Welcome to 2012. This is a year that has been the subject of much speculation and anticipation, especially for those familiar with the Mayan long calendar, an innovative way of recording time that mysteriously ends on December 21, 2012.
The implications of this "ending" are unknown. And while I am no more skilled in prognostication than most, I think it is fair to say that we are entering a time of profound change. Life as we have known it for the last number of centuries is undergoing a transformation. The structures, paradigms, and values that have organized, inspired, and contained us are shifting rapidly.
One model of change known as 'panarchy' conceptualizes change in the form of a horizontal figure eight. After a period of growth and accumulation, there is an inevitable decline or what the panarchy theorists call "release". Some have described this phase as "constructive destruction". This phase is inevitably followed by a new period of renewal and growth. This cycle of growth, destruction, and renewal is evident everywhere in nature.
I believe humanity is entering a period of constructive destruction. The failure of our democratic systems to fully represent the people, the destabilizing of our global economies where monetary value can evaporate overnight, the effects of climate change including the rapid loss of species, the unwillingness of humanity to accept the growing disparity between rich and poor, as well as many other indicators are signs of destruction.
I believe the 2011 'Occupy movement', while unfocused in its direction, is clear in its intention. 'Occupy' represents a global effort in creating a collective pause in our evolution and a declaration that the values and priorities that ought to occupy the center of a healthy civilization have been pushed out of the way.
From my perspective the narrow pursuit of financial gain has skewed our lives to such a degree that we are heading for an edge. What is becoming increasingly apparent is that life as we have constructed it is not sustainable. Not only will the planet not support our rapid destruction of the eco system, humanity will no longer go along with the rise of corporatocracy at the expense of community. The global village is fraying at the edges and is in desperate need of a major repair lest we allow the tears in our social fabric to continue to destabilize our world.
This might sound like a message of doom and gloom. I prefer to see it otherwise. I believe humanity is coming to a crossroads. We are beginning to recognize that our current direction is missing the mark and that a mid-course correction is needed if we are to get where we want to go.
I'm excited by this period of change and transformation. I see our current state as akin to the caterpillar on its journey to becoming a butterfly. As part of its transformation the caterpillar spins a fabric around itself forming a cocoon. While in the cocoon its prior form and shape deteriorates until it becomes an unformed mass of potentiality. Out of the chaos of this unformed mass emerges the butterfly - a species with form and power far beyond the imagination of the caterpillar.
We too can transform into a butterfly. We too can become much more than we are presently. What is required is a form of leadership where everyone shares the responsibility for creating the kind of community we wish to live in, where we work collaboratively and invite ideas and input from everyone, where every life is honoured and valued regardless of nationhood, race, religion, ability or species, and where we live as whole beings utilizing our heads, hearts, and spirit.
Our task during this period of constructive destruction is to hold the hope and vision of our emergence as a higher species. The potential exists to move into fear and despair as our current structures collapse and the newly transformed shapes have yet to materialize. This space between destruction and transformation will be the time of our greatest test. At this time what is most needed is to hold onto our peace and joy, to live with courage and trust, and to take responsibility for the new emerging species that we are to become.
May 2012 be the beginning of our intentional efforts to create the kind of community we wish to live in, and the kind of planet we can live in.