Almost 30 years ago I studied briefly with a man from Peru who didn’t call himself a shaman. He told a story one evening about a woman he healed. After months of trying everything to get her to let go of the issues that were holding her back, he took her up on the roof and hung her over the edge, saying “Drop your stuff or I’ll drop you.” She dropped her stuff.
The multiplying crises we are facing are hanging us off the roof of the world; we are collectively and individually being challenged to “drop our stuff.” Drop the lies, the denial, the always taking the easy way out. Drop the wars, the profiteering, the converting of irreplaceable living sources into dollars and machines and toxic waste. Drop the abuse, the enslavement and imprisonment of all children everywhere. Drop the blame, the scapegoating, the projection of our own darkness on to someone, anyone out there. Drop all our crap already.
So, if we’ve had our fill, at last, of blaming the corporations, the media, the rich, the poor, the right, the left, the white, the black, the Christian, the Jew, the Muslim, the Hindu, the men, the women, the children, the parents, the Palestinians, the Israelis, the Iranians, the Americans, ISIS, Putin, ad nauseum, perhaps we are, at last, ready to do the mature thing: To take full responsibility for our selves.
Whatever your beliefs, there is overwhelming evidence that an exquisitely beautiful intelligence has been self-complexifying for billions and billions of years … and very recently, at roughly 11:59 p.m. on the cosmic clock, just one cosmic minute ago, humanity appeared on the scene. Our species, one of the very newest in this mysterious self-complexifying universe, is in its infancy. And we haven’t begun to figure out who we are, or what this place is. We tell each other broken stories, and kill each other over who’s got the better story. We’ve done a few experiments, come up with some cool math, and pretend that we’ve got it all worked out.
Taking responsibility means many, many things. A good starting place is to finally admit we don’t know much of anything at all.
We used to know some things, though, and some of us still do. Ten years ago my brother and sister-in-law visited Fiji. Mary, a healer, was invited on a walk through the forest with the local healing women. They pointed out plants, describing to her what they were used for. After some time, she asked how they knew. They looked at her with varying degrees of discomfort and dismay, as if realizing she was broken and didn’t know it. “The plants tell us,” they finally said.
There are ways of knowing that we have intimate access to, when we know where to look. We have no earthly idea of our true powers and capabilities. There are wonders for us to discover within ourselves, with each other, and throughout this gorgeous universe. We can rescue ourselves. We can rescue our exquisite home. Nature is an ever-regenerating force, and she hasn’t given up yet. We ‘simply’ need to re-connect with ourselves and with her, as a beginning.
To heal our beautiful planet, we must heal our beautiful selves. We are in the beginning of re-membering, of putting ourselves back together after a very, very long time of apparent disconnection from our own selves, from one another, from all the living beings on the planet, from our planet herself, and from the mysterious Source of this awesome, breathtaking Everything.
There is some fear to face in the early days, and grief, and anger, and shame, and guilt. This is neither easy nor simple. But neither is it as hard or complex as we’ve made it out to be. Each one of us is complicit in what is unfolding here on earth. There are no bystanders. In our one huge dysfunctional family system each of us contributes to the abuse, the denial, the cover up, the scapegoating. Every one of us. Every day. In some way or another. As each one of us grows the strength to face this in ourselves, to battle in ourselves that which would allow our world, our home, to be destroyed on our watch, we re-orient and re-connect ourselves and our world to the literally infinite potentials that have brought Life this far.
Rumi says: Those who dive into the fire, their heads emerge from the cool water. On the other side of the darkness which terrifies us, amongst much, much else of inconceivably infinite worth, are peace and forgiveness, joy and awe, humility and innocence. To say nothing of love.
From here, we can begin to imagine a future where all the children of all the species of this world thrive, together, for and with each other. When we access our vast re-sources and turn them all toward healing ourselves and our world, we will be astounded at what we can accomplish.
When there are enough of us, just enough, the world will change.