It’s Not Easy Being Green

Some days I have a deep yearning to write, but my mind is blank about what to write about. Other days I have lots to say but no desire to sit still at the keyboard. Such is the life of living in the mystical lunatic fringe. On those days when my mind seems to be blank, I do feel oddly confused, because anyone who knows me knows I rarely lack for something to say! How could I possibly be having a hard time coming up with something to write about? Look around – everywhere is fertile fodder! At the grocery store, in the news, driving down the road, my email inbox, the cat…  a never-ending supply of life “things” to reflect on.

And yet, here it is at the eleventh hour of my writing schedule, and I still can’t decide. Then it occurs to me, I’m worried about picking the wrong thing and you, the reader, might be bored, annoyed or disappointed at my choice of topic or what I have written. I might leave someone out of a conversation, or write in such a way that doesn’t honor everyone or doesn’t contribute something worthwhile to humanity. It’s not easy being GREEN, is it? Good thing I can laugh at my silly postmodern self.

In case you’re wondering about my GREEN reference, I am talking about Spiral Dynamics – a practical and pragmatic way to look at the evolution of worldviews, or perspectives. The basic idea of this model is deceptively simple: there are eight stages or “value systems” or worldviews that form the basic structures of human psychology and sociology. These stages make up an ascending evolutionary spiral that individuals and cultures will pass through on our developmental journey. Think of it as a map that forms a sort of invisible scaffolding in our consciousness, like the way genetic DNA influences the shapes and features of each life form.

This postmodern view of life is about collaboration and partnership. In this GREEN stage, life no longer is about the destination, but the journey and the relationships along the way. Earth is beautiful, precious, and every being is valued. My heart warms even as I write this and my “E.T. heart light” is glowing!

It seems unimaginable, but with all this acceptance, love and inclusiveness, comes a downside. In the postmodern view there is the quest to make sure everyone’s viewpoint is included, acknowledged and accepted – AND (here’s the rub) if you don’t believe that, then you’re wrong, you’re not being tolerant and inclusive. (I’ll pause here while you contemplate the opposites at play here.) Being intolerant of others’ intolerance, is the antithesis of this level, and the biggest trap! I hate it when that happens!

Lately this is showing up in my work environment. I have the experience of someone not accepting me as a colleague, or thinking I am not qualified to be participating in some activity because of my “young age,” or I don’t have “enough time” on the job. I mean after all, I haven’t been a minister for years and years or I haven’t been in a church to pay my dues, so I must not be qualified or have a contribution, or doing “it” wrong, right?

What does my head say? “Really? You don’t even know me, but you’ve decided I’m not competent, or you’re unwilling to collaborate or be in partnership with me?!?” Even as I write this, there comes a heavy sigh. Here I am, expressing the unhealthiest attribute of the postmodern view – being intolerant of someone else’s intolerance. So what does this mean for me? It means more self-reflection – arg. As I said, such is the life of living in the mystical lunatic fringe.

As disheartening as it may be to hear unkind words and uninformed generalizations, I take each of those events as a calling – to open me to a greater and deeper spiritual understanding of myself in this human form, and as a divine expression. My first step is to deepen my understanding of others through my own inner questioning.

When someone different from myself has come into my presence, am I willing to be changed by this person, to open myself to a new awareness of the world – their awareness. To accept that they may see further than I can, that this person I am judging, for whatever reason, may actually see beyond my own world. At times my questioning and searching brings me a bitter pill to swallow.

But most of all though, I think the fruitfulness of my searching depends wholly on my faithfulness to the activity of seeking itself. For it is in the constancy of my commitment to seeking that I am prepared to recognize and receive the fullness of that which I seek. Interestingly it is the differences that set me on this path of seeking. And even though how we choose to seek is a seemingly separate path for each of us, ironically we are doing it together in one way or another. We are each other’s lifelines, guides, brothers, sisters, companions, angels, teachers and wayshowers – chosen by ourselves to make this journey with each of us.

This search is a very intimate enterprise. It is the deepest, most quintessential longing of my heart. It is the search for belonging, for a meaningful life. It is my attempt to live a worthwhile life and to live it more abundantly. It is my attempt to see the presence of God, the divine, in all the shadows, ghosts, and through darkened veils – to see beyond all the illusions of life, and find it to be enough.

In the end, my search brings me back home to the remembrance that God is not in the whirlwind, but in the breeze, in the very air I breathe all around me. The divine is in the contradictions and paradoxes that seem to attack me each day, in a myriad of forms, especially my fellow humans. I look into the circumstances that challenge me, the attitudes that frustrate me, the burdens that wear me down, the motivations I use to push you away, as well as the aspirations I hold for my dreams and goals and therein lies what my heart so desperately seeks – the knowledge that I am enough.

So this person in front of me that I am being intolerant with has come to acknowledge for me there is another way to think, other things to value, other ways of doing things, another way to seek God, as it were. To this other person I say “thank you,” for showing me a way to live beyond my own little piece of the world. Thank you for afflicting my comfortability of what I think I know. Thank you for truth out there that is different and beyond my own. Maybe there is an aspect of God that isn’t so mysterious, maybe once in a while it’s a simple mystery that once found, is to be savored. So I savor the moment, I savor the beauty of all the differences around me and watch the glowing once again my “E.T. heart light.”