In the film about these transition times entitled “What a Way to Go,” Derrick Jensen tells the following story. During times of war, the native dog soldiers of the southwest would plant a stake, called a picket pin, in the battlefield and tie themselves to it. They were making a visual and visceral statement that they were taking a stand, that retreat was not an option, and that they would give their all – even in the face of death.
The film also explores how, even as we are awakening to the challenge of our global situation, there are powerful forces attempting to lull us back to sleep.
In the book “Sacred Demise,” by Carolyn Baker, Peter Senge says: “The power of creative tension results from seeing clearly where we want to be, our vision, and telling the truth about where we are, our current reality.” I would add the tension of staying awake – even in the face of death, both real and metaphorical.
All of this adds up to what I see as a spectrum, a very loopy, non-linear spectrum. On one end we are asleep or being lulled back to sleep. On the other end we are consciously and courageously planting our picket pins by confronting fears and limitations, by taking stands, and by envisioning possibilities.
The creative tensions are our thresholds. Which way are we going to choose in any day, in any moment, in any situation?
Our navigation of this spectrum, of these tensions, is what I have compared to the archetypal “hero’s journey.” The hero’s journey is a perfect template for what the initiation of transition and of transformation requires of us. We hear a call and we either refuse the call – go back to sleep – or step over that threshold into the dark mucky-muck of the unknown and search for that Grail, planting our picket pins over and over along the way, and bringing back what we learn as a gift to our people.
What lulls you back to sleep? Where are you along the spectrum of the hero’s journey in the context of the Great Turning? What is calling you? What picket pin would represent your next best response to that call? What would the Grail look like? Who will you meet along the way?
If you have a story, song, poem, or what have you, that speaks to these questions, please send them to me. I may post them to the BeingChange web site and they may become a part of the future anthology.