It is both a tender and illuminating time.
I occasionally cry after reading the news. No doubt some of you have too. Staying porous to both local and global events is hard heart-work. As planetary citizens, we’re confronted by stories of despair and collapse. We are fluent in the narrative of catastrophe. And while that is very real, it’s not the only story.
I would like to invite you into a different narrative.
Triton and I talk a lot about what really matters. How can we craft a life that is generous? How can we contribute in meaningful ways that feel genuine and sustainable? I know many of you are asking the same questions. When we find ourselves in the midst of great pain and possibility, and cannot help but care deeply, we are drawn into a sense of global citizenship and responsibility. To paraphrase Krista Tippett,
Wisdom and grace emerge in times exactly like ours. Where human beings have to hold seemingly opposing realities in a creative tension and interplay; power and vulnerability, hope and despair, calmness and ferocity, uncertainty and conviction, brokenness and beauty, mine and yours.
This is an invitation to turn towards moral beauty.
Right now, millions of acts of human kindness are happening. There are collaborations and breakthroughs, generative projects and initiatives of public love. There is abundant goodness ‘out there’, as well.
Paying more attention to this narrative is a radical act of self and community care. Taking in the good is a necessary balm to soothe our heart-minds from the gravel rashes of harsh reality.
This is not about turning away from the difficulties. Oh no. It’s about resourcing ourselves so we can face them with resilience, kindness, and engaged equanimity. Then collectively imagine what else is possible.
Because the world is made of stories, not things.
As Yuval Noah Harari explains, “good stories provide power”. Humans’ capacity for imagination has led us to create and share beliefs that make sense of our existence. Our ability to build civilisations, economies, religions, and nations comes from our skill in storytelling.
None of these things are actually ‘things’; you will not find national borders embedded in the earth. They are ideas that come to life in our minds, that help us organise as a species with and against each other. The more deeply we believe in them, the more power they wield.
The stories we tell today will shape the future.
Joanna Macy, activist and PhD scholar of systems theory, deep ecology, and engaged buddhism, suggests three dominant stories are narrating our current age.
1) Business as Usual
The pursuit of eternal economic growth. Capitalism reigns. Ignorance is bliss. Eg. “I’m too busy, things will work themselves out.”
2) The Great Unravelling
The global collapse of our ecological, economic, and social systems. All is doomed. Eg. “What I do doesn’t matter, it’s too late anyway”.
3) The Great Turning
The collective attitude shift towards a life-sustaining society. A movement from competition to cooperation, from extraction to contribution, from exploitation to understanding. Eg. “What an opportunity it is to be alive right now on this lonely blue planet. Where can I begin?”
I’m not trying to pitch you some fairytale ending. In fact, I’m saying we stop dwelling on how the story ends and focus on living it well. The path unfolds by walking it.
And friends, living into this story might be the only way to keep ourselves going. As Blaise Pascal said,
“In difficult times carry something beautiful in your heart.”
If we only pay attention to the unravelling, overwhelm sets in.
Our brains have an inbuilt bias to focus on threats (sex sells, but fear sells better). If we fixate on hyper-problems that we cannot directly solve (eg. doomscrolling war images), we can get trapped in fear, anger, or grief. In these states, we lose our sense of agency (our ability to act effectively), we freeze like deer in the existential headlights. Daniel Schmachtenberger calls this the ‘awareness – agency mismatch’.
He suggests a better way is to put your awareness wherever you have the most agency. Evidence shows any action is an antidote for overwhelm. Take care of someone around you, have a healing conversation, donate, protest, teach, hug. Everyone has a different role to play.
The key to human flourishing is the sense that we are making a meaningful contribution.
You are already a part of the new story.
Yes, you reading this. The B-Corp movement is part of ‘the great turning’. These are businesses that measure success in positive social and environmental impact, and there are over 6000 certified Benefit Corporations in more than 80 countries across 150 industries. We’re talking big banks, multinationals, and well-loved brands, all working to create a better economic system that puts people and the planet before profits.
We, Human.Kind are a B-Corp, and we are enabled by all of you who participate and engage with us.
Care global, act local.
By contributing to Human.Kind you support inclusive initiatives like First Nations Free, or Pay-What-You-Can memberships. You also help fund the Ripple Effect. A community investment initiative that gives grants to local doers like The Kaurna-Narungga Womens Art Collective, The Blind Sports Foundation, Seagrass Solutions for Climate Change, and dozens more.
Our boldest new story comes to life in a couple of weeks, when we launch the next phase of the Myponga / Kauwayarlungga project. This ambitious vision will invite you to co-invest in a community owned social-enterprise. A retreat, education, and function centre that blends landcare with spiritual practice, habitat regeneration with community wellbeing, connection to country with arts and celebration. We will be reaching out for investors, facilitators, and participants to bring this new model of business ownership to life.
Expanding our view to take in the good helps us see what’s possible right in front of us, in our own little patch. It restores our agency to reach out and mend the things we can. Not from fear or desperation, but as an act of love.
This is not an escape, it’s an entering. A way to spark our collective imagination with more generative, vitalising, and beautiful ways of living together. To redraw the landscape of the world we are working with. To make the narrative of a just and loving society more visible.
Choose the story you want to put your life behind.