Of sinking ships….

I had a dream this morning right before waking that I was on a sinking ship in a violent storm. Another ship was nearby and friends both on my ship and the other one were trying to get me off the ship—everyone off the ship. They explained that there would be a moment when the ship was underwater enough that a great surge would come and flood everything enough that I wouldn’t be able to get out. The forces would just be too strong. One man stayed with me as long as possible, but then he was gone. I started to see the sea level rise nearer the threshold of the doorway I was in. Then the door shut. In a last, desperate attempt I shoved the door open and jumped into the waves of the storm hoping to surface and find the other ship. 

 

Navigating collapse

I don’t think it would be hard to “interpret” this dream in the context of our world today. It raises a lot of questions, though. Why didn’t I leave the sinking ship when the new ship first showed up? Why did two people work to get everyone off the ship and spend so much time allowing me the choice to stay on? Would I have chosen to go down with the ship? What was holding me back? I remember in the dream the light from the hallway and the comfort of the paneling and the “known” feel of the ship. Was it fear of not making it to the new ship? The storm? Was it just the panic of BEING on a sinking ship that froze me? Where did I find the strength to shove open a door shut by a surging sea? Instinct drove me into action, and I found myself leaping into the waves filled with regret that I hadn’t acted sooner.

 

If we put the dream into the context of our lives and use it as a metaphor, how does it resonate? What is your “sinking ship”? What choices are you being asked to make? What strength and resolve are needed for action? 

It is late January. While walking around a consulting client’s property yesterday, I saw the early bulbs just beginning to peek up above the soil. In my own garden, spring herbs are already beginning to conservatively creep across the ground in the warmer, protected spots. Spring seeding is beginning to happen, and I know that the buds on the trees are beginning to change in the warmer periods. 

Nature doesn’t have an on/off switch like our mechanical systems. There is resilience built in to the constant use of energy. Just so, I believe that most people have in the back of their minds and the depths of their heart a desire and a commitment to a beautiful, healthy, just world. The rush and stress are there—but beneath them is the courage and imagination to see a better world. 

At the Global Earth Repair Conference in Port Townsend, Washington last May, Precious Phiri gave a powerful keynote. Behind her, on a large screen was a hand-drawn image of an adult sharing with a child—and noting that in 2019, the world woke up and it all changed for the better. Until that moment, I was sensitive to the collective grief and worry and persistence of the 500 people gathered. That simple drawing raised the question: how did the world get better? How did we come together and heal the Earth? Each other? 

Seven months later, with Rob Hopkins’ book From What Is…to What If? in front of me, I recognize the same question and the same feeling of possibility. What if? 

I am exploring this question for myself…and I am very curious to hear what you are imagining, too. Write me and let me know. Or come to a workshop or course with me—we can imagine together. I look forward to the changes.