The Seven Stones Blog

Excessiveness in the face of Uncertainty

By Shea Adelson

Over the weekend the weather was so beautiful. I pulled my bike out of the shed and mounted the trailer, and my daughter and I set off to grocery shop and meet friends for brunch. It had been a long time since our last trip like this, where we opted out of the quicker pace of the car to do more in a shorter period of time. Biking takes a long time, for so many reasons. Just the locking up and de-gearing is laborious, never mind the poundage pulling on my muscles. As I pedaled my 35-pound child in about a 30 pound trailer, it started to occur to me that I had no idea what it cost to do this trip by car. I have no concept of my carbon footprint. How much does it cost the earth in energy for me to have done that loop of shopping and brunching in my car? I started to wonder if knowing would make a difference in my choices.

More than that, having facilitated last week’s session on Dreaming a New Dream in the Uncertain Times telecourse where we discussed the potency of knowing our current reality, I started to wonder what my reality really was. I proposed the concept of creative tension (as defined by Robert Fritz) that when we declare our vision of something we desire and we are very clear about where we are currently, that the laws of nature say the tension will resolve towards the set point of the vision, our actions and behaviors will align, not in a linear path, but will flow towards the declared vision. If I don’t know what impact my behaviors are making, beyond the consequences to me and my family for instance, can I really move forward towards something I am dreaming, especially when what I dream about is bigger than myself?

I brought this question to a conversation with Jen Cohen and one of Seven Stones’ advisors, Roger Burton, who reminded us that the current reality is always changing, always shifting, inconsistent and totally uncertain. Part of what is being called for in this time, and in the sufficiency conversation, is our being with – acknowledging and accepting that reality of
ever changing-ness with nonattachment and an open heart. Roger initiated an experiential, an experiment in being present, to listening to the moment as it was, and expanding that presence far, far beyond myself, my concepts, my ideas, my associations. We did this in the middle of Teele Square Cafe, laughing at ourselves at one point – who are these weird people meditating during lunch rush? And it didn’t matter. We were experiencing the globe – listening to humanity and to the biosphere – as it is, in all its sufficiency.

In our course series, we discuss Recess from Excess next week. I can feel the continuity of the course’s flow, the invitation to inquire into what is the too-much-ness of my life, of our collective lives. I had been fairly focused on the material, but what of this ever-changing-ness that I so want to control? What excessiveness am I bringing to that? Like overeating because I am tired, or talking too much because I am nervous; do I over-think, over-plan, over-practice, over accumulate knowledge, friends, money or things to protect myself from the uncertainty?

Consider for yourself: What is excessive in your life? And, rather than thinking about what you have to give up, what do you have to gain by letting go?

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