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Cultural Butterfly


How About a New World View for the New Year?

How Would Your Life Be Different If . . .

. . . if you absolutely knew, deep in your bones, that you are one with the Earth and all its creatures and it was the most alive, connected feeling-place you had ever experienced?

This probably sounds foreign because the Western worldview and culture we’ve created assumes the opposite of that knowing.

It might sound radical because it upends our identity as humans being superior to and in charge of this world.

In her blog Midwives To A New Future, Lynne Twist, the co-founder of the Pachamama Alliance, articulates this well:

"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.

“The birthing process is a great metaphor for our times and our role as midwives to a new future, which presents an awesome challenge. “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.” [emphasis mine]

“It is precisely the wisdom held in the feminine archetype needed to make the leap and give birth to a transformed world.”

This is what I’ve been seeing/sensing/knowing for some years. I’m experiencing it now with increasing intensity and urgency.

One obvious and automatic response to this could be that it’s another (huge) challenge to overcome by yet another “Hero's Journey”. We know well how to do that, and I say NO! Our cultural paradigm of being the "hero" and “omniscient conqueror" means we treat ourselves, each other, and the earth as commodities to be conquered, controlled, and consumed. That worldview/paradigm/story, with its reductionist, mechanistic mindset, is bankrupt.

Suzanne Anderson, founder of Mysterial Woman, writes: “When we reach the limits of a worldview that is no longer a match, this is the signal that growth is required. Evolutionary change happens because it must, and wants to happen for the better.” [emphasis mine]

From my perspective, that is what’s happening, and it's (way) past time for a new post-heroic worldview/paradigm/story to emerge, take root, and flourish. Fortunately, we’re not alone in this, and a new one is available IF we’re open to engaging with it.

This means hospicing the death of our current bankrupt Modernity worldview/paradigm/story, while at the same time also midwifing the birth of a new, life-giving one.

No small undertaking here! Do you think?

As Sarah McCrum says in her blog 2023 - A More Beautiful World, “We are truly on the edge of the unknown. Neither you nor I know how to do this next stage of life. There is no formula or precedent. That's the good news. For once, the people who appeared to have all the answers know as little as all the rest of us. Our mental models are inadequate for the task of shaping a beautiful future. Anything less than beautiful isn't worth engaging with.” [emphasis mine]

In that same vein, in his 1/2/2023 blog Steven Morris says, “It seems that we’re now Post-Pandemic, but we haven’t fully landed in a new reality. What got us here won’t get us there.” [emphasis mine]

So . . . IF we’re going to open to a new way of being (and doing), how would/will we do it? Automatically reverting to trying to plan and manage this process with linear, reductionist goals, objectives, and measurements won’t work because it is a whole-system, holistic, organismic, ecological process. It’s the distinction Lynne made in her blog above about the difference between the masculine (building) and feminine (birthing). Culturally, collectively, we don’t know how to do that.

However, here's one clue: in my personal journey, as well as other people’s journeys I know of, humility and surrender are critical, as well as very challenging. Our current dominant culture is highly egocentric, individualistic, independent, and superiority-driven, and basically “allergic” to humility and surrender. We have a great investment in being “expert” and “knowing it all” as part of our illusion that we (humans, especially particular humans) are superior and in control of Life.

I appreciate the way Michael Meade talks about surrender in Fate and Destiny, The Two Agreements of the Soul: "All meaningful change requires a genuine surrender. Yet, to surrender does not simply mean to give up; more to give up one's usual self and allow something other to enter and redeem the lesser sense of self. In surrendering, we fall to the bottom of our arguments and seek to touch the origin of our lives again. Only then can we see as we were meant to see, from the depth of the psyche where the genius resides, where the seeds of wisdom and purpose were planted before we were born." [emphasis mine]

This is not a small order! Are you up for this? Are WE up for this?

If so, here are a few “breadcrumbs on the trail” that I’m aware of, and these are only the tip of the iceberg.

In his essay “Neither Hero nor Journey”, Charles Eisenstein writes, “The main problem is that the Hero is a boy archetype, not a man archetype. We need to source guidance from more mature archetypes. There are other ways to develop a soul (individual or collective) besides to leave home and go off on an adventure. The story of humanity is bigger than our understanding. An outcome is available bigger than our design. An intelligence exists in the world beyond what we impose upon it.”

Yes, there are definitely other ways to develop an individual and collective soul. For thousands of years, indigenous people have been following a different, Earth-based way of Soul and Spirit, e.g. Eight differences between Indigenous and western worldviews.

Just a few examples:

A different example comes from Bill Plotkin in The Journey of Soul Initiation: A Field Guide for Visionaries, Evolutionaries, and Revolutionaries, in which he writes, “We must now collectively weave a cocoon for the metamorphosis of our own species.” His Animas Valley Institute offers nature-based journeys of soul initiation to help people live a Soulcentric/Ecocentric life, vs. an Egocentric life in our current conformist consumer culture. He has documented and described eight stages of Eco-Soulcentric adult development, each with its necessary tasks to complete, and makes the strong case that authentic adult development is totally distinct from someone reaching the usual societally-recognized markers.

As I engage this book, I feel a deep “YES!” with relief, relaxation, resonance, real aliveness, belonging, fullness, connection, and deep joy in a way I’ve never experienced before. It’s a surrender to knowing and accepting the truth that I am not separate; instead, I am an integral part of the earth and the more-than-human world and community. I am, finally, really HOME.

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