Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Four Keys for Chaotic Time,by Justine Wills Toms

Four Keys for Chaotic Times

by Justine Wills Toms
I'd like to share with you my excitement about the times in which we are living. We are in a time of a collective leap in consciousness. Consciousness is changing for the better. This is the Good News.
On the other hand, when such a dynamic sense of change is going on, on such a large scale—when great shifts take place on such a giant scale, there is chaos – so in this great turning of an age, there exists more than a little chaos.
In this time of great complexity and chaos, we very well might ask the question, how do we find and maintain our true center in the midst of this great turning? We have entered a state not unlike a caterpillar that goes into the cocoon and actually liquefies... becomes liquid... before it can reform and emerge as a beautiful butterfly. Like the caterpillar, I believe our collective consciousness is going through a similar metamorphosis.
New Dimensions is a midwife for this change in consciousness. This new beginning, as many of you know, is the theme at the beginning of the program which says, "It is only through a change in human consciousness that the world will be transformed. As we bring mind, body, psyche, and spirit into harmony and unity, so also will the world be changed. This is our responsibility as we explore New Dimensions."
In the beginning Michael and I didn't see the whole path; we didn't see our work fully mapped out as it is now. Thirty-seven years ago we would not have imagined creating a worldwide network of stations and an archive of more than 8000 hours of deep dialogues with some of the world's most visionary wisdom leaders, including Joseph Campbell, (well before Bill Moyers "Power of Myth" came out) or, Dr. Andy Weil in the 1970s when he was still traipsing the jungles of the Yucatan, looking for shamans and natural herbs and plants. Also in the early 1970s we first began interviewing R. Buckminster Fuller, affectionately called "Bucky," who first coined the phrase, "Space Ship Earth," and was the creator of the geodesic dome. It is such a privilege to be part of such conversations with these pilgrims of possibility, and to be able to share them so widely with others. Often people ask me to share some of the wisdom I've gained from doing this work for so long, and I've come up with four guiding keys for my life:
Circulate – not isolate. Remember to rub shoulders with life
Stay curious – Curiosity is an antidote to fear
Be optimistic – optimism is an antidote to worry
Develop circles of "Friends of the heart" who support you in your fullness
The first key – Circulate not isolate – It is important to get out of the house and rub shoulders with life. The mainstream media will not keep us informed, nor help us move forward in our life purpose. They broadcast, as if in one continuous loop, a litany of disasters, downturns, and miseries. This seduces us into staying at home, becoming paranoid and paralyzed. I suggest we go on a media fast from excessively negative reporting, that holds up so few positive examples of the many breakthroughs happening all around us. So, I say, get out and circulate. Great synchronicities can happen when you make yourself available out in the corridors of life. So, remember to circulate – not isolate.
The second key - Stay curious- curiosity is an antidote to fear. – Curiosity is like the in-breath. Curiosity has a lightness to it. It lets in the light. The in-breath oxygenates the blood. It brings oxygen to the brain. It helps us to think better, to be more imaginative, which helps us to be pilgrims of possibilities.
For example, we interviewed Joseph Campbell over the course of many years, and we experienced his childlike curiosity and sense of wonder even when he was in his 80s.
When I start to catch myself feeling fear and contraction, I move myself into a state of curiosity. When I catch myself spiraling down I say, "pull, up, pull up, be curious, not afraid." I try my best to not waste my time or energy in fear by moving to curiosity.
The third key – Be optimistic—optimism is an antidote to worry. The breath, like curiosity, brings our bodies oxygen, optimism is like the blood that carries the oxygen. If we are worried, we become tense. In fact, worry has a negative physiological affect on the body, as well as the mind and spirit. Through time this can be quite debilitating. Whereas, optimism is the life blood of our soul.
These two keys, curiosity and optimism keep us healthy. Fear and worry is like contracting pneumonia. It stops the breath, which, in turn slows the blood flow, the brain is deprived of oxygen, and the blood becomes stagnant. Staying curious and optimistic will keep us healthy in body, mind, and sprit.
The fourth key - Develop a circle of "Friends of the heart," friends who support you in your fullness.
Humans are more intelligent when we are in the company of others who are listening deeply to one another. There is an alchemical change that happens, when we have truly been heard and witnessed by others. Having a community of friends of the heart is good for your brain power. Having deep conversations with others is good for developing your genius. We are more intelligent together.
In these intentional circles we are being witnessed, and because there is such deep listening present, we can hear our own deep longings, hear our own deep fears, our own joys and gratitudes. In circles we learn not be afraid for one another.
There is an African saying that goes like this. "A friend is someone who knows your song and sings it to you when you have forgotten it. Those who love you are not fooled by mistakes you have made or dark images you hold about yourself. They remember your beauty when you feel ugly; your wholeness when you are broken; your innocence when you feel guilty; and your purpose when you are confused."
When we're tempted to blame others for our situation, or to go to gloom and doom, remember the four keys. Have some fun with them.

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