Birth, life, and death in one photo. Cedar Lake Forest, Minneapolis, MN


Following is a glimpse into some content of Session 4 of
“Consciously Participating in the Evolution of Life.”


As with biological birth, labor can be painful and frightening…
filled with contractions, pain, and the unknown. Yet, simultaneously,
it is filled with beauty and miracle, wonder and hope.
~ Barbara Shipka, Global Midwifery, 1999


We live in a time where a global transformation is in progress. These days we use the term ‘transformation’ rather liberally and even apply it to predictable or planned forms of change. However, transformation is a special kind of change. It is novel, unpredictable, unplanned, and will have an outcome that is, as yet, unknown. By definition, transformation signifies a death and rebirth. It is the phoenix that rises out of the ashes. Thus, transition and transformation are different. As an example of transition, when water is frozen it transitions to ice. Then the ice can easily transition back to water again. However, when wood is put into a fire, it is transformed into ashes. It cannot return to the wood it once was.

A key indicator of this global transformation is global crises, whether human or Earth initiated. These crises are interactive and interdependent. This means they impact each other. David Korten has written about three interlocking crises: poverty, communal violence, and environmental degradation. He points out how, when we have any one of the three, the other two will result. At this moment, The Ukraine is a perfect example – as horrible an example as it is – that is both local and global. Locally, communal violence has resulted in physical poverty and environmental degradation for the Ukrainian people. Globally it has led to food shortages, angst about the future, and billions of dollars spent on weapons of war.

Over the last few years we’ve been experiencing other significant global crises as well. Recognized or not, almost no one on earth has been left untouched. Our interdependence is ‘in our faces’. One key example is climate change and how it affects the weather, the environment, and so many of us. Recently, for example, there have been conversations where less developed countries are seeking restitution from more developed countries based on levels of contribution of carbon to the atmosphere. After all, carbon emissions carried by the wind don’t ‘respect’ national boundaries.

Yet, in what may seem like paradox, such crises also provide gateways for us to become more conscious and to enter more deeply into our individual and collective raison d’etre, our reason for being. To return to the Ukraine example, the war has also resulted in our opportunity to witness cooperation amongst the nations of NATO and examples of strong, humanitarian leadership.

Yes, a global transformation is in progress. And as a result, we ARE experiencing it. In that, we have no choice. Where choice enters is in HOW we choose to experience it. It doesn’t matter whether we participate obviously or subtly; whether we participate in our local communities or on the world stage. The point is that we each make a conscious choice to play the role we choose – and were chosen for – whether as global midwives, global husbands, or both.

Midwifery means to assist in birthing; to bring forth or to bring about. Husbandry, on the other hand, means ongoing care of the home; cultivation and conservation. Until recently, global sustainability has been focused primarily on maintaining, repairing, and saving what we currently have. Of course, this is essential! It defines husbandry. Simultaneously, we are learning how to attend more and more to what wants to be born at this pivotal time. This defines midwifery. Midwifery and husbandry each represent one-half of a larger whole. Yin and yang. Global Midwifery and Global Husbandry are loving and complementary forms of service. Each is performed by both women and men. We need both. And, not so incidentally, together, Global Midwives and Global Husbands are also capable of providing hospice care for that which wants or needs to die.

As with biological birth, this global time of labor is most likely to contain contractions, pain, and the unknown. Yet, for the baby, the comfort of the womb is no longer an option. It is time to be born. The miracle of birth! Filled with Beauty, Joy and Mystery, Wonder and Hope. May we midwife this healthy new world into being even as we also husband the world we have. That’s what we are participating in at this time. Wow!

Remember that you are in this 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


New buds of the spring, an ongoing flourishing stem, and dead leaves from last year.
Birth, life, and death in one photo. Cedar Lake Forest, Minneapolis, MN