Friday, August 25, 2017

I Can See Clearly Now


If you are big picture oriented like me, you are probably familiar with the theme that we as a human culture are in a “time between stories.”  I think we all feel this as an underlying anxiety or insecurity. There’s a perceptible trembling of the tectonic plates that have undergirded "majority human culture" for thousands of years.  The Old Story is forming deep stress cracks under the weight of its mounting excesses, inequalities and abuses.  As a result, we are being “shaken awake” by parallel macro-crises that touch every single one of us:  the climate, world politics, civil rights, the environment and economics.  The result is a kind of head-spinning choice-point moment arising for each and every one of us:  What do I believe? How can I help? What will make a difference?

With so much breaking down all at once, it seems like whatever we choose to do couldn’t possibly be enough. It is entirely understandable if you are feeling frozen, overwhelmed and confused, or suffering post-traumatic stress. More and more of us are experiencing loss as mountains of bad news are spoon-fed to us every day with a side of mounting anxiety and uncertainty. Those who have found their way out of the spirit-deadening centrifuge of fear, even temporarily, have done so by making a choice to take action of some kind.  Whatever the focus of their efforts, making a choice links them to something much bigger:  the forward motion of bringing a New Story into focus.  

Yesterday I was at the farmer’s market and a vibrant young couple was walking along handing out fliers about the “resource-based economy.” I was intrigued and later went online to learn more about it.  As I researched it, I found that it shares similar if not identical values with other movements I have written about:  community currency, the gift economy, Ubuntu, new economics, Zeitgeist, Humane Education, permaculture, ecofeminism, green economies…and the list goes on.  The young man with the fliers was passionate and clearly “all in,” practicing his activism through hosting online trainings and all over the world, projecting a certainty that this approach could and would save the world if only enough people came on board.

Noticing some of my inner resistance to the young man’s enthusiastic zealousness (and some inner self-judgment about my inability to remain 100% open-hearted and grateful for the alignment of our values and efforts), I was left pondering the current tendency to create and name new movements.  Why would I have a resistance to that? Is there anything wrong with that?  Well, if I were to be completely honest, I’d have to say both yes and no.  People need a label, a set of defined values and some structure to organize around. A movement provides that.  They need to know that they are safe and with kindred spirits who are aligned with the same values and mission. A movement provides that, too.  The issue I see is not with those who join movements but the structure by which movements are created and led, often around a single person or idea which finds itself competing with instead of collaborating with other similar movements. It struck me that this model of activism is based in a masculine approach:  Create something, name it and recruit people to your cause as “soldiers of the message.”  Inherently, a movement draws a line around a group of people, and therefore can even without intention, exert a kind of control or amass a kind of power that could be abused. Either you are part of the movement or you are not.  You are a member, or you are not.  You hold up the banner, sign the petition, wear the pussy hat, or you do not.  What if you don’t want to be put in a box?  What if your perspective traverses many movements?  What if you want to remain empowered and not become just a solider for the cause? Are you disloyal if you only have enough energy and time for this week’s climate march and not for next week’s women’s march? 

This idea of competing movements, it seems to me, is an unnecessary drain, not only on individuals and donors who feel forced to choose, but to the movements themselves who could benefit from collaborating and combining efforts more often.  Another limiting factor is what I call “founders syndrome” where the founders measure success by number of members or amount of funding rather than their readiness to respond to  how the new world is actually coming into being and accelerating:  through a web of ever expanding interconnections.  It seems to me the old paradigm supported and still supports a “circle the wagon” mentality:  Who will get the credit and the grant money?  Whose infrastructure will be absorbed by another’s?  Whose social media audience will rise and whose will fall? The underlying competitive model cannot and will not move us into the new world because it is precisely what humanity is being called to transcend. Therefore, it is no longer only what we build for movements, but how we build them that matters a great deal. To bring about anything like a sharing economy, the movement behind it must model shared leadership from the top down and from the bottom up.  So much human potential is squandered due to a scarcity mindset that assumes there aren’t enough volunteers, members or funders to go around. 
   
My friend, Linda Hogan, coined the phrase, “We don’t need more movements. We need movements moving together.”  I couldn’t agree more.  So how do we invite this to happen?  I believe that we name what blocks it from happening: ego and the old corporate pyramid model of leadership. My sister has been an environmental activist for over thirty-five years.  I have been drawn to supporting the empowerment of women and girls.  Over the years, my sister and I have loved swapping tales and principles from our differing realms of service, and what has been most exciting is how we are seeing a very palpable merging of both movements.  Women, not surprisingly, make up the majority of environmental activists. And as women open up to what they truly value, compassion and caring for Earth arises as a powerful central calling.
  
Our society has not yet benefitted from an empowered feminine perspective which would provide greater access to what the masculine perspective routinely ignores and devalues. Both are needed to perceive the whole of reality accurately and wisely.  For movements to move together, the feminine perspective must come forward to tend “connections between,” prioritizing service to the whole over competition and self-protectionism (forms of “fight or flight”).  We are seeing more and more women as well as men with a well-developed feminine perspective working along the edges of movements to make connections, to cross-pollinate ideas and to share leadership.  This serves the biggest possible purpose:  to accelerate the amalgamation of a new and better world.  The strengths and message of one movement, when combined with another, become not only twice as resilient and effective but exponentially so. 

But what of the need for people to have a simple, easily-understood idea to rally around?  I predict that something can and must emerge that is broad and inclusive enough to unify all heart-felt movements, something that gives a clear and simple picture of what the New Story is and will be. What are the unifying values of the New Story? How do our individual heart-callings, dreams and visions fit in?  If there is to be a grand movement, no one person or organization can claim it or hoard attention, resources or members.  A movement of movements exists not to promote itself, but to serve and nurture the entire family of movements. it emphasizes the connections, which we all share equally and no one group can claim.  It highlights the worthiness, strengths and uniqueness of each movement and each person.  I believe it should resonate in an almost archetypal way, able to be understood instantly through the heart, and not require lots of words, structures and explanations.  It must be able to overcome traditional barriers of gender, culture, education, age, religion and politics.  What could this simple, unifying message be?
 
I would like to make an offering,  a single word:  “enough.”  “Enough” tends to be perceived as a bit of a cliché, so before you dismiss it as simplistic or rudimentary, I'd like to assure you that it is anything but.  See if, like me, your heart perceives the much bigger pattern or picture that “enough” brings into sharper focus.  It is multi-layered, bridging mind, body, spirit, relationship and culture.  
 
“Enough” calls into focus these unifying and benevolent principles:

We want a world where there is enough for everyone. 

I am and you are enough to bring this new and better world forward. 

Women are just as enough as men.  

The original meaning of the word enough was “together we rise.” In this instruction is the key method for creating and sustaining enoughtogether. We cannot do it alone.  We truly need one another. By combining our unique and diverse talents and abilities, we are weaving together a new reality, a better future that we could never create through separation and competition.  

Enough is enough!”  is what we often utter when we are fed up with the status quo.  Many movements have used this phrase to signal they will no longer comply with the “powers that be.” It signals a readiness to take matters into one’s own hands.  No real liberation from our oppressors is possible until this moment arrives.

What you find at the center of the Old Story’s value system are two abiding beliefs about "not enough":  
“There isn’t enough for everyone” which creates systems that create, manage and perpetuate scarcity  

“You can never have enough.” which drives greed, over-consumption, waste, hoarding and a thirst for power.  

I suggest that these core “never enough” ideas are the glue that have held the Old Story together, manifesting in infinite ways as the 1%, as violence against women, as discrimination, as rationed healthcare, as warfare, as globalization, as diminishing worker wages and so on. It is at this root level of creation that the New Story has its greatest opportunity.  The glue to cement the New Story together is the exact opposite:  enough.

At the center of the women’s empowerment movement has been a desire on the part of women and girls to be taken seriously, to be valued, to believe that we are as “enough” as men – smart enough, capable enough, wise enough. The unintended fallout of the feminist movement has included the further devaluation of unpaid (women’s) work, spurring a new font line of feminism: what has traditionally been women’s work must be revalued by society as good enough.  Whether it is child care, elder care or community-building, there is nothing “lesser than” about women’s work.  But because we have been led to believe it is “lesser than” collectively, women tend to be burdened more than men with an internal identification of not being good enough.  In my work with women and girls over the years, I have discovered that the most effective method to achieving greater empowerment is to confront the “not enough” lies our inner critic tells us about ourselves.
    
Most surprising about my “deep dive” into the meaning of enough was the discovery that the word is both the map and the destination. Take a moment to let that sink in, because it is a huge claim.  The map (how) and the destination (what).  In addition, enough directly links our inner work of healing and self-empowerment to our outer work of being of service to the world.  How many words do you know of that can traverse such broad territories?   
 
The Map: How do we empower ourselves as agents of a better world? Enough as a map in brief would look something like this: 

1.       We do the inner work to liberate ourselves from the learned-helplessness of “I am not enough.”
2.       We gather with others in the spirit of unconditional support and acceptance to heal the wounds the “never enough” culture has inflicted upon us personally and collectively.  We do this by sharing our stories. These communities of support model “enough” in the way they share, connect, value, deeply listen and support one another. Therefore, they are classrooms which teach us how to enact and sustain the New Story.  
3.       Once healed and adept at co-creating pockets of the new “enough” culture, we have the skill and confidence to go out into the outer world to seed change, to speak our truths and to stand up for values that ensure enough for all.
4.       We become naturally drawn to connect, share and accelerate the kind of world we want, not to compete, hoard resources or feed our egos. We embrace collaboration and cross-pollination of ideas, skills, communities and resources that support the idea of enough for all. We share leadership.  We learn to trust and to be trustworthy. 
  
The destination: A world where there is enough for everyone, including for our families, our communties, Earth and future generations.  Who could disagree with this? 
 
Imagine such a world, how relaxing, harmonious, secure, peaceful and nurturing it would feel to you if you knew you would always have enough and that what you most wanted to contribute to the world is acknowledged and valued as perfectly enough! 

In the very least, what you concentrate on grows, so if you committed to shift any part of your thinking from “not enough” scarcity, shame and fear to “enough” abundance, self-love and optimism, you will have accomplished a great deal not only for yourself but for the world.  Inner shifts lead to outer shifts. 

Whatever movement or cause feeds your soul, it is my sincere hope that the “Enough Message” offers nourishment and encouragement for your important work.   I hope it reinforces that we are connected through our common unmet needs and longings and through our similar heart-led visions, hopes and dreams.  We are connected whether we can see it or not, and together we are reassembling a world that works for everyone. We need to listen to acknowledge that we are wise enough to be able to trust our inner callings and know that we each have a sacred and unique place in midwifing the emerging whole.  Whatever you are doing or experiencing, whether it is healing yourself or gathering others together, sitting quietly or speaking loudly, it is all perfectly enough right here and right now. Truly it is and You. Are. Enough.      


I would love to hear your comments and ideas.  You can connect with me at info@lauriemccammon.com
You can find out more about the Enough Work at www.lauriemccammon.com or at our online store:  www.theenoughmessage.com


Friday, February 3, 2017

Six Million Women Marched. Now What? 3 Things You Can Do Right Now That Don't Suck



I've had many conversations with women since the January 21st Women's March that brought over 6 million women together worldwide. And I hear the same question emerging again and again: Now what? How do we keep the momentum and spirit strong, especially during this fast-paced slide backwards into the opposite of the kinder, gentler and more unified world we want?  How do we stay balanced and healthy without being sucked into the energy-draining vortex of fear, anger and urgency ramping up on many fronts all at once? I have three very specific suggestions to share, all sourced from sacred conversations with the wise women in my life, suggestions that nourish and support the whole of who you are, rather than add more duties to your "to do" list to do more, give more, be more.  

#1:  Self-care has never been more important.  

The rapid erosion of compassion in politics is leading many of us to enter head-spinning PTSD mode. While it is important to stay vigilant and engaged by petitioning our government representatives, it is equally important to take breaks from the fray.

We mustn't lose the perspective that what is happening in Washington is not all that is happening. Far from it.  Stay focused on local and unified action that aligns with your values and feeds your sense of hope and engagement. Act, but also take time to be deeply nurtured by favorite pastimes, immersion in nature and silence, meditation and yoga, relationships and family.

Activism is like breathing, we must take time for the nourishing in-breath and that means we don't stay glued to the TV or set an impossible standard to be engaged as an activist every single day.Treat yourself with compassion and care. Take time off to refresh and renew.   

Mantra: You are not on duty. You are on purpose.  


#2:  Having a tribe that shares your values has never been more important. 

If you do not have a tribe, consider starting a women's circle. You can find one using the DF App or you can get free support from Gather the Women Global Matrix, a world-wide all-volunteer network of women who support women's circles. Their work is based on Christina Baldwin's and Anne Linnea's book The Circle Way and Jean Bolen's book, Millionth Circle

Mantra:  You aren't saving the world alone. Together we rise!


#3: Disengage from the "hooks" of the old "Never Enough" paradigm,

which include partisan conversations, the need to be right and make others wrong, ingesting fear-based messaging from the media, and taking it personally when someone attacks an idea or person you support. Realize that all of these hooks provide a CHOICE to either engage in "never enough" thought patterns of separation, anxiety and fear or not.

Realize that your energy and time are always better spent focusing on what you can control and what you can contribute. Support things and people who share your values and know that doing so is perfectly enough. We are doing this together and the shift from never enough to enough is (from a wider perspective of evolution and history) inevitable as human consciousness evolves from a "me" perspective (survival of the fittest)  to a "we" perspective (global, unity).

People on the planet today represent a wide spectrum of consciousness, but the collective direction is always towards more inclusive and more compassionate.  Your part is to be the best representative of your current level of consciousness that you can be, and to resist engaging your precious energy at a lower level. That means not sliding back into either-or thinking, blaming or shaming. Stay positive, clear and focused on what you want to manifest in the world and know that is perfectly and divinely enough when you do so. 

Mantra: What you focus on grows, so move from blaming and 
shaming to decisively claiming the world you really want. 



________________________________________________________

Laurie McCammon is the author of Enough!  How to Liberate Yourself and Remake the World with Just One Word and editor/co-author of the upcoming Enough! A Companion Guidebook.  

Laurie will be presenting this month at the 25th Annual Women of Wisdom Conference in Seattle Washington February 17 (Opening Keynote) and 18 (One Day Intensive). A la carte pricing. 

FB:  LaurieCMcCammon
Twitter: @EnoughMessage

You can purchase the book Enough! on Amazon 

Monday, January 2, 2017

Women: Don't Feel You Are Enough? It's Time to Get Over It!

Logo for the 25th Annual Women of Wisdom Conference
Seattle, WA February 16 - 20, 2017

For a long time I, like many women, have sensed that women must play a pivotal, if not central, role in birthing a new paradigm for Earth. We feel this timing within us as a quickening and as a call to action. We may not yet know what specific action we are being called to, but there is a new level of alertness within us, an eagerness and an urgency to "receive our instructions" as soon as possible. 

But time and again I've also noticed something that holds us back as women, a lingering feeling that we are not enough to bring our message, our gifts, our passions into full expression. We believe we are not strong enough or resilient enough to endure the inevitable criticisms and setbacks. We feel we aren't confident enough or "big" enough to announce our knowings or launch our projects loud and proud. We think we don't have enough time left over after caring for our families, homes and jobs to become activists or to commit to a larger calling. What I've noticed is that all of these beliefs about ourselves have one single phrase in common - not enough.     

But I also want to say that it is time to get over it, this paralyzing belief that we somehow aren't enough, because it isn't true and has never, ever been true. If anything, humanity desperately needs what women have to offer in order to recover its wholeness, and it needs it right now. Earth and the vulnerable need women to speak up for them. The enough that we each are, whether we identify as men or as women, must include the feminine qualities of deep listening, intuition, compassion, patience, community building and nurturance. It must include attunement to nature, service to others and receptivity. Without these qualities we are not whole human beings and cannot create cultures, businesses, organizations, governments or families that are whole and healthy. The world needs us more than ever. It is time to claim that we are enough to rise up and be seen in our fullest truth, power and brilliance.   
         
If we are discovering anything from the recent turmoil in the world, it is that so many of the patriarchal structures and authorities we have counted on to have our best interests in mind have failed us.  As traumatized and disappointed as we may be feeling to face such uncomfortable truths about our history and present reality, I believe it has been necessary to reach this level of truth and trauma to free ourselves from unwittingly perpetuating a patriarchal system that was built to keep in place the very scarcity, competition and control that is at the root of suffering.  

When you are in the game, it is impossible to know that it is just a game. You are so consumed with the task of trying to win that you don't realize that the game itself is why you can't win, not you. You don't realize that you can choose to not play the game. The good news is that many of us realize that we can choose to energize something very different. Because we are evolved women, we are in touch with another way.  Our ears are attuned to the whispers of nature and of spirit, a much more ancient and heart-connected story of well-being and resilience courses through our veins.  It is time to bring that story through us in service to humanity and Earth.  

An Unprecedented Moment in Human History 
I don't think I need to tell you that the old "Never Enough" story created by the patriarchy has become dangerous and unsustainable. That culture which is still hanging on for dear life today is at best expressing an adolescent perspective of reality characterized by a self-serving, impatient short-term focus that harms the environment, future generations and the most vulnerable. But just as surely as adulthood follows adolescence, many of us are being called to a more mature, holistic and wise way of being and perceiving, a way that thinks globally, systemically and long-term.  Our consciousness has grown beyond the narrow, selfish adolescent perspective. This is why so much that goes on in the mainstream makes no sense to us and seems completely senseless and cruel.  

But in this gap between reality and our sense of what is right is an opportunity of monumental proportions. At times like this, it is always important to remember that real change has never come from the powers that be.  It always comes from the grassroots, from what I call "the fertile fringes" who want and dream something different. And that means you and me. This is why gathering at this time is so critical. You are being invited to activate.   

You see, my research has pointed to a very clear picture. The evolution of human consciousness that is affecting each of us is leading us all to the same destination. It is leading us to rediscover that the universe's 13.8 billion year old success story of "enough for all" is humanity's story, too. The driving force of every ecosystem is to provide enough for everyone in it, and each species is enough to play their role in sustaining the system for themselves and others in an intricate, balanced web of life. Enough is what binds us together in common destiny. Enough is how we pay it forward. It is how our lives have meaning. When you look widely and deeply enough, enough is the story you see, the good stuff, the glue.  

The trouble is, we as human beings have been socialized to ignore most of the enoughness that is within us and all around us. We are taught to see through narrow, distorted lenses, taught to work and create against nature and against our own true natures. So often, this means against our feminine sensibilities. And this is why it is particularly painful for us as women to live in a "Never Enough" culture. We've forgotten how good it feels to be part of a community that wants us to have enough our whole lives through, not as an exchange for our labor or loyalty. We have forgotten what the sisterhood, united can achieve.  

The truth is that we aren't powerless, inadequate or alone, and never have been. It has only seemed that way through the culturally-imposed lens of scarcity. We are  enough - perfectly enough. This hidden "enough" order of the universe -  of all life  - is the throughline that connects us to all good and right outcomes. It enlivens a deep sense of harmony, purpose and meaning in our lives and communities. And yes, the enough principle is steeped in the feminine principle. And that is why the call for us as women right now is so strong.    

The hidden order of the universe reveals itself with surprising ease and grace when we get one simple thing right: our personal relationship with the word "enough."  We love ourselves again. Our authentic selves. Not our pretend selves.  Not our performance selves or idealized selves, but the messy, imperfect, no lipstick, seat-of-our pants, can't-help-but-speak-our-truth selves.     
We've been slogging together through the old story of "Never Enough" for 5,000 years, generation after generation learning from the principles of scarcity, lack and competition. But like a shoe that no longer fits, the Never Enough Story is so constricted and painful now that it prevents us from moving forward. We forget that it is just a shoe and not our own foot.  

Scarcity (or "Never Enough") has never been an accurate picture of how the universe works. It has never been a proper or all-encompassing representation of the vastness of our human potential.  The worldview of scarcity can not be hacked or patched together to make it sustainable or to make any sense long term.  It is a deeply flawed and outdated worldview. Ask any quantum physicist, sharing economy convert, evolutionary biologist or clean energy expert. Scarcity has already been debunked. There is actually enough.    

Still, the Old Never Enough Story is trying harder than ever to hook us back into old scripts of fear, shame and blame, and worse - into hopelessness. Who hasn't felt the squeeze in some way in 2016?  We do not need to comply. It is time to take our story back. But how? We begin at the very beginning which is to root out wherever the Never Enough Story has landed in us as unworthiness, self-rejection, martyrdom, victim hood and lack of self-confidence. We reclaim our inner territory for ourselves. 

What do you believe about your own enoughness - are you enough?  
Are you worthy enough to deserve to have enough to bring your dreams to reality? 

Are you powerful enough to demand that the world lives up to your values and visions?  

Imagine how our lives and the world would be vastly different if we could answer all three of these questions in the affirmative!  We can and most certainly will with just a little effort and coordination. We begin with one simple tool: by cleaning up our relationship with the word "enough" so that this word empowers us rather than traps and limits us. Reclaiming our enoughness then becomes the key not only to our own liberation, but to creating a world capable of providing enough for everyone.  

Women: don't let anyone fool you.  We are enough to change the world and always have been.  

Laurie will be presenting next month at the 25th Annual Women of Wisdom Conference in Seattle Washington February 17 (Opening Keynote) and 18 (One Day Intensive). 

If you are feeling a big inner "Yes!" to this call, please join us at the Women of Wisdom (WOW) Conference, North Seattle College, February 17 & 18, 2017.

My talk on Friday will give an overview of the Enough Message and why I believe it has transformative powers anyone can use to claim a better future for themselves and the world.  

Saturday's one-day intensive will provide brand new material to facilitate a deeper experiential dive into what it means to change your inner orientation from "not enough" to "I am enough!" The workshop will include journaling, circle, music, movement, celebration and deep communion with other women who are as committed as you are to reclaiming their enoughness once and for all.  Singer-songwriter Karie Hillery will be joining me to perform songs from her new CD which she created in support of the Enough movement:  Together We Rise!  

Everyone attending the conference will receive a mini-ebook download and a link to a mediation video to deepen your Enough practice. I look forward to seeing you there or connecting with you online. 


Thank you for spreading the word of this important convergence.
Together we rise!
Laurie

FB:  LaurieCMcCammon
Twitter: @EnoughMessage