Monthly Archives: February 2015

A Love Letter to “N”

By Diana Ellis

 

Dear N,

Have I told you lately how much I love you? Gosh, we’ve been going together for so long now – I think sometimes I just take you for granted, which is always a dangerous thing to do in a relationship!

I’ve been trying to remember the first time we met – that first time I noticed you, and started wondering about you. I think I was about 7. The family was living out on that cliff that overlooked Passage Island in Howe Sound. There was a big spar of a fir tree out front – our Eagle Tree – do you remember?

149814-stock-photo-child-nature-girl-forest-playing-kindergartenGosh, you were gorgeous – I would bury my toes in your thick green springy moss on that big rocky outcropping beside the house. I remember kneeling to smell that moss, parting it, lifting out a small chunk to find out it had many bits – fuzzy green tops, spindly furry legs reaching down to damp dark rootlets. How, I would ask my little self, could it be like this in the spring, then so completely dry, crunchy and golden in the summer – then soggy wet in the winter? I think now that you were teaching me about your seasons perhaps?

And the creek – do you remember your little creek, with all of its forks – on the forested back of the property? Playing engineer, I and my two brothers wreaked havoc on your creek – building our handmade earth and pebble dams, banging together weird wooden bridges in Dad’s workshop and dragging them out to install over the stream. You were so forgiving – eventually returning the landscape back to “normal” which gave us more opportunities to redo it! With rubber boots on, we’d go out to play at your creek all the time – to see how high it rose after big rains, and how it nearly dried up in summer, to catch your tadpoles in the quiet pools of spring – in big glass jars – your murky water with those little flitting critters inside. We learned words like erosion – flood – pool– gravity – frog.

And I remember, with a chill down my back now, how we’d always come in from the creek and forest before it got really dark – (and you made the forest really dark)– because I was sure each night you’d fill the forest with my private childhood fear – a sleek fast cougar, eager to chomp little girls! I’m not sure I’ve ever told you about the really scary “cougar bad dreams” I had. Hmmmm–I’m now thinking maybe you sent them to me?

And you were dangerous! I remember the way you shed those slidey arbutus leaves onto that skinny path leading down the steep slope to the rocky beach. Many times my running shoed feet slid on those leaves – making me aware of the edge! That would remind me to reach and grab those nearby fir tree branches to hold me back from a fall over the edge. You are such a double-dare tease – nearly pushing me over the edge and providing a hand-hold at the same time. And that rocky beach of yours, my first “being on all by myself” beach, that’s where you taught me to balance-walk on your big round boulders – how to choose which rock was not slippery, which rock was firmly placed, which would wiggle with my 8-year-old girl-weight landing on it. When I grew up I learned about the word “discernment” – – and realized I’d experienced its meaning walking that slidey steep path and the long boulder beach.

You already knew my Dad of course. He had learned how to work with you to grow things. From that time, when I was a little girl, until he was an old man, he’d tell and show me what he’d learned from you. That before anything else, plants need your soil to be nutritious for them to flourish. That you loved to be fed manure, seaweed, compost, our fireplace ashes. That you let some plants grow in the shade, and others in the sun. That you liked some seeds pushed in deep, others not so much. That your tomato plants produced more fruit when their suckers were pinched off. To learn this, he told me all I needed to do was to watch you – observe where the sun warmed you in spring, summer and fall, to know where you were naturally dry and where your rain pooled, what grew in your deep dark soil, what grew in your shallow sandy parts, and that you didn’t mind having your stiff clay soil broken up. Oh – the hours Dad and I spent together outside in your company – with all senses opened.

My dear N – my dear Nature – I could write you a love letter for each of the gardens you’ve taught me to grow, for every hike taken up your flanks, for every one of your sunny meadows I’ve napped on, for all your bodies of water crossed. But for now, please know that I will never take you for granted, and that I have always loved you.

With big gratitude,

Diana

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The Old Home Place

by Bob Worcester

Bob Worcester“Let’s visit the old farm,” said my sister as we breezed along the four lane freeway. We had spent a day kayaking the crystal clear Pine River in northern Minnesota and were about an hour’s side trip away from the grandparents’ old farm we visited often as children. Trygve, my nephew, was vaguely aware the farm was in the vicinity and was willing to postpone a reunion with his friends to touch down for an afternoon on a corner of our family history. It had been many years since I had last returned to that old home place with my new wife. It was a place rich in memories for me and though the landscape of childhood memories was vivid, I was not sure what I would find a generation later.

Sis and I found the turnoff to the now paved county road that was dusty with gravel and potholes in my memory. A few miles down the road the white farm house appeared right where it should be, the barn and some old out buildings were still standing. Arrivals then had always been marked by laughter, hugs, dogs, the warm smell of hay fields and barnyards but now the buildings were empty and the only sound was wind rustling through the grass and leaves. The farm had been sold to the neighbour’s boy who used it now for storage and the extra alfalfa to supplement his own farm just down the road. Still in the afternoon sunshine it looked much as I remembered though some essentials were missing. The rope swing was gone and the fire pit where we often ate outdoors had grown over. The bird feeder no longer hosted blue jays, chickadees and wood peckers that I watched before the hypnotic stare of television stole attention away from these marvels.the old place

I pointed out to Tryg where the garden had grown a lush with beans, carrots, cucumbers and corn. We found the place where before he was born chickens roosted and farm animals were called and fed. He was interested but puzzled. The time before his time was as hard for him to imagine as was the time after our time hard for us to comprehend. The horizon of hills and tree lines was much as remembered except that a new house was now visible where woods had once formed the southern border of the farm; to the north pine woods had reclaimed what had once been a field of hay. I half expected my grandma to come out and offer us fresh milk and cookies as she often had a lifetime ago. Instead, the neighbour’s boy drove up on his tractor and once assured that we had business there relaxed into reminiscence. “I knew your dad,” he said, “I grew up just down the road.” He was now a war veteran my age who had returned to a simpler life of backwoods farming, I envied his intimacy with this land that I had only visited on weeks during summer vacation and was visiting now after decades absence. “Can we look around?” I asked, aware of his property rights. “Sure,” he said, “just be careful of the electric fences.”

“Let’s go down to the river,” I suggested. It loomed large in my mind as the eastern boundary to the land I was allowed to explore freely as a child. A short walk across a hay field and a careful traverse of the new electric fence brought us to the bank of the Little Sandy River. Now it looked more mud than sand and its coffee coloured water was only a few metres wide and not more than waist deep. Across the river that had required a small boat to cross was the unfarmed wilderness of dark woods and forest creatures. There was the old oak where a bear had been treed by my grandfather, the place where an arrowhead had been found, and a cow path where I once came face-to-face with a quizzical fox. In the past 50 years I had crossed oceans, waded mountain streams much wider and deeper than the Little Sandy but here was where I had caught my first bullhead and imagined voyages rowing downstream to the Mississippi and the lakes we had trolled each summer for northern pike. As a child I could not imagine what lay beyond the woods on the far side of the river but now I had flown across the continent and knew from 30,000 feet what a small and unremarkable part of the world this northern woodland was. It was, however, the world my grandparents had filled with memories. My grandma knew the names of each wild flower and edible plant, just as grandpa knew and had named each of his farm animals. Grandma delighted in picnic trips a few miles to a lake or lookout. It was world enough for her and I can only remember her happy in it.

My own grandchildren may revisit our cabin in Howe Sound someday and wonder how we could have spent so many summers contented there. They may muse then as I do now about how quickly generations pass, about what changes and what does not. I can imagine my father fishing in the Little Sandy as a boy with a worm and a bobber, just as I have seen my son fly fishing in his rivers in British Columbia. I was shaped by these old woods and fields and by the freedom to roam around them unhindered. Now my grandchildren are beginning to roam their woods in Nova Scotia to find foxglove and lady slippers, turtles and chickadees.

At the old farm I do not see that changes have much improved it. The paved roads are not as dusty; one can drive up from the city now in a couple hours on a four-lane freeway but of course not many would. I am glad to have added mountains, coastal forests and sea islands to my store of memories. I am glad some of the memories have passed on another generation or two but the particulars of this old farm, the smells and sounds remain vividly my own.

We leave the farm as the shadows grow feeling renewed but sad for the sweet passing of time and loved ones. What was once a home has now become a story to tell the grandchildren. We stop nearby in the town cemetery to pay respects to the cold granite stones that mark what became of Hazel and Harold. It’s fitting that we return to the land we loved, fitting that we added a generation to the top soil that now grows new things. We grow ourselves from that soil and unfold in our own springtime for a season. We are a species that adds our experience to the experience of others in our stories and songs. Our stories may be unique yet they may also resonate for a moment in time with the experience of others until they fade finally to the long silence of the slowly flowing river and the deep starry sky.

Gifts I received

by Archana Datta

I have been a city girl all my life. I was born and raised in the city of Calcutta, now spelled Kolkata, which was in the state of Bengal in undivided India. The subcontinent became free in1947 but paid the price by dividing Bengal into two parts, West Bengal and East Pakistan. Calcutta remained in West Bengal. My family, and all extended families born and brought up in the east, lost their birth land forever.

Later, the Calcutta I experienced on visits home though was not of my liking. There were visits when Kolkata’s air was so smoky from burning coal for cooking and crude oil for transports that breathing was difficult. Travel by train was a nightmare for me because there was plastic strewn around by the tracks, miles after miles. Some streets had piles of waste and emanated unbearable stench.

On later visits I experienced much cleaner air because cooking coal had been replaced by natural gas; plastic bags were replaced by jute or reusable and more durable shopping bags; streets were cleaned more often; more trees have been planted. I could hear chirping of birds when I woke up mornings. Yet, I feel the city’s character changed. In my mind, Calcutta had lost its uniqueness. Bengal had a distinct identity in literature, language, way of living and thinking, art and culture that made me feel grateful and anchored. But that Calcutta has changed to the culture of consumers and unhealthy consumption of fast foods imitating American way. Ironically, North Americans are now trying to do exactly opposites. Calcutta, in my mind, lost her naturalness under the pressure of demands to raise the standard of living by finding resources to make money.

But I have no right to comment in a negative way because I did not follow the path of evolution of the country the way it is now. So I am going back to my original intent, that is, my memories of 50s and part of 60s before I left without knowing where my life experience will take me. I am going to write the way I remembered my city.

Now I live in Canada, one of the richest countries in the world, and in its most beautiful city, Vancouver. This city is blessed with majestic views of mountains; city beaches enjoy the intimacy of Pacific Ocean. Comparing their ‘natural’ beauty, my Calcutta never stood anywhere near Vancouver. But I do have beautiful memories. Memories of ‘nature’ around me in many forms and in people I grew up with. In my late years I changed my job to the profession of childhood educator. I observed their behavior and reflected it, learning a lot about myself. I realized in true sense, how important the childhood experiences are in shaping our character in later years. I realized then what valuable gifts I have inherited from my city of birth and the people who were my role models as I was growing up.

The Calcutta that I remember was a very livable city in that we could differentiate six seasons. The changes on the calendar we felt in so many ways. All around the year through six seasons, we enjoyed different flowers, different fruits or vegetables or fish, and different way of preparing foods suitable for health and wellbeing.

We knew it was summer (Grishmo) not on from the scorching hot days only but also by watching riots of colors in the sky radiating from flowering trees; or by relaxing in the aroma of white bel or juthi (jasmine) or in the evening gandhoraj (gardenia)—which means ‘aroma king’ in Bengali. In summer we ate a lot of bitter and sour stuff like bitter melon, neem leaves, tamarind or baked green mango drinks or coconut water. Some of those, like neem and bitter melon kept our body cool by working on bile secretion, we were told.

The second season was the Monsoon (Baursha). The sky became covered with low and heavy black clouds. Frighteningly beautiful jagged lightning bolts snaked across the sky followed by ear-piercing thunders. Then came the big drops and after that, water was poured over us from the sky as if someone had opened the floodgates. At the beginning of the rainy season we welcomed rain by getting drenched, drinking rain drops, singing or reciting poems, collected one or two kadambo flowers from a nearby tree on our way home. The pale yellow flowers looked like pompoms. As the season progressed, our spirits were deflated. Our everyday clothing did not dry crisp. We had to walk home in muddy water because buses are unable to run on the water-clogged streets. If we stayed home, we played board games (carom), ludo, or snakes and ladders, which usually were followed by plates of piping hot khichuri with all kinds of vegetables in it and fish fries. This was the season when we felt cold, and malaria was a real threat.

Then like magic, one day the sky would turn deep blue. The air became clean and the sunlight felt so welcoming. Pure white clouds, like fluffed up cotton bails, floated way up in the clear sky. On the ground, the kash grass grew tall, their crowns of white blossoms waved in the breeze as if calling us to go and play with them. The shiuli blossoms filled morning air with sweet scent. We knew it is the season of Saurot, our most cherished season. It is the season to welcome mother Durga and her entourage. Once a year she comes to assure her children on earth that she will protect them from all evils, which were personified as a buffalo demon.

I remember vividly the year we moved to a new home. My little brother and I went almost everyday, and watched the making of images of mother Durga and her entourage. Bamboo was split and tied with jute chord to make the structural forms of the images. Heaps of clay, dug out from riverbanks, formed the bodies. As the images dried, the finer transformative works started. Helpers became busy in making various items like ornaments with shola (the white pith of certain reeds, extremely light, and valuable for craft). Colours were extracted from fruits or vegetables or rocks and mixed with tree oils. Right in front of our eyes the whole entourage was assembled. Each image was bejeweled with what looked like real gold; painted folds of the clay looked like folds of a real sari. A board behind the images was transformed into an exquisite white lotus garden. The white shola, as if by magic, seemed to turn itself to white marble.

Hemonto was the pre winter month. The city would sleep a little longer under a blanket of fog. As the sun rose on the eastern sky, early risers could see the lifting of the thick fog which rose up in the sky. Marigolds of different shades of yellow, orange and red made the mornings bright. Dewdrops shone on the grass, on the flowers and on the green leaves and sparkled like hundreds of pearls. Nights were perceptively longer. This is the month we celebrated Dewali. Almost every household in the city or in the village, according to their capacity, decorated every possible corners of their dwellings with light. Many families kept an earthen oil lamp tied on a bamboo pole on the rooftop for whole month.

My uncle bought hundreds of small oval earthen lamps. All of us made wicks from soft, clean, used old cotton sarees torn into small squares. The pieces were moistened with minimum amount of water then rolled on the shins of our legs. It was so much fun. The slightly wet wicks needed about a day to dry. On the day of new moon we started to place the wicks in the lamps and poured mustard oil in them. Mustard oil was the cooking medium at that time and we also used it as body oil when our skin felt dry. By the evening the whole city shone like a lighted fresco against a dark canvas.

The day beddings were spread wide on large mats to soak the warmth of sun and I with my two little brothers would play ‘fort’ under the sun soaked warm blankets. Soon we knew that the season had changed. Sheet (winter) had arrived. Our second floor verandah would become a colorful gallery of flowers—the result of my mother’s labor of love now to be enjoyed by everyone. The house would become a busy beehive. Some time, neighbour ladies would join in an afternoon party and sit on a couple of charpoi (a low multipurpose, easy to store bed, with four wooden legs).

My initiation in knitting occurred during one of such parties with two pieces of dry but strong twigs that my uncle shaped and polished for easy use. I remember especially this time because my aunt was designing a pattern. I asked her what she was doing and what she will be doing with it. She said, “You will see.” I still remember that pink organdy frock conch shell pattern in shadow work adorning the lower edge and bodice of the frock.

I don’t recall until I started wearing a saree that I had ever had any ready-made frocks or sweaters or cardigans. They were always made by hand by my mother or somebody in the family. I watched my grandmother always busy and being helped by other aunts. They were either hand stitching a blanket made from old cotton sarees and dhotis, or shelling the pumpkin seeds to make snacks for later, or whipping up some finely blended ground dal (mainly dicotyledonous seeds of many colors) mixed with water. When the satisfactory consistency was reached, like a true artist Didima (Grandma) would put a dollop of the batter on lightly oiled brass or clay or rattan plates to dry in the sun. In Bengali these sun-dried blobs were called bori. This was one way of preserving food to be used for later time in varieties of vegetable dishes. Winter was a cheerful season with colors in gardens, on sweaters, cardigans, pullovers, shawls—the colors were fantastic. Winter also brought mouthwatering spicy dishes, a vacation out of Calcutta, the excitement of watching cricket matches.

Bausonto or spring would be the last season when air would start to warm up after ‘sheet’ (winter). We were aware that chicken pox might break out again and were regularly immunized. The herb neem became important. We used neem soap and ate buttered rice with crisply fried neem leaves. When my brother and I did get chicken pox, we were washed every day in warm water which had been boiled with neem leaves in it.

Then it was time to calm down. The year had rotated a full circle following the sun and the moon, the flowing winds in the air, the changing crops and vegetation on the land, the enduring life cycles of fish and animals. Nature produced a bounty that we felt deeply–body and mind was constantly renewed and much was recycled and reused. I learned to use only what I needed to keep myself healthy.

Looking back, I think I was naturally a part of nature in Calcutta. I came to a wealthy country and was dazzled by the abundance of everything—including the extent of waste. I was blinded by the power of advertising and purchased more ‘things’ than I needed to satisfy my ego—but luckily not for long. Some inner voice frequently whispered that I have a ‘lot’ to learn and did not know yet what that ‘lot’ was. I think I have touched part of that ‘lot’ through my childhood memories. The meaning of ‘less is more’ is becoming clearer. My poor country, my not so beautiful city, my family and friends, really gave me the best gifts that I could have.

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Getting real about our environmental predicament

by Carolyn Baker

Dr. Susanne Moser is a climate researcher at the University of California, Santa Cruz and author of numerous articles on environmental leadership, including Getting Real About it: Meeting The Psychological And Social Demands Of A World in Distress. After discovering this article I shared it far and wide because it articulates so much of what I have been writing and teaching. While the focus of the article is on environmental leadership, and although Moser casts this article in the light of climate change, it applies to all other global crises confronting our planet at this moment.

While grounded in hard science, Moser incorporates right-brain, intuitive exploration of the emotional and spiritual aspects of our predicament, not with an eye to providing us with a reassuring conclusion, but rather, to compelling us to “grow ourselves up,” a notion emphasized by ecopsychologist Bill Plotkin.

For example, here is a sobering quote from John Holdren, Obama’s science advisor, cited from a 2010 issue of The Economist: Facing the menace of growing, human-caused disruption of global climate, civilization has only three options: mitigation (taking steps to reduce the pace and the magnitude of the climatic changes we are causing); adaptation (taking steps to reduce the adverse impacts of the changes that occur); and suffering from impacts not modified by either mitigation or adaptation. We are already doing some of each and will do more of all, but what the mix wilt be depends on choices that society will make going forward. Avoiding increases in suffering that could become catastrophic will require large increases in the efforts devoted to both mitigation and adaptation.

As Moser notes, this is a choice between two kinds of transitions which leave us with two or maybe one-an-a-half different scenarios for the future: “…one, in which we have done too little too late, resulting in our communities, economies, and the ecosystems we depend on being overwhelmed by the pace and magnitude of climate change, and all attendant losses and disruptions in the transition to that future, we will experience a range of essential systems degrading over time, or collapsing outright, but in either case shifting into completely altered states. In the other scenario we will act very soon and very fast and thus experience radical changes in our energy, transportation, industrial and food systems, with deep implications for everything else we do how and where we live, how and what we eat, how we get around, how we interact, how we work, and how we take care of our health and illnesses. in a span of merely a few decades we will de-carbonize our lives completely. And while this happens, we will still experience significant impacts of eliminate change already set in motion from past emissions, and which we are committed to (lags in the system make the second scenario really just a modification of the first).”

Obviously, the human species at large is in no way prepared for these scenarios. My work would not exist if it were, and my work does exist because about five years ago I realized that someone must focus on emotional and spiritual preparation for confronting the consequences of our predicament in a world where so few individuals are willing to “grow themselves up” and get real about what is so.

As stated above, Moser’s focus in this article is on environmental leadership, and so she asks what it will mean to be an environmental leader in a collapsing world. She searches for the proper metaphor such as “Be a steward, shepherd, arbiter, crisis manager, grief counsellor, future builder?

Her answer is that the environmental leader will probably need to be all of these, and this is precisely what I have intended as I have consistently written and spoken about becoming an elder – a metaphor that arises from my affinity with indigenous traditions and the role of the elder as a steward of the culture on many levels.

As I have stated often, an elder is not necessarily an “older” but is mature enough to “get real” about what is so and be the steward/shepherd/arbiter/crisis manager grief counsellor/future builder, or whatever metaphor we may choose to describe someone who has “grown themselves up” enough to face the truth of our predicament and utilize his/her gifts to be an elder for the culture.

Moser quotes Bill McKibben who says that “We must accept the fact that the world we have known is going to change in hideous and damaging ways.” When people first begin waking up they often panic and want to fix the situation immediately by doing nothing in their lives but focusing fiercely on it. Rather, Moser suggests, “… coming to grips with the reality we now are in takes time, and it is critical that we give it a quiet space inside ourselves, and that we ground ourselves in the face of it with any practices of balance we may already have or could adopt.

Here, this climate scientist is re-emphasizing what I so doggedly asserted in Navigating the Coming Chaos, namely that we must build what I call, our “internal bunker” through developing our inner world in preparation for navigating our external one and that we must work consciously and creatively with our human emotions to ground ourselves for interaction with a civilization in chaos. This takes time and commitment and, yes, you may protest that we don’t have the time. But I would ask – time for what? Time to save the world tomorrow?

In the first place, the world can’t be saved, and certainly, not tomorrow. Moreover, if you are genuinely “getting real,” then you know that many more millions will die during and after collapse than will physically survive. As Moser notes, the landscape you will find yourself in, once you allow this realization to take hold, is a different one. Despair lives there, along with helplessness and anger, fear and disorientation, undoubtedly also unspeakable sadness. You are likely to came to recognize that this is a new time. The time before was one in which we insisted and relied on hope, on better tomorrows, in the US on the “American Dream.” Now we have to accept that “better tomorrows” may not come. It is akin to accepting one’s own mortality, maybe a doctor’s prognosls of one’s impending death, but on a much grander scale” (my emphasis)

The moment we begin to consider our own mortality, we are in the territory of emotional and spiritual preparation for collapse, whether we want to go there or not. At that point we need someone or something to help us navigate all the so-called “negative” emotions that surface, and we need support for finding and making meaning in every aspect of our lives.

Thus, after this section of her article, Moser immediately introduces “grief work,” and I would add, work with fear, anger and despair. What all of this is about is connecting with our deepest humanity and the deepest humanity of our fellow earthlings.

So we need to stop focusing on physical survival and focus instead on transition from the old paradigm to the new one. Why? Because, Moser notes: The transition framing, with its inherent need to let go of the old, a time of the new not yet being farmed, and the vision of a desirable outcome, this archetype of change provides us with a roadmap. Just having one will be a helpful thing. lf sets an intention. it aids in recognizing markers along the way: the signs of decay, people’s emotional reactions to it, experiments as seeds, the road blocks and setbacks, the emergence of innovative ways that foster social, ecological, and cultural renaissance, and the spectre of an ending (even if it is beyond our own lifetime). Such a roadmap helps sustain the inordinate persistence, authentic hope, and unprecedented commitment to moral action that will be required of everyone even though the transition time is uncomfortable and dangerous. It will evoke a very different kind of behaviour than merely “confronting collapse.”

Moser asserts that we need to grow our capacity to be with our own distress and to be with other people in distress. So often I have stated that psychotherapy as we know it today will probably not exist in ten years and that it is likely to be eclipsed by people coming together to engage in deep listening and deep truth telling.

Equally essential will be our ability to hold the tension of opposites. Readers of my work are certainly familiar with that notion, articulated beautifully here in the words of Dr. Moser: A logical concurrent demand then an future leaders will be to hold the paradoxes with which we all need to deal: with what is here and now and what could be globally and in the future; the distresses and jays in front of us and the possibilities of better o{ worse yet to came; the grief over what is being lost and the gratitude for what we still have; the fears that are inevitable and the hopes that we need; the practical realities of daily life and the vision of systemic change. in fact, a deliberate practice of visioning in the face of the unravelling will be a critically important practice.

Getting real about our predicament also means a willingness to answer the call of leadership in helping to hammer out what Clinton Callahan calls “the next culture”. For this reason, building one’s isolated doomstead or underground bunker is not only profoundly dangerous, but astoundingly unrealistic.

In Navigating the Coming Chaos, I emphasize that we cannot enter collapse consciously without deeply exploring our life purpose, our gifts, and our emotional landscape. Emotional and spiritual preparation is inextricably connected with the questions: Who do I want to be in the face of collapse? and What did I come here to do? lf you understand anything about collapse and are no longer living in denial, you are already an elder. The question is: are you willing to claim that role and live your life purpose to the best of your ability in collapse? Are you willing to fully “grow yourself up”?

And thus, Susanne Moser concludes the article with this: There is nothing easy about the path of a true leader in these times. Accepting the responsibility of leadership will be a heavy burden, and those who take it on must help shape realistic expectations of what a leader can do. Clearly this is not the kind of leadership that one takes on for the glary, the lure. and prestige of a top position. No one, not even the leaders, will have all the answers, and pretending to have them will be quickly unmasked. in the difficult times ahead, people may want quick and easy fixes, but what will sustain you and them are not flip answers, but quiet wisdom (Badaracco 2002). Who, who indeed, will be those leaders? Inside you, a voice may make an answer to this question, to our ravenous, beautiful world.

Posted by Don Marshall with the permission of the author