Blogs >> Indigenous wisdom has much to teach us says Jonathan Dawson

Indigenous wisdom has much to teach us says Jonathan Dawson

Xiuhtezcatl Martinez

In his second blog from Findhorn Climate Change and Consciousness conference Jonathan Dawson is feeling the benefit of an immersive event experience.

It makes sense to spread an event like this over a full week.  This is a time and a space wide enough for an enquiry of this magnitude to breathe in.  Time to release the habits of scurrying urgency and to allow the different voices in ourselves the space to be felt into, expressed, heard and integrated into the emerging field of consciousness.

Time to digest the wisdom shared by the invited guest presenters.  Time to do a writing workshop that leaves all of us participants wide-eyed in wonder at the oceans of imaginative possibility that opens up in such a short time.  Time for the new stories already incubating within us to find voice. 

‘Hope is not a lottery ticket you can sit on the sofa and clutch, feeling lucky. It is an axe you break down doors with in an emergency.'

Time for indigenous wisdom holders to slow the whole thing down to a sane walking piece with their incessant stories and rituals.  Time to listen in to a concert of jaw-dropping intensity, rage and beauty, A Call to Life: Variations on a Theme of Extinction, text layered onto a powerful Rachmaninov piece.  Turn the lights down, put on your earphones and immerse yourself in this marvel of artistic expression in service to life and listen here.  Time for grief and fear to find expression, to be welcomed, and to transform into celebration and hope………and back again.  Time to sing and dance, to slowly fall in love with each other.

The Variations piece catches the essence of this event, and perhaps of this moment of history.  Supremely talented artists pouring all they have into the conception and delivery of their creation – a work of such pure intensity that nothing is held back.

Charles Eisenstein exudes a similar energy.  He frames climate change as a process of initiation for the human journey on Earth, as a crisis that obliges us to reconnect with our true natures: ‘Everything we do can be a prayer, a ceremony……our language is part of our covenant with the Earth.’ 

A day of youth-focused activities is led off by a video-linked call with Xiuhtezcatl Martinez, (pictured) an 18 year-old indigenous environmental activist, hip-hop artist and youth director of Earth Guardians, a worldwide conservation organisation who is one of 21 plaintiffs involved in suing the US federal government for failing to act on climate change.  He exudes power and a deep conviction that ‘this will be our finest hour’. (Check his video out for a blast of youth power.)

Christiana Figueres who as Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) drove through the Paris climate change agreement exudes what she describes as a ‘stubborn optimism’: reviewing trends in the energy transition, she declares ‘I now know that we will totally decarbonise our economies in the 21st century'.

In short, a heady mix of sickening grief at what has already been lost, dread fear at what is heading our way and a growing resolution and recognition that we are, in fact, the ones we have been waiting for……all cycling in intensifying energetic waves through the gathering.  The response that this calls from us is that we come totally alive, that we shake off the lethargy and cynicism bred by the anaesthesia of consumerism.  That we rediscover the power in our own authentic stories.

One of the passages in the Variations piece quotes Rebecca Solnit: ‘Hope is not a lottery ticket you can sit on the sofa and clutch, feeling lucky. It is an axe you break down doors with in an emergency. Hope should shove you out the door, because it will take everything you have to steer the future away from endless war, from the annihilation of the earth's treasures and the grinding down of the poor and marginal. To hope is to give yourself to the future - and that commitment to the future is what makes the present inhabitable.’

Jonathan Dawson is a senior lecturer on the MA Economics for Transition programme.

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