A few months ago I attended a talk given by a contemporary speaker whom I admire. I admire her for her words of wisdom about community and conversation that I have read in her books and on the web.
Her recent talk was focussed on the changing world, a topic we hear a lot about these days. At the talk she posed a question to the group: “are you strengthening yourself to continue to live a good life in the journey yet to come”. I was disappointed by the question. As posed it spoke to me of fear, fear of what was to come in our world and an impression that the change would be negative.
At the time I quickly scribbled down a reframed question as follows: “are you strengthening yourself to continue to live a good life of service within a world of opportunity”. This was more like the question that I was expecting to be asked to consider. Given her philosophy as espoused in her writing this was more like the question that I thought you she would have asked of us. I was reminded of this question this morning when I saw these words on a window in my neighbourhood.
I hear more and more predictions that the world is changing, that it must change and that change is inevitable. Some predictions are negative in their focus and tend to instil fear and in trepidation about what we will face in the future. Others appear more optimistic but tend to be fairly esoteric telling us that we are in the process of change, that this change will be big and that the world will be different. The implication with these more optimistic predictions is that the world will be better. From my perspective the missing link in both of these types of predictions is the lack of any advice about what we can do as a people to prepare for or to affect the change. We are left with the fear of the unknown and a sense of lack of control to impact the implied change.
If the world change will be negative how do we prepare or alter our actions to lessen the harmful impact? If it is positive how do we take action to speed the change along? My curiosity aside has me thinking that maybe just ignoring the predictions altogether is the best thing to do.
However, I am curious and I am interested and thus I cannot ignore these predictions nor can I stop considering how I figure in these expected changes. My re-posed question gives you a clear hint on what side of the line I stand on in terms of the tone and direction of the predictions. I believe that the changes that we will see evolve or perhaps explode in the near future will come in form of opportunities to move the world and the lives of humans and others (flora and fauna) towards a more peaceful and humane way of life. Perhaps returning us to a much, much earlier way of living in the world. This view has me looking forward to the change rather than being fearful of what is to come.
I have been critical of the predictions that exist and those making the predictions for not going beyond their predictions and offering us some ideas for moving forward. Thus I will not leave you without my initial thoughts about what I will try to do as an individual in order to move forward.
I will try to strengthen myself to continue to live a good life of service within a world of opportunity. I will:
- continue to see the future as offering opportunities for positive change
- continue to practice and develop a personal level of stillness and patience so that my response to change is more measured and thoughtful
- keep examining and writing about what it means to be healthy in the broad sense both in our current world and what may come our way
- pursue and enhance efforts to support my overall health (body, mind, spirit) and that of others
- consider how I may be of service both now and in the future
- be mindful of my decisions and choices and how they may impact others and the future
- explore, uncover and perhaps discover ideas for positive change in the world
- continue to consider what options we have for the future
- be intentional in contributing to peace rather than fear
Like the person who wrote the words in the window in the picture here, I CANT PREDICT THE FUTURE. Inspired by this quote “Each situation that arises in a person’s life is there as an opportunity to make a choice for suffering or for freedom” Cheri Huber I can choose freedom rather than suffering in my participation and contribution to our future.
What will you choose?
Irene McDermott © 2012