Reaching Into the Universe

Grandma, the planet, life

GrandmaBoth this and yesterday's post are in honor of my grandma, who died a year ago today.

Last December I had just gotten home from the final day of Awakening the Dreamer, Changing the Dream facilitator training when I received the last call I would ever receive from her. It was to tell me she was in the hospital and not doing well. I drove up to Sacramento that night; less than three weeks later, she died on December 24th, 2009. It was somehow fitting for her, a woman who was so Christian, to pass away so close to Christmas.

The ensuing tumult and long transition—that I'm still making—into a world without her has thus far prevented me from engaging with the ATDCTD symposium the way I had envisioned. My grandma was the most important person on the planet to me. She was the first person after the doctor to hold me when I was born. She was the rock of our family and my ultimate safety net. She was always there for me, and now she's not. I'm getting a helluva ending to my Saturn return and it feels like everything in my life is changing.

I've been empowering the story that this is for the best, that the end of this transition will find me in a better place to fulfill the intent with which I took the facilitator training: to do my part to help heal the planet. My grandma, a Southern Baptist Christian, would understand this as "doing God's will." Above all, that is what she wanted me to do in this world.

I wish she had lived to fully understand and celebrate that with me. Discerning one's call and following it is something to share with those close to you! I did try to talk to her about it, but my own understanding of it all was so new, and my ability to speak about it in ways that made sense to her also new.

In the year or so before she died, we were just beginning to bridge some of the deeper gaps between us as I learned more and more how to translate things into the language of her perspective, how to meet her where she was at, thanks mostly to tools like NVC and Spiral Dynamics. These efforts did result in what was possibly the most wonderfully authentic conversation we ever had. I'm grateful for the things I've learned if only for that single conversation.

My grandma never believed the world would get fundamentally better. She believed in a rather static human condition that would persist until the second coming of Christ. I don't think she believed that the world would continue to exist after that. I don't believe those things, and have mostly chosen to act as though the world can fundamentally improve.

I do not know which opinion is true or false. What I do know is that those who subscribe to a relatively unchanging human condition seem to have given up without really trying. I prefer to take a cue from Robert Anton Wilson's 8th Basic Winner Script which says, "In the province of the mind, what is believed to be true is true, or becomes true within certain limits to be learned by experience and experiment." If the human condition is to be changed dramatically, it will only be done by those who haven't already decided that it's impossible.

Besides, there may be reason to think otherwise. In Ascent of Humanity, Charles Eisenstein traces the entire history of the present human condition and presents a compelling case that separation—from the mind/body split to our addiction to technological control of nature—has been the core mistake humans have been making all along. We've been making it for so long that it almost feels like an unchangeable part of human nature, but that's an assumption worth challenging. What if separation were in fact the root of the global problems we now face? Could we not successfully envision and live into what Eistenstein calls the "Age of Reunion"?

Whether she believed in its possibility or not, my grandma could at least imagine a better world. She died not having seen that better world. Will we have that same experience or a different one? How much effort are you willing to put into seeing a better world before you die—better because you helped create it as such.

The first step is simply to accept that it could be possible. The second is to realize that there's only one way to find out: try. My grandma understood this as in the words of Mother Teresa: "We are not called to be successful, we are called to be faithful." We may not succeed, but we must at least act as if we can.