Responding to the needs of a troubled planet
by Debra A. Harkins and Kelly Nezat
Ring the bells that still can ring.
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in.
In the darkest of days, the darkest of times, the darkest of pain, the light pushes through the cracks of an oppressive hegemonic system. We don’t get to choose the times and the events in our lives but we do get to choose how we engage them. In the darkest of times, the lights that still shine, shine even brighter as possibilities that were once hidden in the noise of everyday living. In the midst of this global pandemic, we can see light peeking through the darkness giving us the rarest of opportunities for our collective consciousness to emerge. A space where we can co-create a better world, where it is easier for us to love, unite and support each other.
No one can deny the crisis we’re in now as a nation and as a world. As we disconnect further from our planet, from each other, from ourselves, we sink deeper and deeper into a crushing spiritual crisis. As we suffer from a spiritual hunger brought on by ever deepening oppressive forces, we recognize the need to be able to express ourselves and engage more meaningfully in the world. We see this deep spiritual crisis brought on by our extreme individualism, our obsession with materialism, and our narrow focus on thinking as pregnant with possibility.
To say that we are in unprecedented times is an understatement. However, to say that any of this is unexpected, catastrophic, or a doomsday scenario is missing the opportunities that difficult times present. It is historically true that much of the great innovations, advancements, and society-changing actions have come because of, not despite, these difficult times. So, what is possible for all of us to achieve at this time? Why are we in need of these changes? How are we going to accomplish what needs to happen? And, what are the potential positive outcomes that can occur if we approach this collective challenge in a good way? These are the questions for our time that promise the best possible outcomes in the worst of possible scenarios.
Collectively, each of us has a vast and varied array of talents, wisdom, capabilities, and networks that we can offer. We have been slowly edging our way out of a capitalistic culture that is dominated by greed, selfishness, and division. We are now being offered the opportunity to come together in a good way and be mutually supportive. Or we will double-down on our biases, prejudices, fears, and give into the detrimental effects of anxiety and shock. The choice is ours to make.
We have what it takes to make great and powerful changes. This is our time to make real what was once a distant dream, a glimmer of hope, or an illusive promise. What we do now will not only be a part of our story, our shared history. It will also play a part in what is to become our future. There is no certain outcome. There is no defined path. There are many options that we can engage to create the best possible outcome.
Things falling apart is a kind of testing and also a kind of healing. We think that the point is to pass the test or to overcome the problem, but the truth is that things don’t really get solved. They come together and they fall apart. Then they come together again and fall apart again. It’s just like that. The healing comes from letting there be room for all of this to happen: room for grief, for relief, for misery, for joy.” — Pema Chodron
We’ve been dealing with the challenges of modern society for a long time. None of the chaos, the partisanship, the duplicity, nor the exasperating finger-pointing is new to any of us. Except, in these times of major upheaval, these problems are amplified and exacerbated. Each of us has been doing our best to manage our world, as is. Yet, we are at a point where none of us can do this on our own. Our individualistic, capitalist society is meeting its dark-side, its weak-spot, its greatest enemy- us. We will not survive unless we learn how to come together in a mutually supportive way. We must be liberated from the old ways that threaten our very survival but engaging in this transformational work cannot be done alone. Working alone is the old way, it is the way that got us into the mess we’re in now.
Many “new” and ancient traditions are sprouting up within various fields, within the arts and sciences including: quantum physics, epigenetics, systems biology, integral theory, mimetics, biomimicry, biocentrism, biosemiotics, aboriginal wisdom traditions, shamanic practices, neurolinguistic programming, permaculture, critical social sciences, education, and feminism are willing to explore the bridge between Western thought and Eastern metaphysics. We are finally breaking out of the false dichotomy that has kept us bound to an outmoded view of who we are and what we are becoming. Like dissected pieces, we’ve seen ourselves, each other, and the aspects of our lives as separate parts rather than intrinsically united aspects of a whole system. The space between us is coming to life and informing a more empowered and informed field of connection. It is the rise of collaborative intelligence that will unite us in our unique knowing, offerings, and abilities while giving rise to a path forward that guides us all in a harmonious and balanced way.
Let us make our common enemy the forces of darkness that threaten to destroy our ecosystem, our humanity, and our survival. All elements are interdependent, all woven into and out of one matrix of existence.
Let us focus our work on restoring our beautiful planet into a healthy one. We can no longer survive treating all of nature as a commodity.
Let us work to love one another as we love to be loved. Our power, like all of nature, is in our diversity and mutuality.
Let us acknowledge and reflect on our collective disappointment, our sense of betrayal, our anger and even our humiliation at falling for false prophets, for not staying in touch with our own power, our own social worth, and our own authority that exists through our collective being. In order to change our worlds, we must be willing and able to acknowledge all that threatens balance and harmony.
Let us get in touch with a global consciousness that brings our collective knowledge together. We need a way of connecting that brings science and spirituality together, that brings thinking, feeling, sensory-awareness, and intuition onto the same dynamic field of experience. It is time to acknowledge how our shared socio-historical and cultural context shapes our ability to think, feel and act.
Imagine a world where we realize that our conflicts with each other are really just our fear of losing our personal power to a collective reality. As understandable as this survival fear is to the ego, it is vital to the thriving spirit that we let go of our isolation. It is time to release our fears of failure, of being wrong, of being increasingly replaceable and irrelevant, of becoming destitute. These fears will only serve to draw us into a small, reactive, and defensive mode of functioning while blocking us from accessing the wisest and most functional aspects of our minds. We must let go of our fear of rising against oppressive and destructive forces — especially when those forces are found within our own nature.
Know the enemy and know yourself. -Sun Tzu
Imagine a world where we are encouraged to take responsibility for our actions and support those around us. Imagine a place where we come to understand, truly, that you are me and I am you, and that when I help you, I help myself and when you help me, you help yourself. There is no greater medicine that can rise from our current challenge than to remember the awesome power of our collective interdependency. The time is now for all who know that they are here to make a positive difference in their world to rise and join in support, in whatever way they can. The place to begin is where you are now. And with this wonderfully connected world, our lights will shine exponentially brighter to illuminate the path forward for all of us. We honor your commitment to make a better world and support others in need. We are here in support of you.
“Here’s to the bridge-builders, the hand-holders, the light-bringers, those extraordinary souls wrapped in ordinary lives who quietly weave threads of humanity into an inhumane world. They are the unsung heroes in a world at war with itself. They are the whisperers of hope that peace is possible. Look for them in this present darkness. Light your candle with their flame. And then go. Build bridges. Hold hands. Bring light to a dark and desperate world. Be the hero you are looking for.”― L.R. Knost