own souls right now. And maybe that possibility of the world that we all long for is so much closer than any of us could ever have imagined. Maybe it's actually already come top side. Maybe we don't even have to fight for it. Maybe the crazy that we're watching is the death throes of the old as the consciousness of a different way of being rises enough, and the frequency of our collective energies rises enough for what is obstructive to what is anti-life to what is really consciously destructive becomes made so aware for us that we can no longer choose it. And as we unchoose it, we unplug our vital force from these systems and we really much more consciously choose where we're plugging in.

In the last couple of days… well, actually over the last two weeks we've been hanging out with rattlesnakes here. They really like our... Round the back of our house here. And we're barefoot walkers, and so it's really like, "Are you here? Are you here?" Like, singing to the snakes. And then yesterday I finally got too close to one of these without seeing it that I thought we need to move them on because we've got dogs on the property as well. So we have to put them into a bucket and take them down the canyon and find somewhere where they've got enough sunshine, and let them out.

And it's so amazing hanging out with snakes. You've got to love snakes. I love snakes. [inaudible 00:14:47]. And one of the things I love about them is what they teach us about shedding a skin. Because the act of shedding a skin for a snake, they actually lose the surface of their eyes as well. They lose their entire... Like an entire skin of themselves. And so they go blind. They go blind for a while. And I mean, I always wondered, does a snake know, "Oh, now I'm losing my skin. Oh, that's okay. This is going to be uncomfortable for a while, then I'm going to come out the other side and I'm not going to know what's going on for a while and it's fine. And then I'm going to be reborn and I'm going to be in a new skin and I'll be that shape for as long as it takes. And then I'm going to start all over again." Does it remember the last time it shed it's skin? Does it remember the last time it went blind?

I think for humanity because we have been so trained away from the feminine, so trained away from the mystery, so trained away from being in relationship with the unknown, that being in the unknown, being faced with a future that we just don't know what it's going to be like, not knowing how the systems are going to be, not knowing where the next pennies are going to come from, not knowing anything can be incredibly frightening. And whatever our own deep relationship to the unknown is or just the unsafety, the feeling of being unsafe, it's going to be bringing up so much stuff. So much stuff.

And I often think of the people right now that are in relationships that are incredibly difficult, that are cooped up together, those that just cannot get space from each other, and those also that are just critically alone. Alone with our own stuff just going round and round, and unable to do anything. And in one way I just want to say this isn't supposed to be comfortable. Shedding a skin is not supposed to be comfortable. The dismantling of a whole way of being in the world is not going to be comfortable. Could range from very discombobulating to absolutely excruciating and through a whole range, including some moments of total beauty and exquisite togetherness as we discover different levels of intimacy through different means.

But one of the strongest alchemical tools that I know for dealing with intense difficulty is acceptance. I don't know actually another one that works as strongly as this. It's like when it's difficult, when it feels impossible, when you feel like you can't get through, beating yourself up on top of everything else for the state of your being as you struggle is like being on the floor and somehow hammering yourself on the head. It's not going to help at all. But recognizing that whatever state we're in, we are doing the very best that we can. If we could do better, we would be. If we could be feeling better, we would be. And then falling into this deeper level of acceptance as we can with ourselves, and then falling from that deep level of acceptance into compassion with ourselves. And can you just flood yourself with love? Can you find it?

Can you find that pathway through to a place of compassion? And then just... "I'm doing the best that I can. I'm doing the best that I can." Because in those crunchy moments when we can bring love in, alchemy happens. We change shape. We change forever the part of us that was rising in trauma in that state, and we love it, and it alchemizes it, it's changed. And so we change shape, we discovered that we can handle more, we can expand to include more. We actually become more resilient, we become more compassionate, we become bigger versions of ourselves. And we're shedding skins. We're letting go. To change shape it involves letting go of the actual shape that you are to allow for the mystery that includes your own soul, that knows exactly who you are and exactly what you're capable in this lifetime, to surface more of that.

So how do we hold profound acceptance? How do we hold deepest compassion? Wouldn't you want those people in the boat with you? Wouldn't you want them looking at you when you're totally melting down, completely freaked out? Wouldn't you want them looking at you and just knowing what an exceptional human being you are, and that they've got your back, and that they're looking, and that when they go into a meltdown you're doing the same thing, and you're remembering who they are, and you're loving them, and you're knowing that they'll get through this, and we're all in this together, and we're believing in each other, and we're holding the highest expression of the beauty of each of us, and we're understanding that the process of melting down is the process of shedding a skin, of bringing more into awareness of expanding to include more in our beingness? It's growing. We're growing ourselves.

And the other thing is, even if you're in a city, even if you're locked up, even if you feel like you're in prison, you've still got access to the sky. You've still got access to the sky, and the sky is not limited. Sky is in fact unlimited in a way that none of us could even get our heads around. And being in relationship with the sky is being in relationship with limitless consciousness that can be completely aware of you. You can wrap yourself in it. You can belong to it. You can be bathed with it. You can breathe it into the whole surface of your body. You can talk to it, converse with it, sing to it, scream at it. You can be in relationship with limitlessness. It's a really beautiful way of being in relationship with the unknown. It's like saying, "Okay, the sky has it." 

It's like Barbara Marx Hubbard telling me, "Find your intimacy with the evolutionary impulse."

There is a greater intelligence here. We are in a river. It has us, we're going downstream, there's nothing we can do about it. Everything that humanity has done before now has got us to this place. The momentum is carrying us down the stream. How are we going to do it? Who are we going to be in that boat with each other? Where do we want to go? What's the world we want to focus on? And how can we use our vital force, our attention, our thought, our love to be who we will be at this moment, how we want to be in this moment and focus on the world that we want? The through line to it and the calm on the other side of the rapid.

So I'm invoking in this moment just a question really for you. What are the qualities that you most love about yourself that you can access, that you want to bring to this boat? That you want to bring to your experience? That you want to feed with your vital force, with your thoughts? What's the version of you that you want to be able to look back on and know that you grew during this astonishing crucible of a time when life is asking us to reflect and become? Reflect and become, and let go of everything that is outmoded and is no longer serving. What are those qualities? And let's discuss it here in the thread.

And what's the future that you're funding? That you're really funding? That you're feeding your intentions and your love and your dreaming and you're invoking, so that we can sort of dream into being the psychic infrastructure of that reality and then start to clothe it. Like taking a skeleton and building the muscles and the circulatory system. We can dream it into being. Everything that manifests starts in thought. So much of the dreaming that's needed for a world that is harmonious with nature already exists. Now we need to literally fill it with blood. And that is filling it with our love and our intentions and our consciousness and our unwillingness to allow for any other future.

It's not possible. That future that I long for where our humanity is in reverence and is taking care of each other and is looking for the highest expression of itself in each other. That's the only future that I am willing to live into. That's the future that I want everybody to join me in. That's the future that I think the majority of us are actually calling forth. Now can we become aware of our togetherness in this boat? That's the moment we've been given. We're in this boat together. Who do we want to be? How are we going to start pulling our energy away from the obstacles and pointing our energy towards the through line? What is the quality of your through line? Where are you going? Where do you want to go? How are we going to get there? What's it going to be like when we arrive? What is this world that we long for? How can we celebrate it already and plug ourselves into it so that no other future is possible?

That is my offering for today and I hope there's something in there that serves. I've been reading some of the things as they've gone through here. I'm hearing some of you completely frazzled. I know that totally frazzled place and I again just say, see what you can feed from and if what you can feed from is the sky, then really build that muscle. Know that you are also building a muscle on behalf of everybody. That muscle of learning how to resource in a different way. From the tree that you speak to every day, from the feeling of the earth beneath your feet, from the sound of the birds, or just from the sky or the feeling of the breeze on your skin. How can we bring the sanity and nourish ourselves at this time and then dream this new world into being?

Happy Easter everyone. Sending you so, so much love. Let's please take so much care of each other. So much care of ourselves, and say thank you to this miraculous world that is living and breathing.

Clare Dubois, the founder and CEO of TreeSisters,a nonprofit organization whose mission is to rapidly accelerate tropical reforestation by inspiring and channeling women's Nature-based feminine leadership into local and global action.

Clare is an Earth-loving social entrepreneur and inspirational speaker who worked internationally for 18 years facilitating groups, coaching business leaders, and creating behavior change processes within the personal growth sector.

As a Be The Change Symposium facilitator and freelance writer, she worked for three years as the UK co-ordinator for a massive agro-forestry initiative in southern India called Project GreenHands (PGH) before initiating TreeSisters. Through her work with PGH she has distilled the social mobilisation strategy deployed with great success in India, and now turns it towards the mobilisation of women within TreeSisters.

Clare is leading the campaign, but TreeSisters at all levels is jointly held and developed within the circle of core team members. Her passion has always included exploring how patterns of consciousness manifest as behaviours and her primary work is in the creation of processes, tools, courses, and messaging that can access the nature connected essence of woman and activate new forms of leadership. She works on network development, ethos and principles, organisational culture and strategy as they relate to the Map of 5 Choices and behaviour change materials.

She is committed to the creation of an evolving system that learns as it goes and continually models itself upon the flows and forms of living systems. In her own life, her aim is to reclaim balance, to revel in freedom and health and to be 'walking permission' for those who are fed up of being held back, and just want to have a go.

Click here to visit the TreeSisters site.

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This article appears in: 2020 Catalyst, Issue 10: Imagining a Post-Pandemic World