FROM EMERGENCY TO EMERGENCE
Article Originally Published in Green Spirit Magazine
The Story That Unites
I was awoken in the early hours of the morning by a collective voice in my head. The ancestors were calling me from my slumber. I was visiting a friend in the mountains of Montana. It was March. Snow was still lying on the ground and capping the tops of the Rockies that curled around the house like the embrace of a lover. The voice asked me to rise and go outside. After a moment of hesitation I dressed, emerging from the house into a bright clear, mountain dawn.
Drawing breath at the splendour of the scene around me, I walked barefoot across grass crisp with frost. The moon hung as a crescent, low in the purple sky and the morning stars were still visible above me. As the first rays of the rose gold sunshine kissed the slopes of the mountains awake, I found myself approaching the wooden fence where my friend’s horse Epona was waiting for me. Dark bay in colour with a white lightning bolt on her forelock, she walked gently across the pasture to greet me. Moving slowly, guided by a force greater than my intellect, I found myself leaning forwards. Instead of the predictable human action of reaching my hand out to ‘pet’, my head kept going. I found myself face to face, until my forehead touched that of my horse friend.
Time hung still. I don’t remember noticing any sound, except that of our collective heart beat felt skin to skin. We rested there in communion for what seemed like an eternity although it was probably only 15 seconds in the ‘real world’. We were peaceful, living, connected. As I started to lift my head up to gaze into Epona’s dark, soft brown eyes, I heard the voice speak once again.
“You must tell the story that unites.” They said.
Their words vibrated across the valley.
Emergency or Emergence?
It is obvious to many of us that we are facing ‘emergencies’ of various states and forms across our beautiful planet. Whether this is through the destruction of ecosystems and ancient habitats for agriculture or mining, the increasingly unfair distribution of wealth across social demographics, or the disintegration of communities in our increasingly urbanised landscapes, we are all feeling the stress of our times of change. It is the outward reflection of a much deeper inward process.
For me, the trouble begins when I forget that change is the basic process of life on Earth. Whether we call this ‘evolution’ or ‘adaptation’ or ‘progress’, all species, all life forms and consciousness on this planet are subject to constant transformation. How we experience this process is governed almost entirely by the stories we tell and the meaning we make. Whether we see the process of change as destructive or innovative (or both!) very much depends on our worldview and evolutionary narrative. Basic psychology advises that our beliefs inform our thinking patterns, which in turn create the emotional terrain we inhabit, and the choices we subsequently make.
Do you feel at the mercy of planetary change and therefore overwhelmed and helpless, while choosing to do nothing? Do you feel guilty and ashamed at how humans have disrespected and degraded the very life systems on which we depend, often finding yourself on a ‘save the world’ soapbox? Perhaps instead you are able to sense a gradually ascending spiral of consciousness emerging on the planet, one that harnesses emergency and crisis as catalysts for positive transformation? Most often, we oscillate between a combination of these stories and it’s natural to feel the resulting confusion, stress and doubt.
“As within, so without.”
I find myself repeating this hermetic phrase a lot these days. It has become a mantra of memory as I work with people all over the globe to ‘restory’ what it means to move from emergency to emergence. Restorying is the practice and process of making new (modern) meaning from ancient wisdom. It begins with the restoration of our individual sense of connection to the wider world and our unique place within it. Without this first step, we continue to simply repeat the patterns and narratives of others, having no sense of personal authenticity, integrity or instinct. As we embark on the life adventure to rediscover our personal storyline amongst the noise and distraction of society, we remember our innate life force and well spring of inspiration that carries us through the dark times. We tap into inner resilience and self-responsibility in an embodied way that forever dispels the victim archetype. We regain a sense of control and agency in the world. It is only then that Me can be effectively placed in service of We.
In reconnecting to a deeper sense of purpose, ‘We’ are able to become cultural translators, finding ways to serve and inspire the transformation of the whole – whether that ‘whole’ is our community, culture, environment or evolutionary ecosystem. Me becomes the dropped stone that ripples outwards into the lake of consciousness on our planet. We begin to restore a sense of ‘Us’ as an interconnected human and ‘more than human’ family. New science, particularly in the realms of quantum physics, is in the process of converging with spirituality and pointing us towards this unified nature of life. In this worldview, Me, We, Us and All are interconnected, interdependent and interrelated. There is no-thing that you (Me) can think, feel, do or say that does not automatically affect the whole of life on Earth.
Stop a moment and really take that story in.
Roll it around in your mind, emotions, body and soul for a few days and see what happens. I believe that the adventure of a life lived beautifully, respectfully and well is one where we come to an increasing gnosis of this universal truth. Once we have understanding, our actions and impacts automatically align for the benefit of the whole.
The process, however, is often easier said than done. After millennia of living within stories of separation, human dominance and a mechanistic worldview many of us are inwardly (and often unconsciously) resistant to the idea that we can work on the microcosm of our self and have everything change. And I mean EVERYTHING.
Life is experienced and created from the inside out.
Stepping into a unified and interconnected whole worldview requires that we take ultimate self and collective responsibility at both the micro and macro scales of life. It means that we must put our stories under the microscope on a regular basis to see how our level of consciousness and unconsciousness affects everyone and everything on Earth. Next time you find yourself in the middle of an experience that you don’t like, stop and reflect on the stories you are holding inside that are creating it. We must continually explore who we are, what we stand for and who we stand with as we engage and experiment in new forms and systems of life.
Ultimately, the telling and making of the story that unites requires us to walk our talk and to surrender our need to be in control. To bravely put one foot in front of the other, each and every day of our lives, breathing deeply and responding to challenge and adversity with as much loving resilience as we can muster. It asks us to never give up. To trust that we are on a personal and collective journey of evolution.
One that is beautiful and unique.
One where our current emergencies are the very things that will catalyse our future.
One where we get to choose how we restory what it means to be human.