A Screening of PlantPure Nation & Laura Robinson Oatman – July 31

My own view is that being a vegetarian or vegan is not an end in itself, but a means towards reducing both human and animal suffering and leaving a habitable planet to future generations.
– Peter Singer

Hi everyone,

It would be difficult to overstate just how destructive animal agriculture is to the environment, not to mention how it causes horrific cruelty and death for farm animals and other species. Research has linked the eating of animal products to an array of human health problems and diseases, and it unnecessarily greatly depletes the global food supply. (See also: The Mind-Gut Connection:How the Hidden Conversation Within Our Bodies Impacts Our Mood, Our Choices, and Our Overall Health.)

With so much that is extremely negative, some are deciding to eat less meat, dairy and eggs, or eliminate them from their diet entirely. But how? How does one go from the typical America diet to eating plant-based foods and do it in a way that is healthy, tasty and easy? Some people get pretty stuck right there and don’t know how to proceed. We want to try and make it a little bit easier.

On Sunday, July 31, we are hosting A Screening of PlantPure Nation and Plant-Based Nutritionist, Laura Robinson Oatman has agreed to lead the post-film discussion and answer as many questions as possible about how to make the transition. Even if you are not looking for nutritional assistance, come join us anyway, it is a really well done film. If you want to find out more about Laura and watch the film trailer, you can find that and more on the event web site. Click here to RSVP.

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Why We Are Wired to Connect | Love Thy Nature this Sunday, June 26

While an environmental crisis threatens the very survival of our species, a renewed connection with nature holds the key to an advanced new era in human evolution.
— Ellen White

Hi everyone,

A couple of years ago, Scientific American published an article entitled, Why We Are Wired to Connect. It is definitely worth reading in its entirety.

Evolution has placed a bet that the best thing for our brain to do in any spare moment is to get ready to see the world socially.  I think that makes a major statement about the extent to which we are built to be social creatures.

And yet, so often we are living lives of disconnection. Disconnected from our self, other animals, (human and non-human) and this earth, the vast living organism that some call Gaia.

Are we actually betting against evolution, and as a result now find ourselves living within the Sixth Mass Extinction? How did we get so far off track, conditioned to accept the status quo while being endoctrinated to squelch awe and wonder? When did we forget how to love and live from compassion for all? How can we restore a sense of aliveness, living more harmoniously and resonating deeply within our most genuine, interconnected, natural state? What does the evolutionary path leading to wisdom really look like?

Let’s have this conversation. And honestly, we really need YOU to be part of it. Please come join us this coming Sunday, June 26, 6:30p for A Screening of Love Thy Nature (RSVP here).

Thanks for staying engaged,
Barbara English, LMFT, CBT, TRE® Certification Trainer
Co-founder and Executive Director, Living Ubuntu

(949) 891-2005
[Ubuntu] n. Every human being truly becomes a human by means of relationships with other human being

Today is World Oceans Day | Love Thy Nature June 26

Hi everyone,

There has been a lot going on in this Presidential Election! With so much that is important and competing for our attention, you might not have noticed that today, June 8 is World Oceans Day.

Why is that so significant? Well, for instance, did you know that most of the oxygen we breathe comes from the ocean? And have you heard about how the ocean is currently in extreme peril?

Great Barrier Reef: diving in the stench of millions of rotting animals – video

If a healthy ocean is completely essential for keeping us alive, you’d think every day should be World Oceans Day. But it isn’t. Just today. One day a year to draw attention to it. One day to give thanks and applaud the ocean for keeping us living and breathing. One day to admire with awe and wonder how amazingly, incredibly beautiful it is. One day to dig deeper into understanding its struggle to survive.

Today – what can you do? Get started in making change – just do one thing. Here are a few suggestions.

  • How about eating organic plant-based food today? Both the fishing industry and land-based animal agriculture are highly destructive to the ocean.
  • Decrease the amount of plastic you use. For instance, did you know that at many stores you can buy re-usable beverage straws made out of stainless steel or glass, eliminating the need for disposable plastic ones?
  • Get more actively involved in the critically important efforts to slow climate change.
  • Read a fascinating recently released book by Jonathan Balcombe, “What a Fish Knows: The Inner Lives of Our Underwater Cousins”.
  • Go to the beach and admire the living organism that supports us. Breathe in the ocean air and feel the connection to the greater whole.

Please come join us, Sunday, June 26, 6pm at Golden West College when we will screen the amazing film, Love Thy Nature – (RSVP).

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We belong in a greater whole | Love Thy Nature June 26

To make this world different we have to realize that the self is plural, it’s an absolute delusion that’s killing the planet to think that the self is separate.

 — Daniel Siegel, M.D.

Hi everyone,

How would we as humans innately be different if we fully embodied the truth that we are part of the whole?

In thinking about this I re-watched two brief video clips of Dr. Daniel Siegel speaking about how, “…living the lie that the self is separate is a form of impaired integration…” (video) – and how — “…the self is a plural verb, not a singular noun…” (video).

It reminded me of this:

A person with ubuntu is open and available to others, affirming of others, does not feel threatened that others are able and good, for he or she has a proper self-assurance that comes from knowing that he or she belongs in a greater whole and is diminished when others are humiliated or diminished, when others are tortured or oppressed.
— Desmond Tutu

Beyond living the lie that the self is separate, perhaps it is our impaired integration that has additionally limited us to thinking of the greater whole as strictly human. I would suggest that the phrase diminished when others are humiliated or diminished, when others are tortured or oppressed, is equally applicable to all sentient beings, regardless of species. Additionally, we are sustained and kept alive only by living harmoniously and interdependently within biodiversity.


This understanding of the self-regulating nature of earth, we didn’t know about this for 400 years in science, we just didn’t. But now we’re realizing we are destroying billions of years of creativity that enabled all of this vitality to exist. But we’re awakening to that mistake and now we see, instead of thinking of earth as something to exploit and use, we are beginning to realize, it is a community that we are to join and enhance. That’s the big shift.
— Brian Swimme, Ph.D. (Love Thy Nature)

Come join us for A Screening of Love Thy Nature (RSVP) on Sunday, June 26, 6p at Golden West College in Huntington Beach. This is a wonderfully made, beautiful documentary. After the film we will explore connection and disconnection in its many forms, the relationship we experience within our self and with others, including those of other species and the broader natural world we live within and as part of. Let’s find a way together to join and enhance this community, also known as Earth. Let’s fully participate in enacting the big shift. Continue reading

Does the belief that we are superior to other animals increase racial prejudice?

According to studies at Brock University, racial prejudice and discrimination may be associated with a strong belief that humans are superior to animals. By encouraging children to interact with animals in a thoughtful, compassionate way, you have a better chance of humanizing their response to people who appear to be different.
Ft. McMurray’s animals and the evolution of human empathy

Hi everyone,

We all want a more peaceful world, right? No one except a few highly disturbed individuals is wishing for more division and conflict. We have long had educational programs that seek to “teach tolerance”. So why aren’t we all just “getting along” yet?

We know that high states of stress increase the propensity to stereotype and detract from receptivity on both the emotional and intellectual levels. Educational programs that do not address the collective traumatized nervous system will be limited in effectiveness. Certainly that is part of the problem.

What if believing we are superior to other animals is an additional symptom that in turn also becomes part of the problem?

What if even having sympathy for other species is a good start, but doesn’t take us far enough because too often the sympathy continues to hold arrogance within it?

What if the way we see other species is not factually based in reality, but instead, based in our conditioning, rationalization, convenience, exaggerated entitlement and privilege? In other words, what if we dominate, not because we are better, but merely because we can?

There are a lot of things in this world that need much more attention. Species-ism is one of the most fundamental and destructive, yet, it remains greatly under-recognized and unaddressed.

Tomorrow evening, please summon your courage, bring your open-mindedness, and come prepared to leave seeing the world differently. Please join us at 6:30pm, Sunday May 22, in Irvine, for A Screening of Speciesism – (RSVP).

Thanks for staying engaged,
Barbara English, LMFT, CBT, TRE® Certification Trainer
Co-founder and Executive Director, Living Ubuntu
(949) 891-2005 Continue reading

All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others. (Speciesism – May 22)

All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.
 – George Orwell, Animal Farm

Hi everyone,

There are some hierarchies that are healthy and natural. For instance, infants experience caregiving attachment figures in a hierarchal system, with the one deemed as most available and reliably able to provide safety and security at the top, followed by second choice and so on. If you are an infant, it is important to know who to count on the most and this helps support healthy development.

Then there are other hierarchies that are not healthy or naturally occurring. Instead, they are human creations, passed along through cultural conditioning. The top dictionary definition of hierarchy states that it is: any system of persons or things ranked one above another. Honestly, it gave me chills when I read that and not in a good way. It disturbed me and I felt a little bit sick. My association was not about healthy, developing infants ranking their preferred caregivers in service to their own best interest. Instead, it was the foundational template for oppression.

Over the years, I have thought a lot about oppression. It is a topic I hope to someday write much more about because of its extreme importance. It plays out in many ways, and has contributed to many of our –isms, e.g. racism, sexism, classism, etc. To me, it is an insidious, under-recognized threat that not only detracts from well-being and the common good, but at this point in time is additionally utterly undermining species-preservation. I use that word in the context of ‘healthy human state’. Trauma and high levels of stress unplug us from that state and we shift instead into self-survival. Self-survival helps us in certain, specific, brief, truly life-threatening situations, however, when misapplied and chronic, it has the exact opposite effect.  We lose our felt-connection to the whole and within that lose our ability to live in our natural, healthy state, in support of species-preservation.

As some of you know, we are currently experiencing the sixth mass extinction on this planet. While human-caused loss of biodiversity has reached a crisis point and joined the list of threats to human existence, many are still unaware that animal agriculture deserves much of the blame for that.

It is beyond time to re-examine not only our priorities, but additionally, the cultural conditioning underneath.

Sunday, May 22, 6:30pm we are hosting, A Screening of Speciesism. The film will help us do some of this necessary philosophical re-examination of our conditioning and the post-film conversation will be a very important one for us to have. Please join us. RSVP here.

Thanks for staying engaged,

Barbara English, LMFT, CBT, TRE® Certification Trainer
Co-founder and Executive Director, Living Ubuntu
(949) 891-2005
[Ubuntu] n. Every human being truly becomes a human by means of relationships with other human beings


Break Free, Catching the Sun, and Living Vegan “Social”

You carry Mother Earth within you. She is not outside of you. Mother Earth is not just your environment. In that insight of inter-being, it is possible to have real communication with the Earth, which is the highest form of prayer.
– Thich Nhat Hahn

Hi everyone,

Have you been following the extremely tragic wildfires in Canada? A CNN opinion piece is titled, The fire in Canada looks a lot like climate change — and that should scare you. The reality is that climate change is advancing rapidly and by no means are we doing all we could to slow it or adapt to that which is inevitable. As the 350.org campaign this week makes the case to Break Free from fossil fuels, actions are taking place all over the world in support of fast, dramatic, effective change.

(Also see: May 14 – 350.org L.A. March. I will be in Los Angeles that weekend, and I recognize the irony that I will be unable to attend the event as I am taking the Somatic Experiencing – Foundations of Disaster Response that weekend, to learn more about how to increase trauma recovery in these critical situations.)

For those of you who live near to Orange County, please come join us Tuesday, May 10, 7:30p, for the one night only screening of Catching the Sun at the Frida Cinema, scheduled to take place during the 350.org Break Free campaign. (Advance tickets.)

If Canadian wildfires aren’t a vivid enough reminder of what is at stake, last month Newsweek published, We’re Running Out of Water, and Consequences Could be Dire. Changing what we eat is the additional essential part of the equation to reduce water use and greenhouse gas emissions. For anyone interested in having a great vegan meal today, come join us today at 5:30p in Laguna Beach. Here are the details of the Living Vegan “Social”. We will walk to the beach, so come prepared for that.

Let’s do all we can to pull together on this. Too much is at stake not to. Here is one example of what can be done: San Diego Republican mayor pushes plan to run on 100% renewable energy. Continue reading