…and to our developing
peer mentoring network,
24-topic community brainstorm,
and Library/Bookstore of the Great Turning,
focused on creative resilience, compassionate resistance and
our quest to build a green civilization (a civilization of people
in harmony with nature and with one another).
Spiral Journey Core Documents available/reproducible free of charge:Spiral Journey Mandala/Flow Chart
Teams of Two article
Rowing the Lifeboat Together article
Please use the form at the right of each page to recommend songs, books,
poems, articles and videos that explore and celebrate each of the twenty-four
questions in the Spiral Journey Mandala/Flow Chart.
OVERVIEW — By Dennis Rivers, Editor, and the Spiral Journey Cooperative Community
Change your questions,
change your life,
change your world,
change THE world.
The power to change. The world we live in is falling apart. And when the world around us falls apart, we tend to fall apart. too. But there are other possibilities, explored by people such as Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr., Joanna Macy, Wangari Maathai, Vandana Shiva, and many other radiant exemplars of compassion and creativity in action. They all invite us to become heroic nurturers of life, becoming more fully realized human persons as we practice a combination of emotional resilience, political resistance and creative evolution. The 24-step Spiral Journey Flowchart Mandala (shown below) is our effort to describe that path of resilience, resistance and creative evolution on a single sheet of paper. This cooperatively produced web site presents extensive documentation, exploration and celebration of each of the twenty-four steps, expressed as open-ended questions we ask of ourselves.
The person/planet empowerment paradigm is a way of looking at life pioneered in recent times by Mahatma Gandhi. The person/planet paradigm suggests that because we are each a part of the world in which we live, we can start to change the world in which we live by changing ourselves, encouraging one another, and changing the way we interact with the dominant institutions of our time. If the dominant institutions of our time are steeped in lies, we can begin our path of resilience and resistance by committing ourselves to a deeper personal truthfulness. If the dominant institutions of our time embody unrelenting greed, we can begin our path of resilience and resistance by committing ourselves to the well-being of everyone, and to a vision of sharing. And so on, around the spiral in widening circles.
Out-of-control industrial growth = dead end. The world we live in is seriously addicted to greed, violence and deception (both of self and of others). These addictions have always been problems in human life, but the sudden increase in technological power has caused these problems to spiral out of control, increasing human misery, exterminating countless life forms, and endangering the continuity of life on Earth.
Eco-philosopher Joanna Macy has called this predicament, “the industrial growth society,” which for the sake of profit must continue to grow even if human culture and democracy are destroyed and the entire Earth is consumed in the process, leading to the industrial growth society’s own collapse. Just as a junkie or alcoholic will make frantic manipulative efforts to get everyone nearby to collude in, join, and/or support his/her addiction, the industrial growth society will try to fill our minds with its advertising jingles, fill our bodies with its poisonous soft drinks and nuclear waste, and enlist us as fearful supporters of its endless wars, bloated prison systems and out-of-control security measures.
Joanna Macy, David Korten, Duane Elgin, and several other writers on this topic have called this moment in human history “The Great Turning,” because our present way of living on earth is unsustainable and the only way forward is to come up with something new. We are being challenged by our circumstances to develop a way of living that is much more in harmony with the needs of planet Earth. And since war and oppression are great destroyers of the web of life, we are also being challenged to develop a way of living in which human beings are much more in harmony with one another.
A conscious plan for global healing and personal fulfillment. This contentious world into which we have been born is the environment in which we struggle to become more complete persons, raise healthy kids, find meaningful work and build networks of kindness and mutual respect. Given the world around us, and my own life experience both participating in war and resisting war, I have become convinced that neither our personal development nor the mending of a broken world will happen by accident. I have become convinced that if we do not consciously guide our lives and countries toward active kindness, generosity, truthfulness (and a web of related virtues), we will be very much at risk of being swept along with the tide, vulnerable to becoming mindless extensions of the industrial growth society rather than the aware and compassionate nurturers of life we were meant to be. The Spiral Journey Mandala, which summarizes what I have learned from Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr., Joanna Macy (and others), is one possible compass for steering our lives and countries toward the interwoven goals of personal unfolding and social transformation. The entire history of life, all 500 million years of it, is alive in each of our cells and invites each of us to participate in ” The Great Turning ,” that the Web of Life may continue and thrive.
As presumptuous as it might sound, I am convinced that we need to imagine what the next GREEN CIVILIZATION might be like, and what sort of people we would need to become in order to help create it. On balance, given the current growing inequality and the increasing destruction of species, lands and seas, one would have to say that we are not yet moving decisively toward “the more beautiful world our hearts know is possible” (Charles Eisenstein). Imagining an alternative to our present course, and a story that expresses it, is a crucial step in changing course. The Spiral Journey extended cooperative community invites you to participate in the effort of dreaming and living the new dream of green personhood in a greener, kinder world.
Dennis Rivers, Editor
Click image below for 11×17 PDF file.