Before I was born, I have a memory of a sense of awareness about the state of the world—the holocaust, the bombing of Japan, the smell of death rising like a black cloud into the heavens, the knowledge that the world was in perhaps the highest magnitude of peril ever experienced on this planet. And with that came a call to arms for so many to incarnate and take our place in this opportunity to heal the world.
We were called baby boomers, and there were more of us than there were of any other generation. I remember a teacher in high school asking us how we were going to stand out, there were so many of us, how were we going to be different and find significant meaning in our lives? Elizabeth Kubler Ross suggested that given the fact that we grew up with the threat of nuclear war and the accompanying possibility of planetary destruction, we were compelled to have many relationships and a variety of jobs, as if to pack several lives into one.
When you combine these influences with the lack of transparency and truth in the governments and controlling industries of business and medicine and the media, with the limited awareness and lack of overview of our shell shocked parents, you may begin to understand the compulsion to rebel in our generation. We knew what not to believe, what to abandon and tear down, but we were still learning about what to replace it with.
I remember watching movies and television and thinking that nothing being said was real. People were pretending identities based on what they were being fed as normal—playing the role of the sexy, hard-working, god-fearing, non-intimidating, obedient soldier, obedient wife, believer in the system.
This is still true. We are fed so many decrees and judgments on what to look like, what to believe, what your life should be like, and what isn’t real, it is almost impossible to break out of it. We have been molded into a numb, pleasure seeking, avoidant and disconnected state of non–being. It is hard for even the most diligent to distinguish what is true and what isn’t. For many it comes down to choosing to follow a personality they think has risen above it, even if that personality is sociopathic.
And yet, many of us are looking, still looking to break out, break free, and break into answering the original questions that propelled us into our roles in this sacred drama. There is a Hopi prayer that says, “We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.” No matter what age you are, you have the option of fulfilling that mandate and stepping into the shoes that have been waiting for you. And the questions we all need to answer are: Who am I, why am I here, and what is my role in this both most propitious and most challenging time?
One of the things that has helped to align me is the Hebrew phrase attributed to Kabbalist Isaac Luria, which is Tikkun Olam. This phrase speaks about healing, both on the individual soul level and repairing the soul of the world. In my studies in Andean Shamanic cosmology, the work of healing takes place on three levels: the level of service, or right doing; the level of the heart, or right loving and all-encompassing compassion; and the level of the mind, or right seeing, envisioning, and intuiting.
While the idea that we are here to heal ourselves has been ridiculed by some as me-ism, it is well known by countless civilizations as primary to creating balance and harmony in the world. We can easily see that well meaning activism without self-healing and self-awareness is doomed to repeating the same patterns being fought against.
Things are not going to get easier for a while. Many of the structures and belief systems that we live in and by are unsustainable and need to come down in order for change for the better to ensue. However, the wisdom is out there and in us to help us find our way. We don’t have to take expensive classes or travel the world, we just have to remember we are connected to everything and everyone. Everything we see and judge and fear represents an opportunity for deeper healing within and without. All we need is not just love, but putting love into action. The combination of love and action with clarity of vision tempered by the heart is powerful, life-altering medicine. And most importantly, gratitude and recognition of the beauty of the world feeds beauty and helps to create the new world we want to bring about.