Ashley E. Kingsley

Archive for April, 2008|Monthly archive page

Awakening the Dreamer…The Pachamama Alliance

In Uncategorized on April 18, 2008 at 9:48 pm

AwakeningtheDreamerAwakening the Dreamer a day looking at the most critical issue and greatest opportunity of our time and what we can do about it. The Symposium explores the link between three of humanity’s most critical concerns: environmental sustainability, social justice and spiritual fulfillment.

The Pachamama Alliance  and Associated Consultants International. These two organizations are doing outstanding work around the world and both focus on issues changing through knowledge and ethical competence.

The morning started off with some tremendous statistics that literally made me sick to my stomach. They made me angry. How in the hell did we get here? Our planet in grave danger (no, I am not a tree hugger).

“If you are ready to be disturbed, inspired and moved to action, if you are ready to be introduced to a thriving community of like-hearted, deeply committed cohorts who are actively engaged in awakening from and changing the dream of our modern industrial culture, we invite you to join the conversation.”

I must have missed this tag line when I signed up. But I am glad I am here.

  • US has the highest rate of mental health problems in the world
  • 27% Americans have severe mental disorders
  • Every day 700,000 people are getting help for alcoholism
  • African lions are on the verge of extinction
  • 90% of all large fish are gone from the ocean
  • 40% of Agricultural land is at risk of becoming a desert
  • We breathe 30% more carbon dioxide then our grandparents did
  • 2 Billion People on earth today face water shortages
  • The Gulf of Mexico has a dead zone where nothing can live – 7,000 miles wide
  • 95% of all biologists believe that we are in the midst of mass extinction

These are just a few of the statistics we heard. More to come.

We have had a few breakout sessions which have given us the opportunity to really consider what we must do in order to be change agents. Visualizations have taken us 80 years into the future where we are interacting with our great, great grandchildren.  Our great, great grandchildren asking us “Grandma, what was it like when there was starvation and war? What were elephants like? How did people get along with so much pollution?” These are the questions our great grandchildren ask us, because the world they live in 80 years in the future has changed.  When thinking of these questions coming from my daughters daughter, I am fell totally embarrassed about the world in which I am leaving to my children. The actions we have taken as a whole are destroying not just the environment, but social justice and spiritual calm.

These are difficult topics. I know they are there. I know that I consume to much. I know that waste is commonplace in my home and so is hunger in other homes. I know that sweat shops exist. I know that I don’t recycle. I know that my carbon footprint is HUGE and DISGUSTING. I KNOW THIS… and have known this. And… yet, I haven’t done a damn thing about it?  Why? What are my excuses?

I literally, broke down into tears during one of the video clips they showed of all of our great leaders who have made such great impacts, that of Ghandi, Mother Theresa, Rosa Parks, Diane Fossey, and more. How does one take all of this information in and live in the present while moving toward dire change? As I have hope I have hopelessness. As I have focus, I don’t know where to start.

It is important for me to be conscious of what I focus on and I get to choose my relationship with this information. This is profound!  This information brings great pain as well as a great well of joy for me.

Where should I put my energy so that I can keep growing and learning?  We are leaving this symposium in blessed unrest… this is where we are supposed to be. There is always a little something that draws from our excellence, to keep us moving.

Now I ask myself… how do I lead through change? I start with me. I will be calling the Lakewood Recycling Center on my way home. That is step # 1.

Here are some steps that I can begin with:

I am asking myself these questions:

1) What is my relationship with the Earth?

  • IDEAS:Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. Plant an organic garden. Volunteer with local organizations that work on cleaning up the environment.  Display pictures of nature that inspire you.  Enroll your neighbors in planting trees in front of your home in your neighborhood.  Plan a hike outdoor with your friends, family, or a support group. Buy a reusable water bottle and make sure it is stainless steel. There are to many toxins in plastic. Stop your junk mail. Promote local farmers. Make consumption choices that encourage and support good behavior from private industries so they improve their environmental practices. Investigate and get involved in the Fair Trade movement.  Remove toxic house cleaning products from the household. WANT LESS. When shopping for furniture find out where it is from and if it is sustainable.  Test drive a hybrid car and consider it for your next purchase. Carpool. Eat only when you are HUNGRY.

2) What is my relationship with others/community/social justice?

IDEAS:Investigate organizations that are working to achieve social justice. Get together with your family and talk about your dreams.  Investigate and see if there is a project that can bring your neighborhood together. Engage with a racially/socially different community.  Read a book about day-to-day life about an indigenous culture and consider what it reveals about your culture and its life. Read alternative news sources. Mentor a child. Inform your self about social justice issues and offer to do a program on it at your local school.

3) What is my relationship with myself?

IDEAS:  Breathe deeply. Read one page of something that inspires you. Play with crayon. Stretch your body. Write down your dreams. Take a nap. Listen to someone older than you. Hug a tree. Build a fort. Write down three things you are thankful for. Do nothing for one minute.  Write the answer to “What is the purpose of my life?” Watch films and programs that inspire you. Relax. Smile at yourself. Don’t read your email for one day. Enjoy what you have. Take care about what you put in your mind and your heart. Dream with friends. Spend at least 5 minutes outside each day. Buy only things that you need.  Remember to play.

These are the things I will be working on. I will also celebrate Earth Week. I will dance. I will connect. I will believe.


Into the Night with Polly Baca

In Uncategorized on April 6, 2008 at 5:59 am

After the first evening of my training with The White House Project, I ran up to my hotel room and dropped my notebooks from the day so I wouldn’t have to carry them to the bar/networking that was taking place.  I was not sure how long I would stay up – it was already 10:00pm.

PollyBacaI noticed one of the panelists was standing outside of the bar looking in. I tapped her shoulder and thanked her for her time and for being part of the panel on Women’s Leadership in politics. Her name, Polly Baca. I had NO idea who this woman was. Quite honestly, I haven’t paid much attention to local politicos over the years. My attention has always been on the major Presidential race every four years.

I asked Polly if she wanted to grab a drink.  We passed through the crowd of women who were already comfortably networking in small circles.  Polly and I sat in the very back side of the bar, removed from everyone, except the bartender.  Little did I know, I was sitting with the first woman elected to the Colorado House of Representatives and, later, to the state senate, Polly Baca-Barragán (born 1943) was the first Hispanic woman elected to those offices.

I sat in awe as Polly shared her life experiences with me that included being one of Bobby Kennedy and JFK’s staff members as well as Special Assistant to Bill Clinton during the Clinton Administration. We talked about the Bay of Pigs, her longstanding relationship with the Democratic National Conventions and her love affair with politics and history.

Polly and I talked about women and politics and the need for more LAND the role of leadership in this country. Sadly, we fall short when it comes to women leaders – not because they don’t exist but because electing women isn’t the norm, YET.

Polly was so dear and kind. We laughed, especially when she told me she married and divorced, TWICE, the father to her two children, who was also a Priest!!!

Polly has been working with LARASA as the Executive Director. The mission of the Latin American Research and Service Agency (LARASA) is to lead and influence change to improve the quality of life for Latinos in Colorado.


It was as if two old pals had been reunited. It was one of the more interesting evenings of my life.

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