On clear, crisp autumn nights, I love gazing at the stars when I walk my dogs before bed. I find comfort in identifying particular constellations that I’ve recognized since childhood and knowing that they are always there. With all that is shifting and changing in the world, I’ve begun to notice that some part of me is looking for constancy – for solid ground in an ever-shifting landscape – for things that I can count on to be the same every day. I’m realizing that, as aware and “together” as I might like to think that I am, fear for our future – fear for my own future – can still creep in.
With nearly everyone I speak to here in the U.S., I hear and sense a growing unease. Our government as we have known it is being quickly and systematically dismantled. Many people express a deep fear for who and what we are becoming as a nation.
Similar fears are present in varying degrees for citizens of other countries as well. Disruption and breaking open is happening in societal and governmental systems and structures in many countries. Fundamental expectations, freedoms, regulations, and protections that help ensure that our society functions in relatively safe, efficient, and secure ways – things that I never imagined we could ever lose in the U.S. – are suddenly in doubt. I also recognize that in some countries, people have never known the kinds of freedom and security that we in the United States have taken for granted.
I’ve been writing about the current disruptions as the “Great Breaking Open.” This is a central topic in my new book, Transformational Presence: How To Make a Difference In a Rapidly Changing World. It was also the topic of a rich interactive webinar with participants from around the world a couple of weeks ago. (Scroll down on the book webpage to view a video recording of the webinar.)
It’s easy to put our focus on the disruption and breaking open of systems and structures. However, there is a deeper shift going on that we aren’t talking about so much: the breaking open of the human spirit. This deeper shift is where the power for transformation lies.
As the human spirit breaks open, so do our views of ethics and values, our attitudes about what is possible and what isn’t, and our perspectives and beliefs about how life works. We are living in a time that is filled with uncertainty and potential. While the lack of stability is unnerving, it is a natural part of a breaking open process. And things have to break open in order for there to be transformative change. The only way to the other side is to go through.
So what do we do with all of this? Where does Transformational Presence fit in? What steps can the Center for Transformational Presence take to be supportive of the people in our community as they navigate uncertain times? We may not be able to provide solid ground, yet what steps can we take to create a place of safety, a place to be heard, a place of connection, and a place of rest?
These are questions we are sitting in at the Center every day, even as we are also in our own shifts and transitions. The energy of Transformational Presence is expanding rapidly and asking more of us. Like you, we are also navigating the shifting tides of the Great Breaking Open.
As I write, several more simple yet powerful questions come to my awareness:
In the end, what do I/we really have?
What is really mine/ours?
What can I/we count on?
As I sit with those questions, I’m left with feeling that perhaps all that any of us has, in the end, is ourselves.
That might sound like a hopeless or despairing realization. Yet what if, instead, we choose for that awareness to be empowering?
What if one invitation of the Great Breaking Open is to claim and stand for our own high sets of values, to choose and live into our own high standards for ethics, and to engage in all of our interactions and relationships from a place of integrity with those values and ethics?
What if we’re being invited to keep expanding our awareness, our horizons, and our worldviews in order to comprehend the many layers of complexity and interconnection in the world around us?
What if the invitation is to keep stretching ourselves to be the best that we can possibly be so that we might offer our greatest service and gifts to our families, our communities, our countries, and our world?
Besides ourselves, we also have each other. We have our own communities around us. And we have the Transformational Presence community. It’s important to stay connected – to reach out to support and be supported. The Center alone cannot create safety, connection, rest, and a space to be heard. However, many of us together can.
It’s up to each of us to cultivate and nurture our relationships. And that means taking good care of the space in between us. We begin by tending the garden of our own hearts so that then we have the strength, clarity, and compassion needed to tend the garden in the space in between us. As we do this, we continue to co-create a community that can hold us, catch us when we start to fall, and walk beside us as we navigate uncertainty and shifting tides.
In the face of the current disruptions and breaking open, this is no small task. We’re all navigating different situations and circumstances. Yet they are all in some way connected to the energy of breaking open. We’re all in this together – you, me, all of us at the Center for Transformational Presence, and, in fact, all of us in this big wide breaking open world.
In the book of Proverbs from the Bible, Solomon wrote, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” (Proverbs 29:18) One vision that I have for our future is that we live in a world where every day more people say “Yes” to these invitations. That awareness expands exponentially and our sense of response-ability in taking care of the space between us grows every day.
At the Center for Transformational Presence, we’re riding these waves of disruption, change, transformation, and expansion just as you are. We’re doing our best to listen, sense, feel, and intuit what we’re being asked for every day, and to respond in the best ways we can. We don’t always get it right, yet we learn from every step we take. We’re here for you – not necessarily with answers or solutions, but with presence and support – a friendly hand to steady you as we all continue navigating the Great Breaking Open together.
We have ourselves, and we have each other. May we take good care of the space in between us.
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