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“Sunshine Through the Dark Forest.” Photo by Hayden Shaw, Co-founder of S.E.E.D.S.

Fear prowls through the collective landscape. Waves of anxiety wash over minds, panic grips hearts, grief rips open families, uncertainty paralyzes bodies, and distance separates communities. The people set their sights on solid ground, but it is hidden beneath the rising water. Where do we turn when our stories no longer teach us how to meet the challenges of our times? Who do we look toward for guidance when our leaders have misused their power and revealed their limitations? What gives us solace in a world falling apart before our very eyes?

In these times of profound upheaval and disorientation, we are in need of practices that soothe our fear and relationships that give us connection even across physical distance. Most importantly, we are in desperate need of a collective story that endows us with personal strength and collective meaning. If we hope for this story to have the power to sustain us over time, we cannot wait for this new story to be written for us but instead we must cultivate it from the wellspring of our deep internal knowing. May this new collective story emerge organically from deep within us and weave its way through the minds and hearts of the people to build the solid ground that we search for amidst the rising tides.

In this moment of collective pause, may we finally stop our daily hustle long enough to listen to and cultivate this new story that is stirring within us. This story whispers of individual courage and collective evolution. It beckons us toward healing and wholing, alignment and empowerment. Like any good hero’s journey, this new story paints for us the landscape of our current moment, shows us the dragons that wait in our path, and sings to us of the gifts and wisdoms lying dormant within ourselves and our communities that perfectly equip us for the momentous feat ahead.

The landscape of our current moment is marked by upheaval and disenchantment. Many of us are suffering (and have been suffering) from a profound sense of disconnection and disillusionment. We are beginning to see more clearly what is really going on below the surface of our previous understanding. We are beginning to feel the disharmony of how we have been living and we are starting to comprehend that the predominant worldview does not meet our deepest needs and longings. As we face a specific global pandemic outside ourselves, we are also beginning to recognize how the infections of consumption, scarcity, competition, and addictions of all forms affect even the healthiest of bodies from within. We are all impacted by the conditioning of the industrial growth colonialist worldview that has waged war and oppression across the globe throughout the latest chapter of our modern human story.

The dragons we face are a nightmare of our own collective making. In simplest terms, they are the consequences of our collective forgetting; this forgetting acting as the entry-point through which the dominant worldview has penetrated our consciousness. The dragons that we face arise directly from the abyss of our great forgetting. Our forgetting that we are sourced directly from the earth and that we are inherently interdependent with the health of her waterways and soils, the stability of her complex ecosystems and the continuation of her diverse life forms. Our forgetting that we are a human family who yearn to live in harmony and mutual respect across our many lands and lifeways, stories and wisdom traditions. Our forgetting of our higher potential as human beings to bring spiritual insight and sacredness into the material actions of our daily lives and the great life work that awaits each of us.

It is time for us to remember who we are, and in doing so, take up our rightful place within the larger family of all things. To remember and live into the evolutionary potential of the human being to offer conscious awareness to the gift of life itself as it moves through us and intricately connects us to all other life forms. To remember and reclaim our role as stewards of the land and cultivators of earthly healing, regeneration, and true abundance. To remember and celebrate that it is our birthright to fulfill a unique niche within the larger ecosystems of our families, communities, earth, and cosmos that is ours alone to fill. To remember that we are fully capable and deeply willing to adapt and reorient ourselves toward what really matters, especially if it means the difference between securing a habitable world for the future children of the world to grow up in, or not.

In this time of massive unraveling, may we ground ourselves in the ancient art of meaning-making that can provide individual stability and collective purpose. May we have the audacity to peel back the layers of illusion to look upon the collective landscape before us, the courage to face the dragons of our collective forgetting, and the compassion to open our hearts to the full possibilities and responsibilities of our remembering. This new collective story gifts meaning to this period of forgetting for all the ways it has strengthened and humbled us and it also gifts meaning to our hard-won remembering by instilling it with the power to be carried forward through many generations to come so that the future ones don’t have to navigate the same dark questions of separation in order to learn the lessons we have the opportunity to learn right now.

As the old stories and systems show their inherent weakness and fragility against the natural cycles of time, may we return to the solid foundational principles of the laws of nature which govern all things in perfect harmony from the intricate cell to the living cosmos. From this solid foundation in alignment with the laws that govern life itself, may we have the vision and fortitude to sow the seeds of a new world. May the future generations harvest the fruits of our foresight and taste the sweetness of our labor from these dark times of transition, thanking us in the times to come for utilizing the full potential of this global pause to position ourselves thoughtfully for the epic feat ahead. The task ahead asks everything of us, yes, but it also offers far more in return.

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