This Is Our Collective Story
I am writing this letter to you three weeks before Election Day. I don’t know the outcome, but you do. From where I sit, even if the ultimate electoral outcome puts us on a path toward restoring our democracy, it’s likely to be a messy, even frightening, process.
As important as this election is, it is but one part of a much bigger story of a great unraveling of everything we have come to know as normal.
This unraveling is accelerated by climate chaos, a worldwide racial reckoning, and global pandemic. And it’s not just here in the United States. People around the world are clinging to the manipulative lies of narcissists in power. All this further divides us and stalls our transition to a just and sustainable way of life.
The shock and speed of this unraveling can feel debilitating. Everything is being tested—our beliefs, our history, our cultural stories, our dreams, and certainly our resolve. Worst of all, we know that despite our efforts to hold civil society together, the suffering is likely to get worse as culture wars rage and climate chaos bears down.
But we cannot look away. Within the unraveling is also what many call the Great Turning. In a recent essay, author and Buddhist scholar Joanna Macy described this as “the central adventure of our time: the transition to a life-sustaining society. The magnitude and scope of this transition—which is well underway when we know where to look—is comparable to the agricultural revolution some ten thousand years ago and the industrial revolution a few centuries back.”
Macy goes on to describe the Great Turning not as a door we get to step through, but as an ongoing process that requires a commitment to doing the work that connects us. In doing so we build the solidarity, trust, motivation, and skills needed to make our way through the mess so that we can one day rebuild. We must build stamina. Take breaks, restore, connect with those people and places that keep us sane. But then return and engage.
My children are fans of stories that allow you to choose your own adventure. This is our collective story. Either we choose to stand by and watch civilization’s collapse, or we choose to connect and build anew together. I choose the latter.
YES! tells those kinds of stories. They connect us to each other and remind us we are not alone—stories of how people are not just surviving the unraveling but building a new life-sustaining society.
P.S.: Finding and sharing these stories—in print, online, and radio—takes resources. If you are fortunate to have the means, please consider joining our Founders’ Circle. Thank you!