With the election frenzy in full swing, one thing is clear to me:
Americans—and all of humanity, actually—are aiming way too low.
Not only CAN we do much better to shape our future than our current political system allows, we must. If we want to survive and thrive as a species, we need to create world in which we all thrive. The good news is that we absolutely have the capacity to do it.
Here's the catch: Our political system wasn’t designed for that purpose, and therefore isn’t moving us in that direction.
The question is: Why do we keep asking it to?
It's like asking a toaster to drive us to work.
Clearly, asking a system to do something for which it was not designed, isn’t focused on, and has proven itself incapable of achieving makes no sense, even when there’s an urgent need, high stakes, and 7 billion people who all want to thrive.
And yet, every four years, that’s precisely what we do. No More Monkeying Around
With our collective future as a species at stake amidst the extravaganza of distraction embodied in the election, I have decided to stop monkeying around. I have a very simple message about what it will take to create the world we truly want and support a thriving humanity. So simple, in fact, that if I wrote it in its utter simplicity at this point in the blog, it could easily be dismissed.
The truth is never complex.
And yet, we seem to need quite a bit of it to get there.
And so, I will take you on an entertaining, insightful, and informative literary journey, all to deliver you to a simple truth that could:
- Address every single systemic issue we face,
- Eradicate all suffering, and
- Create a thriving New World.
For all of us. Forever. I told you I wasn’t monkeying around. Shall we begin? The Election: A Perfect Storm
I’m using the election to illustrate that we can do much better to shape our future, but I’m talking about much more than the candidates and their parties. I’m talking about how our entire system of political, social, and economic structures fall short of what we’re capable of as a society, and even threaten it altogether.
And, because our societal systems are simply reflections of our collective consciousness and behavior, I’m talking about “us.” You, me, the candidates, all of us, everywhere—we ARE the system. The election just happens to be the perfect storm where many aspects of systemic dysfunction are publicly magnified in one condensed time period for all to see and participate in. The Future of Humanity Locked in the Sock Drawer
With each passing moment, the need for fundamentally new ways of living and the systems and structures that support them grows more urgent. The future of our grandchildren, their children, and the entire human species is at stake.
Meanwhile, our election politics focus us on rearranging our sock drawers, so to speak. And, judging from water cooler, dinner table, grocery line, and computer discussions, we willingly play along by regurgitating it back to each other. It’s like a contagious epidemic that we’re all spreading, not recognizing we don’t have to play.
I won’t bash the candidates or debate the issues, as surprising as that is in an election discussion. And, although I will point out things that no longer serve us, I won't bash the system, either. You see, that’s part of the problem.
We're bashing and debating to a level of distraction that keeps us
from actually addressing the issues we are lamenting about.
Everyone is too busy mopping the floor to turn off the faucet.
The entire political frenzy is keeping us focused on the political system itself (the sock drawer), rather than on what is truly important, and ultimately, what will address every single systemic issue we face and create a thriving New World.
Instead, I’ll illuminate this tragic vortex we’re all being sucked into so that we can extract ourselves from it and get on with the real work. By illuminating how we are limiting ourselves by playing this disempowering sock game, I hope to help untether us from it so that we can play a more empowering and productive one. In other words, I’m asking us to stop rearranging our socks and start creating our thriving future.
I’m inviting us out of the sock drawer and into the New World.
To do that, I’ll provide a different lens on the camera of our experience so that we can stop focusing on our strongest aversions and start focusing on our highest aspirations instead. Through this lens, we’ll see that the problems we’re focusing on in this election and elsewhere are merely symptoms of a deeper issue, one that we must address if we ever hope to thrive again—as a country and as a species.This may get a little uncomfortable.
We’ll need to look in the mirror and see what is there, whether we like it or not. Like extracting a thorn from the bottom of our foot, I’ll toggle between lovingly encouraging us through the pain and swiftly ripping off the bandage with healthy doses of tough love. I hope that any momentary discomfort this creates provides lasting relief from the suffering caused by looking away instead. By hugging us with one arm and flicking us in the forehead with the other, I hope to give us both the confidence and urgency we need to walk forward unencumbered. That's just the way I roll.Our Itinerary
We’ll start by looking from 30,000 feet at the election frenzy itself, since it’s the publicized embodiment of our monumental distraction—the sock drawer, so to speak. Then we’ll look at the socks—the symptoms it has us focusing on in favor of their cause or solution. We’ll look from this panoramic view of our current world into the horizon of the new one and contemplate our first steps toward it together. And then, finally, the simple truth.
THE FRENZY FROM 30,000 FEET
Once a symbol of what makes America great, the process of electing our leaders now looks more like a World Wrestling Entertainment SmackDown than it does an empowering expression of governance of the people, by the people, for the people.
Forget about hope and opportunity. We’d be moving up in the world just to get a little indifference out of this campaign.
For all our proud claims that our elections represent freedom, inclusivity, and the peaceful transfer of power, I see nothing but messages of violence, scarcity, fear, and oppression.
CNN’s election coverage, for example, is called “Battleground America.” The candidates, their campaigns, and their parties use similar language. I’m not sure who is plagiarizing whom, but apparently we’re not participating in democracy. We’re waging war. On each other. Here, on the ground where “United, We Stand” and divided, we
fall win the election.
The War on You
This war theme permeates the hundreds of political flyers I’ve received in my mailbox. I guess when war is so commonplace, anything, anyone, anywhere is fair game. I was shocked to see that, according to these full-color, glossy postal nuggets of joy, there is a war on women, seniors, young people, married people, unmarried people, rich people, poor people, and people in between. I’m not sure who else is left, but I’m pretty sure there’s a war on them, too. As one flyer puts it, “Vote no for ________. He’s dangerous for seniors.”
The War on Rocks
According to one flyer, the Environmental Protection Agency “is attacking coal and killing jobs.” Apparently, referencing human violence and death isn’t good enough to instill fear and separation in the populace. We now create scenarios in which a government agency is perpetrating violence on a sedimentary rock and taking the life of an inanimate task.
Lest we get on our high horses and point fingers at the politicians—“them”—for the insanity of perpetuating the idea that humanity is at war with itself (and therefore creating it), remember two things:
- We’re a part of it.
- Each of us has power over and responsibility for our own thoughts and actions.
We don’t need to give that power away to anyone by allowing ideas and behaviors that don’t support life into our psyches or out through our words or actions.
We can’t accuse others of taking our power if we are willingly giving it away.
I say this because all too often, I hear the same insanity in everyday conversations among regular folks. I know these folks to be beautiful, magnificent human beings with love in their hearts and a desire for peace and prosperity. And yet, I hear them speaking as if they’re not. Far from loving thy neighbors and honoring the unalienable rights endowed by our Creator, I hear us creating a perpetual list of “other” to attack. I hear us speaking as if any rights will be endowed not by our Creator to all, but doled out by our government, employer, religion, us, or whatever group we happen to be affiliated with to those who they judge to be worthy of them.
I made a joke about the “wars” on every conceivable person, sedimentary rock, and inanimate object in the political messages. But, if we’re being honest with ourselves, we have to admit we’re as guilty as the politicians in spreading that deadly contagion.Honestly, people. If we always think we're at war with each other, we always will be.
Since our numbers are many and our tools for destruction are bigger and more lethal, it would behoove us to stop thinking that way. If we want to live, that is.
Survival Mechanism 2.0
Now that we’ve fought and fled our way to the brink of extinction, consider that it’s time to trade our fight-or-flight survival mechanism in for one that will actually ensure our survival. Go figure. If we truly want to survive (and thrive) as a species, then collaborate-and-unite is our new survival mechanism. This is not woo-woo. It’s survival. How much more practical could it be?
The energy, money, time, and resources that go into this divisive ritual every four years is immense. If the theme of the election insanity is SmackDown, the sheer volume of it is “Buried Alive.” The multimedia, full-sensory extravaganza of distraction is everywhere. Not only is my mailbox overflowing with political ads defending every side of every issue that has ever plagued humanity since the beginning of time, all claiming their candidate has the answer, but wherever I go, there it is.
You Can Run, But You Can't Hide
Debates. Ads. News stories. Mailings. Phone calls. Not only are we barraged by a steady stream of each of these messengers of division and conflict, we’re immersed in a dense goo of every conceivable combination of them:
Debates. Debates about the debates. Debates about the ads. Ads about the debates. Ads about ads. Ads about the news stories. News stories about the ads. And so on.
Where is the world we truly want in all of that? Where is the vision for it? The hope? The plan to create it? (Hold that thought; I’m getting there).
Toxic Waste, Minty Fresh
It would be one thing if you could catch a break from it from time to time. But, it’s impossible to avoid the goo. I’ve mentioned our mailboxes as veritable treasure troves of election goo. But, I’ve discovered that I can’t even buy a pack of Tic-Tacs without being accosted by it. I wish I were kidding.
There, in the candy aisle of 7-Eleven, the blaring television spewed the latest installment of “Battleground America” into the consciousness of its unsuspecting customers. Somewhere between Classic Wintergreen and Icy Peppermint, I heard analysts analyzing other analysts’ analysis of what they thought they heard one of the candidates say about some news story about one of their ads.
All I wanted was fresh breath. Instead, I got toxic waste.
Robots on Speed Dial
My phone rings every 10 minutes or so with a different recorded voice claiming the other candidate is going to take something away from me, so I’d better vote for this candidate so that I can feel whole and fulfilled. (Like I’m going to give a politician that much power).
Worse, I’m told that the other candidate MIGHT take something away from someone I love. Now, not only will I have something you’ve told me is important taken away from me, but poor Aunt Bessy is doomed. Doesn’t she know there’s a war against her?
If you’re going to call me to put the fear of destitution in my head, at least give me the common courtesy of doing it with a real person in real time. Any bozo can push a button on a computerized mass population brainwashing device. But, if you’re worthy of being President of the United States, at least put someone on the phone who can thoughtfully discuss how your work might benefit me. The recorded robots droning on about how the other guy might harm me simply bore me to tears.
Meanwhile, the Humans Wait
All to say, I'm quite sure the combined cost of ads, postage, electricity, wages, phone bills, production expenses, cameras, web sites, printing, trees, ink, teeth whitener, and telemarketing robots that Bury us Alive with SmackDown would more than pay for awakening, engaging, and uniting humanity to create a world where we all thrive. If we weren’t so distracted, that is.
Enough about the sock drawer. Let’s move on to the socks.
As we’ve seen, the frenzy (sock drawer) is a bottomless pit. As dark and scary as it is, its cavernous vastness holds an even greater distraction: A dizzying array of issues to focus us on (socks). These are the issues we’re told are the problems, but in reality, are only the symptoms. People have gone in there looking for the world they truly want and never come out.
Alas, the world we truly want cannot be found amongst the socks
and no amount of rearranging them could ever produce it.
What Big Feet You Have
Amongst the high-profile
issues symptoms the election SmackDown sock drawer keeps us locked in on are:
- Unemployment—Who is creating or cutting jobs, and how they’re doing it.
- Government Spending—Who spends more or less, and on what.
- The Economy—Who is saving it or sinking it, and how.
- Taxes—Who is raising or lowering them, and for whom.
- Energy Prices—Who is raising or lowering them, and how.
- Health Care—Who makes what decisions about our bodies/health/medicines, and who pays for it.
- Marriage—Who can marry whom.
- Education Costs—Who sets prices and administers loans for college, and how they do it.
As concerning as these things are, they are socks.
And, our political system and the vortex we’ve been sucked into keep rearranging them in hopes that somehow, the world we truly want (or at least one that actually works) will materialize as a result.
There are three interconnected fatal flaws with this approach.
1. WE DON'T KNOW WHAT WE'RE BUILDING
Look again at the list. Where’s the vision? What are we trying to create? If we don’t know what we’re building, how the heck do we know what we need to build it? How do we even know how much to spend and what to spend it on? How do we know what systems would help or which would hinder us? How do we know what structures are appropriate? How do we know what resources to put where? If we don’t know where we’re going, how do we know what jobs would help us get there? How could any of it add up to something that works if we don’t know what it’s supposed to do in the first place?
This is what I mean by rearranging the socks in the sock drawer. We can sort the dress socks from the sport socks, brown from the blue, the wool from the cotton by spending on this or that, enacting this or that policy, or putting this or that structure in place. But, for all our demands for fundamental change and all that energy, cost, and SmackDown action, we’re simply moving around the same “footwear" we’ve been wearing all along in the same space it’s always been, and then wondering why the only thing that’s truly changed is the version of dysfunction.
If we’re going to move forward and actually get somewhere other than extinct,
we need to realize the socks aren’t going to get us there.
And Then, There's Us
When our “leaders” are lost in the sock drawer, coming out only to offer us visions of lint, hope is a stretch, to say the least. But, losing sight of what’s important isn’t just happening in our political, economic, and social systems. It’s happening in us—in our own lives. We’ve gotten so consumed by our own versions of Buried Alive and SmackDown that we’ve allowed ourselves to be distracted from what’s truly important, disconnected from our deepest dreams, and unplugged from our inherent power to command our own lives.
I’m quite sure if I asked you about your deepest dream and highest aspiration for your life, you wouldn’t say, “I want to pay less at the pump.”
Or, “I want to stop [name of “other”] from [name of action].” There, just under the surface of our distraction, there’s this nagging feeling that there’s more to life than that. There’s a sense that there’s something beyond the rat race (sock drawer), and a secret wish that it would all just go away so we can live the lives we truly want to live.
If this is true for you, I have some good news. That’s precisely what’s happening. There IS more to life, and the rat race IS going away so that we can live the lives we truly want. The economic, political, and social dismantling process is obviously underway, opening the door for us to move beyond the lives they’ve allowed us to have and to create something better instead.
Freeing Ourselves from the Sock Drawer
Seeing the light of day after such a long, intense imprisonment inside the sock drawer means we need to ask ourselves—individually and collectively, deeply and profoundly—how we TRULY want to live.
Only then will we know what systems and structures to put in place to support us. And, because we’re talking about the interconnected lives of 7 billion cells in humanity’s body living on one planet, these deep, profound questions must be asked on a planetary scale. They must be asked and explored among us publicly and visibly with the recognition that we are engaging in the most profound task humanity has ever faced: Ensuring the survival of the species.
THIS is the real work to be done. If we do this, the socks will take care of themselves.
2. WE'RE LOOKING INTO TO A TINY LITTLE BOX FOR SOLUTIONS TO A GINORMOUS PLANETARY CRISIS
Now that rearranging our socks has led us into political, economic, social, and environmental collapse, we’ve got a ginormous planetary crises to address—a challenge our grandchildren and all future generations of the human species are really hoping we’re up for.
The spiral of violence, scarcity, fear, and oppression only goes in one direction.
The survival of the human species is at stake.
And so, faced with the biggest and most urgent challenge we’ve ever had as inhabitants of planet Earth, we go off to the ballot box this election and ask our
political system to solve it.
I know. Not exactly encouraging. But, guess what? This clearly dire situation is evolving us. With humanity’s hair is on fire and its rear end catching, we're being propelled (in a do-or-die kind of way) to create something fundamentally new. And, to the extent we can stop rearranging our sock drawers, we’re extremely well prepared to do that.
The Raging River of Evolution
In fact, it’s BECAUSE we’re evolving that our current systems and structures—created 50, 100, 200, even 2000 years ago to support how people lived decades, centuries, and millennia ago—no longer serve us.
If we can innovate our way to Mars, we can innovate our way out of the sock drawer.
Think of how much exponential, accelerated change has occurred during that time. We’ve been untethering ourselves (literally) with increasing speed and with every innovation since the wheel. We now have 7 billion creators on the planet creating more and more in less and less time. Good things and bad happen faster, bigger, with more impact.
What used to take 100 years now takes 10. What used to take 10 years now takes one. What used to take a year now takes a week. And, what used to take a week now happens in minutes. We now carry more technology in our pockets than put a man on the moon. My computer became obsolete in the time it took to write this blog.
Meanwhile, anchored as they are to the eras of their creation, our societal systems sit there, unattended, unmoving, acting as if they can possibly keep up with the pace of our evolution.
Try as they might, they’re clearly being overtaken by the sheer volume and speed of change.
This is what happens when rigid structures attempt to stay put in the torrent of Creation. Like a house being shaken from its foundation and carried away by the raging waters of a flood, these systems—designed in stability for stability—can’t withstand the force of evolutional momentum.
Fighting Water with Water
And so, we’re being asked by the crisis itself to innovate our societal systems and structures with the same creativity that created this raging river of evolution in the first place. We’re being asked to evolve them to keep pace with and support our evolving humanity. They may be all we’ve ever known, but do you really think they’re all we’ll ever have? Do you really think they’re all we’re capable of creating? Before you answer, remember we’ve already proven we’re capable of that level of creativity, because it’s that very creativity that made the systems obsolete in the first place.
We’re being propelled by the momentum of Life Itself to awaken, engage, and unite as a species to create our way back from the brink of extinction—to work together to create new ways of living and the systems and structures to support them.
I know that sounds difficult. But, if you think coming together to recreate our world is an impossible feat, try standing rigidly alone against the power, force, and momentum of eons of Creation. I guarantee you, that won’t go so well.
If we can’t come together to ensure the survival and evolution of the entire human species,
we can forget about healthcare reform.
THIS is the real work to be done. If we do this, the socks will take care of themselves.
3. WE'RE TREATING THE SYMPTOMS
Don’t get me wrong. I recognize that the issues the election and world are emphasizing are serious. They are of cause of tremendous suffering and therefore, worthy of concern. When I call them socks that we’re attempting to rearrange in hopes that the world we truly want will materialize as a result, I’m not belittling their effects on us.
I live in this world, too, and I know first-hand how devastating it is to lose a job when you have a family to take care of. I know what it means to scrape by. And I know that losing a job and scraping by is a walk in the park compared to the horrific suffering that goes on every day around the world.
I have never been raped by soldiers, watched my starving child die in my arms, seen my father blown apart by mortar fire, or witnessed my mother being stoned to death.
I’ve been calling them “socks in the sock drawer” because, as concerning—and deadly—as they are, they're only symptoms of a deeper issue. Like a fatal headache after an eons-long drinking binge, they're merely the result of becoming rooted in ways of being that clearly don’t serve us.
They’re the things that manifest when we’ve lost sight of what is truly important, disconnected from who we truly are, and forgotten what we’re truly capable of.
They’re the visible, tangible, measurable artifacts of an invisible, intangible, unmeasurable cause.
Economic collapse. War. Poverty. Environmental decline. Scarcity. Civil unrest. Deforestation. Hunger. Disease. Corruption. Greed. Pollution. Violence. Oppression. Exploitation. Because we can see, measure, and monitor these heart-wrenching symptoms in units of human or animal deaths, financial loss, parts per million, acres of forest or farmland lost, demographics, healthcare costs, tax dollars spent, etc., it makes it easy to focus on.
But, measuring the severity of a headache doesn’t stop it. It only tells you how much pain you’re in.
What's Our Pain Tolerance?
Judging from our volumes of data in these areas, I’d say humanity is in excruciating pain. The Earth is in excruciating pain. The plant and animal kingdoms are in excruciating pain. We can measure it all we want. We can scream about it, fight about it, sign petitions about it, spend money on it, blame people for it, protest about it, and get depressed about it. It’s very important to know and express the extent of our pain, but unless we address the deeper issue, these symptoms will continue to escalate. We’ll simply have more to measure until we’re no longer here to measure it.
An Aspirin Just Won't Do
When someone is beating their head against the wall, you don’t tell them to take an aspirin. You tell them to stop beating their head against the wall. Better yet, you ask them why they’re doing it in the first place. You help them get to the heart of the matter so they’ll stop for good and free themselves from future pain.
So, what IS the heart of the matter?
Why ARE we giving ourselves so much pain to measure and spend enormous amounts of time, energy, and money on?
What IS the cause of every systemic issue we face?
THE SIMPLE TRUTH
The source of every systemic issue we face is
our separation from our very own hearts.
The vision that’s missing from the election, political process, and our global conversations is sitting right inside you—inside all of us. We will never find or achieve it by looking to a candidate, presidency, institution, law, policy, corporation, or guru to supply it.
When we look in the deepest reaches of our hearts for our deepest truth and highest aspiration for our lives, communities, and world, we see that we want peace, abundance, joy, and freedom.
We see these things because they represent who we truly are: Manifestations of Love.
Right there, deep inside the core of each and every human being on the planet—beneath our politics, religion, culture, gender, age; beyond all differences that divide us—are the energies of Source, the keys to the Kingdom, the unalienable rights endowed by our Creator, humanity’s shared vision, and the foundation upon which we can build our New World:
Peace. Abundance. Joy. Freedom.
Venturing Out of the Sock Drawer
We need only align ourselves with this powerful, shared vision to create it in our external world. We’ve got 7 billion people walking around, all longing for a world that reflects the contents of their deepest heart.
Surely, with the entire human species at stake, we can unite around a vision held by all of humanity and create it together.
Our current world is a result of what we’ve focused our energy and resources on. The world of our future will be, too. If we focus them on creating a world of peace, abundance, joy, and freedom, it can’t help but manifest.
If we do this, we will become active participants in the creation of our own next evolution.
If we focus as we have been on violence, scarcity, fear, and oppression, it can’t help but continue to manifest.
If we do that, we will become the most elegantly designed, brilliant manifestations of Love ever created who forgot who they were and brought about their own extinction.
Either way, the socks will take care of themselves.
Now that I’ve taken us down this long and winding road, I’ll deliver the Cliff Notes. Here is the entire rant in 10 simple statements:
- The vision for how we TRULY want to live is right there in each of our very own hearts.
- We share this vision because it is who we are at the deepest levels of our common humanity.
- At this deep level, we each want peace, abundance, joy, and freedom.
- When 7 billion people share a vision, they can create it together in physical reality.
- To create the world we TRULY want, we aren’t limited by what our current political, economic, and social systems offer.
- It is impossible to create peace, abundance, joy, and freedom in our lives, communities, and world by focusing on violence, scarcity, fear, and oppression.
- The extent to which we focus on either of these choices is the extent to which it is manifested in our physical reality.
- We have the reason, vision, power, and technology to create a thriving new humanity and the systems and structures to support it.
- To create a world that reflects our deeply shared vision of peace, abundance, joy, and freedom, we must focus our collective energy and resources on it—spirits (energy), hearts (feelings), minds (thoughts), bodies (actions).