Now, for the next steps…

Posted September 9th, 2015 in Blog, Featured Comments Off on Now, for the next steps…

We’re in transition. Can you feel it? I don’t mean this little non-profit of ours. Yes, we are in transition, trying to build more of an organization to support this work. Yes, it’s hard. Yes, we, too, are in transition. But I am speaking about virtually every other level I can think of: ecological, political, cultural, global, spiritual, psychological…

You get the idea.

And a lot of the evidence of the transition is traumatic, painful to watch and more painful to endure, frustrating as hell, frightening, unnerving, enraging because of the reluctance of humans to see and understand what is going on.

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We need your support. To donate – and thank you!

Here we try to figure out how we can be of service within that transition, to help us get through it together, in community, among friends, in a project of building resilience (spiritual, psychological, ecological resilience) and through that collective endeavor beginning to create the new ways of life that will emerge on the other end of that transition.

The way the world functions then, the way we humans organize our lives, will be fundamentally different from the way we live now. But here’s the scary part: whether that is an awful, violent, grief-stricken future of humans living amid the harshness of ecological collapses, or a future of regeneration, renewal, healing, the dawn of a new human community living within the whole of Nature’s abundance – well, the jury is out, yes?

And here is the significance of this moment for each and every one of us on this planet: what we do NOW, the decisions we make NOW – not later this century, not our kids’ generation, but THIS one – will determine the quality of life at the other side of the transition.

Which makes our lives incredibly significant RIGHT NOW. Which fills our lives with meaning and importance. Which makes us just about the most important generations to emerge from the long process of the evolution of hominids.

Yeah, it is all really that important. WE are all really that important. Think it overwhelming, too big for you, too enormous for anything you do to make a difference? Well, EVERYTHING WE DO OR DON’T DO MAKES A DIFFERENCE NOW. That’s how important our lives are. Every talent we have, from sewing to fixing appliances to creating works of art to getting to know your neighbors to every single purchase you make – or do not make – to raising children to teaching to doing pastoral work to growing vegetables to engaging political work and on and on – there is no part of who we are and ways we express ourselves in our lives that does not or will not make a difference – for good or ill.

That’s what the word “ecology” means – everything related to everything else through a vast web of our interconnections.

The other week, I did workshops for a small group of seminarians and a group of 23 Latino youth from Racine-Kenosha on the very same day. It involved more than 100 miles of driving (my wonderful old Honda Civic manual transmission fuel efficient 42 mpg car that just keeps going and going) and I was exhausted by the end of the day – and exhilarated by those kids. So, I mean, guess which one gave me energy rather than draining it. Because those kids are not invested yet in the western consumer culture still dominated by affluent white people, and, in the seminary, only men. And they are wise enough at ages 11-15 to know this world is in trouble and nothing is guaranteed for them (that’s part of our transition here, finding new ways to work with young people in the heart of urban communities).

Let’s just say, we had a blast as they crowded around me in front of the computer screen in a small cabin in a campground on a Wisconsin lake.

Now let’s ponder for a moment the refugee crisis moving across the borders of Europe. Let’s consider how these refugees are not only refugees of war and political repression, but also of climate change – how several years of deep, persistent drought destroyed the lives of thousands of Syrian farmers, forcing them to migrate to the cities looking for work, how their needs were neglected by the Assad regime, how the discontent and misery helped spark the uprising that led to civil war and the fracturing of society into warring factions with levels of brutality one had hoped humans might have evolved beyond by now.

Now consider that we have seen estimates of the projected number of environmental refugees to be somewhere between 50-200 million by 2050. Bangladeshis, island nations in the South Pacific, places being inundated by rising seas or becoming uninhabitable because of extreme heat, extreme drought, and dwindling water supplies – these regions will begin creating a migration crisis for which this current one is merely a small sample of what is to come.

The world is moving rapidly into profound transition. Are we prepared? Are we preparing? Are we even talking about preparing?

From our vantage point in this little non-profit trying to reach out in forums that include people of all ages in varied kinds of communities, or by way of the internet, we are trying to be one “space” in which we are able to talk about these things in the larger context, while empowering one another to engage the work of new creation right where we are, wherever anyone is, from whatever place in life they exist. Part of our mission is to help us together SEE what’s going on, why it’s happening, what is feeding the tumult in our world, and how it is often our own psychological and cultural barriers that keep us from seeing, well, what it is we need to see – and then to believe in ourselves and what we have to contribute to the essential work of transformation that needs to be undertaken in this generation.

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But here’s the thing, and it’s a real limit on meeting our potential – we pretty much tapped out the funds we had to support us through the summer months. Now, I know you get lots of appeals from many wonderful groups. I will tell you that because we have almost no overhead, and because we don’t have big salaries, and because our operation is so simple, what you donate here has maximum impact. It goes right into the work.

Which means: outreach, workshops, presentations, consulting with other groups on projects that create programs in local communities, adding our time and skills to these efforts. It means being part of the sharing that goes on in the vast internet network where so many groups and local leaders share their wisdom, experiences, sources of info, resources, and more as around the world local communities, grassroots groups, non-profits and NGOs become part of the ecology of new creation.

We really need your support right now. Donations are tax deductible. You can contribute online via PayPal or snail mail. Among our immediate needs right now is to create a new website as this WordPress blog is no longer a sufficient platform for what we want to do.

What do we want to do? We want to create a site where real interaction and sharing is possible, where I’m not doing all the writing, where some of the many voices and communities with which we interact have a place to share and learn from one another. And we would like to find a physical space where people could come together to share the work, deepen our understanding of the transition, articulate the new ecological culture emerging from the work in which so many are engaged.

So, maybe you would help us with this?

Finally, I want to share something I found online today, this Love Song to the Earth. It is wonderful and something I hope is going viral today. Enjoy, share it around. And then go out and give the Earth a big spiritual embrace. Tell our Mother we will do all we can to be co-creators, not destroyers, of all she has given us, that we will be her partners, no longer a destructive invasive species. Then bow down in gratitude. I promise you, she will respond.

~ Margaret Swedish


 Video: Love Song to the Earth

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