Business As Usual Is Over – Hooray!

Written by Kaama Joy

It has been a shocking beginning to 2020 for many of us. A gazillion words have been written about the carnage of the past weeks loss of life, habitat & unbearable climate reality. Buckets of tears and rage widely shared.

One thing is for certain.

Australia has lived up to the scientific predictions and here we are at the front line of the climate crisis at the beginning of a brand new decade. The world is watching.

It seems counter-intuitive that one could feel any sliver of hope right now as the daily news is grim. I certainly don’t know anyone who has not been personally impacted by the months of fires, drought, heat and dust-storms.

We thought climate-crisis would come but really just not now and perhaps not for at least a few years. Yet here we are.

However, this read is not yet another glum litany of woe but a reframe to step into the joy of being alive at this unprecedented time.

As far as I can see there are now three silver linings to the personal and collective trauma and these leave me feeling so energised. 

1. The silver lining of truth-telling.

This is the ultimate freedom that often follows terrible news.

I experienced this most viscerally when in my mid 30’s I had a cancer diagnosis & for a time wondered if perhaps these were the last months I would spend with my young family. It turned out that it was the best thing that could have ever happened to me.

Yes, cancer was tough to deal with physically, but it was also the most extraordinary gift too.I stopped pretending I loved my life as it was and got really honest with myself and my family. I thought I was dying so with nothing else to lose I could at last have incredibly vulnerable honest conversations with myself and others. Straight but loving conversations.Looking carefully at my potential ‘end of days’ I discovered my ultimate ‘bucket-list’ was simply to be of loving service to those closest to me.

With survival I ditched EVERYTHING I didn’t want in my life anymore and practised radical honesty about what was to stay. It was an exhilarating time.A kind of internal Marie Kondo reset many years before Ms Kondo was a thing. I literally shed years of terrible stress and fell in love with my life again.

It seems to me that we have been given a collective metaphorical gift of being told we have a cancer diagnosis right now. Yep it can be physically arduous to deal with the next steps but oh my my, so liberating if we are courageous enough to be truly honest and in the flow of change.

2. The silver lining of connection:

From the city to the bush and along every stretch of the east coast of Australia it seems our bush – city class and ideological divides have melted in the heat and smoke. The connection and outpourings of love stories from neighbours, often strangers has been stunning to observe. Breathtaking fund-raising, untold thousands of random acts of kindness and then the outpouring of gratitude for the endless weeks of heroic volunteer firefighting have changed us for the better. I am not the only one who has noted a similarity to a war-time unity in our community.

This feels like gift number two because it is going to take all of us in action together seeing each other again as each other’s neighbours and not polarised party political foes to do the real work of throwing the old out and embracing a new way of living & working. It seems to me that the tipping point has now arrived which leads me sweetly to:

3. The silver lining of taking action :

Getting into action is an incredibly energising place to stand.

Rather than being in overwhelm & sitting unmoved many of us are now in action in our personal, business and political lives. When you find yourself in full action, chasing the sugar hit of hope becomes an irrelevant driver.

“We do need hope—of course, we do. But the one thing we need more than hope is action. Once we start to act, hope is everywhere.”- Greta Thunberg

Most actions we can take today as individuals seem to help us live simpler lives. In my observation they also seem to turn on my serotonin at the mains.  Being in action becomes a calming and soothing balm to days and weeks of hyper-vigilance and relentless bad news. And yippee… we feel happier!

Then low and behold we have more personal energy to take more action. Of course going against the norm and taking a stand for being different takes a bit of practice to feel totally free but honestly it all starts with the first step.

It seems to me that the fundamental journey for us all to be on is around shifting our mindsets.

One of my most favourite practises for transformation of self that can be used in business as well as creating great movements of change is around the state of being unreasonable. My friend, the leader of The Hunger Project in Bangladesh Dr Badiul Majumdar says:

“Being unreasonable really alters you, makes you a lot more powerful. Makes you unstoppable.”

Perhaps whilst we all yearn for a superhero to come to save us from the crazy times, ‘being unreasonable’ is the key to feeling the transformation of our own superpowers right now.

Part 1 of 3 on the transition to a carbon zero world. 

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