Hear Dan read this post.
Recently, I’ve been helping my friend, Sandra Sault Poulson (RealTrust Consulting), with a sustainability effort called Ecotopia 2012. She is co-leading the effort with her colleague, David Johnston. The idea is to help West Coast cities collaborate in a process of spiraling participation, with an aim to spread practices that support “the preciousness of life on earth and the well-being of all living things present and future.” Their vision includes a series of West Coast World’s Fairs that bring everyone together to learn about sustainability, and it also includes creating underlying infrastructures that support a long-term civic commitment to sustainability. All this, based on a new, shared, consciousness of interdependence. You can read more about the vision for Ecotopia 2012 by downloading the pdf version of the Early Prospectus here. (I had a chance to provide a little graphics support).
The magnificent thing about this vision is that it is based on deep principles, especially one Sandra calls: trusting in the patterns of the Universe. Without that principle of benevolent support, how could anyone undertake such a complex project; how could anyone, as Sandra has, starting from ground zero and with little financial support, apply such a profound personal commitment? Her example inspires those around her to go deeper into their own expression of the ways we all can help create a better world.
One story exemplifies in a little way — as a fractal — this bigger principle of trust. Sandra and I thought we had completed the Early Prospectus and took it to the printer. Oops! We were told there was no way to effectively print what we had produced without expanding it from ten to twelve pages — and it had to be done by tomorrow! Well, what came first was not the thought, “Ohmygod, We’re in crisis!” but an almost humorous realization that the Universe had just stepped in to tell us that our work was not yet complete. So there we were, and within a few moments ideas began to pour forth about what to do with the two empty pages we had been granted as a gift. What we had been sure was whole suddenly demanded transformation. Ultimately we added a center spread, pages 6–7, that defined some of how Ecotopia 2012 measures success.…And, of course, now we cannot imagine the Prospectus without these pages. I haven’t had this much creative, last-minute fun in ages. But, you see, it wasn’t just Sandra or I working on those pages…it was also something greater.
It seems to me that benevolence is constantly trying to step in. There are so many challenges to be sure. We can all end-up “punch-drunk” from any number of losses and set-backs we have to endure. We may be weary, and we may be wary. We all have a long way to go. But when we harbor the wounded conviction that life will never bring us happiness, in reply, indeed the Universe will bring us exactly what our view of it dictates. If I believe as a leader I am doomed to be alone, I will live my self-prophecy. If I believe life is a war, I will create one. We cannot muscle our way into a genuinely good life or the right kind of influence. They are to be received, and perhaps in forms that are a total surprise. And for that we need openness, Major Openness, that calls us to look into the convictions that control us.
Our unruly, hidden convictions are exactly what block the flow, our need to have things and people a certain way — our way. That’s not, I believe, what nature or community or the divine forces that touch our lives are about. If there is a consciousness that can sustain us generation to generation, it will be one that balances our agency with a much deeper, truer level of trust in those universal patterns. And this may not be easy for us, given how penetrating has been our conditioning, and how much misery we have created for ourselves and others on this planet in the name of our control.
It’s a very lucky thing, you know, that we probably all still have two pages missing in our lives, too, and serendipitously we get to fill them in (and two pages after that, and two more, and two more…). We all have the chance to tap into the creative spirit that underlies all of life and call forth out of ourselves what will come. So if your personal Prospectus isn’t yet complete, I ask then, how will you — in partnership with the Universe — fill it in?
As to Ecotopia 2012, perhaps as you review the Early Prospectus, a call will be there for you, too. If you would like to help out, please be in touch.