Posts Tagged opportunity

Facing the Abyss

The last several posts have been about navigating the gritty realism before us. This one follows suit. And gives the reason I choose to focus on thrivability.

Months burn by bringing ever more forecasts of catastrophe. Ocean ph, glacier melt, that crazy island of plastic in the Pacific, economic meltdown, emergent disease, famine, and so much more. Those who believe that we are god’s chosen people stand in stoic denial, and the rest of us can sense the weight of imminent convergent crisis. At first I was hopeful that we could address these issues. Then I was saddened as the bombardment of horror stories of a terrible future kept coming. Before long I felt myself on the edge of the abyss. I have always been concerned with the ethics of our future and what we are doing today that will set our trajectories for tomorrow. The darkness ahead got darker. US politics made it seem like we were on a completely suicidal course to revel in our own collapse. The abyss loomed grandly.

I took a drive in 07 across half the country (and back). I looked at the Grand Canyon. And wow, we are surely facing erosion of possibilities on that grand of a scale. Except ours is not so lovely. And then I went to the Petrified Forest park. Time grew very long. Here were huge trees, very likely older than my life span. They grew, they died, they fell into a swampy area, and they became rock. I looked above me at the gorgeous night sky that evening. Stars whose lives span millions of years cluttered the desert sky with their energetic light (racing light years across the universe). We are so incredibly tiny. The hugeness of our crisis faded. We may destroy ourselves or fall back into earlier states of culture as current structures massively fail. Or not. On some future path, we could destroy half the planet or all of it. The vast universe will hardly note it. It is always in a state of change, existing in time frames that are simply incomprehensible to the human mind. This is an abyss – the edge of the mind’s ability to grasp time and space and our incredible vanity at thinking that we or the planet matter to anything outside ourselves.

Zooming in and out is such a powerful skill in managing awareness. But I will explain that elsewhere. Here, let’s stand at the abyss together. Look out into the everythingness…and the nothingness. Our own destruction…and how our frail existence as individuals and even as a planet is infinitesimally small in the space of the universe.

I accepted that and some peace came to me. But what now? If I can hold a perspective in which my heart doesn’t collapse from the suffering we have and bring on ourselves in our present and future, then what? What do I do now with this frail, precious, wild, and very temporary life I have?

My email signature reads: “Act always as if the future of the universe depended on what you did, while laughing at yourself for thinking that whatever you do makes any difference.” — Buddha

Let’s imagine the arcs of the future streaming before us. To the left, let us see the future that stems from inaction – failure to change course. It is riddled with crisis and vast human and living system suffering. Likely large scale migrations as one area becomes toxic (in actuality or in energy and access to resources). Disparities in wealth, aka access to the things we need, escalates into greater and greater Extremistan. To the right, let us be powerfully visionary and imagine the best possible future. Turn off the inner skeptic. Imagine future generations enjoying natural areas and clean air, imagine everyone having ready access to water and healthy foods, medical care, shelter, etc, where they are free from gross conflicts and free to pursue their passions.

The real future is somewhere in the middle, I suspect. But, for this thought experiment, let’s assume that one can either be a pessimist (left) or an optimist (right).

If I live my day to day life believing that the only possible outcome is the future to the left, why should I take any action? Why should I even get up in the morning? My brief life might be full of some immediate pleasures, but it will end with no inspiring legacy and a terrible shame that thousands and thousands of years of human evolution collapsed in my day. Personally, choosing to believe that feels like suicide of the spirit to me. It is all for naught. Don’t bother leaving a sign to mark the grave.

If I live my day to day life believing that the possibility (without being totally blind to the brutal facts before us) – that there is some possibility to move from the stream on the left to the stream on the right…in my lifetime it might not be 100% to the right, but maybe 70%? Where might it go? What might I do to move that path to the right – toward possibilities of humans evolving in dynamic relationship to the systems around us – toward thriving?

I can’t tell you what the future holds. We are not there yet. Sure we can do trending and trajectories, but in a world of tipping points, phase shifts, and extremistan logic, I don’t trust those very much. (It could be much worse or suddenly shift course). I can tell you that I am choosing, consciously choosing, the belief in the possibility of the future on the right – the thrivable one. It is not about truth – philosophy makes a mess of truth… It is about what is useful to believe. It is about believing in something so I can get up in the morning and greet my friends with a heart bursting with love.

The steps we take each day determine the fate of our present…and guide us into a future together. Which future do you want to head toward? Which dream do you want to believe in? For all visions of the future are only dreams in the mind. Which dreams are useful to you today?

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Reflections and Predictions

It has been roughly a year since this blog opened. And I feel much more solid in my sense of what thrivability can be. That does not mean there are clear strategies defined or all partners are convened. There remains much work to do. But 2008 has been a wonderful learning journey solidifying my belief in the value of thrivability, and it has resonated well with a variety of amazing allies. Thank you.

I was glancing at an article in Utne Reader today about fear. And I realized a shift I am feeling, and I sense it is a huge piece of thrivability. Thrivability is not driven, at its core, by a deep dark fear of the world ending and all we need to overcome to jetison us off this precipice of history. And while I personally have been strongly driven by fears around climate change and a forecast of the end to humanity, somehow this has shifted. Perhaps it is Obama’s hope spreading “Yes We Can” or perhaps it is the collective voice of human consciousness declaring agency. It could perhaps even be a spiritual shifting that is ongoing internally for me. Whatever the cause or causes, what I sense in thrivability is a powerful resounding passion to evolve beyond our current cultures into a new form of being together, united, whole, diverse, conscious, respectful, judicious, abundant, appreciative, and in flow.

Do you want this too? Are you what EnlightenNext calls an Evolutionary?

We have before us the greatest opportunity life force has yet had–to collect together as respecting and honoring individuals to know and act through our wholeness for the evolution of ourselves and conciousness …and life itself …to experience both our uniqueness and our unity while shifting the forms of the world to support a flourishing earth bursting in harmony. We can become the most spectacular orchestra of living systems reverberating with awareness. What is the sound of this magnificent joy?

Let us put our egos in harness to our purpose, set our minds to tangible tasks, reach into our hearts for whole system empathy, and let our spirits’ wisdom lead us forth into a new age. One where we may thrive in harmony with each other and all forms.

I predict the near future will be frought with tension. Many will weaken from fear and anxiety as old systems convert into new arrangements that better fit our amazing flow. I predict we will often stumble and need to lean into each other in the dark night before the dawn. I predict that some will refuse to relinquish old patterns and this will lead to suffering. People will die bodily deaths. Humans will fight through the night in bloody conflicts of ideological wars to end all wars. And this very darkness, the very fear and negativity that seems pervasive will be the flood upon which a new way is made possible. It will be our very frustration with what is — that will make what can be: possible. Just as the bitter darkness of the Bush years has made a grassroots minority a more possible canditate for president of the US.

I see the light glowing from so many sensing this great opportunity, and I have deep faith in the very process of evolutionary consciousness to guide us together into a brighter day. Everywhere I see the flickering flames of hope, faith, interpersonal trust, and inspired vision gain energy. The tools evolve beneath our fingers, the partners meet and align around common purpose, and collectively we prepare the way forward.

Will you join with me in hope to great this challenging opportunity.

As Tracy Gary often says, “Hold hands, and stay together.”

Dream. Breath with me. Be with us.

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