We are all living through a huge social experiment. It seems from one day to the next, the normal flow of our lives has been suspended, and we feel the pain.
True, we had seen large clouds darkening on the horizon – pollution, global warming, dwindling resources, growing inequality, financial crises, atrocities of war, streams of people desperate for a place to live, the dangers of nationalism, authoritarianism and fake news … I could go on.
We knew the things we were doing to help were probably not enough, but we weren’t sure how to make the bigger changes, or even which would be the right ones for us to make.
Everything we do is so interconnected, and the larger processes of business, manufacturing and politics seemed so far removed from the level of our everyday lives.
And we thought we had time.
But here we now are, suspended, while the world holds its breath. Covid-19 has called time on us.
For a couple of months, we have been stopped in our tracks. We have hardly been flying, driving, manufacturing, buying, or selling things – we have been isolated, not able to visit and see our loved ones. Every day we have been confronted with death, wondering whether it would come to one of our own. We have felt lost …
Some of us are now, with much hesitation, starting to look up and out. We don’t know if it’s safe to come out of the bunker, but we are starting out into a new and unfamiliar world. It is still full of dangers, and the directions have changed.
We now know we are vulnerable. And we know that the time for change has come.
And that’s the experiment. Not just for us individually, in our communities or even nationally, but within the whole of Europe and for all of humanity across the globe.
We are having to re-invent ourselves and our relationships – relationships to each other, between nations, to nature and to the world.
To be successful will require sustainable change through every level of our psycho-emotional, social and spiritual being.
We will need to face what humans are capable of – the good and the bad – so we can make conscious, well-informed decisions. We cannot allow ourselves to sleepwalk any longer.
We need to know, right to the core, who we are as human beings. We need a politics to heal our self-inflicted wounds.
I am struck by the image of moon goddess Europa being carried off through the waves on the back of a bull – Zeus, a sky god, in disguise.
The story seems to offer a metaphor for feminine, intuitive ways of knowing, as they are carried by masculine, more rational ones. Creative vision, realised through thoughtful action.
To find our way into a new future for Europe and humanity as a whole, we need to involve all of ourselves in the debate of how to move forward – our heads as well as our hearts.
Of course, we always speak from the whole of ourselves – our visions come from our head and our heart – but the medium of political debate can sometimes feel like a very rational, competitive space, making it difficult to listen from our hearts and speak from intuition.
I would like us to build channels into our political process to allow us to show up directly from those deeper levels of our being. Perhaps there we can dance a little outside of the medium of words, or use words in new ways.
That way we could share the reflections of our fears and pain, our hopes and visions for the future, our celebration of life.
We could use drawing, poetry, music, storytelling, dance … Anything that will connect us to ourselves and to each other, through our lived experience and intuition.
From another walk of life, I know the process of ‘mandala drawing’ where we express what is going on for us in paint, drawing or collage. We just put how we feel in a circle on a piece of paper. It can be quite messy and basic. It doesn’t have to be ‘art’.
We could scan and upload our mandalas, to co-create an evolving pictorial record of ourselves as we move at depth.
Whatever the means, it is important, because showing up from our depths can help us see who and where we are. It can inform our discussions and decision-making for Europe and for the world.
Other cultures have found ways of doing this. Aboriginal people in Australia use Dreaming to read their society at depth, helping it know its place in the field of existence, and envision its collective future. Native Americans explore significant dreams of their citizens to understand their implications for the community.
But we don’t have to go that far.
I recently attended a meeting of Co-Creating Europe, an organisation which believes in the potential of Europe to embrace unity in diversity. It is forming itself as an experimental hub for new, transnational forms of society.
It’s aims for peace resonate perfectly with this UN Day of Living Together in Peace.
Co-Creating Europe wants to revive the power of the European vision and its creative potential. It wants to offer a container for exploration of the many dimensions of peace through spirit, dialogue, art and action.
It wants to help our diverse communities heal and allow Europe to make its unique contribution to the world.
Co-Creating Europe is bringing together people from across Europe and beyond, to work together to strengthen a sense of our common humanity.
Its Caravan of Unity initiative involves facilitation of on-line and in-person events and expressions from 1 - 21 September later this year.
Of course we all have many diverse ideas about how to organise ourselves for our life together, but this, for me, is the essence that can guide us through if we will let it speak – the lived experience of our common humanity.
We are all interdependent, part of nature, connected through a web of life.
We all need food, water, warmth, and a place to live. We all carry trauma from which we must heal. We know pain, loneliness and death.
And we can all come together in mutual support, to create something beautiful and celebrate the joy of being alive.
Unless we bring into our spaces for political debate and planning, processes that allow us to hear the wisdom of both head and heart, intellect and intuition, we will never be able to build the peace, equality and justice we want.
Outer peace needs to be supported by inner peace, for it to be sustainable.
And this is the moment - this time that our world has been put on hold.
We have an amazing opportunity to ‘re-boot’. We can do things differently, in a way that ensures our health and well-being, and protects the diversity of life on our planet.
Please get in touch if you have ideas for how we can allow our hearts to sing as an integral part of that process!
Co-Creating Europe can be contacted at:
Co-Creating Europe e.V.
+ 49 163 4155198