A New Narrative

Welcome to my blog!

I admit I have had my reservations about jumping (back) into the blogosphere. Do we really need one more blog clamoring at us in this noisy world?

But there are so many overwhelming issues staring us in the face every day: climate change, resource depletion, species loss, overpopulation, economic strife, deforestation, dying oceans, diminishing water, crumbling infrastructures, an insane food system. These seemingly insurmountable problems add up to a runaway freight train of cataclysm. What gets lost in the clamor is stories of people taking meaningful action–just when we most need to hear their voices.

My research on the community resilience movement has shown me that people everywhere are working to make things better. And not only does the wider society need to know about this, but those of us bucking the system desperately need to hear from other people on this road. There’s a deep hunger to connect with the bigger movement.

Farmers Market SkillShare

Building community at the Irvington Farmers Market

Speaking for myself, being in community is one key to keeping my spirits up in this age of crisis. I can find that connection with a handful of trusted neighbors gathered at my local brew pub for the Irvington Green Initiative’s monthly Green Hour. I can find it with some 40,000 strangers, marching in the Forward on Climate rally in DC.

It heals me to talk with people who share similar concerns. It energizes me to hear what they are doing to “sweep their little corner” as a friend puts it. It seems natural to put some of this exciting stuff in a public forum for others to enjoy.

It also seems critical to counter the potential futures we are shown in so many books and movies.

The vision of life on a burned out earth drives each of us into fear whether we’re conscious of it or not. On some level we all know that without our life support system—this precious planet—we are doomed. Every movie or novel that shows a dystopian world of hardship reinforces our terror. It’s an emotion that can drive us into walled-up bunkers, whether physical or emotional. Fear shuts down hope and creativity—two things we need in abundance right now.

But there is another focus we can hold: that of cooperation, of compassion, of joining together in a grand and timely mobilization of energies. What if we were to unleash all our creativity, letting go of the need to hold one “right” way? What if we focused on what connects instead of divides? We could leap into this possibility: that together, we can make radical changes that remake the world.

The goal of this site is to show how people are turning their attention to what works, or what might work, instead of focusing on what’s irrevocably broken. There’s no shortage of brilliance in the human spirit—the force that brought us the iPad, the genome map, the Hubble Telecope.

No, there’s no shortage of mental power. Ask anyone who’s stayed up all night worrying about where we might be headed.

What we do lack is vision, a new narrative. That’s where this site comes in. Join me. I hope you’ll feel free to comment on my blog or contact me here with your thoughts and feedback. I hope to hear your stories.

2 thoughts on “A New Narrative

  1. Thanks for standing up for what is possible Shawndra. This quote from Andrew Cohen, a spiritual teacher I know, says how I see you.
    Dexter Nardella
    Peace Corps Volunteer 2011-2013
    Iteya, Ethiopia

    What it Means to Be a Spiritual Hero
    With all the overwhelming challenges we face today, from global terrorism to economic crisis to climate change, it’s all too easy to sit back, observe the problems, and fall into a state of despair or cynicism. But it takes real spiritual courage to step forward and begin to take responsibility for where we’re all going. I believe that more and more of us have to be willing, in all our imperfection, to embrace leadership roles and become true exemplars of what’s possible. We have to be willing to heroically stand for the reality of Spirit in a disbelieving world. The reason this is important is that when we awaken to that truth, we see much more deeply into the nature of reality itself, and we discover a fearless courage to live this life for the highest reasons. I think the degree to which each and every one of us is willing to do that is the degree to which we’re actually going to make a significant difference in the world.
    —Andrew Cohen

    • Thank you, Dexter. This brings tears. “A fearless courage to live this life for the highest reasons” – that’s something to aspire to. All best to you in your work.

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