Over the past few days, on Facebook and Twitter, I’ve been sharing articles by George Monbiot and Naomi Klein, from the ‘New Republic’, the ‘Guardian’ and ‘Der Freitag’, on democracy and the climate crisis, and how it’s all related. This morning, it occurred to me that – just as I wrote in my master’s thesis in 2007 – I seem to find myself once again in a ‘parallel process’:
For my health recovery over the past eight years, it was ‘a change consultant tasting her own medicine’ – tasting what it really means when massive change comes on from the outside and is painful; when you’re caught unguarded on the ‘sundeck’ of the status quo; go through the ’typical’ denial; try to go back to the old ways (“but I’ve always done it like that”). When new solutions eventually emerge from where you would never have expected them; when you reluctantly start noticing them and experimenting with them; when you eventually go “oh, this could actually work” and gradually become more confident with adopting and practicing what has emerged. When you fully experience the quite normal ‘messiness’ of these processes, as you keep ‘falling off the wagon’, feel like you will never make it through – but eventually … start seeing some light at the end of the tunnel. You eventually emerge transformed.
Thought this morning how my own eight years of struggling with health and neuro-endocrinological transformation seem so parallel to how societies globally are now struggling – with how ‘the old ways’ no longer work, but large parts of societies still try desperately to cling to them, doing ‘more of the same’. How they are in utter denial of having to come around to the inevitable change and keep doing ‘more of the same’ purely out of habit, although they already somehow ‘know’ it’s not going to work any longer. How intense, long and painful the struggle through from the old to something new will be – that we can’t just ‘snip our fingers’, ‘take the Tarzan swing’ – and at the same time, how necessary and inevitable it will be, no matter how much we instinctively pull backwards, trying to reach out for the railings that ‘held’ us in the past.
How we will see emergence – more movements like the ‘Fridays for Future’ one and like ‘Extinction Rebellion’, and a lot of stuff that we cannot possibly even imagine now. How that emergence will feel so unfamiliar and will require ‘trying out’ and ‘experimenting with’. How messy all of it will be, especially on such a large scale. How it will often feel like ‘jumping off a cliff’ into the unknown, learning to categorically not look back anymore and reach out instinctively for the old railings behind us.
How it might sometimes, or often, feel like we might not ‘make it through’ — and how we actually might not make it. Because that risk is there. It also was for me. Because it’s so hard. And so tedious. And so slow. But then, how in the end, we actually might. Very differently than we initially thought. To our own surprise and amazement.
And how we will need to learn in the process, on our way, ‘building the bridge as we walk on it’, what I also had to gradually learn: humility, patience, perseverance. And ongoing mutual support.