Thursday, September 22, 2011

Don't talk to me, I need to keep a positive attitude...

In her book, Sacred Demise, Carolyn Baker frequently receives emails that say something like, "I'm unsubscribing from your email list because your website is filled with negativity and I need to stay positive." Carolyn describes this perspective as "righteous," or a false sense of doing the right thing. The problem with a (self) righteous attitude is that it leads to detachment from reality. It's a "new agey" way of keeping a positive attitude so we never have to feel badly about what's actually happening. They're actually saying that it's someone else's problem (reality), not theirs.

I know just what she means, because I see it all the time and from people that I'd least suspect it from. I've been shocked and disappointed that it comes from people who are awake on so many other levels.  The addiction to a "positive attitude" in the face of the end of the world as we know it is beyond irrational. It is a uniquely human-centric obsession. I mean, what delusional person would argue that we're not killing the planet?

This disconnect and closed thinking often shows up for me with the words, "please don't share this with me...I don't want to hear it. I believe we create our own reality." For me, this is like ignoring abuse in a dysfunctional family and we and the planet are the family. We humans have been ungracious guests on this planet the moment we disowned our indigenous roots, and from that moment on, "civilization" has been trying to rid itself of the indigenous heart inherent in all of us.

As a culture, we're in extreme denial. We don't believe, it's not a problem, someone will fix it, or it's useless and we've given up..

Carolyn Baker points out that what "all forms of positive thinking about collapse come down to is our own fear of death." I've got bad news for some of you: We're all going to die. This doesn't mean that we can't plan for a good outcome, or that we can't sometimes effect the outcome, but the truth is, we can't always, and how we react to what is happening is really the only thing we have control over. The phrase "I believe we create our own reality" is the ultimate conceit and narcissism.

Not too long ago in meeting I was in, we were hashing out some issues around sustainability and possible collapse and one person was very uncomfortable talking about the whole subject and he uttered the words ""I believe we create our own reality, and what we think, we create."  Seeing how disturbed he was, I asked him, "then why are you at this meeting? Did you create this reality with your negative thinking?" This is, unfortunately, all related to magical thinking much like the movie The Secret. Sometimes shit happens. We desperately need to come to terms with and accept the limits of our general powerlessness. Once we can accept this emerging reality, we are empowered and no longer need to resist.

It's not my intention to make others wrong. They are entitled to believe what they want. But when people hold rigid beliefs in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, it truly becomes a pattern of denial. It's essential that we stay present with what's going on in the world and stay available emotionally, spiritually, physically, and mentally. Our survival may depend on it. Anything else is just checking out, and that is not being conscious.

Get the book Sacred Demise. It is a gift to us all.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

"Collapse" is already happening, and it's speeding up.

What is it, if anything, you need to do to prepare for the changes it will bring to our lives? How will you thrive?

Here are some of the things going on in the world just from today's headlines (Mostly NOT in the Lame Stream media) that are going to drastically affect how you live and who you are.
  • Japan's death agony continues  ( Typhoon Roke will pass right over Fukushima - 1 Million may evacuate.
  • TEPCO says up to 500 tons of groundwater already flowing into Fukushima Power Plant (
  • China cannot save Europe when it's defaulting on it's own debt (Forbes)
  • China Pulls The Rug From Under Europe, Halts French Bank Transactions, Makes Good On Trade War Ultimatum (
  • Saudi King heralds the dawn of the new World Order (Yahoo Business)
  • The new most dangerous cities in America ( There are 25 of them....
  • Eurozone crisis coukld push Britain back over the edge (
  • There will be peak oil (Acklett's Energy Mix)
  • Palestine: The move to vote on statehood begins Friday. I'm trying hard to imagine an outcome that won't trigger war or uprising. Pres. Obama has said the US will veto statehood (
  • Europe's Central banks load up on Gold (
  •  Global energy use to jump 53% (CNN) The question is, how?
  • The corporate bank run has begun (
  • Mayor Bloomberg says world social unrest will hit America's streets (
I could go on and on. The point here is not to be negative, but to be aware of what's happening on the planet. I'm not negative, but I am alarmed (as if that were an inappropriate reaction, and is a much better place than denial). Few of us are eager to contemplate, let alone truly face, these looming changes. Just the threat of losing chunks of the comfortable way of life we’re accustomed to (or aspiring to) is a frightening-enough prospect. But there’s no avoiding the current facts and trends of the human and planetary situation.

From The Waking Up Syndrome by Sarah Anne Edwards and Linda Buzzel:

What’s going on may or may not be inevitable, but we don’t have to speed it along. We can do at least one thing to ease or lessen the negative impact of these changes. We can join an environmental action group, plant a tree, bike to work, help with a protest march or write letters to our congressperson. Just doing our little bit to limit the damage eases the psychological distress we’re feeling, even if we’re not “saving the whole world.”  Taking even a small stand for what Joanna Macy calls “the life-sustaining society” (as opposed to the life-destroying one) gives us back our dignity and sense of agency.

Raise our level of consciousness so we can maintain some serenity and not burn out in the midst of all this change. We might adopt a spiritual practice of some kind, take up meditation, expand our understanding of ecology or history, or spend time reconnecting with nature, learning to live our lives in harmony with the rest of the earth.
To Learn More

Circle of Simplicity: Return to the Good Life by Cecile Andrews.
World as Lover, World as Self: Courage for Global Justice and Ecological Renewal by Joanna Macy.
The Great Turning: From Empire to Earth Community by David Korten.
The Long Emergency: Surviving the End of Oil, Climate Change and other Converging Catastrophes of the Twenty-first Century by James Howard Kunstler.
Middle-Class Life Boat, Careers and Life Choices for Staying Afloat in an Uncertain Economy by Paul and Sarah Edwards.
Permaculture: Principles & Pathways Beyond Sustainability by David Holmgren
Peak Everything: Waking up to the Century of Decline by Richard Heinberg.
Powerdown: Options and Actions for a Post-Carbon World by Richard Heinberg.
Reconnecting with Nature by Michael J. Cohen.

Documentary DVDs
The End of Suburbia: Oil Depletion and the Collapse of the American Dream.
Escape From Suburbia: Beyond the American Dream
The Power of Community: How Cuba Survived Peak Oil
What a Way to Go: Life at the End of the Empire.
Crude Impact

The Post-Carbon Institute

Photo credit: Jos van Wunnik