NEW BOOK: INTRODUCTION
My frustration with these greedy, lying bastards is personal. Human-caused climate disruption is not a belief – it is one of the best-studied phenomena on Earth. Even a half-wit can understand this. As any father would, anyone threatening my family will by on the receiving end of my ire and vengeance. This anger is the manifestation of my deep love for my daughter, and the sadness I feel in my core about how others are treating her future.
Mark my words, you plutocrats, denialists, fossil-fuel hacks and science charlatans – your time will come when you will be backed against the wall by the full wrath of billions who have suffered from your greed and stupidity, and I’ll be first in line to put you there.
Professor Corey Bradshaw
Director of Ecological Modelling
The University of Adelaide
(Professor Bradshaw’s personal sharing,
excerpted from website: IsThisHowYouFeel.com)
America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.
Little did we know that we’d take
the rest of the world down with us.
In the Summer of 2017 I published my first and only book, The Impossible Conversation: Choosing Reconnection and Resilience at the End of Business as Usual. (TIC)
The book was a recounting of the ultimately life-changing process of my being exposed to daunting data and projections about our rapidly unraveling human and Earth systems, vetting those data and jumping with both feet, into the deep end of the horrifying and oddly fascinating exploration of: “What got us into this predicament?”
Thanks to some coaching from trusted advisors I took the time to rewrite the book which allowed me to include the election of the Trump Administration and its gasoline-onto-fire intensification of so many aspects of The Impossible Conversation.
When I took on writing TIC in 2015, I predicted that within two years the accelerated version of climate change or, Abrupt Climate Change (ACC) or, Abrupt, Anthropogenic, Climate Disruption (AACD) would be the most covered topic in any media, around the world.
Now (2018), just a year after publishing TIC, as I begin this second book and workbook combination, I can certainly find many articles about the now customary description of climate change. I still have to look in credible, other-than-mainstream, sources for most of the worthwhile, vetted material. (I provide a basic listing of recommended sources for vetted information about not only climate studies, but also about a number of the other metrics I’ve studied, metrics of our deadly impact on our shared, struggling, global habitat.)
There is still precious little of what I’ve come to call, Sober Data, in the mainstream news, about the accelerated and amplified interpretation of Abrupt Climate Change. Equally disturbing is the lack of content or context for any of the many other critical metrics of our damaging human impact on other species and on our global shared habitats.
Most disturbing of all is the now daily traumatizing onslaught of our (primarily but not exclusively USA) political, corporate, military and religious leaders laying waste to every conceivable dimension of the commons, the social contract, the rule of law, the Constitution and what was left of the middle class and the social safety net.
In TIC I spent the first hundred of approximately 250 pages laying out the data and projections of ACC and offering the reader the sources I used in vetting it to my satisfaction. The second hundred pages I filled with a few of my discoveries and historical context pieced together, again, attempting to answer the question, “What got us into this predicament?”
In the last fifty or so pages of TIC I attempted to offer some empowering tools and practices to the reader. These tools and practices were intended to support the massive undertaking that it is for anyone to truly face our now predicament-laden world. I also included descriptions of a few exemplars of people who are fully aware of the Sober Data and the unraveling of our global human and Earth systems – and are living fully engaged lives, fulfilling lives, including service to their communities and loved ones, lives inspired by a deep sense of grace, of being reconnected with the Web of Life.
As any reader of TIC will tell you... that the punch line of TIC is at the end of the logic string that starts with the question: ”What got us into this predicament?”
The answer to that question kept being some variant of, “We’ve disconnected.” We’ve disconnected from our individual, deeper Self, our inner wisdom... We’ve disconnected from other human beings... and, We’ve disconnected from Earth, our ultimate Mother, our home, our shared habitat... We’ve disconnected from the Web of Life itself.
So why this next book? And, why a workbook to go with it?
In the year since the release of TIC my creative partner (Carolyn Baker) and I have led a few pilot workshops and innumerable online support group and coaching sessions for people who are grappling with the question of, “Who will we BE together in the face of a predicament-laden world?”
We are blessed to have been joined by wonderful, caring, engaged, people in these early workshop explorations. We have learned a tremendous amount about working with people in what is arguably the most disruptive, disturbing and challenging topic humanity has ever faced.
We’ve come to see that the depth of this work implies at least some amount of contact with our own individual shadow elements and the collective shadows of our global, corporate and national organizations, agencies and privileged populations.
We’ve seen the full validation, time and again, of the notion that the only route to sane engagement with this insane world is through the embodied integration of practices that encourage us to reconnect with: our deeper Self, other people, Earth herself... and, thanks to one of our shared mentor’s suggestion, to reconnect with our own Soul.
To take on this vitally important work is nothing less than the most important work human beings can do at this time, full stop.
I am not writing this book or the workbook to tell you how to live your life or even what practices are best for you at this time. Ultimately these choices are yours.
I am not writing this book to righteously relay to you the “Truth” about what sort of calamities are now occurring or soon to arrive. Nor am I expecting you to blindly accept my conclusions regarding the state of our world or my frequent use of the word predicament to describe our situation. I am offering this book and workbook so you might come to your own sobering conclusions, definitions and estimated timelines for events that truly matter to you and your loved ones.
What I do intend to do within this book / workbook combination is to provide the sincere practitioner, with a context and framework and set of tools and practices that I and many other people have found supportive, valuable and even transformational.
I / we also are committed to providing clear, safe environments within which predicament-facing allies can begin the considerable task of building their inner tool-kits and expanding important inner capacities for generating presence and resilience in the midst of what promises to be a near future full of daunting challenges and predicaments.
In this book I will spend far less time and energy laying out the Sober Data, the facts and figures. I will include a few relatively brief lists of what I consider to be breathtaking measures of the human-caused collapse of Earth and human systems. I call these lists, the ‘At-a-Glance’ lists.
The vast majority of both this book and the companion workbook is focused on what is actually implied when we say the words: Reconnect with Self, Others, Earth and Soul. This process of reconnection with the Web of Life is at once the most deeply essential and human of tasks, and the most difficult and fraught attainment we could wish for ourselves.
We will spend some time detailing how this vast disconnection came to be. And, we will explore the dark and foreboding swamp in which all nearly 8 billion of us live. This swamp is the planet that is struggling to survive under the ravenous, unconscious onslaught of an out of control human operating system (HOS).
This swamp is what’s left after billions of people have collectively severed their relatedness with the web of life that sustains all life on Earth. This swamp is the result of a species that has forgotten its rightful, humble place in its home and assumed a self-declared role of “superior” species and supreme overlord of all.
Remarkable thought leader and presence, Deb Ozarko, speaks directly to our collective forgetting:
In this great forgetting, we have morphed into a 7.6 billion strong collective operating outside the laws of nature, pillaging a complex living organism; stagnant in our consciousness, in an ever-evolving universe. The imperious inertia of this mass identity portends a short-term future for our species.
Beyond Hope: Letting Go
of a World in Collapse
If you haven’t gotten the full picture yet, let me give a bit more detail about what this book (and workbook) is and is not.
What this book is:
As deep and vivid an expression of my truth as I can muster. My truth about: the nature of human life on Earth, about what constitutes right-relationship with my deeper Self, other humans and Earth herself and what are the currently observable signs of collapse of Earth and human systems.
This book is my offering of my innate and cultivated gifts to Earth and to life and lastly to humanity, in appreciation for this miraculous life with which I’ve been blessed.
This is a vehicle for my practices involving the appreciation of and cultivation of: grace, love, beauty, intent and gratitude. And, let’s not forget some bodacious creativity and spontanaeity…full aliveness.
An offering of the finest and most potent distinctions, stories, practices, tools and processes I have found and used to proceed on my own path of essential reconnection with the Web of Life. I, of course, hope that some of these will be valuable for you too.
An opportunity for each reader to reclaim their own long-ago forfeited personal agency in life and consider retooling everything about their life, including a complete reconsidering of core elements in life including: Hope, Purpose, Meaning, Integrity, Relationship and Life itself. (This includes coming to your own conclusions regarding the actual state of affairs of this shared habitat we call home.)
An invitation to join a very small but growing number of other people who are awake to the eco-cidal lies that underlie our human operating system.
Why I am writing this book (and the companion workbook) is… I cannot unsee the revelations that I experienced in writing the first book – and, I am called to bring as much beauty, grace and love to this one precious life as I can, using the gifts I have been blessed with, to serve life itself.
I’m writing this book because, I am called to write this book. I’m also writing this book to create the guidebook for predicament-laden times that I wish I had been given when I had my moments of awakening.
What this book is not:
This is not a handbook for saving the planet and especially not a set of life hacks or solutions that will enable us to make a few small tweaking adjustments so we can continue the violent, eco-cidal pursuit of infinite growth that we have come to call normal.
This is not my attempt to take on the role of some kind of self important and dogmatic guru or charismatic leader. While all the Business as Usual human structures on the planet today are attracting and constellating this kind of relationship with powerful leaders, there is no such role in this body of work implied in these pages.
This book is not about the 5 easy steps to ... or the 7 ways that successful people do... No, this is not about a few easy steps to some kind of really cool shit. If anything, this book and workbook is jammed full of all of the hard work we collectively have refused to do, or avoided for the past seventy five years, and the past 30 years in particular. This reconnecting with the primary sources of meaning in human life promises to be perhaps the toughest work any of us has ever had to do.
And, in doing the work that is implied here I am promising no special reward or even any particular results. This work, in the face of these existential predicaments, is the same caliber of work done by some of the great spiritual adepts in long standing spiritual traditions. This work is the precious work of miraculous self aware beings, bravely facing the truth of life on Earth at this time, bravely naming our core disconnection from all primary sources of life, and, reaching out to return to right relationship with life itself.
Not for any notion of saving anyone or anything. Not to find some crafty way to continue our obviously eco-cidal BAUHOS… but to express, if only for a moment, a life in grace and gratitude. A life far larger than our individual circumstance or identity. If only for a moment, to live in service to life itself.
The immense blind spots left in the wake of our collective and individual disconnection, are only being filled by our long unintegrated shadows. Among those shadows are our unmetabolized grief and the residual trauma that so many of us have experienced in our youth, not to mention the daily tsunami of trauma we now call normal in the insane, dumpster fire that is the current state of American politics and moral character.
In a well known document, attributed to Hopi Elders, it is asserted that “We are the leaders we’ve been waiting for.” It goes on to detail that there is a strong and loud calling for a very different way of being for humans on Earth, Now.
If this is so, these new leaders, they will need to be facile at diving headlong into those shadows and that grief. They will need to be masterful at navigating waters filled with obstacles that past and present generations have overridden. Trauma, Grief, Inequity, Inclusion, Justice, Bias, Perpetual Violence, Domination… and much more.
Those leaders, while more likely to come from younger generations and people representing long marginalized and oppressed populations… those leaders are each and every one of us.
Perhaps from an increased reconnection with the web of life we will reclaim some of our long-forfeited agency and integrity in life. Perhaps we can breathe some of that rarified air of beings who humbly live in right-relationship within their home habitat.
Perhaps we can shift our presence on this miraculous planet from one of taking, disconnection and willful decimation, to bringing our deepest gifts as offerings to life and to healing, even as we speed on, causing the collapse of Earth and human systems.
Those leaders are charged with the task of leading us to a deep remembering of our humble place in this miraculous web of life, in this brief blessing of a lifetime, here and now.
Thank you, fellow leaders, for joining me in living this song.
Dean Spillane Walker