“Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing.”
We are living through tumultuous times.
Of course, there is the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic with its yet unknown long-term global impacts. Readily apparent, too, is increasing social inequality and political polarization the world over. And then there are the even larger, looming, ecological threats: biodiversity loss, climate chaos, planetary collapse.
It is very human to worry about the future, particularly when faced with so much uncertainty. I often catch myself asking: What will life look like in coming months and years and decades? What kind of Earth will (my) children inherit? Will Western civilization even make it through to the turn of the century?
I don’t have precise (or, ultimately, satisfying) answers to these types of questions. I do believe, however, that holding space for unknowing, honouring our pain for the world, and taking time to process ongoing personal and collective trauma(s) is vital to any livable future.
I also intuit, along with Arundhati Roy, that another world – a more beautiful world – is on its way. Despite my regular worry, when I slow down and pay attention, I can hear her breathing.
I believe that each one of us has unique and important roles to play – or gifts to give – to bring the more beautiful world our hearts know is possible to fruition. Just like a healthy ecosystem consists of diverse components interacting in dynamic equilibrium, our emerging world will consist of diverse people interacting through synergistic gift-giving.
What are your gifts?
What authentic gifts might you offer our emerging world? Frederick Buechner believed that a person’s vocation(s) can be found in the place where their deep fulfillment meets the world’s deep need. In this way, your authentic callings – your gifts – will be located in places where personal satisfaction meets planetary need.
While Buechner’s statement is orienting, it (unfortunately!) is not a high-resolution gift-finding map. Thankfully, there are other clues to follow in your search of authentic contributions.
For example, you might seek out a wise therapist who can help you work through your trauma(s), mirror your uniqueness, and provide counsel for your gift-finding journey.
You might clarify your core values, using them as touchstones in your vocational wayfinding.
You can track your intuitions and dreams, drawing on common threads for guidance and inspiration.
You might spend solo time in nature, patiently waiting and listening for messages about your gifting from the more-than-human world (your larger, ecological self).
Part of the whole
Whoever you are, whatever forms your gifts take, our emerging world needs the authentic you to fully flower.
Your individual contributions are essential to the flourishing of the whole.