Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Stories of new creation - how we go about transforming the world from the bottom up

Margaret Wheatley writes that we have arrived at a time when more and more of us have come to realize that we cannot "change the world." The crises we face, all that has gone horribly wrong in our world, the large picture we see every day full of war and poverty, the collapse of the political system, resurgence of racism and xenophobia, and ecological devastation - we cannot possibly take on that big picture and think we can alter its trajectory, not without collapsing in exhaustion and despair.

However, we CAN begin to kick the foundations out from under it, one brick at time, by choosing to live a different way. We can choose to break our ties of co-dependence with a western capitalist system built upon fierce individualism and self-interest, that has put us in the role of super-consumer, a role that is helping create profits and power for corporations while ravaging the Earth at the same time in order to feed that system.

We can decide to wrest free of it and work instead to create a world of resilient communities bonded by care for one another and the common good we all share, to create local economies based on creating wellness and happiness for the good of all.

We can do this. Only the will is lacking. But not everywhere. Indeed, in more and more places all around the planet, the work of "new creation," the kind that is accelerating the demise of the old destructive paradigm while at the same time birthing a new one, is already underway.

This website hosts two blogs, one that focuses on the news of the planet, and this one, which focuses on stories of new creation, where it is happening, what kinds of communities are growing up in the face of the crisis and pointing us toward resilience, compassion, "islands of sanity" as Margaret Wheatley refers to them. They are not only islands; they are also the first steps in creating the path through the crises to "the other side," even if we don't have a clue what that other side might look like.

As the old saying goes: we create the path by walking, not by finding one already there, laid out for us in some pre-plan.

I know many places where these stories are rising up. We want to share them here. This is how we offer hope - not because we know the way out of the mess, but by showing what the search looks like, who is doing it, and what they are doing. This is how we find out that we are not alone.

So this post is to invite you to share your stories with us. Where new creation is happening, help us find it. And we will start posting more stories here to share with you. We do this not only for the purpose of hope (which is often distant, disembodied, and overly spiritualized), but as a source of inspiration, stories to ignite creative energies, to get the imagination going, to spur on more local creativity as we walk through this profound period of transition for the human species.

Send stories and ideas to: centerfornewcreation@gmail.org
Follow us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ctr4newcreation/

~ Margaret Swedish

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

What it means to "defend the sacred"

It means defending what is sacred. And increasingly people of deep faith and spiritualities of all sorts are rediscovering that it is creation itself that is sacred - the entirety of the Web of Life on this planet from which we emerged, of which we are part, in which we participate...

...and which we have horribly abused.

More and more around this country we are finding stories of what it means to people to rediscover this sense of "place," this truth of what creation is, what holds it together, that it is by its very nature "community", a community of interrelating beings and dynamic energies evolving over billions of years from which emerged human beings with the capacity to gaze out into the world and find beauty in it.

I don't think we always realize what that is - the capacity to experience beauty. But it is one of the most important sensors we have to seeing our world and knowing, in the most intuitive aspects of consciousness, what makes us alive, and even more, what makes life worth living, or worthy of living.

Help keep the stories coming - to donate
And so what we want to do on this blog now is just bring stories of where this capacity is being best expressed in the defense of what is sacred. More and more I believe that it is this kind of commitment and action that can change the destructive dynamic of industrial capitalist economies, of seeing the Earth as a vast resource to be exploited for human pleasure and enrichment, for economic growth, for the sake of the GDP. Restoring these most fundamental relationships puts us in the front lines against the corporate exploiters. From these stories, we can find inspiration  and examples of how we organize to create a new and different culture that puts us back in sync with the living systems and healing powers of the Earth.

And so this story - the sisters who took to the cornfields of their land in Pennsylvania to defend it from a natural gas pipeline. As you will read in these articles, they were invited to this action by local activists, and now those local activists are in the field with them, meditating and praying, while the struggle goes to court where the pipeline company is determined to take their land via eminent domain - pitting the powers of the fossil fuel industry against the witness of these sisters.

Catholic nuns in Pa. build a chapel to block the path of a gas pipeline planned for their property 

Adorers of the Blood of Christ take pipeline protest to court 

Statement from the Adorers of the Blood of Christ, U.S. Region



Lancaster Stand

"No you can't do this, and we are the ones who are going to stop you ourselves." 

We invite you to take that charge to heart. Look around the places where you are and see what needs defending. Join with others already engaged in defending the sacred space where you live. And if such groups do not yet exist - start one.

Think Standing Rock and the struggle to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline in North Dakota [Mni Wiconi: The Stand at Standing Rock], and the gutsy, determined community activism in Iowa to try to stop the pipeline there [for example: 32 Arrested After 200 NODAPL Protesters Dismantle Security Fence in Bid to Disrupt Pipeline Drilling]. Think the Keystone XL pipeline, which has been resisted with tremendous creativity in Nebraska and beyond. Think of the DAPL resistance in Louisiana, or the Kentucky campaign to stop the Bluegrass Pipeline, inspired in large part by the refusal of the Loretto Community and the monks of neighboring Gethsemene Abbey to allow it to cross their thousands of acres of "Holy Land." Think Winona LaDuke and Honor the Earth building resistance to Enbridge Line 3 in Minnesota.

I could go on. In each of these cases, not only are the land and waters being defended and protected, but community is being created, and a movement is beginning to look unstoppable.

~ Margaret Swedish

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Making new creation on an urban farm

In the growing movement around community gardens in the heart of many of our cities, we find that something more than food is growing. What we find being planted are seeds of the new way of life we keep talking about, the seeds of new human communities and cultures that will not only survive the coming turmoil, but are likely to thrive.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Returning to our Mother Earth - so that we may continue living here

The film below is a story. It is a story about our relationship with our real Mother.

If you've had a good relationship with your personal Mother, if she has loved you unconditionally, nurtured you, supported your growing and maturing, nudging you out into the world - then you know how powerful that word is.

What Arkan Lushwala says in this film is not just metaphor, not merely romantic and poetic - it is quite literally true. It is materially true, as well as spiritually true. In every way we have come from our Mother. We are birthed from her in a whole series of interconnections across both space and time, and we will return to her, our living energy merged back into hers, when we die. As Thích Nhất Hạnh has said so eloquently: with this understanding, really, when did we begin and when do we end?

Friday, March 10, 2017

A garden story

This story is mine. It's about being a gardener, and how the meaning of that changed over the decades. It's about what I garden now, not just out of the rich soil of one garden plot, but also in the work I do in the context of this stunning collapse of the old political culture of the U.S. I've been a gardener for a long time, but it means something different now, coming as it does at the same time as our human destruction of planetary systems is starting to really impact everything and everyone. It's all happening so fast now and the gardening metaphor helps me see and understand it - and fear it less.

Collapse is coming for a reason. It is inevitable now. It needs to happen. It will not be pretty.

It seems to me that the essential gardening question we face in the context of collapse is this: what are we cultivating to replace it?

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

When the story of this time is written...

When the story of this time is written, how will humans account for it? What will be the highlights of the narrative? It's hard to see where this is going. It's hard to even see exactly how to proceed, though proceed we must, and with vision, with a sense of prophetic witness, with courage.

There have been thousands of stories since we last posted on this page. Like many of us, I feel the deep sense of overwhelm as wave after wave washes over our time, rearranging the landscape again and again and again...

Raging wildfires and record-breaking brutal heat in Chile and Australia, California's drought turned to raging torrents, floods, mudslides and one fine example of the neglect of infrastructure at the Oroville Dam.

Think of the stories embedded here - of people displaced, of people whose homes and towns are now ashes, lives upended. Thousands of stories of loss, of coping, of resilience and despair.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

What do people mean when they say "we need a new story?"

I've been thinking about this a lot, because it comes up all the time in spiritual or cultural circles around the "new universe story," or what some refer to as the "new cosmology" (actually, there is nothing "new" about it at all; it's a fairly old story, about 13.8 billion years; we're just discovering it now.).

Sometimes I get concerned that this can easily become "trendy," that it can result in people spending a lot of time talking about story rather than actually creating one, as if that is change-making in itself, when what is really needed are people out there at the roots of the culture upending one way of life based on an "old" story and making a new one by writing it with their lives, their radical actions, their willingness to create new ways of life by living into them.