The Old Story is all around us. It's deeply ingrained in our assumptions about the world and our place in it. That makes it incredibly difficult to see. We subconsciously take for granted that we're separate individuals, maximising our self-interest as rational consumers. At its core, it's a story of scarcity and separation.
"I don't have enough time. I wish I could afford to buy an apartment to start building wealth. I should have followed my instinct and bought Bitcoin in 2016..." Sound familiar? These are thoughts I have regularly. It's a lust rooted in survival anxiety, believing that by owning and consuming more, we can gain (the illusion of) safety & stability. By enlargening our sense of self with these possessions, we superficially attempt to heal an internal wound - the pain we feel from unfulfilled primal needs and the longing to reconnect with our true nature.
“I feel exhausted after work. I wish I had more time to spend with my family. Oh, another forest fire/broken heat record/ flood in a country far from me…”
We’re separate from ourselves, ignoring our body's need for rest, ruling it with the mind. We’re separate from each other, returning from work to our personal concrete boxes in a world devoid of community. We’re separate from the rest of nature - numbed to all the abstracted news stories about the pain we’re inflicting upon her. Pretty bleak, right? But as the consequences of this story take humanity closer to the cliff edge, soon, just maybe, we’ll have the necessity and willpower to choose an alternative. The New Story is one of Abundance & Connection.
“Is it really necessary to stack my agenda with all these appointments? I’m actually happy in this rental apartment. What’s the point in building wealth on a dead planet?” Let’s transcend our life-constricting value of money as wealth. This will open us up to the full abundance, depth and breadth of human existence. Since quitting my corporate job to work freelance, I believe I’m one of the wealthiest people in the Netherlands. Why? Because I’ve had the privilege to give up a little financial wealth for immense emotional, relational & spiritual wealth. Again, I’m privileged. But I believe this re-prioritisation of values at a collective level can make these fruits available for everyone.
”I listen to my body and take rest when I need to. I feel compassion & love for other people, even if they disagree with me. My friends and family are what matter most.” We’re all interconnected. We depend on over 400 species of bacteria in our intestines for digestion. Are they then also human? In addressing the climate & ecological crisis, perhaps we’ll start showing mother nature the love she deserves. Remember that time you gazed up at the stars and felt a sense of awe at the vastness of the universe? That’s the feeling we can cultivate with all of life. Have you ever admired the intricate markings on the bark of an old oak tree? Or witnessed a duck triumphantly landing in a canal, splashing beautiful rippled patterns in the water that play out for your eyes to enjoy? Life offers natural works of art everywhere; if we only open our eyes.
How can we co-create the New Story when our hearts & minds are colonised by the old one?
In making this shift, we must act from a place of abundance and connection; otherwise, we merely perpetuate the toxic story. The master’s tools can never dismantle the master’s house. As a climate activist, I struggle with this. It may seem just, but more importantly; is it effective to blame and shame politicians and fossil fuel executives? We’re all carrying grief and anger from the old story. But can we emerge through it, holding compassion for all life and acting out of love? I’m not religious, but ‘universe’, help us out with this one? Thanks.