hope as a catalyst for change
The deepest impulse inside is the impulse of love and creativity. Love is the inner impulse towards more freedom, empathy, intimacy of relationship. When we combine this empathy with the new capacities and our internal ‘yes’ to being who we are becoming, we become a new being in consciousness. We can transform the worries and challenges of life into optimism and our ‘yes’ is tipping the scales of life forever towards good.1Barbara Marx Hubbard, ‘The Power of the Ancient Gods’ in Legacy: Barbara Marx Hubbard, Series 2, Episode 4.
What a marvellous lens through which to see the emergence of a new paradigm! Rallying enthusiasm for change. We are indeed at a time of great turning. Some have called this a ‘hinge’ time between one story and the next. It is liminal time where we know we can no longer live as we used to, but that which is emerging is still to be created. Although we need to harness every scientific discovery that will aid us in these coming times, we also know that we are not going to change humanity with new technology alone. Something deeper needs to happen – a shift in the human heart.
We know the problems that need tackling. We know that a catastrophic outcome is one of the possible scenarios ahead. Where hope enters is the deep understanding that there is something intrinsic about what it is to be human that we are able to face the limits of our existence and say ‘and yet…’ And yet there is always more. ‘We are born at a time when the future of life needs us, and this is best viewed in a way that lets it sober us, yes, but also such that we become inspired, not merely passive apathetic consumers but caring, capable, creative participants in the greatest dramatic moment of our evolutionary movement so far… The tension of that pressure is not a curse, but a gift. It is a call to everything that’s best in us.’2Terry Patten, ‘Radical Adaptation’, in Dumbo Feather: Our Evolutionary Moment, Issue 61: 2019, 13.
Our crisis is leading to more connectivity. With science telling us of the interconnectivity of all things, with evolution telling us that we are all descended from stardust, no longer can we pretend that we are separate, that somehow humanity lives disconnected from our environment. With 13.8 billion years of wisdom inside us, it is no surprise that creative ways to heal the planet are emerging at this time. We are indeed a most creative species – maybe this is the time when we need to ask what it is that we want to create and what resources do we need for this to happen?
This sense of opening ourselves to the potential of this time means that we do not have to know how our part in the future of the universe will unfold. All we have to do is say ‘yes’ to being a part of this unfolding. This is a paradigm shift of hope.
Hope is not the same as optimism. Whilst our personality might be such that we believe that the future will have positive outcomes, this general sense of wellbeing differs from hope. Hope is active, the guiding impetus being intention, not optimism. The sort of hope that brings about a sustainable future is about desire; it is about describing the future we desire and hope for, thus providing the energy to actively participant in bringing that dream alive.
How then do we participate in the work that reconnects? Claire Dunn suggests that this is by opening to the following six stages:
‘Know your neighbours. Know your place. Get skills. Grieve. Create. Celebrate.’3Claire Dunn, ‘Weaving Back Into the Web’, in Dumbo Feather, Issue 61: 2019, 18
These immensely practical steps are terrific in that they point out that our actions of hope emerge from where we currently reside, that we do not have to throw out all that we have become to be part of this Great Turning.
There are so many organisations to support us in our work within this hinge time of change. Check out the work of Joanna Macy and/or Matthew Fox.
… Read more about this topic in Handbook of Hope: Emerging Stories Beyond a Disintegrating World by Cath Connelly, available here.