This turbulent time requires legendary heroes to arise. Not just one or two, or we don’t stand a chance of bringing our culture and our planet into harmony before disastrous collapse. No, we need many many heroes to take up the banner of peace, create unity, fight for love, spread compassion, and work to heal ourselves, our communities and our civilization, because the alternative leads to a very dark future for humanity and the earth. The good news is that every single one of us is capable of being a hero and doing our part to write the next epoch of human history. So what’s it going to take to be the heroes we need to see in the world? Some lessons I’ve learned:
First, pay attention. We can’t afford to ignore what’s going on in the world. There are so many deep problems in all our societal systems be they political, economic, educational, prison industrial, etc. and we will not be able to effectively change them without first understanding what’s happening and why. This does not mean spend all your days wallowing in depressing news from a media that feeds us things get us riled up, but it does mean stay informed. I also believe we can practice a discerned attention and do a better job of detecting the signal in the noise, dipping into the ocean of information, gathering knowledge, detecting patterns and surfacing before getting sucked under. This will be an important skill moving forward, alongside fighting for a stronger, healthier media.
It’s equally important pay attention in your own life, to the ways you may contribute to patriarchy or racism, or any kind of negativity you are spreading in your relationships. Notice the patterns that hold you back from being your best self and put real effort into working on them. Where we pay attention and put our intention change will happen.
Second, no more distractions. Given the size and immediacy of the challenges in front of us (climate change, growing extremism, violence of all kinds, to name a few) there is no more room for inaction, laziness, cynicism or nihilism. We need to put our vision of a peaceful, healthy planet in front of us in every action we take each and every day, and stay focused. This doesn’t mean we can’t be joyful and play, as these are so important for keeping us energized and hopeful, but we absolutely cannot afford to spend time distracted by unimportant things: that new cool object which might make me slightly happier for a day or two, whatever soul-sucking entertainment is being blasted at me left and right, what that one person said to me that makes me so angry. No more excuses, let’s get to work.
Third, step it up. We each need to be a leader in our own right. This means finding our power and helping the people around us find theirs. Tap into the skills you have, develop new ones that you are interested in, figure out what uniqueness you bring to the world and then own it. We each have a part to play and a world where everyone is playing theirs with all their heart and soul is a beautiful one indeed. So encourage each other, share appreciations, give feedback, take feedback equanimously, do something scary every day to build your strength and your confidence. As you find your own leadership role remember it’s not about power over others, because one leader is not enough and we will only move forward with a plurality of methodologies, styles and cultures working together and teaching one another.
Fourth, take care of yourself. You can’t be nearly as effective a leader if your body, mind or spirit are suffering. We need each and every one of us to be as healthy, whole, and strong as possible because we are going to face some trying times in the years ahead.
Fifth, lean into community. There is no way to work through the big challenges in front of us as separate individuals. Massive problems require deep collaboration and communication to solve. Equally important we need the support of community while we work. As we step into our power and become leaders we are going to fail and we are going to fall, and we will need our community to hold us, nourish us, and get us back on our feet. Likewise, reach out to your friends and family and be there for them, offer love and let yourself receive it, give gifts, support each other’s projects, connect with your neighbors. Approach every human interaction with respect, curiosity and compassion. Each authentic, caring human connection creates a happier, healthier world while also building the support network you will need when the going gets rough.
Sixth, follow your heart. Our minds got us into this mess, our hearts will lead us out. Unblock your emotions, let yourself feel, grieve what needs to be grieved, and then let it go so that sadness does not hold you back from the work that has to be done. Also feel your anger, rage at the injustice in your life and in our society, then let it go so it doesn’t blind you to the underlying love we have for each other and the planet. Trust your intuition, for she knows the deep truth of your role in this lifetime. What is your body telling you to do?
Finally, be respectful and humble. Honor the sacredness of life. We are so blessed to live this short existence on this beautiful, abundant planet that provides us with everything we need to live so well. It is a wondrous mystery to be alive here and now, breathe into that. Be grateful for each breath. Hold each moment as a treasure, gently and respectfully, but do not get too attached because the next moment is happening now and it is equally beautiful. We are all connected in this web of sacred moments, on this shining blue orb, engaged in a delicate dance of interdependent evolution, and we could so easily break the threads that hold it together like we carelessly brush aside a spider web. Be care-full in all that you do, our future depends on it.
But remember, humility does not mean hiding your light or shying away from your power. You are a necessary and important part of this web and it will only become as strong and beautiful as it can be if we all take care of our part and bring all our gifts to the weaving.
So, are you ready to be a hero in the epic story we are writing together? I’m committed to the heroic path, and I hope to see you walking it with me hand in hand.
p.s. I need a better image for this piece, let me know if you have one I can use!