Photo by Mohamed Nohassi on Unsplash

GratefullyREWIRED

That will always be the over-arching ethos of the Grateful Dead: If you think you can do the job, come help out. This is not music you want to listen to, but participate in.

  John Mayer

This blog is intended as a nod to three elements – of course first of all to the Grateful Dead, that infamous band that has symbolized the endless jam, inspiring millions of their fans across the globe. 35 million albums sold. 

NOTE: This is not a musical blog. 

That respectful nod also goes to the very idea of gratitude in our troubling times. Swift, exciting change has been the hallmark of the past 158 years since the end of the Civil War in the USA. More recently, our radios and TV’s have opened the floodgates to smart phones, computers and laptops, algorithms, AI, tablets, smart pads, smart cars, cyber security, and biotech – the list goes on and on. 

Our lives today feature a constant stream of products we often barely know how to use and that are often impossible to repair – or least for the consumer themselves. Our lives are not focused on that kind of problem-solving, for the most part: we live in a throw-away world; living lives where physical labour as a necessity is increasingly uncommon. While this may be a phenomenon that most of us acknowledge and accept with gratitude – yet is this good for us? We are living longer lives, in general, as a result – but are we living more meaningful lives? Are we more capable? Are we more humane?

Anxiety, today, is the new plague. Because we are more concerned with the drift – or is it the fall – of our world to crisis: climate crisis, environmental crisis, water/drought crisis, fire crisis, species extinction, germ warfare, conflict crisis, biochemical warfare, nuclear pollution, pollution of the air, water, and the environment, fears of nuclear holocaust, AI control, leadership vacuums, political polarization, and wars between super powers, or war between Democracies and totalitarian regimes. Economic fallout. War. Terrorism. Bedlam. 

Yes, there is rather a lot to concern humankind. 

Meanwhile technology and social media bombard us with all of those imminent concerns 24/7 – much of it misinformation, or outright propaganda. This is in itself why our human world is suffering a rolling high anxiety attack: there is literally no relief from the pressure of these overwhelming concerns. With this past spring, Canada has been burning up with fires across the nation in our northern forests – 45 million acres burned – with no province spared. Everyone in North America and everywhere should be aware by now that sharp climate change is more than active and endangering our world. The previous seasonal forest burn maximum had been in 1989 at 7.3 million hectares, for the entire year. Hello, your future is here. 

https://www.nytimes.com/2023/10/24/magazine/canada-wildfires.html

The verb rewiring is not new perhaps, nor the concept of rewirement, but in the context of this blog what rewiring means – gratefully rewiring, that third element– means to consider what you want your future to look like and feel like and to explore now how you can shape not only your own future, and to whatever degree, humanity’s future. You don’t have to take responsibility for all of the above concerns, necessarily, but you do need to face and acknowledge in each case the severity of those issues. Inform yourself. By now, you perhaps perceive that the white picket fence – that old North American Fantasy – is a blackened, charred ruin. No matter how old you are now, do you want to be part of the solution? Humans will have no compassionate biographers if they are seen to be dancing while Rome literally burned. Is it not worthwhile now to consider strengths you yourself may have to contribute to solutions – or strengths you have the potential to develop? Are you living up to your potential? Your potential to contribute?

This blog will challenge you to square off with yourself and face any delusions you still hold as to where this climate train is headed. But most of all this blog and the workshop of the same name are intended to challenge your own views on your life and its meaning. Perhaps you believe you are getting off the train soon enough anyway, and it does not matter. I believe that your participation does indeed matter and not just to humanity, but for your own mental health. Should we not fight for our Planet, and for a manageable climate, and fight also for the generations that will follow us?

 No matter your age now, you can make a difference in joining the conversation to broaden awareness of the importance of climate change agency, broadening, through positive and urgent conversations, at the least, the Hope Gap [more on the Hope Gap next time].

However, regardless of that profound conversation, this blog asks – where are you anyway, in your life journey, and where do you want to be? Where would you like to bring your skills to bear? Who would you like to work with? What do you want to learn? What is important for you to accomplish in the years ahead? Have you had conversations with yourself and others on this subject? Rewirement means to challenge ourselves to grow and to learn, to gain new experiences, to protest and voice core values and beliefs publicly. Mentor others, teach others, write an essay, or a story, or a book; nurture friendships that challenge your thinking – or at least give your thinking oxygen. 

For the writing of this blog, I will interview people who have successfully transitioned to work that is having a positive impact in the world – in daring moves that positively influence human life and on the real problems humanity faces. GratefullyREWIRED will draw into your consciousness those who have indeed made significant changes in their lives, pivoting to introduce greater meaning and purpose for the greater good of all. But don’t be surprised also to commonly find satire here: this I promise. 

If you know of individuals who have done this, have pivoted successfully, please write to me – introduce me to these individuals – or if you yourself have changed your focus. The purpose here with this blog is to provide inspiration – as well as to invoke a passionate desire to reverse our negative tide. Terrible problems require great ideas – brilliant resolutions – for resolutions to problems have always been developed in the human mind.

Kate Orland Bere

 

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