I heard that phrase recently in this talk by Daniel Schmachtenberger. I discovered him six or so months ago, and I quickly became a fan of his work. I truly don't think I've ever listened to another human being that seems such a profound mix of intelligent, knowledgeable and wise. It gives me hope that he is on the planet with us at this time.
After going into some detail on the downward spiral we're seeing in the US and around the world, he is asked around 19:15, "how do we respond?" From that point to around 29:05, the conversation very much intrigues me and is what I want to explore here.
He says that finding what is ours to do will be different for each person, depending on varied interests and skills. He touches on being strategic in our responses, and notes how unfortunately the people who are deeply committed to the well-being of the planet and humanity haven't been so effective at a global level because of the lack of using strategy.
The part that got my wheels turning is when he talks about the "opportunity space" of the breakdowns that are and will continue occurring. He invites thinking about what a better version of those breaking down systems would be. He points out that when a system breaks down it is much easier to replace it with something altogether different.
That felt like an invitation to me; it touched on a pipe dream I've been holding close for many years now. It has seemed silly to share because it certainly isn't the kind-of fantasy I think anyone else would sit and daydream about on a gorgeous day.
But maybe that's an even greater indication that this dreaming is mine to do.
Who knows, but here goes: basically, I think about starting a facility that would replace prisons. I imagine what it would look like, smell like, feel like. I think about what is necessary for safety and what about our current system is excessive and oppressive. I dream about how these facilities could be places of healing and restoration.
When I see systemic racism, my mind goes right to my own experiences with criminal justice and prisons detailed more here and here. Mass incarceration feels like my personal heartbreak. Although I care about many more tragedies and issues I see when I look out in the world, for some reason, this is the one that hurts the most. It feels like such a violation of our humanity, such an offense to my love of freedom, so intolerable on so many levels. The roots of mass incarceration in slavery just make this issue feel even more important to address right now, as our karmic debt is screaming out to be repaid.
So the signs seem to be pointing at this as my starting point, the thread that may be mine to pull in all this unraveling that needs to be done.
In my next post, I'll hit the essential foundation that needs to be laid for me to explore this topic: my absolute and complete disagreement with the idea of retribution and my firm belief that it is not only ineffective but actually creates much of the harm it is aimed at fixing. Until then...