This decade has started with a scream. So much has changed.
There is no going back, but how will we go forward? What will we make of this historic moment? Will this be the great turning towards people and the planet the world needs?
I am coming to see that we can’t change the world and be comfortable at the same time. Can we bear to sit in discomfort?
Discomfort in not knowing what to do, of losing control and having to listen, learn and feel our way.
Discomfort in looking honestly at how we have lived and, for some of us to fully notice how we are advantaged by the oppressive world order; letting ourselves know.
Discomfort in realising that though it mightn’t have been our fault, we all have work to do to change the oppressive programming we have received – programming that was planted in our heads and our hearts from the day we were born to make us feel better (or worse) than other people.
Discomfort in having to look straight into the face of what is happening in the world - the injustices, inequality and desecration of the earth. Seeing it, talking about it. Deciding you matter in making change. Not giving up.
Discomfort in knowing that something big is called for here – that small, incremental changes are not going to cut it, even though we wish they would.
Discomfort in deciding to act and keep acting, even though nothing seems to make any difference. You cannot know the impact you are having after one action or even after a dozen. Not when what you are working to change are the very systems that hold the existing world order in place.
Ironically this discomfort may produce something more joyful then we could ever otherwise experience. Can we allow ourselves to find joy?
Joy in discovering a strength in ourselves that is bigger then despair, silence, fear and complacency; a discovery that propels us to reach out for others, take one step and then another.
Joy in being involved in a movement for change – a movement towards the best we can be, a movement that is unstoppable, that withstands the losses and celebrates the wins, that stretches over time and place, and connects a mass of people in calling for something better.
Joy in discovery and learning, unpicking how we got into this place and what we need to do to get out of it.
Joy in building new relationships and deep connections with people who have always been the ‘other’; backing them to lead and being the best ally we can.
Joy in remembering again what you care most deeply about, and bringing these values, people and ways of being to the centre of your life.
Joy in learning how little we really need and what we can give up, to make room for others and space and time for ourselves.
Joy in being part of bending the arc of the moral universe towards justice.
This morning I had a conversation about the start of this new decade
. . . one person spoke of looting, burning, death, despair, violence, corruption; another of rising up, solidarity, community, transforming, neighbours, love, openings.
Both are right.
History is wildly unpredictable. Things we never expected to happen did.
And in this fist tumultuous six months of the new decade we have seen things spring up that we have fought for for years – liveable benefits, housing for the homeless, people held and invited to show their love and compassion.
Will we sustain it? There is already a pull to go back to making the economy the only driver; to a way of being in which we all wittingly or unwittingly serve a society that is lining the pockets of a few in the mistaken notion, the lie, that this is good for us all.
But we know better now. We know what can be achieved when people come before profits. When governments seek and follow the views of experts. When we work together – across political parties, unions, civil society, business and the Australia public. When we gather to publically say ‘no more’ and to hold up a vision of something better.
What this period has shown is that it is possible for us to transform and that there is an opening. Can we wedge it in so that we progress as people, communities and a nation with global justice, equality and care for our planet at the core of this progress?
What will we make of this amazing new decade? That depends on what each one of us decides to do, on what we do collectively through our communities, organisations and institutions and whether we maintain our rage and vision or give up.
The choice is ours.
Founder and Director, RPR Consulting
Director of RPR Consulting since its inception in the late 1990s, Ann Porcino is a strategist, facilitator, social changer, collaborator, coach and consultant. Working alongside some of Australia’s most progressive organisations and leaders, she facilitates rich and fearless conversations about the critical issues of our time. She enables people to think big again; to find their personal power and courage and to join with others to create the deep structural change that is needed to make a world that works for all people and preserves this beautiful planet.
As the Co-founder and Deputy Chair of the Secretariat for the Australia reMADE Alliance, Ann led the development of the Australia reMADE vision listening to the hopes and dreams of hundreds of diverse Australians to inform this collective vision for Australia.