I decided it was time for a post of optimism since there is so much we can find wrong in the world today. It could not have been more timely in having just finished reading Paul Hawken’s book, Blessed Unrest. If you have not read it, it is an absolute must read to instill one’s faith in the good which is happening in the world. We just do not hear enough about it since mainstream media prefers to report on drama which perpetuates fear and unrest instead of reporting on news which is a source of inspiration and hope…of which we could all use more.
Paul Hawken, a devoted environmentalist besides other good things, introduces in his book a movement with no name which is comprised of millions of grassroots non-profit organizations around the world doing incredibly good work. This movement is dedicated to addressing social and environmental injustice wherever they find it, then taking action to resist, renew and restore. The sheer volume of these organizations is staggering and so hopeful. Hawken used to run a site called Wiser Earth where one could tap into all these networks, but it has since been shut down. I would guess because most all of these non-profits now have a strong online presence where one can search for them. In a world where everything seems to be falling apart, grassroot non-profit organizations are doing all they can to hold it together. Just about every sector of our society is experiencing a breakdown which calls for a transformation. As darkness and chaos tend to precede light and breakthrough, it can only get better from here, but time and help are needed.
Hawken explains, ” While so much is going wrong, so much is going right. Over the years the ingenuity of organizations, engineers, designers, social entrepreneurs and individuals has created a powerful arsenal of alternatives. The financial and technical means are in place to address and restore the needs of the biosphere and society. Poverty, hunger and preventable childhood diseases can be eliminated in a single generation. Energy use can be reduced 80 percent in developed countries within thirty years with an improvement in the quality of life, and the remaining twenty percent can be replaced by renewable sources. Living-wage jobs can be created for every man and woman who wants one. The toxins and poisons that permeate our daily lives can be completely eliminated through green chemistry. Biological agriculture can increase yields and reduce petroleum-based pollution into soil and water. Green, safe, livable cities are at the fingertips of architects and designers. Inexpensive technologies can decrease usage and improve purity so that every person on earth has clean drinking water. So what is stopping us from accomplishing these tasks?”
I believe that is a fairly loaded question, and many of us are aware of what some of the answers might be. Though we can point the finger until the cows come home, if we are throwing food in the trash instead of composting, if we are burning fossil fuels to heat our home instead of converting our homes to solar, we are each still part of the problem, not the solution.
How we become part of the solution is by healing the wounds we all have as a consequence of a world gone wrong. This healing requires our own individual journey into the dark interior of self, confronting the shadows this world has mirrored back to us and shining our own light to dispel these illusions. It is a time of transformation for us all to find a heart response to the injustice and suffering we see in this world. As we each embark on this heart journey, we will both individually and collectively begin to heal the atrocities which have violated the sacredness in life. It demands sacred work from each of us.
This movement with no name will most likely never have a name. It is fueled by the collective understanding that love for ourselves, love for others and love for our planet is the only force which can ultimately make the difference. It does not matter your color, age, race, creed, background of the size of your bank account. What matters is love and compassion. The moment has come for all that is injurious and without integrity to take leave from this planet. The healing power of grassroots movements is here to stay.
There is serious power in this simple act to choose light over dark, love over hate, healing over suffering. Hawken is optimistic, ” I believe this movement will prevail. I don’t mean it will defeat, conquer or create harm to someone else. Quite the opposite. I don’t tender the claim in an oracular sense. I mean that the thinking that informs the movement’s goals will reign. It will soon suffuse most institutions, but before then, it will change a sufficient number of people so as to begin the reversal of centuries of frenzied self-destructive behavior. Some say it is too late, but people never change when they are comfortable. Helen Keller threw aside the gnawing fears of chronic bad news when she declared, “I rejoice to live in such a splendidly disturbing time!” In such a time, history is suspended and thus unfinished. It will be the stroke of midnight for the rest of our lives.”
If the journey alone into your own dark interior feels too intimidating, then join this movement of people willing to be transformed and healed by doing good. If you cannot travel to where you are needed, start at home in your own community. There is a wonderful saying that the path to enlightenment can be found in never having to walk out your own door. We do not have to journey around the world to be a part in helping the world. Our own backyards need some help. Start your own movement with ways to build community, and be part of the magic happening all across the globe.
Here is Hawken’s video in which he explains this movement with no name.