So I got a little down about the world last week.
I was reading bleak articles on the left, despairing that a bunch of countries have decided again that firing missiles makes things better, watching the Canadian government make excuses for inexcusable actions, and trying not to think about nuclear reactors.
Thinking a change of scenery and some spring air might do me good, I went for a walk and ended up at a coffeeshop reading the local weekly. I hadn’t taken a look at the magazine in years, and it made me discouraged to look at the event calendar and see the same organizations hosting the same events, the same teach-ins, the same calls to action, and it seemed to me on that day that I don’t think society has made a lot of progress recently. I could be optimistic that all those groups are still active, or discouraged at the lack of change. More discouraged at the disturbing images that pass for American Apparel ads in the same magazine. More discouraged at the articles calling for environmental lifestyles next to articles designed to increase our consumption of crap. More discouraged that pharmaceutical companies are still advertising for human guinea pigs to take drugs for money.
We’re not getting this right, I think. Can’t we do better? As humans, can’t we do better?
I’m exhausted by the religious answer, which divides everything into good and bad categories and promises me an apocalypse.
I’m exhausted by the anti-capitalist / radical left answers, which are filled with anger.
I’m exhausted by all sides of the political spectrum treating dissenters with contempt.
I’m exhausted by the self-help industry, and the less-scrupulous folks in my own profession who make money off people’s pain and desperation.
There must be a better way, I think.
At times like this, I remind myself of The Presencing Institute and Theory U, “a set of principles and practices for collectively creating the future that wants to emerge (following the movements of co-initiating, co-sensing, co-inspiring, co-creating, and co-evolving).” That’s working towards a better way.
I remind myself of all the people who, along with me, are alumni of the three year Transpersonal Therapy training program, an experiential and non-sectarian program “designed to facilitate healing and spiritual growth.” That’s working towards a better way.
I remind myself that 400 leaders in Co-Active coaching (the style of coaching I’m trained in) recently gathered at the first Co-Active Summit and emerged from the Summit with a collective promise:
We believe the human community is at the critical time to change the dream of the world, a dream we have created together, a dream that leads to the destruction of the planet through overconsumption, the wasting of our human environment through social injustice, and the loss of spiritual fulfillment through disconnection and fear.
We believe that by uniting together, we can make the critical difference. We are committing ourselves to changing the dream to one that envisions a sustainable environment, spiritual fulfillment, and social justice for all people and beings. We hold that by taking this stand, our decision can provide the tipping point that the world needs now.
Each in our own way, we will help change the dream: in our selves, in our families, with our children, in front of our friends, inspiring our communities. Because we are leaders, we are coaches, we are human activists. Our weapon is love.
We have less than four years to take decisive action. To change our own life, to change our world, to change our collective dream, to alter the Earth’s destiny. For the sake of our humanness, for the sake of our grandchildren’s grandchildren. In the words of Henry Kimsey-House, we must act from the paradox of Love AND Power, Feminine AND Masculine energies, Co AND Active. We can’t pick sides any more, coming from one OR the other. We must act from both.
That’s working towards a better way.
In Search of a Better Way
I want to have conversations about a better way.
I want to work with coaching and therapy clients who are in search of a better way.
I want us to create better ways together.Laura McGrath is a Toronto life coach who helps smart people to live from their hearts. Let's talk! You can subscribe to Ready for Change news to receive thoughtful notes on personal growth, and you can sign up for an introductory coaching session to find out if coaching is right for you.