04 December 2010

Spinning out of Control

Spinning, spinning, spinning. The world goes round and round. Around the sun we go, day and night, tides and currents continue on their faithful paths. And around and around the people go, faithful to our daily routines, birth to death, nation to nation, city to city, neighbour to neighbour, lover to lover, mother to child. We spin until we're dizzy.

We, in the West, are so dizzy and off balance we can't clearly see what is right before our eyes. Nature has a natural spin, a flow that is balanced. Night has day, tides come in and out, summer has winter. People however do not have balance. We consume and make waste but we do not consume our waste. We take from nature but we do not give back. We share with our neighbours but not with others. We break but we do not repair.

So, we need to stop spinning in one direction for a while. We need to pause, regain some balance, and either reverse spin or continue on at a slower pace. What am I trying to say? All actions have consequences and to date we are not taking the responsibility to account for our actions. In society we have to examine our actions both by our intentions and the ramifications of our actions. No plan should go ahead without a researched analysis and plan to manage the consequences. Example of no balance? Easy, BP, Afghanistan, Iraq, colonialism...shall I go on...?

How to slow down spinning? Well, think about when you spin around too fast, the first thing you notice...other than the pleasure...is a blurred view of the surroundings. But you keep going because it's fun. And then you start to notice that you're feeling off balance so you decide to stop...and whammo! You are stumbling around, bumping into things. Kids love it, Adults...not so much.

What is my point? We've been having a lot of fun in our post-industrialized society learning new ways to make our lives better and easier but we've started to notice that our view of the world may be a bit skewed. We've not been able to see the people on the sidelines who are not spinning, the disappearing plants and food and animals. So now we're at the point where we not only need to but want to stop spinning. Wow, is it ever going to mess us up. We should expect to be so dizzy and off-kilter that we have to sit down.

Uh-oh. Sit down? What does that mean? So that someone else can spin? That's a scary thought; we want to spin. We've been happily spinning so long. What might the view be like from a seated position? We've surely been there before, a long time ago. But what fun is there in sitting? Well, for starters, we can see more clearly and maybe we can talk to someone else who has been sitting down for a while watching, quietly observing us spin so happily.

In the Western world, we have to stop. Just stop. What might life be like if we lived like the majority of the world? I'm guessing most of us don't want to live that way. So, what if we all got up out of our seats together in a big circle and slowly start to spin together, smile for each other instead of for ourselves. We won't be dizzy but we will have a lot more fun and so will everyone else.

I have no ideas where this spinning thought came from. I had intended to write about the complexity within each of us and how to find a way to connect our own individuality to the complexity of global citizenry and sustainability. Maybe I'm not ready to write about complexity yet. Maybe it comes from the Mindfulness in Leadership retreat I attended yesterday with the Authentic Leadership institute (ALIA) led by Alan Stone. Maybe it was something someone said to me last night. I did have a vision of each of us as our own planet, with our own orbit and gravitiational pull towards one another. But we're so complex...we tend to spin on our own axis. Ya...I need to think about it a bit more. Maybe next blog.

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