As I sit at my desk writing this entry I see and hear the wind in the trees. I am aware of the breeze on my skin and feel gratitude for her cleansing power. Her breathe lifts my spirits and reminds me of my strength. To the Four Winds I send my finest words of gratitude.

We are living in a time of great uncertainty. Every day we hear about environmental, social, political, and economic crises. Western civilization has created a reality where comfort, safety, and happiness are based on economic expansion. Many of us have bought into this aggressively competitive myth whole heartedly and believe that more is better – we are obsessed with stuff. All of this has come at the expense of harmony, connectedness, balance, and meaning in our lives. We have taken so much that we are running out of resources, space, and food. The human race has grown so exponentially that the Earth can no longer keep up with our lifestyle. Our forests are being cut down at alarming rates, the air we breathe is polluted, our oceans and rivers are dying, the soil is eroding, and we are losing the rich diversity of species that inhabit this place. In our compulsion for economic wealth many of us ignore the well-being of the very thing that sustains us – our planet.

The irony of the situation is that humans are both creator and victims of this reality. My eyes are wide open to how precarious humanity’s situation has become and I feel scared, sad, and at times overwhelmed. I also feel inspired.

Joanna Macy refers to The Great Turning: the shift from the industrial growth society to a life-sustaining culture that is occurring in Western civilization. Rather than simply ignore the situation or fall into depression or rage (which would be easy to do given the magnitude of the circumstances). The Great Turning asserts that many people are doing their best to continue living with courage and are actively engaged in life-sustaining activities.

I believe that the key to a regenerative future lies in developing an ecological identity that invites reconnection with Self, others, the land, and spirit. This in turn will allow the growth of mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually healthy parents, teachers, mentors and leaders; the adults and elders that will shift Western civilization’s values from an unsustainable greed-based, competitive system to one that is steeped in sustainable growth and deep rooted meaning, connection, and inspiration. Through my life experience I have encountered many willing to embark on this journey by being the change they wish to inspire. This gives me great hope.

Contributing to The Great Turning requires constant attention to maintaining one’s own holistic health. Raising consciousness of the need for a paradigm shift from a culture that is steeped in a ‘power-over’ mentality to one that is centered on a ‘power-with’ approach requires that we be the shift. 

In a ‘power-with’ culture I see people living sacredly with each other and all their relations. I see a culture of gratitude and respect where everything is valued for its uniqueness and for its place within the whole, and where decisions are made with deep consideration for future generations.

Recently, I started re-reading some of Bill Plotkin’s work and encountered a powerful bit that captured my attention. Plotkin writes that caring for the soul of the more-than-human community has at least five components:  (1) defending and nurturing the innocence and wonder of children, (2) mentoring and initiating adolescents, (3) mentoring adults in their Soulwork, (4) guiding the evolution or transformation of the culture, and (5) maintaining the balance between human culture and the greater Earth community. This passage struck me partly, I think, because it expresses succinctly what my life has become about lately. I find this both remarkable and the most natural thing in the world.

I am inspired to build a network of people who have developed an awareness of their gifts and who are contributing to The Great Turning. I am curious to know how you are contributing. I am curious to know about the practices that help to keep you holistically healthy.