Escalating problems in today’s‚ world are cause for great concern. From war and terrorism to factory farming and heart disease. There’s no question that something has gone seriously awry with species homo sapien. But perhaps the most frightening problem threatening the very fabric of life on planet Earth is climate change. Decades of warnings have fallen on deaf ears and what was once totally avoidable, is no more. The stark reality is that we now live on a very sick planet. Sadly, this dismal reality gains little media traction because it can’t seem to hold it’s weight against Canada’s “sexy” new Prime Minister or Donald Trump’s latest xenophobic slur.
So what is this really telling us? It’s telling us that the greatest crisis of our time is the crisis of consciousness that has separated us from the web of life.
Author Mary Pipher writes in her book The Green Boat, “Humans have spent 95% of our history as hunter-gatherers and we are still hardwired for this life. We are built to find food and shelter, reproduce, spot nearby dangers, and enjoy being with others. It’s almost impossible for us to grasp problems on a global scale with our Neolithic brains.” In other words, with the Neolithic consciousness perpetuated by the status quo, ignorance and denial are so much easier than facing up to the collective transformation required to get us out of this mess.
But here’s the deal, we can’t solve a problem that we refuse to discuss. We must break the spell of silence, feel the overwhelming grief that comes from losing what we love, and wake up to the radical actions required to transform this world.
Buddhist scholar and environmental activist Joanna Macy speaks of three cultural stories currently playing out:
1) The Story of Separation: This is the story that has removed humanity from the web of life. It’s a story of great ignorance that has us blindly carrying on with our consumptive, destructive ways.
2) The Great Unravelling: This is the story of breakdown that we are witnessing as antiquated cultural systems break apart. It is also the story of mass species extinction, ecosystem failure, and runaway climate change.
3) The Great Turning: This is the story that will transform our world. It is the shift in consciousness that is happening at an accelerated grassroots level where the patriarchal love of power is being transformed by the power of love. This love is balanced in wholeness and fueled by soulful activism, passion, resilience, simplicity, compassion, community, collaboration, creativity, and cocreation. It is the recognition that the time of the lone wolf is over and that we must work together in unity to create the more beautiful world our hearts know is possible.
The Great Turning is a powerful grassroots movement that is eluding the radar of mainstream culture because it has no leader and it isn’t visible as a single identifiable entity. Yet it’s laying the foundation for a new cultural nervous system based on our sacred connection to life.
To plug ourselves back into the web of life, we must remember that we are not humanity protecting the animals, the rainforest, the ocean, and the earth. We are the animals, the rainforest, the ocean, and the earth protecting themselves through our unique piece of autonomous humanity.
By falling deeply in love with the Earth, we reclaim our primal, nurturing instinct and become the force of nature that this world so desperately needs.
By choosing the story of The Great Turning, we become integral players in a grassroots revolution that will revive the pulse of the Earth. And as Margaret Mead once said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.
With our every word, choice, thought, and action, we have the power to heal or harm the world. We become Earth ambassadors every time we pick up litter from the beach, wear t-shirts with empowering messages, plant flowers in urban spaces, or request vegan meals in non-vegan restaurants. Our seemingly inconsequential actions are instrumental in changing our world.
As Paul Hawkin states in his book, Blessed Unrest, “The world seems to be looking for the big solution, which in itself is part of the problem since the most effective solutions are both local and systemic.” In other words, transformation begins with each and every single one of us.
The wildfires, drought, and obvious evidence of ocean imbalance in coastal British Columbia this past summer have left a permanent scar on my heart. With climate change in my front yard, I’m now fueled by a deeper hunger for transformation. Despite the pain I feel for the loss of the world I once knew, the events of this summer have shown me a level of resilience that I didn’t know I had. I’ve also connected with amazing like-minded people whose love for the Earth trumps all else.
In this week’s Unplug podcast I speak with my wonderful partner, Deb Gleason and local artist, fellow vegan, and passionate Earth lover, Gigi Hoeller. This week’s conversation is a frank, raw, open, and empowering conversation with three women learning to navigate an altered planet with resilience, hope, and grace.
We share our thoughts on topics such as:
• Navigating the deep grief that comes from an altered planet.
• The way through planetary grief is activism and service work.
• The greatest crisis of all is the crisis in consciousness.
• The three stories currently playing out in today’s world according to Joanna Macy.
• How consumption drives the bulk of our separation from the web of life.
• How pain catapults us into a more authentic direction.
• How we live in a culture that sets us up for addiction to prevent us from facing up to who we are.
• How we’re not killing the planet, we’re rendering it uninhabitable.
• How the time of the lone wolf is over and how we must surround ourselves with like-minded community.
• The transformative power of our vulnerability.
• How authenticity is contagious.
• The importance of like-minded community for safety and authentic emotional release.
• Daring to care and passionately living out loud.
• The truth about living simply.
• How uncertainty is the new normal.
• The healing power of presence.
Humans are the cancer, but we are also the cure. We can easily lay the foundation for an entirely new system based on the progressive ideas already created. We need only put our love for this planet – for all life – ahead of everything else. When we act from this place, miracles can happen. And what is a miracle? It’s quite simply an outcome outside of the realm of the mind, but readily available in our hearts.
Nobody can predict what the final outcome will be or whether we can even pull a miracle off at this 11th hour, but unless we act like it’s possible, we’ll never know. I know that I won’t go down without knowing that I gave it my all. I hope that you will join me!
Enjoy this week’s powerful conversation.
If Deb’s words hit home and you find value in her work, please donate: