“The truth is that things are massively changing and will continue to in this lifetime. It’s time to step out of the ignorance and denial, face the fear that arises out of the reality, process the grief, and then TAKE ACTION. What other choice do we have?”
By Becca Dakini
We are in a field of collective grief, mourning for the life we had hoped we would be able to lead. This Coronavirus crisis is just the start, and is a frightening prequel to a life of disruption and unknowing. That’s the realization that’s gnawing away in the background of now, for most of us — whether we are conscious of it or not. It’s what I’ve realized is behind the anxiety I’m experiencing on a daily basis. I cannot see what is ahead, and have a feeling of foreboding about what’s next.
Realizing that the script has permanently flipped and our future is deeply uncertain, we don’t know if we, or our beautiful biosphere will make it. Realizing that this is the new “normal”, and the “good times” have now potentially come and gone for our civilization — is a lot to stomach. Fleeting moments of joy and security may be possible, but they will be farther and fewer between from now on.
We can avoid focusing on that as much as we like, but it won’t stop the inevitable from hitting us in the face like the fires in Australia just did, and this global pandemic just did as well. We need to internally AND externally prepare for a life of change, disruption, challenges, and a whole new landscape. We can’t just switch on Netflix and it will all just go away.
Through this Coronavirus crisis, I feel like we are only just now starting to all “get with the program” of our current reality — whether we like it or not. And the program is not what I would have chosen for myself in this lifetime. Or for you, dear reader. But it seems maybe I signed up for it, even though consciously I can’t believe I ever would have. And maybe you did too. And if it wasn’t I that chose this reality, maybe it was my ancestors that chose this for me through their apathy, their willingness to trust the powers that be, or through their choices based on greed. Or maybe it was just through sheer naivety and innocence. Or was it through manipulation? I don’t know — but here we find ourselves and there’s no stopping this train we are on.
It has dawned on me that we can’t plan as our ancestors did, for a normal life. I wish I could live in those times again when people didn’t have to worry about their biosphere not supporting life anymore, potentially in their own lifetime. Though those days were still full of struggle and complications, humans didn’t know the future of all life on Earth would soon be threatened. The continuation of human life and the planet were seen as a given. Blessed are they who lived before this time we are in now, for their ability to plan on a planetary future that was certain, was a gift they didn’t know they had.
We can’t plan because life isn’t normal for any of us anymore and won’t be — due to our planet changing drastically before us, mostly due to climate change and environmental degradation — and the ever growing lack of equitable distribution of wealth and resources due to human greed. We can’t plan because nothing is certain anymore.
We can’t assume we will lead a peaceful or long life anymore, or that our children will have a future. Or for some of us like me who haven’t had kids yet — that it’s even wise to have children anymore. This is devastating for someone who always wanted to be a mother. But of what importance are personal desires in the face of planetary collapse? What really matters now?
The bible has a passage that talks about the “end times” in Luke 21:23 —
“How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! There will be great distress in the land and wrath against these people.”
I’m not Christian, but I read this at the age of 11, and asked my chaplain at school about this — worrying that this predicted “end of days” would happen in my lifetime and wanted to know if I would be able to have my own family. He told me that we are not supposed to understand the Bible, and as a result I decided against pursuing wisdom through religion. But Luke 21 has stayed with me since a young age, and I have heeded its warning. I now read daily posts in numerous groups online from parents worried for the futures of their children, and millenials on “birth strike”. I am personally still conflicted and undecided — should I spare my child by not birthing them into a dying world, or should I raise a future regenerative village builder and warrior? I don’t know.
Shouldn’t I be putting myself in service to the struggling and collapsing world now, vs servicing my own biological drive, anyway? But if I make that choice then it seems I am being forced to give up my personal joy in this lifetime, and it then seems that the right to bear future generations was used up by my ancestors instead. The thread of life that has run through humanity from the first two people, ensuring we continue on as a species — is fraying…it may end. What a stark potential reality to face together as a species in this lifetime.
Never before has humanity faced civilization collapse coupled with biosphere collapse, that we know of. Never before have we faced our own potential extinction, due to having almost killed off our own home planet.
The reality is that we cannot see over the horizon, anymore. And we don’t have the tools to know what to do with this kind of reality we face. Psychologically, physically or spiritually — it seems.
We do not know what tomorrow brings on a whole new level. What we can mostly bet on from scientific studies — is an ever hotter planet, fires, intensifying superstorms, drought, broken jet streams, crop failures, ice caps melting, oceans acidifying, sea levels rising, species and ecosystems declining, societal collapse, potential power grabs & control, pandemics, humanity and life in suffering…
Our only chance of moments of peace will be found within adaptation to what is — any avoidance or spiritual bypassing or even buying time in safe spaces with money & resources — will eventually fail. We can’t avoid this truth. It’s one that will affect everyone regardless of class or country. This is a whole system situation.
The truth is that things are massively changing and will continue to in this lifetime. It’s time to step out of the ignorance and denial, face the fear that arises out of the reality, process the grief, and then TAKE ACTION. What other choice do we have?
Mother Earth is revolting against her parasitic and abusive children. And the punishment isn’t pretty. This Coronavirus crisis is just one of the first loud wake up calls. Will we listen?
“Business as usual” has brought us to our knees. The rich in their gilded bunkers of safety won’t be able to keep themselves safe for much longer, as this is a global situation that spares no-one. The rules of the game we have all been playing are now changing — the game may even be over for good. Or it may be time for a new game, or time to give up playing games altogether and usher in a time of collaboration.
Everything is too interconnected for anyone to be able to avoid what’s happening, and what’s coming. The living system of Gaia is our life support system — and we rely on her to survive. We have broken the web of life in too many places now to not feel the repercussions.
We may still have time to turn things around and restore our Mother Planet — but not without going through 20–30+ years where the planet is responding to our negligence and blatant extractive abuse. We can’t avoid the karma we have collectively created.
So what are we meant to do, without a stable knowing of what tomorrow may bring?
If we can’t tie ourselves to a solid ground, to a probable outcome or future — then we have to tie ourselves to whatever we can that will get us back into a state of equilibrium with our world. We have to tie ourselves to the mission to restore our beautiful home, and put our faith in the efforts and the people with us on the journey. And we must do whatever we can to preserve and protect the precious species, ecosystems and living systems that remain — and work to repair the damage we have done.
We don’t know if we will succeed, but I’d prefer to die trying rather than give up.
And maybe there will be joy in those moments of camaraderie in the trenches with others working to regenerate and rebuild our world. Maybe we were actually born for these times, as hard as they will be — maybe we are the ancestors the future generations will remember as the ones who made the change that was necessary. The ones who stopped humanity from destroying itself and taking the biosphere down with it.
Let’s face it — we have been forcibly paused right now due to abusing the web of life one too many times. This virus emerged from us not valuing the life of an endangered pangolin and instead sending it to slaughter which resulted in contamination, and now we have a worldwide pandemic. If that isn’t a direct slap in the face from Mother Earth, I don’t know what is. She says — ENOUGH. Have we gotten the message now, or will we keep racing toward our own decimation?
It’s quite clear that if humanity keeps going on the same road we have been on — we are screwed.
So what are we going to do next?
How are we going to choose to live?
Who will we choose to be?
And when will we collectively realize that NOW is all that we have, and there is no other time like the present for us to do what needs to be done? The clock is ticking loudly. This may be our final chance to turn things around, our final chance to remember our belonging within the living system of this planet, and belonging with each other — and wake up to the remembrance that our purpose here is as stewards of this precious planet and all that exists upon it.
Without the web of life, we can’t exist — as we are part of the web. The web must be restored.
I invite you to do whatever you need to do now, to change your life — so you can emerge from this crisis in service to planetary solutions, prepared to adapt, prepared to learn, prepared to serve, and prepared to FACE WHAT IS and not avoid it anymore. It’s only when we truly face the situation we are in, that we can act accordingly and with power.
The climate & environmental crisis is still looming behind this Coronavirus crisis — and time is ticking. We have a small window to turn things around before it’s too late.
I invite you to be ready to do the work our world needs, to be in service to that which is beyond ourselves but ultimately supports our existence — the radical interdependence of all phenomenon. You are just as much a part of this web as the redwood forests, the moist lichen on its branches, and the deer roaming peacefully below. There is much we can learn from the indigenous and Original custodians of our lands, who still hold this deep understanding of our interconnectivity with all life. I believe it is their wisdom and ways that could lead us out of our self created nightmare of separation we currently exist within.
If humanity can remember once again that it is PART of nature, not separate from it — we may have a chance.
Our only chance of survival post this momentous pause in business as usual, is to question what is “usual”, call it out as no longer our chosen path for humanity and our world, and be a part of the revolution in redefining our civilization before it’s too late.
The old extractive, separatist and selfish disconnected ways we have been operating within MUST CEASE NOW. Now is the time to move from a history of separation and individualism, to a new state of wellbeing within interbeing.
This current collapse is necessary for us to start again. This is a momentous opportunity. And the collapse is already happening, regardless of if we like it or not.
So what’s your new job on the other side of this?
What’s your true life purpose and calling?
Why were you born at this time?
There are many people, projects and movements that have been doing this work for decades — how can you join them and continue the good work that needs to be done?
What action can you take to support those leaders in your part of the world who are fighting for the protection and wellbeing of people and planet OVER profit — fighting to ensure we have free healthcare for all, and universal income in times of global crisis (like right now)?
How can you step up to be one of these leaders the world so desperately needs now, that lead IN SERVICE from the heart, and not the ego?
How can you be a part of the Regenerative Revolution that is now essential to our survival? What species, ecosystems, people or place can you protect and renew?
Can you consider yourself part of the immune system of the planet, re-awoken and actively seeking to heal itself?
This is your clarion call to arms — the arms of your fellow humans that need you now more than ever to show up. The arms of your Mother, the Earth — who provides all for us. She’s calling to you to come home, and to remember who you are.
I still have hope that we may take collective action in the next 8–10 years to turn this ship around, so we don’t sail off the edge and find ourselves in an endless nightmare or having completely destroyed our home planet. Such a pivot is going to take EVERYONE being on board, mobilizing at beyond the levels of World War II — which is what is said is needed right now to deal with the Coronavirus crisis. It is possible, but we are going to have to work hard.
We will need to change how we do EVERYTHING to succeed in this mission. And if we succeed — yes we will still have to adapt to a chaotic climate and world for the next 20–30 years as we’ve already locked in what’s going to happen as a result of our emissions.
But I have this beautiful vision of being an older woman in 30 years, and being a witness as global warming, and the chaotic climate — calms down. I envision experiencing the world starting to cool down, and stabilize again. I can see a regenerated planet, green, teeming with life, clean waterways and clean air — and humans living in village culture again, connected with each other and the planet in a whole new way. A restored whole living system, living in harmony.
In the words of Buckminster Fuller:
“Never forget that you are one of a kind. Never forget that if there weren’t any need for you in all your uniqueness to be on this earth, you wouldn’t be here in the first place. And never forget, no matter how overwhelming life’s challenges and problems seem to be, that one person can make a difference in the world. In fact, it is always because of one person that all the changes that matter in the world come about. So be that one person.”
Who will you choose to be when the doors of the world open to you again?
Links to further reading/media/tools:
Jem Bendell / Positive Deep Adaptation: