As I sit this morning looking out at rain that is predicted to continue for two or three days and remember that last night I saw a weather map picturing not one or two but three hurricanes that might possibly come our way (with Florence, the first, sure to damage much of our East coast) I consider just sitting where I am and avoiding every eventual happening or news report of the day. But then I open Meg Wheatley’s little book, Perseverance, that shakes me out of my inertia and reminds me of the need to get about life once again. I want to copy the entire page here as it feels to me like a worthy reminder that, as she says, “We’ve Been Here Before.”
We have never been here before in terms of the global nature of our predicament. For the first time in human history (at least that we know of), we have endangered our home planet. And for the first time, we know what’s happening to just about all 7 billion of us humans, the challenges and terrors we endure and the occasional, reaffirming triumphs. Never before have humans been so aware of one another’s struggles, pain and perseverance. Never before have we known so many of the consequences of what we do – our thoughtless, violent, heroic and loving actions.
Yet we have been here before. In our long, mysterious history, humans have had to struggle with enormous upheavals, dislocations, famines and fears. We’ve had to counteract aggression, protect our loved ones and face the end of life as we’ve known it. Over and over again.
The scale is different now, but the human experience is the same. And so are our human spirits, capable of generosity or abuse, creativity or destruction, survival or extinction. As we face the challenges and struggles of this time, it might help to recall the centuries of solid shoulders we stand on.
And if you reflect on your own life experience, what else have you endured? You’re still here – how did you stay here?
How have you come through rough times before?
What from your own personal history gives you now the capacity to get through this time? (Perseverance, p.9)