“None of us knows what might happen even in the next minute, yet still we go forward. Because we trust. Because we have Faith.” -- Paulo Coelho
The other day, I listened to another wonderful talk by Mac Macartney (‘Mac’). His message was crystal clear: if we value life and all those who inhabit the world, then we owe it to our children and theirs to act responsibly in the stewardship of the planet and all her species. In that talk, he (again) referenced the work of David Whyte. More particularly his idea of courageous conversations. (If only our politicians knew what that meant.)
I’m not sure if Mac only meant to refer to those conversations we have within organisations -- he was speaking to a group of HR specialists -- or the market, but to my mind the only conversation we need have is with ourselves. You see, until we wake up and see what’s really happening in the world -- degradation on an unprecedented scale -- there’s no way we’ll ever row back from a position that in the end will kill us all. (How depressing!)
The thing is, no matter your drive to succeed financially, emotionally or spiritually, without a fully-functioning planet, none of it will matter. You can hardly go out in the world and make a ruckus if there’s no world left.
And this is where the divided life cuts deepest: if, in your soul, you don’t feel this nagging doubt that’s something not right, then, frankly, we’re all doomed. The most obvious culprit for this division is our disconnection from the land we all used to live off. Yes, I know progress looks wonderful when we can treat all manner of drugs, eat whatever food we wish and have disposal income aplenty to enjoy all those experiences, but in so doing we’re tying the noose on our lives, i.e. we end up as slaves to the system that itself is headlong out of control.
But we’re stuck, stuck by dint of the fact that no one’s prepared to lead -- to show that there’s another way to live (i.e. a very simple life).
And that’s where courageous conversations have to happen. Absent something beyond the current blithe, stilted material we hear from our politicians, industry leaders, educators, parents and in fact of all us, we will never move the needle towards a more sustainable world.
I know what you’re thinking: “Sounds like a great idea, but who’s going to kickstart things?” That’s a great question, but just as Gandhi, and millions of others have articulated, change begins with you…and me -- right now and without delay.
Oh, sorry, you’re going to tell me you’ve no way of connecting and sharing your voice. Nonsense. What you can’t Tweet, blog, live stream your content (Meerkat and Periscope seem all the rage) or just light a communications ‘fire’ in your community and say we need to do something?
As humans we’re gifted with amazing power, and, sure, on our own we’re just a lone voice (in the capitalist) wilderness. But bring a tribe together (in a non-violent way!) and WOW, there’s this overwhelming sense of “we can do and achieve anything”.
In my case, I know that this blog is only a start. My next move is to move my speaking practice away from digital and to challenge my audience to step up to the plate and do something purposeful, if only to change the narrative (see the work of Charles Eisenstein). On a personal level, I’m in the process of trying to rewrite my narrative away from the success mantra that seems intent on following me still. I know that to become a true version of me -- the big Me and not that deluded, egoic self -- I’ve got to stop consuming to the point where, hopefully, me and my family can be more self-sufficient. If not, then frankly my writing will count for nothing. More than that I’ll look like one big fake!
Courageous conversations need a new narrative, a trusting environment and leadership but most of all they need all of us to take responsibility for the here and now, and not leave it for others to pick up the tab of our wanton destruction.
Are you willing to give it a go?