“As we accept what is, we become people who stand in contrast to what is, freed from the aggression, grasping, and confusion of this time.”
“With that clarity, we can contribute things of eternal importance no matter what’s going on around us — how to live exercising our best human qualities, and how to support others to discover these qualities in themselves.”
~ Margaret Wheatley, So Far From Home: Lost and Found in Our Brave New World
In So Far From Home, Wheatley speaks of calling upon “skills not common these days, such as (quality) thinking, sense-making, pattern recognition, and reflection.”
There are others as well that would qualify as contrasts to what passes for normal (albeit an insane ‘normal’) in these times.
As Jiddu Krishnamurti said,
“It’s no measure of health to be well-adjusted to a profoundly sick society.”
To the uncommon skill-set I mentioned above, I would add a few age-old virtues – delicious qualities like generosity, graciousness, empathy, compassion, presence, whole-heartedness, intuition, and loving-kindness.
And they feel good to even think about, speak, and cultivate.
It’s not about perfection (whatever that is). It’s about cultivating, choosing again and again just what it is we want to be adding to the mix.
This begins to make a lot of sense when we look at it through an Indigenous/Ancestral wisdom, or ‘shamanic’, lens:
Everything is energy, and the priority is to cultivate a healthy quality and balance of the energy (energy harmony or reciprocity, called Ayni in the Andean tradition and by other words in myriad traditions)*.
This — the energy tending — is a practice, something we attend to again and again, given the particular quality of the ‘psychic soup’ in which we currently live, breathe, and have our being.
Uncommon skills would also include Spidey Senses, which is a fun way of saying body wisdom, full-sensory presence and awareness.
The more out of our body we are, whether through preoccupation or wandering down the street or highway ‘plugged in’ (and thus in our heads and very much not where our body is at that moment), the less aware we are of our physical surroundings and our body’s wisdom … and warnings … and intuition … and synchronicity.
And pretty much every one of the uncommon skills noted above — vital skills for these times, through those of us who are innately tuned with the capacity for them — are not accessible when we’re having that sort of faux out-of-body and thus not paying attention kind of moments. Plural.
These uncommon skills are also the very skills and qualities that spring forth more gracefully when we:
(1) Tend the fertile ground of the right-brain, body-wisdom, whole-system oriented Feminine;
(2) Cultivate the Inner Way, (which reconnects us to our more admirable capacities, as the neuroscience, etc. now shows*); and
(3) Ground and continue to cultivate or strengthen those re-awakened gifts and ways of knowing in rooted, Earth-connected, and Earth-honoring action.
That these have become more and more uncommon skills and traits in our time, and over a relatively short time, is a great sadness. The effects and consequences of that are grief-striking.
That these uncommon skills can be remembered, cultivated, reclaimed, and shared is the great news that holds within it inspiration, meaning, energy, and perhaps even survival.
In a 2011 interview, the writer, poet-philosopher, and activist Derrick Jensen spoke of this as the imperative to “decolonize our hearts and minds.”
We could also say it’s a matter of breaking a malefic-magic spell, or to de-ensorcel from dehumanizing, Life-dismissing — indeed, genocidal — norms of the sociopathic, consumer-machine centric dominant culture.
It’s not always a convenient process, that, nor an easy or comfortable one in some ways, but then neither is colluding with and being the inevitable Do-Bots, Flying Monkeys, and finger-food for the more sociopathic of the proverbial One Percent and its Machine, eh?
“We are the early adopters of a revolution of values.”
~ Pancho Ramos-Stierle, Occupy Love,
When we reclaim these and other forgotten or marginalized uncommon skills, virtues, qualities, and gifts, we stretch our roots more deeply into ancestral soil (and cellular memory) and into wholeness.
We also invoke the remedy that helps to heal the current and growing imbalance — energy reciprocity and balance being a core and essential concept in many Indigenous/Ancestral wisdom traditions.
And the recollection of uncommon skills helps to restore the heart and soul of what it is to be human, reconnected with our home and source of actual sustenance, Nature … Earth.
** Cultivating energy reciprocity and energy awareness comes up in quite a few of my personal consultations with clients, and we speak more about this in the Feminine Mysteries & Wisdom School programs, and the Ways of Wisdom apprenticeship.
** For a reminder about our Divine Gifts and Perdita (from the image just above), see this Sophia’s Children article