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As women, we are the natural harbingers of human life. Because we have the innate potential to create human life, we understand that ALL life is unique and intrinsically valuable. Thus, we seek to safeguard it whenever possible. An integral part of our Big Ocean ethos, “Life Culture” then, is an umbrella notion that pulls from many of our philosophical ideas. By definition, life culture is the intricate network of life-affirming thoughts and actions which lay the foundation for thriving family ecosystems, social ecosystems, and natural ecosystems. They are all intertwined and a violent disruption of one, will have catastrophic repercussions in the others.

Our model of the Three Environments speaks of this network of life culture.

We believe that the first environment and human habitat is contained within the body of woman. If you think about it, every human being on this earth that has lived has come from this first essential environment.

Understanding this can be tremendously eye-opening because it speaks of the beauty and power that naturally flow from woman. It’s no wonder then, that from the beginning of recorded history, this power has been hidden and buried under false belief. It is because of the incredible power that we women possess as actual creators that make us so powerful. The second environment is that of the home. The home environment and ecosystem is the place where our first lessons on abundance and scarcity occur. If there is violence and trauma in the first environment, it is likely that the same attitudes will result in the second environment. If there is abuse and distrust, fear and isolation, so too will those negative attitudes manifest within the home. The third environment is everything outside of the home, from our neighborhoods and communities to our natural world surrounding us. If the attitude that life within the womb is meaningless and disposable, it is likely that violence, commodification and death will result.

Commodification, the process where a raw material is traded, bought, or sold for gain, is at the heart of so many environmental issues today. Issues of stewardship, however, always begin and develop within the first two environments. As we develop a keen awareness of the sacredness of all life, including that of fellow human beings born and pre-born, we realize there is much more at stake than meets the eye.

Every day, and every hour, we are each faced with myriad choices. As we follow our internal compass (see tenets and culture on Internal Compass), we are better equipped to make decisions that will sustain a more generative social and ecological environment long-term.

These life-affirming choices will also bring us great internal abundance, peace, and joy. We must take a step back and analyze the current cultural trends that push us toward instant gratification, action without consequence, excess, rejection of self-governance, and other forms of gluttony. We must evaluate and assess the cultural trends that push us to commodify our most precious and potent power–that of sex, reproduction, and sexuality–at the cost of greater global suffering. We must analyze the fact that the personal choices we make have a lasting effect in the greater global ecosystem; the notion that our bodies are our own and that the choices we make with our sexuality don’t matter is false. In fact these choices bear lasting consequences in areas of which we had previously been unaware.

This is exemplified when men and women reject the fact that sex is intrinsically connected with reproduction, and that defining sex as pleasure only, is a serious breach of a greater social and environmental contract, a contract that as fully participating humans with a deep ecology, we must face and embrace. The two are naturally and essentially connected for the purpose of creating stable familial structures that are best suited to sustain new young life, and teach that young life the many essential principles and skills that will allow for harmonious interactions with other living things. When the youngest and most vulnerable of our population are born with excessive pressures and challenges, it is no wonder that a scarcity mindset can take hold, and violence ensues. Many are born without the essential layer of protection of a safe home environment where they are seen as an asset and not a liability.

Sex is a superpower, yet there is the pervasive notion that what we choose to do with our own bodies, or with the bodies of others without their consent, is our business alone and bears no consequence. It is unfortunately something trifled with and taken dangerously lightly. Nothing could be further from the truth. When our sex is severed from reproduction, human life becomes an arbitrary and insignificant occurrence. When it is defined as pleasure alone, some of the worst outcomes fall on the woman. Consequently, our status as key agents, thinkers, and leaders within society is lost. Women and their bodies, as well as the bodies they can naturally co-create, become the new currency and commodity to exploit at the whim of those who would seek to usurp that power for their own gain. Indeed, our power to create is a superpower. The sooner we can reclaim this reality, the sooner we reclaim ourselves.

We needn’t despair if our actions and those of others have not reflected life culture in the past. We can start today. We can maneuver through our lives with a rededicated commitment to see ourselves as innately powerful. We can choose to see all life, including our own, as irreplaceable and precious. With a desire to be a positive catalyst for a new and supportive life culture, we are empowered to make better choices, and hold others to a high standard of interaction as well. The more life-affirming choices we make, the more we will possess a truly integrated ethic and influence other individuals to follow suit. This will generate an even greater contribution to life culture. We will begin see a reflection of this culture extend to include our communities and natural environment.

Within Big Ocean we encourage individuals everywhere, whenever possible, to seek out non-violent paths not just within our human relationships, but also within our broader ecological world. As we more deliberately strive to incorporate our tenets and culture articles within our hearts and homes, there will be a natural expansion outward. This expansion and connection ultimately reaches our natural environment when we become aware that we hold a special relationship as earth stewards.

Questions to consider about Tenet 7:

  • What does life culture look like to you?
  • What are some everyday choices you make to affirm life?
  • How is caring for your mind and body demonstrating life culture?
  • What are some thoughts and actions that are counter to life culture?
  • How have humans, and other living things, been stripped of dignity and worth?
  • What life affirming choices have you made recently? How has someone influenced you towards life culture?
  • In what ways is sex a superpower?
  • In what ways have women carried the burden of sex and reproduction? In what ways is having children a power and an advantage?
  • In what ways can we women begin reclaiming our power by modeling life culture?