Remember the nursery rhyme about Humpty Dumpty?
Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall, Humpty Dumpty had a great fall All the king's horses and all the king's men Couldn't put Humpty together again. They tried to push him up They tried to pull him up They tried to patch him up Couldn't put him back together again.
As I look at the breakdowns and unravelings we’re facing on all levels, in every arena we can name, this nursery rhyme is a good description of what we’re trying to do and how we’re trying to do it, with more and more intensity and less and less success.
Mission impossible? Yes, IF we keep doing the same thing over and over, like we have been, and expecting different results.
Let me explain what I mean when I say we’re doing the same thing over and over again. As I said in my previous blog, we’re operating on a defunct cultural operating system that’s dissolving. It’s based on the cultural story we’ve lived by for several thousand years.
Our defunct cultural story is that humans are superior to, and therefore have the right to dominate, all other beings on the planet, and some humans have more rights than others. This includes living from a scientific reductionist paradigm of the world, which (among other things) has meant being an expert and having the “right” answers is the only legitimate way to know and do anything. That has given us some remarkable accomplishments and also has some serious blind spots because it’s not true.
Filmmaker Damon Gameau’s TED Talk “The story that shapes your relationship with nature” powerfully unpacks this cultural myth and lays it bare. We’re living a collective story that humans are separate from and superior to nature, which is empirically false because humans are nature. Most people aren’t even aware they are inhabiting that story. He points out how, in spite of all kinds of evidence of the effects of our destruction of the earth, humans have continued to do what we have been doing because the facts don’t matter if they don’t fit the story we’re living by.
He ends by saying,
“But then, something remarkable happened. It started with the children, who began to skip school and take to the streets. It started with the farmers who chose to stop fighting nature and instead rebuild their soils. It started when the Indigenous people, who, for centuries, had been reminding everybody of their story, were finally being listened to. And it started when nature herself, through fires and storms, through droughts and rising waters, forced her way back into the people’s lives and demanded their respect. A new, regenerative story about human beings and nature was emerging. . .
“But of course, it wasn’t a new story at all. It was the retelling of an old story. But this time, the old story was supported by the science. . . The same scientific inquiry that had led to domination and extraction had gone so deep into nature’s bosom that it was revealing her secrets. And her secrets were divulging that she was anything but mechanistic. That she was deserving of the utmost reverence and respect. And that the original story had been right all along. . .
“Nobody knows how this new but old story ends because it is still being written. But if it is to have the Hollywood ending, if we are to break free from our cultural programming and pull off the miraculous comeback when all seems lost, then the new but old story will have to be rapidly spread throughout the culture. Because stories shape culture. Culture shapes leaders, leaders shape policies, and policies shape the system.”
This fits with what I’ve been seeing and saying for some time. From my perspective, our current cultural operating system is a result of an imbalance between the masculine and feminine energy. We have been overusing the masculine and disrespecting the feminine in a egocentric culture with the belief that we can, and should, control the earth and all other beings for our own self-interested, human-centric purposes.
Michael Meade says, “As human beings we live and we die in the context of the stories we tell about ourselves and the world.” Stories are how we make sense and meaning of our world and our lives. We need a new cultural mythology and story, because we’re dying trying to live in the current one.
From the Work That Reconnects: “We obviously can’t resolve these crises with our current worldviews and institutions, so we must look beyond the known to what is trying to emerge from the living system of Earth, knowing that we can neither predict nor control what will emerge from the creative interactions of the living systems of Earth. That’s how living systems evolve: through creative and unpredictable emergence.”
This is where Humpty Dumpty comes in. We’ve been trying to “fix” our dysfunctional culture by doing more and more disconnected, linear, masculine “solutions” without acknowledging the holism of the whole system. And please understand me—we sorely need healthy, radiant, masculine King energy at this time to be in a respectful, reverent partnership with healthy, radiant, feminine Queen energy. I’m very fortunate to know men who embody that healthy masculine energy, as well as women who embody that healthy feminine energy. What a gift to our world!
Shifting our paradigm starts with a newfound respect for nature-- changing our relationship from one of control and consumption to one of cooperation and symbiosis.
It can be scary to change this because we need to let go of stories and ways of being that feel familiar. However, if anyone thinks to “ask the Queen”, we’ll get different, life-giving answers than the ones we usually come up with.
"In assuming the role of masters of the planet, we humans have lost our place in the universe. From this misleading mindset, we've given ourselves permission to extract, to dominate, and to destroy the very life support system we depend on and of which we are part. We don't live in an ecosystem, we are part of an ecosystem. Ending human supremacy, locating ourselves as part of Nature rather than above it, and embracing the sacredness of all of life means that we are being called to an entirely different relationship with Mother Earth. What is needed now is not only the birth of new systems but a new kind of human being who is in touch with the values of the feminine because the birthing process happens through the feminine. . .
“. . .In her book Letters from the Infinite, Rev. Deborah Johnson distinguishes between building and birthing: “When you build (masculine), you are picturing and creating an outcome that you can control, and you build what services you. When you birth (feminine), you are bringing into existence something that unfolds, something over which you have no control, and you seek to serve it.” It is precisely the wisdom held in the feminine archetype needed to make the leap and give birth to a transformed world.” [Emphasis added]
I’m seeing more and more examples of what I call a “life-aligned” culture emerging based on respect, reverence, reciprocity, and responsibility for stewarding life and nature toward weaving a world of well-being for all.
For example, Janine Benyus, the co-founder of the Biomimicry Institute, says they continually ask the question, “What would nature do?” They say, “For eons, nature has solved its problems with well-adapted designs, life-friendly chemistry, and smart material and energy use. We exist to shine a light on nature’s genius, and bridge pressing design challenges with proven biological strategies for a better future. How do we make the act of asking nature’s advice a normal part of everyday inventing?”
Indigenous people have been doing this very effectively for thousands of years, of course. In her TED Talk, Lindsey Schneider explains that indigenous people are really good at managing for biodiversity and resilient ecosystems because they've had generation upon generation to test out what works and what doesn't, with a huge amount of evidence to back this up.
This article gives an example of how the Iowa Tribe of Kansas and Nebraska invested in regenerative agriculture over the past 10 years, reinvigorating the soil. In just 4½ years they literally grew inches and inches of deep black soil, taking carbon out of the atmosphere and putting it back into the soil where it actually is an economic resource.
In line with the indigenous orientation, Charles Eisenstein writes,
“For any being or any system to thrive, giving and receiving must be in a state of balance. The balance is not rigid or static; it is a state of dynamic equilibrium. By that principle, in the absence of reciprocity the manner of our taking does not much matter. Reciprocity means that we recirculate the beauty we take back to the world whence it came. . .adding to the world’s health, beauty, and aliveness. . .
“Devotion is what completes the circle of giving and receiving, feeding via human creativity the energies of nature back to their source. Otherwise, no energy technology will be benign. All will create imbalance. . . It is the devotional use of energy that brings giving and receiving into balance. When we do that, we will have passed the initiatory trial, and new sources of energy will become available to us. Until then, no new invention will save us. . .
“Devotion too needs nutriment. That nutriment comes from contemplation of the wonder, beauty, mystery, and magnificence of creation. Without it, devotion soon becomes a pantomime or a chore. . . Contemplating the beauty of creation is the most useful thing we can possibly do right now. It is not a substitute for useful action. It is the wellspring of useful action. When grateful awe inhabits us, we bring it to everything we do. We yearn to add to the magnificence, the aliveness, and the beauty we have unstintingly admired, and cannot bear anything that diminishes it. That is the source of devotion. That is the solution to the energy crisis.” [Emphasis added]
Last Christmas I read the Journey of Soul Initiation and was greatly impacted by Bill Plotkin’s framework that “Each individual Soul is a participant in Earth’s Soul.” That “landed” in me in a deep, profound way. With this, I feel and know myself as “one with the earth” and all the other beings, and feel connected with and love for the earth in a way I’ve never experienced before.
This is showing up for me in the way I’m relating to the land I’m living on now. I moved here 1½ years ago to a seriously neglected home and ¼ acre of land with the inspiration and commitment to regenerate it. My blog shortly after that reflects the transformation I was beginning to experience in relationship to this land.
Now I’m making another shift in my identity, and I am so alive with this! I have a deeper, more grounded sense of belonging to the earth, of being at home in my life and in this world, and feeling safe, secure, and connected. I’m learning about creating healthy soil, restoring the healthy water cycle, and caring for the land as a steward and partner with inner joy, ease, harmony, and being in the flow that I’ve never experienced before in doing “yard work”. I’m “doing” the activities from a conscious experience of “beingness”, of being “one with” and experiencing the wonder, mystery and beauty of creation.
To me, this is an example of what can happen when we “ask (and listen to) the Queen”.
I offer my work, including this blog, as a ministry for our cultural transformation, so I welcome your support with tax-deductible contributions here through my website, as well as your comments about this blog to email@example.com or through my website.
In the service of a life-aligned culture,