“The leading edge of evolution of the human species is our capacity to look at impossible repression and violence and to courageously and imaginatively bring compassion and the re-weaving of complex oneness to bear. That’s the hardest thing to do: to proclaim kinship and interdependence in the face off all that ugliness and win-lose thinking. “
“I think the infinite game is reinventing ourselves as a regenerative, restorative, responsible, collaborative presence in the Earth community. We cannot do that without social liberation across all forms of oppression and without it we don’t survive as a species. “ ~ Victor Lee Lewis
We go through life like zombies: since we are little, we are told and modelled in so many ways that we end up doubting our dreams and visions (and those of others) and following a script.
There are still some cultures where each individual’s gifts are carefully observed, encouraged and supported so each can find their “niche” and fulfil their need to belong and give to a community. In those societies, this is usually achieved through a long process where all the “village” is involved, from the elders to the child’s parents, relatives and friends. It is also a long process that starts when the child is born and matures through some sort of initiation, usually around the child’s puberty. The then teenager finds a role within their society and is widely supported in this role and guided in their choices.
Beyond whether or not some societies may have also practices that oppress women, the argument I want to make is that we no longer have this process in our current dysfunctional model of “modern” societies: and we are dangerously importing this model of disconnection to other areas of the world, creating a homogeneity of non-supportive upbringing. The cost of this? There’s barely any intergenerational connection left, there’s anger, frustration and misunderstanding from either “side” of the age spectrum, and for youth this specifically shows as not having clear ideas of how to live, much less what kind of livelihood may be appropriate for them.
Most people respond to this by bending their heads down and accepting the other script: we are all cogs in a big machine, peons in a chest game (and the game is rigged!).
In my last post here, I talked about the importance of finding our niches.
Finding our niches is both about exploring our gifts, grooming them and making choices. Some of those are difficult choices, not for the faint of heart or the one that feels OK being a zombie (after knowing they are one).
I firmly believe that no amount of technology advances, skills, information and willingness will ever produce a sustainable nor regenerative and restorative society if we don’t take care first of the individuals and communities’ livelihoods.
Economy is central to everyone. Not the concept of economy we have been fed (that it is a sort of “science” that follows laws like a natural science would). I’m talking about the concept of “wise management of the household”, which is the true meaning of the word “economy”.
We have failed as species to take care of our household both at the community/social as well as the ecological levels: we are destroying and polluting our “household” by taking more than what can be regenerated by natural cycles, we are producing waste through non-closed loops and we are exacerbating inequality and suffering.
While some are more privileged than others and have the choice to choose a livelihood that is creative, restorative, regenerative and ethical (yes, this is possible, I have seen it!), the reality is that the 99% may not have access to that, not even by choosing radical simplicity. The game, as I said above, is rigged.
My believe is, however, that there is a way out: if those of us who are privileged enough to choose come together not only to free ourselves “from the system” but also co-create realities at the local, communal and household levels so others can discover and use their gifts to create dignified and regenerative livelihoods, then we may all (not only a small group) have a chance…
There are plenty of opportunities: from land, water and biodiversity restoration to household and entire systems retrofitting, the re-thinking of basic systems from food to energy to transportation to the different goods and services we require to be comfortable and safe, all done as much as possible at the local levels.
The process is long and requites to be able to think like a system. As reverend and activist Victor Lee Lewis said in this interview about evolutionary leadership: “The job of this social justice leader is to help our species to evolve. And that is way beyond justice, way beyond equity and fairness, way beyond reparations, way beyond even restoration. It’s about taking leadership because the whole human family is in a position of being oppressed.”
I recently read a really raw and disturbing recount of what’s happening in the world by Deb Ozarko (you can read it here). I agree with Deb in many areas and respect her decision. I also believe that if you are bothered by her writing is because somewhere in your heart you know she is right. Mine (decision), however, is that of the stubborn warrior who doesn’t want to give up.
As author and activist Joanna Macy (WTR) says, “I choose life”. I love this planet, all forms of life in it and the miracle I witness every day too much to be able to sustain any emotions of hatred, anger, frustration and so on for very long. I do have them, but they are deeply entangled with the grief for the world and for what human beings are doing to themselves and other forms of Life.
I thought about this for an entire challenging day. I know I’ll be thinking about this for the rest of my life and this is not a new thing for me, since I started to “wake up” to this reality a few years ago.
I’m not attached to the outcome. And I know I’m guilty (as we all are, nobody is safe here) just by the fact that I walk and breathe in these times and place.
But I don’t do what I do because I’m convinced that the outcome will be a sudden change in consciousness that will magically get us to a New Age where everyone will live sustainable, regenerative lives and be happy ever after…
I live in the real world: I work with immigrants and refugees, I ride the bus everyday, I see both privilege and oppression, I have family and friends living in areas of South America for whom Climate Change, biodiversity loss, land grabbing and overall exploitation and not “concepts” but realities.
I know that is not going to be easy, I know many will suffer, I know things will become harder than they already are…but I am also convinced that if I don’t involve myself and do something, the suffering and the loss will be even bigger.
We all are Life, and Life has demonstrated, again and again, that she is stubborn and creative. She has witnessed the changes from eukaryote cells to tree leaves that can breathe and produce oxygen and food from the sun by photosynthesis. She has seen the extinction of the dinosaurs and many other species without which we may have never had a chance as a species.
We are flesh and soul, but I don’t see the Self or the Soul as separate or “other”. I see it as the life force that goes with the flesh and rot of all Life on Earth. As such, worms, trees, seeds, elephants, even clouds and of course the water are Soul. It is not only us, and my Soul is not different from theirs, or from yours.
So here is my set of intention:
As an aging woman with health and oppression issues living in a suburban home as an immigrant from a minority in Canada. I’ve been adapting my life and practice to more regenerative and life-sustaining options since I got my first PDC (Permaculture Design Certificate). It has been hard, and I have advanced one step and went back two.
I have also spread myself too thin and wasted my time with people and projects that were too narrow minded and/or unsupportive of a process that I see as sacred and systemic.
I have noticed this pattern in many others, particularly those who have non-supportive families or environments, suffer from chronic illness or pain, have any sort of (dis) ability, belong to a target group (less privileged or even oppressed by other’s privileges), need to work two or more jobs to pay the bills (I work two jobs plus many ongoing gigs), or live in areas where sustainability is nothing but a bad joke.
My intention is to challenge myself (and anyone who wants to support this mission) to find real ways to create regenerative livelihoods not only for the oppressed, but for everyone. I believe in the liberation of all: oppressed and oppressors, and I believe that until we can co-create true regenerative livelihoods AND an environment in the community that allows for these livelihoods to be sustainable, we will be stuck in this cycle of inequality and destruction of the Earth and its life cycles.
What is your intention? Are you living a zombie life? What can I do to support you? Better: what can we do together (or you with your loved ones, your community) to liberate yourselves?
Want to work alongside with me? I will be both a teacher and a student at the upcoming online women-led PDC. Those registering through my link and mentioning me as their referral teacher will have the opportunity to work with me (unless you want to work with another teacher, something we may arrange if the other teacher is not overwhelmed).
By supporting me on this, you will also have access to 1 extra hour of 1-1 coaching for the design of your right livelihood. You will also have a discount, if you choose to work through it in the future, in the upcoming Ethical Pathways workshop series, which will be covering areas from pathfinder to the practical side of starting your own entrepreneurship (solo or with others as a co-op), getting paid and co-creating a local community economic development that supports not only your livelihood but that of others.
Want to know more?
Check the upcoming PDC and contact me if you have questions: https://coursecraft.net/courses/z9Thn/a/cpmYFEtT4