“There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique. … You have to keep open and aware directly to the urge that motivates you. Keep the channel open … [There is] no satisfaction whatever at any time. There is only a queer, divine dissatisfaction, a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive… .”
— Martha Graham to Agnes Mille, (in Dance of the Piper)
The above quotation opens Paul Hawken’s book Blessed Unrest — How the Largest Movement in the World Came into Being and Why No One Saw it Coming. Rather than focusing on all the diverse and interconnected problems that we face today, this book is a testimony for all that is going well and that should make us hopeful. It explores how people are using imagination, conviction, and resilience to perform daily miracles of redefining our relationship to the Earth and to each other.
“The dawn of the twenty-first century has witnessed two remarkable developments in our history: the appearance of systemic problems that are genuinely global in scope, and the growth of a worldwide movement that is determined to heal the wounds of the earth with the force of passion, dedication, and collective intelligence and wisdom. Across the planet groups ranging from neighbourhood associations to well-funded international organizations are confronting issues like the destruction of the environment, the abuses of free-market fundamentalism, social justice, and the loss of indigenous cultures. They share no orthodoxy or unifying ideology; they follow no single charismatic leader; they remain supple enough to coalesce easily into large networks to achieve their goals. While they are mostly unrecognized by politicians and the media, they are bringing about what may one day be judged the single most profound transformation of human society.”
— Paul Hawken, Blessed Unrest
Over the course of decades as an entrepreneur, writer, and social and environmental change agent, Paul Hawken had come in contact with many people all over the world that were part of the countless initiatives that took Gandhi seriously and decided to be the change they wanted to see in the world. In this book he showed that together these many diverse and often small initiatives where actually part of a yet not recogised global movement. Paul referred to this uprising as part of a “planetary immune response” to the crises we are now facing.
“This movement is a new form of community and a new form of story. At what point in the future will the existence of 2 million, 3 million, or even 5 million citizen-led organizations shift our awareness to the possibility that we will have fundamentally changed the way that human beings govern and organize themselves on earth? What are the characteristics of leadership required when power arises instead of descends? What would a democracy look like that was not ruled by a dominant minority? What would a world feel like that created solutions to our problems from the ground up? What if we are entering a transitional phase of human development when what works is invisible because most heads are turned to the past? What if some very basic values are being reinstalled worldwide and are fostering complex social webs of meaning that represent the future of governance? These are but a few of the questions collectively posed by a movement that has yet to recognize it is a movement.”
— Paul Hawken (2007, p.26)
The video above was recorded at the 2004 Bioneers conference, so 15 years ago! Many things have got worse since then, yet the movement he speaks of has been building, diversifying and learning. It has given birth to the reGeneration movement spreading around the world.
Join the reGeneration today!
Most likely — reading this — you are already an active participant in it.
More recently Paul Hawken supported an excellent team of researchers and writers to create the Drawdown compendium of 100 tested solutions that we can apply today to reversing the trends of global warming by reducing the greenhouse gas concentration in the atmosphere and avoiding further emissions.
From Greta Thunberg’s leadership that ralleyed millions of young people to rise with Fridays for Future, to the intergenerational Extinction Rebellion spreading rapidly around the world, and a growing community ready to engage in positive Deep Adaptation: we are getting ready to take a stance for life.
We are ready to prove that ‘humanity’ and ‘civilization’ do not have to remain empty phrases of an immature species.
We can be truly humane in solidarity with the rest of the human family.
We can be civilised only if we understand our role as humble stewards and planetary healers in service to the wider community of life.
Let us grow up and rise up!
We are the Ones We’ve Been Waiting For
You have been telling people that this is the Eleventh Hour, now you must go back and tell the people that this is the Hour. And there are things to be considered…
Where are you living?
What are you doing?
What are your relationships?
Are you in right relation?
Where is your water?
Know your garden.
It is time to speak your truth.
Create your community.
Be good to each other.
And do not look outside yourself for your leader.
Then he clasped his hands together, smiled, and said, “This could be a good time! There is a river flowing now very fast. It is so great and swift that there are those who will be afraid. They will try to hold on to the shore. They will feel they are being torn apart and will suffer greatly. Know the river has its destination. The elders say we must let go of the shore, push off into the middle of the river, keep our eyes open, and our heads above the water.
And I say, see who is in there with you and celebrate. At this time in history, we are to take nothing personally, least of all ourselves. For the moment that we do, our spiritual growth and journey come to a halt.
The time of the lone wolf is over. Gather yourselves! Banish the word ’struggle’ from your attitude and your vocabulary. All that we do now must be done in a sacred manner and in celebration.
We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.
— Hopi Elders’ Prophecy, June 8, 2000
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Daniel Christian Wahl — Catalyzing transformative innovation in the face of converging crises, advising on regenerative whole systems design, regenerative leadership, and education for regenerative development and bioregional regeneration.
Author of the internationally acclaimed book Designing Regenerative Cultures