How Community and Creativity can be our best Medicine for navigating these challenging times
George Kao – Today, I’m with Ruth Toledo Altschuler, and she is such a supportive member of my community and of the various communities that she’s part of. And she reached out to me about what’s going on in our world right now and how can we approach it in a more mindful and productive way. So, Ruth, thank you so much for having this conversation. I’m sure that this is going to be relevant for a lot of people.
Ruth Toledo Altschuler – You’re very welcome.
George Kao – So there’s a lot we can talk about, but I’ll let you start this conversation and then I’m sure I’m going to have questions for you.
Ruth Toledo Altschuler – Yes. OK. I welcome all your questions and comments as well, and thoughts, so that this is more of a both way sharing.
George Kao – Yeah. Yeah. And just for those who are watching this at some time in the future, we are in the midst of the 2020 coronavirus pandemic. You know, lots of countries, cities, states, countries are in lockdown. A lot of us are in quarantine and the economy is going through a freefall. You know, the stock market, of course, everyone has heard, has dropped dramatically, which affects so many people’s retirements and so many people have lost jobs.
George Kao – I mean, millions of people have lost jobs. And of course, it’s not easy for us small business owners. So, Ruth, you have so many tools and kind of. Yeah, modalities, tools that you learned over the years and practice, that help in times like this. So what’s one that comes to mind for you? What’s one tool or what’s a way of thinking about this.
Ruth Toledo Altschuler – One of the things that I thought, when I imagined that we were going to have this conversation, was about how to meet a situation that you wish wasn’t there?
George Kao – Yeah.
Ruth Toledo Altschuler – What do you do with it? You know, like when at first things come our way and we say: oh, no! This is NOT happening! We can’t. So there is this resistance, and we would rather not have to deal with it. And yet.. and of course, what we are living now, at this time, I think for most of us, it feels surreal. It feels like almost we want to pinch ourselves and say : I’m going to wake up from this dream.
George Kao – Yeah, I was just saying to somebody like I feel like we’ve somehow gotten into an alternate universe like something happened here. It’s like the timeline shifted and we’re in a different world. And the whole world is experiencing this, which is what makes us so dramatic. It’s not just one country or one city. It’s the whole world is going through the exact same things. So I think that also creates maybe some kind of energetic.. there’s something in the air. I keep thinking there’s something in the air that’s different that affects all of our emotions, right? And our thoughts.
Ruth Toledo Altschuler – Absolutely. So on one hand, there is this intensity, this kind of, It’s like the air, almost like the air that the ceiling is low and we feel it. And I’ve been through situations that were somewhat like this before, but never so huge and world wide. But but I’ve experienced these waves of fear and and concern and this real pressure. And in this sense of perspective kind of lost, you know. So what is it going to be now? And how? And one of the tools that I’ve learned, one of the teachings that for me has been very, very foundational has been that when an experience comes our way, If we’re able to, for a moment, hold it in front of us and get a sense of the two sides of the polarity.
Ruth Toledo Altschuler – So. OK. And I see a lot of people doing this. On one hand, we have this whole unsettled situation where everything that we were relying on and that we took for granted is shaking. And on the other hand, we do have the learning opportunity. So what can be, what are we learning with this? What are the qualities that are being called forth, that we need to develop. And when we’re able to really feel that there is the two sides in it, and we’re able to accept the experience, then it begins to work through us and and we begin to be able to listen in and allow certain qualities to arise within us to meet the situation.
Ruth Toledo Altschuler – So that would be one of the first things: is finding the two sides, finding the polarity in the experience and find how you can accept, yes, it’s happening. It’s inevitable. I just have to surrender to what is. Because, it is right now!
George Kao – That’s a very wise way of looking at it, because a lot of people, especially on social media and the news, are only looking at one side of the polarity. It’s the disaster, it’s the fear, it’s the, you know, the depression, the discouragement. That’s really easy to make news and the pending doom, but the polarity, you’re saying that there’s always two sides, isn’t there? There’s always two sides to a situation. So what would you say? Tell us more. Maybe you can help balance it out a little bit. Like what? Tell us more about that other side.
Ruth Toledo Altschuler – Yeah. And I would actually like to bring up the fact that I also see in and in my Facebook feed, you know, there’s also some people that are saying, oh, and we stopped for these weeks and now there’s no pollution and the planet is already healing. And in some ways it might be, but it may be a little bit of an idealized version of it?
George Kao – Because there’s more there’s more trees being cut down for toilet paper now than ever before.
Ruth Toledo Altschuler – Yeah.
Ruth Toledo Altschuler – And, you know, it’s not like the climate change heals in in in two weeks. And so I think we also need to be very careful around our idealized projections of say, oh, and this is happening and nothing is gonna be like it was and it’s going to be a changed world after that, and everyone will awaken, and we’re all brothers and sisters in this world.
Ruth Toledo Altschuler – Wait. It’s it’s a big process. And yet there is this opportunity. So I think in terms of the other polarity, I think it applies very much to each person. What are the qualities that I need to develop and and bring forth? Into how I can serve, right now? What is happening to me internally in terms of how I’m reassessing what I really value in life? Or maybe, you know, what are the things that are, that I want to really have and see nurtured in my world, and what is not. And I’m sure a lot of people of all different levels of consciousness, they’re also going through this reassessment of what’s really valuable for me and what’s not. But I think it’s an individual thing for each one, because it hits us in different ways.
George Kao – Can you. You know, you work with clients on things like this. They’re their own personal development journey, their soul, journey their own healing. Have you noticed any themes that are coming up recently in the work?
Ruth Toledo Altschuler – Yes, I noticed. Yeah. Thank you for the question. I notice it. And I also notice it in myself, in my own journey, that for different people, depending on where they have layers of trauma, of instability triggering different experiences that they’ve had in their foundational years. A lot of things can emerge and this is a moment for a lot of us to embrace, wherever we have these areas within us that, when we’re unsafe, we tend to respond in ways that are conditioned by our early trauma patterns. And so it is also a big opportunity for people to go deeper into their own healing, to address these patterns that have been there for a lifetime, and even ancestral patterns as well.
Ruth Toledo Altschuler – people, right?
George Kao – Yeah. Right. Right. Yes. It brings that up, unlike times where things are more stable. So this is. Yeah. And this is the kind of stuff that you have been working with people on. Do you want to mention a little bit about the modalities you use to help people with this? Yes.
Ruth Toledo Altschuler – And I think one of the big gifts that I’ve had in my journey was to learn the language of flower essences. And the language of flower essences is just so educational, because it really teaches us about the polarities and how we can find, the movement between one extreme and the other. And then find how we want to navigate. And so, for instance, when we’re dealing with a situation of that triggers fear, there’s the opportunity to also grow in our courage and our ability to confront that fear and to master that fear. And as we transit between one side and the other, eventually we we know when we’re experiencing the fear that is healthy and helps us protect ourselves. When you’re crossing a street and you hear that noise and then you just step back and ask you where you can go, OK, I’m safe. I was able to protect myself. That’s the really healthy sane fear that one needs to have.
Ruth Toledo Altschuler – There’s caution and healthy fear. Yes. And yet, if they’re being motivated by fear that they stop going, doing things that they’re afraid of confronting situations. it’s just so good to develop that muscle of courage and ability to go for things that they need to be bold and go for them. And so the flower essences have really taught me a lot around these different polarities that we meet in our life and in our healing journey as well.
George Kao – Yes. I’m glad you brought up courage, because a lot of people now, I mean, myself included, have needed courage in our work right now because. Yeah. People’s work is being turned upside down. They’re either being laid off or they have to to work in a totally different way. Those of us who are small business owners who have done in person work, now we have to figure out how to support most or all clients online. Yeah, I just think about all the body workers, all the massage therapists, acupuncturists, healers. You know that now that’s, I mean. Yeah. And all the people doing workshops, you know, etc. that are being canceled. Now the courage is OK. Now we’re gonna bring this because the work can be, always be. And part of the I think one the qualities is that we’re having develop now is innovation, creativity. Yeah.
Ruth Toledo Altschuler – I want to talk more about this.
George Kao – So let’s talk about this because. Yeah.
Ruth Toledo Altschuler – But before I would like to tell you one piece, because I think that creativity is our grand finale. It is. I think that’s one of the biggest opportunities that we have at this time. But I would like to bring one piece that I think is really essential, which is that we need to hold space for what’s happening with us emotionally and also neuro-physiologically, because that’s something. What we’re going through these weeks, and even more so as things progress and escalate, stirs up so much within us.
Ruth Toledo Altschuler – So I think we really need community at this time. And even though community can’t be gathering and hugging people, but it can be so wonderful to feel that we can meet others who are going through the same thing, and that we are able to hold some circle space in which people can say, even if just a tiny bit of what’s going on with them. I think this ability to to share, and to feel that there is a space being held for one another, it creates this sense of solidarity that ultimately also enhances the production of the good neuro transmitters within us, that truly help us in terms of our health to balance the more noxious effects of stress.
Ruth Toledo Altschuler – So there’s there’s a great lecture by a woman. I’ll remember her name at the end, but she has a lecture called How to Make Stress Your friend. Kelly McGonigal.
George Kao – There’s these two sisters. They do. They both have great TEDTalks. I know. Exactly. Yeah. But yes. Kelly McGonigal, I think.
Ruth Toledo Altschuler – Exactly. And she talks about the difference between people who experience stress and yet they feel separate and isolated, and how stress can really be bad for the immune system, for the body and all of that, under those conditions. But when we’re experiencing stress, but we also have this sense of companionship and solidarity, even neuro physiologically, as well as emotionally, it shifts because of what we generate really helps the body to cope in a much healthier way, and it also helps, of course, the mind. Helps this integration between the different minds, so that we operate at full capacity. Because one of the worst things is that when we’re paralyzed by fear or when we’re feeling cut off and isolated and in we’re not in our hearts, what happens is we tend to operate in that loop of survival mode. And then we don’t really have access to the richness of our capacities and ultimately to our creativity, which is what we need the most at this time.
George Kao – Yes. Yes. It’s so interesting. You said the d two different ways of being with stress. Because. Yes. So wise, like you could be isolated and spiral or you can be within the community. It’s almost like we’re built for being in teams. Right. Its like it’s like we evolved in teams and tribes to be able to survive. And there were many dangers, as we evolved as humanity, that we helped each other to survive through. And now, more than ever, now, we’re doing this online. Do you have, I know you facilitate various online communities. Is there one that you want to talk briefly about that that’s available for people?
Ruth Toledo Altschuler – Well, I actually have some free online events.
George Kao – That’s what I was thinking about,
Ruth Toledo Altschuler – For people who really love plants as well. And it’s a situation in which we gather. These are free events and we gather to, together, attune to one plant archetype each time. And then we share our impressions and we receive the healing of that plant archetype and then we share that healing with the collective. And those have been very special, and at this time, I think people are getting even more from these experiences.
George Kao – I want to either be sure to get the link or put the link in the notes or the video. So those of you who are interested, I mean, Ruth has a beautiful presentation. So check it out and sign up for the upcoming one. So just we have just a few minutes left. I want to definitely talk about creativity, right? And the importance of that. So I’ll let you I’ll let you start on this.
Ruth Toledo Altschuler – Yes. So besides holding space for people’s feelings and emotions, which I think we should all do in every kind of session that we hold, you know, like, OK, how’s it going today? And and just holding that space for what’s going emotionally and really enhancing that heart connection and that sense of solidarity. And that brings our intelligence levels in sync again, which allows for creativity, because when it we’re in the loop of survival mode our creativity is not really accessible to us. And so it is when we’re more in our heart space, that all of these levels of our intelligence come together. And then we can use the full powers of being connected to our, let’s say, rational thinking, our ability to plan, but also to our intuition, and to our inner knowingness, and also to this ability of channelling our Higher Self. Like you say, like you like to say, where there’s all these resources. I mean, we are Souls that have been living hundreds and hundreds of lives. And there’s so much that we as souls, even ourselves, there’s so much that we know about surviving, re-creating, and being able to meet the most adverse circumstances and rebound and come back.
Ruth Toledo Altschuler – And so if we’re able to operate in our full intelligence, and that means being in our hearts, accessing our inner knowing, using the best of the fullness of our rational mind and our spiritual guidance, that is when we’re able to serve at the fullest capacity. That’s what we were made for, as far as the evolved human being. And that is the opportunity that I think each one of us has, and we as communities and as humanity have at this time.
George Kao – Yeah. Yeah. Thank you for that. Yeah. It’s so good. What a great reminder that we are way more capable than we typically think of ourselves as. And when we are, you know, kind of stuck in the fear or in the dismay or discouragement of a situation, that is where we’re not creative, we’re not tapping into the whole thing. So do you want to say a bit as we complete this conversation, like what’s something that all of us can do to access more of the whole? How can we open the heart more and access the whole of our creativity?
Ruth Toledo Altschuler – Yeah, I would say at this time, holding space to really be with our emotions, whatever they are, is one of the things, because if we can’t just push it down and say it’s not there. So, allowing ourselves to feel sometimes we just need to cry, you know, and and sometimes we just need to to be with whatever we’re feeling. That’s one thing. And so that allows things to flow, so they’re they’re not stuck in our system.
Ruth Toledo Altschuler – And then if we’re able to, from there really breathe and be in our hearts and feel that we are supported by the body of the earth, by being, the living being of the earth, to feel that the living being of the earth, the earth is not going anywhere. The earth is here, it’s holding us. And also to feel that we’re being guided, and that there’s millions of souls on the other side, some of them have gone to just be helping us at this time. So there’s so much guidance that is available.
Ruth Toledo Altschuler – So when we are in this space that we know we have community and we know the earth is really here and wants us to evolve with it, and we are able to also ask and listen to the guidance that comes. I think that really enhances our ability.
Ruth Toledo Altschuler – And it’s an moment-to-moment thing – at each moment: how can I be in my heart? How can I feel the earth is supporting me? How can I ask for guidance for this situation now?
Ruth Toledo Altschuler – You know, like, oh, I’m going to have this conversation with George. I didn’t prepare anything. But please, you know, help me.
Ruth Toledo Altschuler – And then it comes, and the words come out from you, and you will know what to say and you will know how to create this different offering that you never thought of, but that you can bring forth because it wants to come to the world through you.
George Kao – Yes. That’s a beautiful way for us to send send the viewers on their way. And so if any of you are feeling some healing and some grounding based on this, I encourage you to check out the links in the video, because, you know, please to go and experience Ruth’s events and check out her Web site.
George Kao – Ruth, thank you so much for just reaching out and being willing to share these kind of nurturing thoughts and perspectives that are so needed at this time. I feel better because of the conversation. So thank you so much.
Ruth Toledo Altschuler – Thank you, George. Because I’m I’m just so very grateful for the quality of the communities that you create. And for all the many worldwide friends that I’ve made, including you for the partnership that we have in this bigger transformative journey that we’re all in.
George Kao – Yes. We are in this together, for sure. Thank you.