Hiking on a rugged mountain path, Yoho National Park, British Columbia
Remember that you are at an exceptional moment in a unique epoch,
and that you have this great happiness, this invaluable privilege,
of being present at the birth of a new world.
~ Sri Aurobindo
The joy of hiking on a rugged mountain path surrounded by dense forest and hidden bears is a good metaphor for our lives today. We live in a unique epoch where we are being confronted with the unprecedented experience, never done or known before, of observing our world change more massively and rapidly than ever. With burgeoning technology, unexpected pandemics, and aberrant weather patterns as examples, it is becoming more and more Important that we recognize and reckon with the nature of our global interconnectedness and interdependence. We live in a system where everything impacts everything else. We are witness to what is happening to our beloved – and only – home.
On January 1, 2023, I checked in with popular media. Three of the reports I saw were an interview on 60 minutes, a news clip, and a TV program on Nature. Together, they illustrate where we are today. Not good news.
The interview on 60 Minutes was with Paul Ehrlich, author of The Population Bomb. It was published in 1968. I was a senior at the University of Minnesota when he came here to speak. I attended. I only remember a paradox I experienced: I found what he was saying to seem like a huge exaggeration. Simultaneously, I had a knowing that what he was saying was likely true. He was talking about mass extinction then. He’s still talking about it today. When I started traveling the world in 1967, there were 3.5 billion people on the planet. Today there are 8 billion. The segment is entitled “Scientists say planet in midst of a sixth mass extinction.”
The news clip was entitled “Climate change before our eyes: Sounding the alarm as Mt. Rainer glaciers quickly fade.” The landscape in the video is stark and it’s representative of what’s happening to glaciers the world over. Just one of the impacts mentioned is how this rapid melting will affect the amount of water available. Another example is how Europe is having a heatwave and the Alps have had no snow for skiing this year. And then there’s the Arctic….
The TV program was “Nature Season 40 Episode 12: American Arctic.” Here are a few words from the program’s conclusion: “Across millions of years the earth has seen huge changes many times. The most recent was the Ice Age, 12,000 years ago. The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge protects Ice Age survivors: Polar bears, musk ox, Arctic foxes, and the spectacular caribou. [They are] holding out on the top of the world. Now, even for them, the Ice Age may finally be coming to an end.” [Followed by melancholic music.]
Over the next few years we will witness more global changes and more news about them as the amount of coverage accelerates and escalates in the mainstream media. An unfortunate assumption of the current story is that our future is likely a fait accompli; that we are doomed. And, of course, that assumption leads to feelings of overwhelm, bewilderment, fear, and hopelessness.
Thus, given the nature of human consciousness and how it impacts ‘reality’ both subtly and explicitly, it is imperative that we find, create, and communicate compelling, positive, real-in-this-lifetime stories that show how human ingenuity is being applied to climate change all over the world. One example is Plastic Revolution (Kenya). These are stories of hope, defiance of the status quo, of miracles, and of living in The Now. Stories of This Exceptional Moment. Such stories will attract and encourage us and others to deepen the purpose for which we came to be in this time and this place.
It’s seems to be easier to follow the myriad stories of global problems than it is to find good news stories. It takes more self-authority to live in a world where hope and possibility, miracles, and gratitude reign. Yet, together, both good news and bad are the yin and yang of what we are witnessing today. Therefore, I expect the emails for 2023 to focus on both states of the current conditions in our world and our stories about them.
Please, when you encounter stories of hope related to our global circumstance as we traverse This Exceptional Moment, I’d be grateful if you would send them to me. Thank you.
In 2023, may we:
- Gracefully face the world as it is today.
- Live into stories of hope with the knowledge that ‘reality’ is formed by where we place our focus and attention.
- Daily deepen our connections with other humans, animal and plant companions, the natural world, beings of other realms, and Mother Earth Herself.
- In gratitude, notice the myriad miracles that surround us every day.
- Go full-tilt, humbly and in joy, as we give our inborn gifts to the world.