Our time to come alive…

Transition Voice

This is an amazing time to be alive!

“Yeah, right,” my inner cynic says, “crumbling economy, peak oil, peak everything, melting ice caps, mass extinctions…”

The list goes on and on, all woven together, I remind my cynic within, by the fact that we’re living in a time when the old is crumbling, which is when there’s the greatest opportunity to create something new.

And that is an amazing time to be alive!

If you’re alive today, you’re part of this Great Unraveling/ Great Turning, or whatever we choose to call it. If, like me, you’re middle aged or beyond, we’ve lived through the apex of a global empire now passed irrevocably into decline.

When exactly that point of turning was passed is the topic of many discussions. I’m not sure how important it is to know the precise point. We know that something big happened on the way down with the economic crisis of 2008, even if the mainstream economic pundits keep assuring us that prosperity is just around the corner.

We’re experiencing this great crumbling from within, and that’s a very good (if at times painful) thing. In times of crumbling, when the old way of being and doing can no longer hold itself, can no longer hold us in its grip, there’s greater fluidity, a greater opening. In times like these even small actions can reverberate widely into the future.

That makes it an amazing time to be alive.

The gift

Think about all the humans that have ever lived. They lived through times of joy and plenty, through wars, famines, natural disasters. They lived through the rise and crumbling of empires.  Yet none of them lived in a time like ours.

We live in a time of the crumbling of a global empire unprecedented in its scope. It’s an empire that knitted the human experiment together in ways unimaginable to previous empires whose reach encompassed only part of our earth. We live at the turning-crumbling point of an empire built on a way of thinking-living-being that some say began with the industrial age. Others trace its origins to the beginnings of agriculture, with its concurrent rise of hierarchy, patriarchy and private ownership of land.

There’s a vastness of historical sweep to what’s happening right now. Such times don’t come along every day.

Think about it! Galileo didn’t get to live in these times. Rilke didn’t get to live in these times. Jesus Christ and Buddha didn’t get to live in these times. Yet you and I do get to live in these times, with their long view of history.

What will we do with this incredible gift?

It’s this vastness in sweep that allows us to see, in a way previous generations couldn’t, the trajectory of our civilization’s way of being and doing, and its results.

This same vastness of sweep opens an opportunity for deep visioning of the new. It calls for a fundamental change in the way humanity has defined and experienced itself for centuries, perhaps millenniums, a change that goes to the core of what it means to be human.

A vast sweep

Yet the magnitude of this Great Turning stretches beyond the reach of human history.

Humanity has lived through times of extreme climate change. Yet never before have we lived through a time of global climate change created by our dominant culture, civilization and its values.

We’ll be known as the apex and turning of the time when humanity brought about mass extinctions and radical climate change through the dominant beliefs and behaviors of the dominant culture – that hierarchy and dominance were natural and even good, and that the best, and in fact only way to be in relation to the earth, was to take from it for our immediate gratification, with no regard for the long term impact even though we could project what those impacts would likely be.

There’s a vastness of scope to the new story crying out to be written, as vast as the change now happening to our planet.

In the history of life on our planet, periods of mass extinction were followed by periods of abundant evolutionary growth. The extinction of the dinosaurs opened the way for the rise of mammals. In the same way, the crumbling of this global empire opens the way for new ideas and practices rooted in knowing humanity as one group of beings nestled among many other kinds of beings within a living being we call Earth nestled within an even grander living being we call the Universe.

What will we do with this incredible gift?

New visions

We live in a time when the stories and mythologies of this great juncture are yet to be written.

People are already writing and telling of these times. Some of my personal favorites are Brian Swimme, Thomas Barry, Joanna Macy, Bill Plotkin. There are many others, and more joining in all the time. Each of us has a voice in this grand tapestry.

There’s an abundance of visioning now emerging from our collective human imagination. It’s a time when much has already been created, is being created, that points the way toward birthing new ways of being and doing in relation to the earth and each other. It’s a project as vast as a re-visioning of what it means to be human.

You, me, we

If you’re alive today, you’re living within the vastness in this moment. That means you have something to offer these times and what you have to give can have much greater impact than if we lived in “normal” times of turmoil.

Hold that in your heart, in your breath, in your upturned palm.

We are the ones gifted with this long vision of the human endeavor on this planet we call earth, within this galaxy we call the Milky Way, within this grand mysterious living being we call the Universe.

I’m awed and humbled by the fact that I’m alive today.

We live in a time when each of our voices and visions are vitally needed for earth’s and humanity’s future. It’s a time when the question is not so much how do we survive the demise of what has been as how do we each contribute to what is new and arising. Rooting ourselves in what we bring to these times and share with the future is much more than a way to anchor ourselves through the storms of this great crumbling.

You may already have an understanding of your gifts and how you bring them to this world. You may be gathering clues and listening to your intuition. You may be in one of those moments in your life when who your are and what you give expands, shifts or changes directions. You may be just beginning to ask this question.

Wherever you are, it’s a magic moment in the vastness of time.

We are all dancing on history’s edge, weaving the new story with our words and songs, dreams and visions.

This is an amazing time to be alive!