Questions that Matter
Welcome to the very first issue of TRANSCEND. This is a space where I share my thoughts on issues that I care about like Earth, Nature, spiritual development, and healing the insanity of humanity. I hope you find some good stuff here.
To start, I wonder if you ever feel like you just don’t fit into this crazy world? I have felt that way for most of my life. I just never had any interest in doing the whole corporate, normal job thing. Part of it was an innately entrepreneurial nature that liked to run my own schedule, but the bigger piece was a deep sense that the “normal” way of life in my part of the world was just too hard on the planet. I couldn’t just go along with that because I love this planet, and all the wild diversity of life she supports – I don’t mean just appreciate, or enjoy, I mean deeply, passionately love.
My entire career has been devoted to working to evolve humanity’s relationship with Nature. Over the past few years, I faced a bit of an existential crisis when I finally had to admit that all the environmental movement’s efforts to get businesses and governments to choose a saner course had failed. My work had failed.
The recent United Nation climate talks made it heart-breakingly clear that solutions aren’t going to come from broken political processes, big business, or consumption-addicted economic mechanisms. There is just too much buy-in to protecting the status quo, the “normal” way of life. The insanity of humanity runs too deep in the global consumption-based economy’s major power institutions and in most modern human cultures.
That’s why I launched my new project, The Rethink. When COVID struck, I knew “normal” as we’d known it was over and that didn’t make me sad or afraid but rather, oddly exhilarated. We needed a major disruption of the destructive collective trajectory. Exhilaration turned to delight when all over the world Nature started to rapidly heal and rebound as the virus forced us to hit pause on the rapacious global economy. Skies and waters cleared of pollution and wild species moved back into open spaces. As people stopped commuting and travelling and our vehicles stayed parked, the very surface of the planet quieted; scientists literally measured less trembling of Earth’s skin. Beautiful, clear, real-time evidence that the planet will heal if we take our collective foot of her back. To get a sense of how much possibility exists I highly recommend watching the documentary The Year Earth Changed. It will blow your mind how fast Earth and her beings can heal and how much better human lives could be if we change course.
At the same time, with programs like extended unemployment benefits and small business relief funds millions of people got a chance to see what it might be like not to have to grind all the time just to pay basic bills. Over the past two years huge numbers of people have left meaningless, low-paid jobs in pursuit of something more fulfilling and aspirational. It was a chance for millions to ask the underlying important question, “was the economy working for us, or have we just been working for the economy?”
Many of us have COVID to thank for strengthening ties with our neighbors and friends and being reminded that community is one of the most precious currencies.
Not surprisingly, the response from political leaders and status quo interests was to do everything possible to get us “back to normal” and to get the economy growing, wasting, and polluting again, to ratchet up the GDP. Of course, that’s a fundamentally insane approach on a planet already made ill by our constant pursuit of limitless economic growth. Our trajectory has to change.
And change it will, one way or another. In fact, radical change is already under way – changes in and on the Earth, changes in relationships among nations, changes in human consciousness. Some of these are already very difficult and are going to become more so. However, some are laying the foundation for birthing a better world and ways of being. We don’t hear about it on mainstream media but there’s a whole New Economy movement underway. Many of the new world-builders don’t even know they’re part of it. This movement for a world that works better for all beings is robust and gaining momentum as more and more people, entrepreneurs, businesses and organizations say, “enough is enough” and get busy creating healthier, more equitable, more beautiful ways of making a living, doing business, and doing good.
We are living in an extraordinary time of change and pressure and potential. What’s needed in this time is a shift in consciousness, an evolution in modern humanity’s understanding of our place in, and relationship to the rest of Nature. This will not come from governmental programs, but rather from a massive groundswell of people thinking and acting differently. As old norms crack, we, those of us alive right now, have a genuine, powerful opportunity to create a better more beautiful world.
It’s been said that if you ask the wrong questions the answers don’t matter. Unfortunately, we live in a time when elected leaders, major media, and even most well-meaning non-profit organizations fail to ask the deeper questions. Taking on deep, uncomfortable, paradigm-challenging questions and issues is my specialty. Instead of “How do we get the economy growing?” We should be asking, “Should we get the economy growing given that it requires the desecration of nature to do so?” I encourage people to ask, “What’s the economy for anyway?” Should we be shipping plastic stuff back and forth across our oceans on thousands of massive cargo ships carrying millions of containers of stuff? Shouldn’t it matter that when COVID led to a decrease in shipping traffic humpback whales changed and expanded their songs because they could hear one another again? Mothers were more successful raising healthy babies because they were able to leave the calves and group together to hunt as a team. They did this because they could hear and check in with their babies for the first time in decades. Shouldn’t we change the way we do things so that other species can actually hear, and thrive?
I’m also increasingly unabashed in talking about the spiritual component and the role of collective consciousness in navigating through this pivotal time. Climate change and the desecration of nature are not political issues; they are spiritual and moral issues.
This is indeed a challenging, tumultuous time, but also a time of profound possibility. It will not be easy to reinvent the world, but with love and firm intention we can do it. This is the time to transcend.
Here’s a little parting gift:
Guide to Living Well in Transformational (possibly Transcendent) Times
· Nourish community. Engage and build relationships. These connections add support and richness to our lives and are especially important during times of profound change.
· Notice beauty, celebrate, love Nature (everywhere you can). We are a biophilic species.
· Learn about what new world supporting organizations are doing and apply those measures in ways large or small as you can. Some of those are listed on The ReThink.
· Nourish yourself as a spiritual being in whatever manner brings you joy and growth.
· Spend some time imagining the new, more beautiful world you want. All things are created twice – once in imagination and then in the material. Imagination has tremendous power.
If you are one of us who don’t feel you fit in to this crazy world CELEBRATE! You get to be part of creating something far, far better.
With reverence and hope for this extraordinary time,
Wow! Great piece Cylvia! Thanks for taking the time to write it, I'm subscribing NOW! I felt an instant calm come over me not halfway through reading your piece! Even heard a bird singing outside my office window, just because I was listening! Well worth my time and the subscription rate! Thank you!
I like what you've written in your first post Cylvia. I heard you speak eloquently at Lane Community College in Eugene many years ago at an Energy summit. Glad to see you continuing forward, inspiring me and others!