Here is something I heard recently, Junot Diaz in conversation with Krista Tippet, on On Being.
There’s nothing about our impoverished political systems, our imagined communities, that is going to be able to hold us together in the face of the coming storm of climate change. We need a lot more than we have. And the fact that so many of us are scared by our multiplicity shows you how much work we have to do.
Our multiplicity is our damn strength. There is no getting around it. People want to make it the danger. People want to make it the problem. No, it’s only going to be the problem if we don’t make it our strength. And you don’t want to be so fantastically reductive, but really, at an operational level, it’s really what it comes down to — either we’re going to embrace humanity and figure out how we can all live together and work together to overcome the damage that certain sectors of us have inflicted on the planet, or we’re not.
I don’t trust our politicians. I don’t trust our mainstream religious figures. I don’t trust our business leaders. I don’t trust any of the sort of folks who already have power and have already shown us how little they can do for us, and they’re showing us their cowardice and their avarice — I don’t trust any of those people.
But I do trust in the collective genius of all the people who have survived these wicked systems. I trust in that. I think from the bottom will the genius come that makes our ability to live with each other possible. I believe that with all my heart.
It’s a rigorous and deeply intelligent call to Radical Hope, to dismantling (or outgrowing) a power structure and system that has exploited entire communities of people, and to look for ways, urgently, and meaningfully, to work together.
I believe this is what’s at stake right now.
I don’t believe we can turn to any leaders to do this.
I think we have to do it, right here, together, in our little neighbourhood, in our backyard, with one another – with the people you might not notice, with the people you might have overlooked, with the people you might think are not actually part of YOUR community.
What a great challenge and privilege and call it is.
A boots-on-the-ground in-your-own-backyard call to saving the world.
I feel the call towards “reconciliation” is grounded in this – an urgent need to work together to look towards survival.
And in order to work together, we need to be willing to truly see each other, see the things we share in common, and hold space for our different stories.
This is our 2000th post to the Wellness Almanac. It’s taking a long time to cut to the chase. 🙂
The Buddhist scholar and deep ecologist, Joanna Macy, has called this time of environmental collapse The Great Turning.
And I think, what if that Great Turning is an invitation to turn towards each other?
Am I qualified to do this? To speak of this? No.
Just raising it makes me want to curl up into a ball, and shut the door of my house behind me, and drink a glass of wine and watch some TV and stop thinking so hard, and shush the voice that wants to speak up with a “who are you to be speaking of these things anyway? Just who do you think you are?”
Most of the time, I don’t know what the f*ck I’m doing.
But I took away one really profound learning from having a baby… the actual birthy part of it, and all the bits that have come since, the tending and parenting parts — none of which I am especially good at, none of which I am qualified for, all of which I am trying to do as best I can with so much love in me I am constantly surprised by it, as well as a hearty dose of fatigue, frustration, impatience and fear all bundled in the swirl of it all — there are no tools or props or special infallible techniques.
All that you need is within you.
Bring what you’ve got to the table.
It’s not enough.
But if we all bring what we’ve got to the table, and try to push love up front, and fear behind, we have a chance.