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“It’s not happiness that makes us grateful but gratefulness that makes us happy.” – Br. David Steindl Rast

Now. Here. This.

A note from Erin:

Hello friends!
What a wild time we’re living in.
I’ve recently been rereading some reflections from Joanna Macy.
Can I share a simple excerpt with you from the Work That Reconnects website?

“Instead of giving sermons and pre-formulated analyses, the WTR invites us simply to look at today’s conditions and make our own choices.  Indeed we can and should choose the way we view the history unfolding in our day.

The WTR identifies three stories or versions of reality that shape our perceptions, like a lens through which we see what’s happening.

The first is Business As Usual, where the defining assumption is that there is little need to change the way we live in accordance with corporate rule.  This is the story we hear from our political and corporate leaders and the mainstream media.

The second story, which is the view of most scientists and activists and those around the world who are most afflicted, is the Great Unraveling, and it widens perceptions to include the disasters that Business As Usual is bringing upon us.  It removes the blinders that obscure the collapse of ecological, social, and agricultural systems, the ongoing oppression of people of color and other marginalized groups, the mass extinction of species, and the accelerating disturbance of our planet’s climate.

The third story is embodied in all those who see where the first story is taking us, and who refuse to let the second story have the last word.  It is the epochal transition from an industrial growth society to a life-sustaining civilization.  We call this story the Great Turning.”

Refusing to let “business as usual” or “the great unraveling” have the last word and instead, seeing this cultural upheaval as a process of transitioning to a life-sustaining civilization… I’m so inspired by this view. It’s so easy to get down in the dumps about all the things unraveling around us at such a speedy rate.

I recently read about the need for re-story-ation as much as restoration. Isn’t it the truth? New stories are needed to carry us forward. What are the stories you’re listening to about what’s happening? What stories are you telling yourself? Sharing with others? I love this perspective from the WTR website: “Indeed we can and should choose the way we view the history unfolding in our day.” It makes a difference. How wonderful to know it’s a choice.

Zooming in from the big picture process to the nitty gritty details of our everyday lives and choices is also so important. I listened to an inspiring episode of the OnBeing podcast recently. I was particularly struck by the simple, grounding wisdom from Father Greg Boyle, who works with former gang members in Los Angeles. He said he loves this mantra. “Now hear this.” (Those are the words I pictured when I heard him say them). But then he clarified. Here’s his mantra, one especially good for times we feel overwhelmed.  “Now. Here. This.” As any meditation or mindfulness teacher worth their salt knows – it all, always, comes down to this. The big picture is only ever woven together of millions of moments – all the instances of Now. Here. This. How we inhabit the now (or not) whether we show up fully here (or not) and the quality we bring to this (or not) makes a profound difference, in the here and now, and in the transition to a life-sustaining civilization.

I come back so frequently to this question from Scott Morrison. “Do I wish to live this moment with as much attention, care, and affection as possible, or am I going to do something else? There’s no point in judging the something else as either good or bad, it’s just important to know who is making the decision.” We always have this choice. We always have this choice.
In this moment of now, could you adjust your posture so that it’s more an expression of care and attention to your physical well-being? So simple. Not small in its impact.
Could you sense this breath – this one right now – slowing down and moving lower down in your body – down to your pelvic floor? You’re here. Right here. Nowhere else but here.
And this. What is your this? Reading, perhaps. Multitasking perhaps. If you intended to bring as much attention, care and affection as possible to this very moment – what would that be like? If this very moment reading could be an expression of how you most aspire to be in the world?

May we all be not only witnesses to but conscious co-creators of not just the Great Unraveling, but of the Great Turning, of a grand re-story-ation, into a world that is truly life-giving and life-sustaining for all. Starting right now.

Wishing you vast beauty and generous room for the essential ingredients of gratefulness and grief in your Now-Here-This.

With love,
Erin

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