letter from the director time to pause

Time to Pause | Letter from the Director | September 2018 Edition

Image: Isaac Cordal (Mexican street artist) ‘Politicians Discussing Global Warming’  Sculpture, Berlin 2014

“The revolution will not be televised.”
—Gil Scott Heron

As the crucial shift in human consciousness fortunately spreads around the planet, one of the lessons we are learning as a global family is that the direction and actions necessary for significant and healthy social change within our society will not come from the top down. This is because the world’s political leaders either do not want, or are afraid of what may happen should they attempt to change our sociopolitical/economic system, but also consider that no politician actually knows what to do in order to curb the societal challenges we as humans are experiencing at this time. We’re witnessing that the most meaningful changes to righting the wrongs in our society and toward our planet, are being sourced from the people at street-level and rising upward. This is necessary in order to force our primarily antiquated, oft inhumane and structureless structure to shift humanity in a truly new direction.

If you’re questioning whether humanity needs a new direction, consider that:

– On January 21, 2016, National Geographic made the announcement that Bolivia’s second largest lake had officially dried up, yet the top world news story of the day was how plunging oil prices were sending stock markets into a nosedive.

– On October 3rd, 2017, the United States voted against a United Nations resolution which condemned the use of the death penalty as punishment for consensual gay relations, while the internet buzzed hotly from the millions of searches for how rock star Tom Petty died.

– On March 9th, 2018 the official count of vaquita porpoises was released (only 12 remaining), yet Google shows on that day there was vastly more interest in which carriage Prince Harry and Meghan Markle would use for their royal wedding.

– May 29th brought the news of Rosanne Barr’s cancelled TV show. The story dominated North American media while we barely acknowledged the concurrently updated toll of thousands of Puerto Rican’s who were continuing to suffer indirect death from the effects (and lack of proper humanitarian response) of Hurricane Maria eight months prior.

We as a global society are long overdue in directly asking ourselves the question ‘who have we become as a species and where are we headed?’ It’s a question that is posed often, yet at most it becomes an editorial in a newspaper or blog, or maybe an interesting debate on a radio show that is witnessed by some, inspires a few, yet mostly goes unnoticed or ignored by the rest of us.

Consider that many of us are not wanting to stop and ask ourselves this crucial question because the honest answer is too scary or painful to admit. Or that most of us believe that better personal and global financial health will right all the world’s wrongs. Either way, our response is to make ourselves incredibly busy—too busy to ask this question and too busy to answer it.

Will it take a disaster of epic proportions to force humankind to seriously ask ourselves this question or is there another way?

The majority of people on this planet are either consciously or unconsciously choosing money as our economic priority. The main problem with this belief is that the financial economy is just that; a belief. In believing that more money is the answer, personally and globally, we’re losing our connection to the only real economy; people and planet.

Prioritizing money as our chief economy has pulled our global society further and further away from our humanness. We’re becoming more and more comfortably numb to the stories of our natural species becoming extinct, the warming of our planet and how poorly we treat each other—primarily due to our quest for convenience and the (non-existent) state of financial security. Despite our happening shift in human consciousness, modern society still finds itself on a speeding train heading toward a cliff with no responsible engineer at the helm. How do we slow the train down and change tracks?

Imagine all of us—this global family—stopping long enough to see each other, long enough to recognize our base similarities, and just long enough to realize that we all are pretty much in search of the same things from life; food, shelter, respect and a sense of belonging. Imagine the majority of us unitedly pausing to ask ourselves the question ‘who have we become and where are we going?’

Imagine each of us stopping long enough to notice just how difficult it feels to stop. We need to stop long enough in order to feel our body’s nervous system. The vast majority of us will feel very uncomfortable doing so because our nervous systems have been vibrating dangerously high for most of our lives. Our nervous systems have been trained; conditioned to feel the need to keep producing, to worry, to not trust, to be afraid. It’s conditioning that began for most of us as children (or even in the womb) and as a result, we’re attempting to find comfort in the pursuit of convenience and materialism.

We all need to pause in order to feel our collective nervous system as well. Originally, it was our work that existed in order for us to take long breaks and enjoy life. We’ve reversed that; now we try to take breaks in order to help us refuel just enough so that we can get back to work. Consider that this may be the source of most of the world’s problems, including the breakdown of the family unit. When the family breaks down, the community breaks down. As a result, we become unhappy and unhealthy and look for desperate ways in which to get by, such as striving for more wealth.

On April 22nd, 2020, those around the globe who feel the need for change are invited to stop. It is Earth Day and will also be known as Day Of Pause. For one 24 hour period everyone who chooses to participate will pause—not making any plans for these 24 hours. The intention is for each of us to enter this period with no agenda, nothing scheduled and to experience what it feels like to have unstructured time. It is not intended as a holiday, but a period in which to stop, to notice and to feel—to feel our individual and collective humanness.

Pausing from our daily routines will feel strange and probably very uncomfortable, yet we need to feel this discomfort, this unsureness and the vulnerability that comes with having no orders, no plan, no responsibilities, no obligation and no purpose except to simply be—to exist for a period.

Aside from truly essential services, how many organizations, institutions and businesses will we get on board to support this collective experience? Whether the whole world participates in pausing on this day is inconsequential. Consider the depth of reach that will come from the mere conversations around the idea of the world stopping for a day. Regardless of whether people think this project is ridiculous, scary, laughable or stupid, simply to get people talking more about this need itself will be of immense benefit to us all.

There is no hidden agenda in this; this is not meant as conspiracy theory or anarchy, and it is not a message of anti-consumerism. Day Of Pause is a conscious invitation for us all to stop for a moment to see each other and to see ourselves, and to ask yourself, ‘Who have I become and where am I headed?’

The creation of this event will require a team of support, so I’m initially reaching out to anyone in the MYBW community who feels called to volunteer and support Day Of Pause. This project will need someone who can build a specialized website, a graphic designer, someone who knows how to access and organize publicity, possibly organize a donation component, etc. If you feel you can contribute behind the scenes toward Day Of Pause, please contact me at don@dayofpause.org.

Stay tuned to your heart, because the revolution will not be televised.

See you in the practice room,

Don