It’s spring. And all things are bright and beautiful…except for this continued shadow rolling in on us. It was already there, hovering just out of sight for most.
- Wars and armed conflicts around the world spurning underfunded humanitarian crises
- Mounting reminders that climate change is already upon us including the recent UN report
- Health epidemics like ongoing ebola outbreaks that barely made the news
Then there is the COVID-19 pandemic that we are learning to live with…
And now there is war in Europe.
The clouds have rolled in, dark and heavy, raining soot…acid rain. What is happening now is no different than when oil spills into the ocean…and keeps spilling…It will keep spreading. It will float to the surface. It will kill all life in its wake…and eventually it will destroy everything.
We are all angry at what is happening in Europe.
As a war survivor and past refugee, every fiber of my being is bleeding.
I hate seeing what is happening. I hate watching the news. My being is crying for every life lost. For every child who watched their parent’s violent death. For every girl and woman abused. For babies being born and trapped in a world of violence. For men losing their lives to each other. Each story triggers me back to my own painful fleeing from war. And I count myself blessed to have escaped relatively unscathed.
All this suffering simply for power and money.
I have considered turning away from it many times. But I cannot. I am human, as diminished as my humanity feels in this moment when I look around my life and see all the ways I still need oil and gas to function. I cannot disconnect, because as a human, I am not an island. I am a social being that needs social connection to survive and thrive. If we ever doubted this, the social isolation of the pandemic and its impact of an escalated global mental health crises has confronted us with all we need to know about interdependency.
We have all already had our humanity diminished by what has been occurring because we are all in it. And therefore, we must continue to be engaged, for better or worse. Turning away will only further dehumanize us all. The call of our times is to reclaim our full humanity. And that means the humanity of all. We must care and support the child orphaned and suffering in Tigray or Yemen or Afghanistan as equally as the child from Bucha. We much be equally as outraged for the anywhere from 7 million to 27 million people in countries and regions around the world in dire humanitarian need as we are for the 5 million displaced in Europe today. As the UN Secretary-General reminds: “The last two years have demonstrated a simple but brutal truth – if we leave anyone behind, we leave everyone behind.”
It is easy to criticize the global world order and international organizations like the UN. But heavy is the head that wears the crown as they try to right this ship amidst ongoing crises, conflicting and incestuous interests and polarization in the global world order. We know though from systems thinking that any failings they are exhibiting are the same failing we are all crippled by. They are doing their part. We can keep calling out their inconsistencies, while we remain complacent and complicit, or we can accept that we each need to do our part too. All indications are that:
We need to radically transform our ways of life…from how we eat to how we travel to how our homes are built and powered.
We need to radically transform our way of working, from seeing humans as resources to people who will offer their best contributions if we organize work in a way that honours their humanity.
We need to be relentless in advancing science and technological innovations that serve our future instead of hold it in the deadlock of mutually assured destruction.
We need to be relentless in dismantling the capitalist, colonial and supremist systems that have brought us here and in rebuilding equity-centered futures that restores the dignity of all peoples.
We need justice AND healing AND love to restore our broken world. We need to love all our neighbours enough to want them to live in dignity.
This is the only way…for when one is left behind the clouds will only get darker and the oil will eventually cover us all. We need to start now, wherever we are. For the so-called collateral damage of war is people—someone’s loved one. I never want to forget that in the blur of the statistics. It is time to transform from our modern world which despite our technological and economic advancements has wrecked havoc on us all. For we have never truly developed past the mentalities of the industrial revolution. We haven’t become as post-modern as we’d like to think. It’s no wonder we are astonished by what is seen as barbaric war tactics at play today but these are tactics that have been in effect throughout this era. We cannot go back to make different decisions and change what is. It’s time instead to start from here and transform our world. In the words of Margaret Wheatley: “Everything comes from what preceded it. Nothing is reversible. This is the arrow of Time”.
The work of transformation is both slow and fast. We need to look at the mountains that seem insurmountable today and trust in the slow work of climbing one rock at a time instead of standing yelling at basecamp. We also need to be innovative and fast enough to save every human whose life hangs in the balance with war and crises at their doorstep now.
Otherwise, why are we here?
Each one of us has a part to play no matter how small, no matter where we find ourselves.
So I remain committed to Resonant Transformation—an intentional commitment to the deeply personal stories in my life that keep me grounded to the need for transformation—a complete reimagining of our world for the better. The place where I can live from Resonance and not from trauma and fear. The stories I call on that call me to remember that I must live on purpose, socially conscious and connected to humanity, commitment to my personal and collective transformations for the better, valuing every life and determined to do my part—speak, write, teach, research, coach leaders and do work—to create more positive human organizing for a more positive world. It is my hope that we will all find that place within us and leave a better footprint on this world out of these ashes. Our future depends on us all.
 Wheatley, M. J. (2017). Who do we choose to be? Facing reality, claiming leadership, restoring sanity. Berrett-Koehler. Page 28