More and more, people are waking up to the fact that we are living in a time that requires us to change while feeling uncertain about how to go about the changes. Many are suffering from a peculiar loneliness born of the realization that a livable future depends not only on our creative resourcefulness as individuals, but our capacity to form communities of change. We cannot buy these necessary changes or wait for them to come to us. We must create them.
The culture we were born into is not capable of supporting future generations given its dependency on fossil fuels and its rapacious destruction of Earth’s life-sustaining resources at ever increasing rates. Our culture is proving less capable of supporting us and many are beginning to feel the serious impacts of living in a system on “runaway,” like a train out of control. Most people living in our culture today, whether they entertain such thoughts consciously or not, are frightened by the changes we are already experiencing. It is not uncommon for individuals to feel isolated in their fears and feelings of powerlessness. It can seem too challenging to change things, even though they are changing all the time. We are living in a time of radical uncertainty.
Some people would rather simply keep munching on their particular leaf like a caterpillar, unconcerned with what must come next in order to survive. Others are feeling an urgency to deeply evaluate what they are doing, thinking, and believing and let that deep internal process lead them to transforming their lives and their culture. They are seeking each other out through Transition Town groups and through Meet Up groups, for example. They are working within their current affiliations—church groups, educational communities, neighborhoods, and work places—to raise awareness of the growing concerns and to organize for substantive change.
Some have come to this place through shocking realizations like Peak Oil, Global Climate Change or the mounting personal and collective costs of the Global Economy. Some people have encountered new realizations through spiritual inquiry, deep ecology and a keen personal identification with what is happening to the life support system of our planet. There are many pathways to awareness now available. One thing that is held in common is a felt awareness of the “tragic gap” as Parker Palmer has named it: the place of tension between what is and what could come to be. People standing in that gap are like the caterpillar that has entered chrysalis. Welcome to the heart and soul of personal and cultural transformation.