A new José Stevens Article

Dealing with Loss in a Time of Adapting and Restructuring

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Loss is one of the most painful experiences that human beings go through on their long journey to awakening. The most painful thing about loss is how real it appears even though we live in a world of delusion and illusion. Loss is everywhere we look because we live in an impermanent environment, one that is so dynamic that it is constantly changing, transitioning, and offering endless opportunities to readjust, restructure, and recalibrate. This is especially true because we are living in a time when the climate is changing rapidly and we are looking at the possibility of everything changing dramatically from the trees and foliage to the weather patterns, to the animal life, and our daily routines and ways of life. We are also in a time of a dramatically changing culture, the loss of our democracy, authoritarian control, corporatocracy, technological innovation, collapse of religious structures, artificial intelligence, and an almost unlimited list of familiar structures collapsing and appearing to be replaced by other possibilities. The problem that we are all familiar with is that we often do not like to readjust because of our attachments and because adjusting makes us uncomfortable. We usually resist it and cause ourselves to extend our suffering for much longer than is wise.

We have known for some time now that the world is overpopulating or for those who are uncomfortable with that concept, we are certainly outstripping our resources and rapidly destroying the ones we have left due to toxic wastes and damage to the environment. What this means is that it is only a matter of time when we arrive at the reality that the population will reduce to much smaller numbers. This is the way of nature. This has happened before and it will happen again and then the population will grow again eventually.

Let’s face it, everything is changing, everything, and the world will be almost unrecognizable within one hundred years. I am not saying this to be negative in any way nor am I saying this to scare you or make you uncomfortable. It is just a fact that we will be contending with. Even if we could implement all the conservation efforts we can imagine, it is too late to turn the clock back and carry on in our old ways. Human beings are resilient, creative, adaptable, and survival oriented when they need to be. We will survive but not without enormous changes within and without. Challenges make us strong and help us to grow up fast. Anyone who is in denial or refuses to face the truth is in for a very rude surprise, perhaps too great to accept. Those willing to accept the inevitability of change on this planet will grow and become more powerful as has always been the case in the past. In these fast changing conditions the older souls have an advantage and the younger souls are at a disadvantage because the older you are the more of a veteran you are, the harder to destabilize you are. The younger you are, the more dependent you are on authorities and they may or may not be trustworthy. Without inner authority one is more easily destabilized.

Late level young souls will do okay because they just shift their loyalties to what is expedient, to where the money is, to where the power goes. Earlier level souls are at the greatest disadvantage because they are inexperienced and cling to old paradigms that are passing away. Mature and old souls are the most adaptable because they use change to grow and learn. That could be you, or perhaps not if you are clinging to past glories.

Let us take a brief hard look at some of our losses because they are  inevitable:

For the time being we are looking at the further loss of clean natural water and air on our beloved planet.

We are looking at the loss of many of our favorite animals and the medicine they bring to this planet.

Similarly we are looking at the loss of many plants whose medicine we will lose as well.

We are looking at the loss of beautiful preserved areas to the destruction of bulldozers, explosives, drilling, and toxic chemicals.

We are looking at the loss of values as the world temporarily appears to be more nationalistic, racist, and out of control.

We are seeing the loss of our life-giving ocean environments to toxic wastes and plundering.

We are looking at the loss of fertility and the greater possibility of barrenness in humans.

We are looking at the loss of freedom to move about, explore, and express ourselves freely. Who is an immigrant and who is not?

We are looking at loss of local news outlets and the limits their watchfulness places on corruption.

We are already seeing the loss of any sense of privacy and therefore more loss of freedom.

We are seeing the loss of many things considered rights before and now considered commodities for sale like privacy, access to fresh water and so on.

We are seeing the loss of a sense of personal safety as the weapons proliferate and hatred expresses itself in destructive actions.

You get the idea. These changes for the most part will be temporary although some will take a long time to repair or correct and in some cases may be lost permanently such as animals, plants, and environments.

What are we going to do? Kill ourselves because we cannot face the change? Many will choose and are choosing that option but that is just temporary avoidance and denial. There is no escape since everyone will be coming back to face the changes and finish the lessons one way or the other.

In other words there is no escape. This is not because we don’t have free will because we very clearly do. In this case we already voted, already make our choice, and this is what we chose on an essence level to help us grow and evolve as a species. Sometimes we learn the hard way.

If life did not change and everything remained the same so we could be nice and comfortable, sooner or later we would all start to complain about boredom. Somehow or other we humans always find something to complain about. We could say, “Well, Okay let there be some changes, but just good ones, and not too much all at once.” In your dreams. That just isn’t how it happens on good old mother earth.

For a long time Darwinian based scientists believed that evolution happened very gradually and slowly on this planet. They fiercely resisted any suggestions that it might have been rapid sometimes, even sudden. They were always looking for the missing link to explain why there were sudden unexplainable jumps in the development of the human brain and societal development. Today new evidence is emerging everyday to bolster the understanding that massive events created sudden irreversible changes on this planet and brought human beings to the edge of extinction, not just once but perhaps at various times in our past. In other words we as a species are veterans of change, are capable of handling enormous changes that stress us to the extreme, and we have found ways to survive and indeed thrive. Did we experience shock, tremendous grief, terror, rage, and resistance to the changes? You bet we did. We thought the world was coming to an end, but only the world as we knew it ended, and yes, it dramatically changed overnight through comets and meteors crashing into the ice sheets, melting them instantaneously, to create unimaginable floods. Our relatives were gone, our food supplies were gone, our bearings were lost, our traditions disrupted, ways of life lost. And yet, some of us survived and lived and thrived.

In another era not so long ago disease destroyed more than 90% of the population of North and South America. Hundreds of millions of people died almost overnight from imported diseases. Imagine a world where suddenly nine out of ten people you knew died horribly and without warning. What would happen to your food chains, your governing systems, your traditions, rituals, ways of living. You would be cast into a new and unrecognizable world where you would literally have to build a new civilization from scratch. When the colonists arrived in America there were only a few remnants of the vast populations of indigenous people left. Those people were us in earlier lifetimes.

We have experienced such change before. The memories lie in our instinctive centers as part of our library of survival skills. We can handle whatever comes up. Perhaps not every one of us but we as a species are not going to disappear from this earth anytime soon no matter what pessimists think. Nuclear exchange is not even going to wipe us out. It will just be a major inconvenience. I would prefer that it not come to this kind of insanity but we must know that the end of the story is not nigh. When we finish with this planet it will be because we evolved to the point where we no longer needed to come back but did not go prematurely.

Let us give the human race some credit for being tough. Maybe some time soon we will have two hearts in our chests, a much bigger head, or perhaps our interior third eye will actually pop out. Maybe we will become hairless or lose our wisdom teeth for good. The possibilities are practically endless. Don’t be too attached to the way people look today. Tomorrow we might think bald is beautiful or we may develop a whole new fashion line for our new sexy supple tails.

So how do we adapt along the way to all these changes. We express our sorrow at loss of the old because it is unhealthy and destructive to suck it up and pretend everything is okay. In some cases we repeatedly sob our eyes out in sorrow to unburden ourselves but not in martyrdom. Then we look and see how we are going to adapt, adjust, and recalibrate our lives. We look and see how we can still be of service and we roll our sleeves up and get to work. We save what needs saving and what we can and we let go of the rest. At the end of the day it is love that we cannot lose no matter what happens around us. Love is permanent and is the only answer. We love one another, we love Spirit, we love our lives no matter what.  In five hundred years we will have grown use to life on a changed planet and will have grown attached to it and perhaps we will resist further changes. In this respect human nature does not change very much. Yet we will live in a world that offers more possibilities than we ever thought could be.

 

 

 

José Stevens

José Stevens PhD is an international lecturer, corporate team builder and organizational coach, consultant and trainer. A psychologist, licensed clinical social worker and author of more than twenty books and numerous articles, he is also co-editor for A Journal of Contemporary Shamanism and a board member of the Society for Shamanic Practitioners. He is the founder, with his wife Lena, of the Power Path School of Shamanism and The Center for Shamanic Education and Exchange, a non-profit organization dedicated to educating youth in indigenous cultures. He has completed a ten-year apprenticeship with a Huichol Maracame in Mexico and has studied with the Shipibos of the Amazon and the Paqos of the Andes for the last thirty years.