Again and again, I find myself wondering if I truly am awake enough to imagine what it means to be living on the threshold of a stage change on Planet Earth. Do I dare to surface what this feels like to me? Can I dare to have these conversations with my family or friends or even with strangers? If I do feel called to know something of these times or somehow be of service during these times, what kind of courage, resilience, compassion is needed for this journey? Do I scout out the new territory alone or take what often feels like the greater risk to explore each dauntingly new challenge, heartbreak, and overwhelm with a friend or within a like minded community? Whether I am awake and brave enough or not, I find much to consider and hold on to within this grounded, sensitive and, for me, hopeful conversation between Michael and Terry.
The Threshold: Collapse and Renewal
Michael defines the threshold as the central stage of a rite of passage. It comes from the Latin word “limen” which refers to a threshold below which we are unable to see or distinguish things. He refers to our times as being “betwixt and between” the process of losing tremendous amounts of what has been familiar to us on Earth up until now, and being able to see or have a sense of what is or is not before us in the future. He also reaches back to the original meaning of apocalypse, which comes from the Greek “apo” (un) and “kaluptein” (to cover), thus meaning to uncover or reveal. In this light, while standing on the threshold of betwixt and between different stages of life on planet Earth, we may able to see the beginnings of “wide scale collapse” precipitating our demise from behind us, but we also may see the vision of a “broad scale renewal” unfolding before us. Michael says, “What we call the world is just the front of the world. The real world is Eternity. . . Eternity is constantly flowing into the world. That is why it appears real. The flowing can be subject to immense transformations but it never simply comes to and end.” And he reminds us that nothing ever ends. There always are remnants left over from which everything begins again.
Emergence through Emergency
Has the age of technological advances created a feedback loop of creativity that is self-accelerating and unsustainable? Are things speeding up so much that keeping pace with new discoveries and new patterns is far too stressful for us; basically too fast for humans to adapt to in the span of time given us?
During their conversation, Terry and Michael grapple with similar questions in a number of places. Michael: “Handling our demise can contribute to growth we never get to see.” Terry: “Like workers on a cathedral who will never get to see their work completed.”
And Terry offers that these times of rapid and frightening change may call for “an emergence of a whole new human pattern . . . We’re the eyes of evolution seeing itself in a way it never did before. . (and) . . We are challenged into a new way of being.” Michael: “The emergency that allows for emergence of new forms. Soul is the connective tissue of life (and) is the piece missing” (in technological advances).
As I listen to their conversation, I feel lucky and grateful to be part of The New Republic of the Heart community. Our collective is working together to envision what the next possibility of human being might look like or “be” like. Terry defines this space of inquiry and discovery as “uncomfortable” and that it is! But not attempting to find a better way of being human is unimaginable to me. Michael comments that, “In an emergency, evolution can’t happen fast enough. Transformation is called for.” And remember his comment about eternity always flowing into the world? When Terry speaks of being open enough for “a new way of being human” to arise through us, and Michael asks if we can stand on the threshold long enough to feel what is already trying to rise into the world through us, I am able to feel a powerful connection to our emergent possibilities like never before. As Terry says, “Evolution is knowing itself more fully (now) than ever before (and, for him, there is) the sense of privilege, gratitude, awe, and wonder in living during this time of emergence. Like it would be a sin not to appreciate, savor, delight in, celebrate and worship the grandeur even if it might be self-terminating.” I have to agree.
Storytelling our Way out of Fragmentation and Back to Wholeness
For just a moment, recall how a poem or a song inspired something in you that was totally genuine; something you will never forget. This is what storytelling is all about. It is a sharing of knowledge and a sharing of truth that evokes deep remembrances, feelings and connections. I am reminded of all the Indigenous Peoples of the World who have been teaching the stories of their human existence as a deep relationship with nature to every new generation for ages. These peoples know the Earth and what sustains life on Earth more than all the rest of us combined have demonstrated. There is no doubt that the more connected humans are to Mother Earth, the more we can live in compatibility with her and in support of her and with her support of us. And the only way to remember this critical relationship with the planet that supports us is through our stories about how that system of inter-dependence works.
Michael tells a number of stories during his conversation with Terry, but two stand out for me. Both are stories from long ago that speak to the connections of all life on Earth. These stories encourage my thoughts away from a pattern of “othering” (people different from me who are relating to Mother Nature as a whole in ugly displays of little or no respect for her divinity) and into a clear view of the truth of the wholeness that unites all life on our planet. One story is about The Angel of Friendship. It was once believed that a friendship between two people created a spiritual angel that is connected to both of them and holds each one’s essence. Think of how true this is: that even when we don’t see a family member or an old friend for years, when we do see them again, we feel as though no time has passed and we can pick up the conversation right from where we left off. This is congruent with what Terry and Siobhan offer in the New Republic of the Heart Course (link?), particularly within the dyads and pods. It is within these deep, Sohbet-like conversations that we experience a true connection to a person we have known for only a few weeks or months. And yet we are able to form a friendship that, in my humble opinion, is akin to a long term friendship in which a spiritual angel may be created and hold both our essences for ages to come.
Another story Michael tells is about Sophia, the Western Goddess of wisdom and compassion. He says part of the threshold we stand upon requires a greater awakening of the feminine; that the feminine plays a huge role in terms of transformation because it is the feminine that gives birth to every living thing on Earth; “all forms of life and wisdom”. In her boundless compassion, Sophia weeps for all the suffering in the world and through her vast wisdom “she offers us the milk of knowledge when we can accept it but, also, holds the vessel of life so we can swim in it, as well.” And, once again, I am reminded of Terry’s compelling advise in his book in A New Republic of the Heart, to “follow our heartbreak – and our genius – with our friends”. Each of us is unique and has a different and special genius to offer the huge puzzlement of how we will evolve from here. This undertaking asks everyone of us for a contribution and, because resources in times of extreme trouble such as these are not as much human as they are Divine, wouldn’t it be almost unethical to turn our backs? As evolution sees itself for the first time through our eyes and asks us for unyielding support for the continuance of life on this planet, what do we do? Do we honestly believe there is no trouble afoot although the evidence surrounds us every day? Will we allow overwhelm to numb us into falsehoods and denial? Or, once safely in denial, do we look the other way as if there is plenty of room to escape being affected by the fragmentation and chaos to come?
It’s because of people like Terry and Michael and so many others that Terry works with and interviews on this Podcast, that I am determined to find it within myself to struggle to become brave and strong and resilient enough to be in service of whatever evolution is trying to evolve through me, through each and every one of us, for the sake of the future of life on our beloved planet.