Sunday, December 23, 2012

The End of the World: Personal, Global

On Dec. 20, 2012, one day before the Winter Solstice, longest night of the year, the world, according to the Mayans, ended. The next morning found me still sitting here watching the rain, just as I am today. Lightening and thunder are predicted, but no meteors or Armageddon. Yet today’s rain is distinctly different from rain before the End of the World for me personally, because my world did end in a way on Thursday. And I would like to imagine that it also ended globally in a way too.

On a personal level, Thursday was the day that I realized that I am going to financially survive putting all my children through college. For many years I have wondered about this and my struggles to creatively manage challenging finances have been stressful. But on Thursday, I made the second-to-last payment on my youngest’s tuition for the spring semester and he will graduate in May. I know exactly how much tuition I still owe, it’s not much, and I know I can pay it.

On Thursday I also received a deluge of emails requesting my services as a grant writer in the coming year. There is a terrific grant for Native tribes to establish their own tribal justice systems and I secured this grant for a consortium of local tribes last year. This year, in fact this past week (as the grant was announced for 2013), I confirmed that the consortium (again) as well as three other tribes want me to write the grant for them right after the new year. Additionally, an old college friend of mine just started a new job this past year and she brought me on board with the company as a contractual grant writer. They are throwing lots of excellent work my way. Suddenly, I am in high demand and am actually turning down work because I can’t do it all. Usually this is my slow season, but not this year. The upshot is that instead of continuing to borrow money, I began to pay off my debt on Thursday. I have a long way to go in that direction, but I have picked up the shovel and started to dig out of the hole. My world ended in an incremental significant way and a new world began for me on Thursday.

That was the personal. Here is the global. I have a ceiling fan in my bedroom (stay with me here). There is a switch on the fan to change the direction in which it spins. In one direction it blows the air down. In the other direction it sucks the air up. When I flip the switch, the fan slows down to a halt and then slowly begins to spin in the other direction, picking up speed. Do you know where this is going?

I would like to imagine that on Thursday the world reached that point of stoppage and began to spin in the other direction; that in some unaccountable, imperceptible, mysterious manner, our headlong rush to destruction as humans on the planet stopped spinning in that direction and began to spin in the opposite. “You may say that I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one” (John Lennon) – I still believe this could happen. What if? What if  Thursday really was the End of the World and we are about to start digging out? About to enter an age of peace, reconciliation, nonviolence, respect for and sensitivity to the cultures of others, good stewardship of the planet and our natural surroundings, justice, fairness; in short, a world that allows the human spirit to shine with all the potential within it. What if.

It is not too late to change the planet. Let’s start. Do whatever small actions you can in your life to make that change begin. Envision it. Visualize it. Create it. Manifest it. Here is my thought for 2013:  Be more transformative than adaptive.

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