An NHNE Y2K Special Report:
Y2K Visions & Visionaries
Sunday, January 3, 1999
& Consumer Protection
for Spiritual Seekers"
An NHNE Special Report:
Y2K Visions & Visionaries
Sunday, January 3, 1999
By David Sunfellow
NHNE is also the force behind the wild2k Website:
"The Best of the Best of Y2K"
The NHNE Y2K Report has been suspended this week while our Editor-in-Chief,
James Gregory, makes his way from the wilds of Ontario, Canada, to our
headquarters in Sedona, Arizona. In place of our weekly news report,
we've put together a special New Year's report that explores inspiring
visions, grassroots efforts, and spontaneous spiritual gatherings that
are beginning to swirl around Y2K.
Our work is made possible by the kind and generous support of people
everywhere who want to solve the fundamental mysteries of life, make
a graceful passage through the turbulent times in which we live, and
help give birth to a new, more spirit-filled and loving world.
You can support NHNE by joining our Friends of NHNE program and/or
through tax-deductible donations. See the end of this update for details.
Total NHNE Mailing List:
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"The world, as we know it, is coming to an end. The world as the center
of the Universe, the world divided from the heavens, the world bound
by horizons in which love is reserved for the members of the in group:
that is the world that is passing away."
--- Joseph Campbell
"Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth;
for the first heaven and the first earth
had passed away,
and the sea was no more.
And I saw the Holy City,
coming down out of heaven from God,
prepared as a bride adorned for her husband;
and I heard a great voice from the throne saying,
the dwelling of God is with humans.
He will dwell with them,
and they shall be His people,
and God Himself shall be with them;
He will wipe every tear from their eyes,
and death shall be no more,
neither shall there be mourning,
nor pain any more,
for the former things have passed away."
--- Revelation 21:1-4
Y2K & NHNE
THE BIG PICTURE
-- There Is A Directionality, A Thrust to Life
-- Time Is Speeding Up & Running Out
-- Y2K: The Embodiment of Change
WHERE THE RUBBER MEETS THE ROAD
-- Learning the Ropes In Sedona
-- Someone Needs to Lead the Charge
-- Round Tables Have Leaders Too
-- When Things Get Tough, The Tough Work Together
-- Eight More Suggestions
A GATHERING OF EAGLES
-- Shock Treatments & Elephants
-- Something In the Wind
DREAMS & GATHERINGS
-- Dreams of Change
-- Resilient Communities Videoconference
-- Y2K: Opportunity of A Lifetime
Y2K & NHNE
We published our first report on Y2K on July 2nd, 1998. Called "The
Millennium Time Bomb," (http://www.nhne.com/specialreports/srmillenniumbomb.html),
this sobering report described Y2K and why it was important for us to
pay serious attention to it. After we published this report, we began
focusing almost exclusively on Y2K. We organized a team of researchers
to track Y2K online, created a website dedicated exclusively to Y2K
(http://www.wild2k.com/), and began organizing our local community to
deal with potential Y2K disturbances (http://www.wild2k.com/sedona/).
In the meantime, we began connecting with Y2K leaders all over the country
and started publishing weekly Y2K reports.
Why have we tackled Y2K with such intensity? Is it really that important?
Does it really require our undivided attention? These are questions
I have asked myself repeatedly. These are also questions many of you
have asked. Indeed, some of you have wondered aloud if NHNE has lost
My hope is that those of you who have been bewildered by our constant
focus on Y2K will come away from this report understanding more clearly
why Y2K is gobbling up so much of our time -- and that those of you
who have understood all along, will have a better idea what all the
commotion is about.
With Love & Best Wishes,
THE BIG PICTURE
THERE IS A DIRECTIONALITY, A THRUST TO LIFE
"Life," writes author John White, "is not random or chaotic. There
is a directionality, a thrust to life. There is a movement throughout
history toward perfection and unity, toward the fullest expression of
the intelligence behind all creation -- what the Declaration of Independence
calls Nature's God. Life emerges in the simplest form and evolves through
evermore complex, evermore conscious forms which are evermore godlike
in their capabilities and knowledge. In short, there is a divine intelligence
behind evolution and the drive in all life is toward God-realization.
That's the big picture of all history -- not just human history, but
also of cosmic history."
Sometimes the evolutionary process is calm, ordered, and peaceful.
At other times, the very fabric of creation is ripped to pieces by extraordinary
And what is true for the universe, is also true for us: planet Earth,
and human history, are also full of cycles of change.
Being rather new to the created universe, it is easy for human beings
to forget just how volatile and unpredictable our universe is. Indeed,
we often forget our own history as the memories fade from one generation
to the next. When things are trying and difficult, we tend to forget
the times when all was calm and peaceful. And when things are calm and
peaceful, we tend to forget that difficult times may be just around
the next corner.
In our first report on Y2K, I mentioned the cyclical patterns that
William Strauss and Neil Howe describe in their thought-provoking book,
"The Fourth Turning" (http://www.fourthturning.com/). Among other things,
Strauss and Howe predicted that a major crisis would be unleashing itself
on the U.S. near the beginning of the next century. Although Strauss
and Howe weren't sure what would trigger "the millennium crisis," they
predicted it would match the trauma and intensity of the American Revolution,
the American Civil War, and the Great Depression & World War II,
which were "The Fourth Turnings" of previous eras.
According to Strauss and Howe, ever since the Renaissance, history
has beat to a rhythm of four turnings, in a cycle of 80 to 100 years.
The First Turning is an upbeat era of strengthening institutions and
weakening individualism as a new civil order is established. The Second
Turning is a passionate era of spiritual upheaval when civic order comes
under attack from new values. The Third Turning is a downcast era of
strengthening individualism and weakening institutions when civic order
decays and new values implant. The Fourth Turning is an era of crisis
in which the old civic order is replaced with a new one.
Strauss and Howe predicted The Fourth Turning of our current cycle
would emerge sometime around 2005 and last about 20 years (for more
information, see News Brief 45: http://www.nhne.com/nhnenb45.html).
While I don't know if Y2K is the trigger mechanism of The Fourth Turning
that Strauss and Howe predicted, what captured my attention was the
idea that history -- everything from stock market cycles to the rise
and fall of empires -- tends to move in cyclical patterns. Moreover,
these cycles tend to evolve: old ways of thinking and acting tend to
produce new ones that are healthier and more refined. They also tend
to follow archetypal crash and burn models: old systems crash and burn
while new ones rise from the ashes.
TIME IS SPEEDING UP & RUNNING OUT
While pondering this, a new book, by Peter Russell, called "Waking
Up in Time," came to my attention. We reported on Russell's book in
NHNE Y2K Update 4 (Friday, September 11, 1998), and in NHNE Y2K Report
3 (Sunday, November 22, 1998). This past month, Joel Metzger of the
ONN NETWORK (http://www.wisdomtalk.org), ran a four-part series that
featured excerpts from Russell's book, and comments from Russell, Joel
and Joel's readers.
Taking the cyclical history idea one step further, Russell describes
how life in general, and human beings in particular, are evolving at
ever-increasing rates. He believes this process will continue to accelerate
until humanity reaches a point where we transcend all limitations. Russell
calls this point, "The Singularity." Citing several interesting models,
Russell suggests that the moment of transcendence may be reached sometime
in the next century. In the meantime, the main challenge human beings
face is adapting to the increasing intensity and speed with which change
is overtaking us. In order to do this, Russell believes human beings
must begin turning their attention inside. We must learn how sensory
perception leads to awareness; how ideas come into being; how attitudes
and emotions affect perception and behavior; how the inner self interfaces
with the outer self and visa versa. Inner space, not outer space, is
the next great frontier according to Russell. Moreover, "If we are to
continue our evolutionary journey, it is imperative that we now make...prodigious
leaps in our ability to transform our minds....This is the challenge
of our times."
That's a quick summary of Russell's ideas. But let's also hear from
Russell himself, who dazzles his readers with the following overview:
"Accelerating change is a pattern that runs throughout the history
of evolution. The Big Bang happened twelve billion years ago (give or
take a couple of billion years). The evolution of simple life forms
began four billion years ago. Multicellular life appeared a billion
or so years ago. The evolution of complex nervous systems, made possible
by the emergence of vertebrates, began several hundred million years
ago. Mammals appeared tens of millions of years ago. The genus Homo
first stood on the planet a couple of million years ago. Homo Erectus
appeared several hundred thousand years ago. The shift to Homo Sapiens
that was triggered by the emergence of language and tool use, and which
resulted in the Agricultural Revolution, began tens of thousands of
years ago. Civilization -- the movement into towns and cities -- started
several thousand years ago. The Industrial Revolution began a few centuries
ago. And the Information Revolution is but a few decades old.
"Each new development has occurred in a fraction of the time of the
previous one -- somewhere between one-quarter and one-tenth the time."
"If evolution continues to follow this pattern in the future (and we
have seen there are good reasons to suppose it will), then future developments
will happen more quickly. The intervals will drop from decades to years
to months. We would be heading toward a moment when the intervals decrease
to zero, and the rate of change becomes infinite. This is the possible
singularity I referred to earlier: a point where the equations break
down and cease to have any meaning."
"If major developments continue to occur in shorter and shorter times,
there will be a corresponding time limit to our evolutionary progress.
This does not mean there will be a limit to how much evolution we can
experience -- the opposite, in fact. We would find ourselves evolving
so fast that we experience an unimaginable degree of evolution within
a finite time. The time limit would be the date in the future when our
rate of development becomes infinitely rapid."
According to Russell, Vernor Vinge, who has been charting the acceleration
of technological development, believes the year 2035.1 may be when we
reach the moment of singularity. His estimates are based on how long
it will take for humankind to create superintelligent computers that
can replicate themselves and build new, ever-more evolved computers
without their creator's help.
But Russell believes human beings will beat their machines to the flash
point if inner development is seriously pursued. He also cites models
that suggest humanity has been expanding exponentially in much the same
way technology has.
Terence McKenna, for instance, has developed a fractal mathematical
model that charts the overall rate of ingression of novelty into the
world. McKenna's "timewave" model, like the other evolutionary patterns
Russell mentions, starts slow and then picks up speed. Writes Russell:
"The curve shows a surge in novelty between 15,000 and 8,000 B.C.E,
corresponding to the approximate dates of the Neolithic Age and the
emergence of agriculture. Exactly the same pattern is repeated, although
64 times faster, from C.E 1750 to 1825 -- the period known as the European
Enlightenment and the beginning of the Industrial Era.
"Another surge of novelty occurred around 500 B.C.E This was the time
when Lao Tzu, Confucius, Plato, Zoroaster, Buddha, and others, who would
have a major influence on the millennia ahead, appeared in the world.
It saw the rise of ancient Greece and the beginnings of European culture.
This surge continued for several centuries, then slowed down in the
Fourth Century C.E. with the fall of Rome, and finally sputtered to
an end with the onset of the Dark Ages. The repeating nature of McKenna's
timewave shows the same pattern recurring in the 20th Century, from
1967 through to the early 1990s -- again, 64 times as fast as before.
Later, around 2010, it repeats again, 64 times faster still."
What is true of novelty, is also true for our collective knowledge.
Another study cited by Russell was produced by French economist Georges
Anderla. Anderla broke humanity's knowledge into units. He estimated
it took humanity fifty thousand years to gain one unit of collective
human knowledge. According to Anderla's estimates, humanity had doubled
its knowledge by C.E. 1500. By 1750, total knowledge had doubled again;
by 1900, it had become eight units. The next doubling took only 50 years,
and the one after that only ten years, so that by 1960 humanity had
gathered 32 units of knowledge. It then doubled again in the next seven
years, and again in the following six years, taking us to 128 units
in 1973, the year of Anderla's study. Since then, it has continued to
increase ever more rapidly. Today, with the advent of the information
revolution, human knowledge is estimated to be doubling every eighteen
While the jury is out as to whether or not the evolutionary process
described by Russell will end in a rapturous climax, it should be obvious
to all of us that the evolutionary process is, indeed, speeding up.
I think most of us would also agree that the increasing speed at which
things are unfolding is making it very difficult for us to adapt.
Y2K: THE EMBODIMENT OF CHANGE
What does all of this have to do with Y2K?
In the nutshell, Y2K is the biggest, most omnipresent, unpredictable,
unsettling, and potentially destructive force humanity has had to deal
with. It has the potential to level countries and start wars. To topple
the world's economic system. To sever power, communication, and transportation
all over the world, on all levels. To inspire global panic, starvation,
and other kinds of social and environmental epidemics. To end one time
period in human history and begin another. In the long run, global deforestation,
the greenhouse affect, ozone depletion, melting ice caps, the growing
extinction of plants and animals, marauding asteroids, the instability
of nuclear weapons and reactors in Russia, the emergence of weapons
of mass destruction in third world countries, and other global issues
may have equally dramatic impacts on our world. But so far, none of
them have developed into full-fledged global storms, nor have they delivered
a rapidly closing time table that can't be pushed back. Y2K has. Even
the world's nuclear arms race and two great wars did not catch humanity,
as a whole, so unprepared.
In other words, Y2K represents, in breathtaking Technicolor, the kind
of fast-paced evolutionary process that Russell describes. In order
to effectively deal with it, we are almost certainly going to have to
learn new coping skills, in record-breaking time. And for the record,
Y2K does not necessarily have to level the world's computer systems
to affect change. It can also affect change by making humanity intensely
aware of just how dysfunctional, co-dependent, and vulnerable it has
become to its own soulless systems.
Not surprisingly, Russell has been paying close attention to Y2K. And
he's not alone. A growing number of visionaries and innovative leaders
have also been taking notice. Indeed, Y2K is emerging as the catalyst
many of them have been waiting for -- and, perhaps more importantly,
an opportunity to share visions, join forces, and work together to better
understand the powerful forces of change that are presently sweeping
"Waking Up in Time" can be ordered though the ONN Website: www.wisdomtalk.org/books1.html
WHERE THE RUBBER MEETS THE ROAD
LEARNING THE ROPES IN SEDONA
Like many others who have been struggling to understand and do something
about Y2K, I've been busy in Sedona trying to organize our local community.
It's a job I never imagined I would ever be doing that revolves around
a subject I knew nothing about a year ago.
The process I went through is straightforward enough: We researched
Y2K, discovered it was a serious threat, and responded. Because my work
was primarily focused on the Internet, the national/international levels
were tackled first: we organized a team of online researchers and built
a website to database our discoveries. But it didn't take long to realize
that Y2K was going to affect my family, friends, and local community.
And since no one else, as far as I knew, was doing anything about Y2K
in Sedona, the task fell to me and those who were working with me online.
The first thing I did was contact the Y2K Task Force in Medford, Oregon
which had staged the country's first city-wide Y2K meeting. I found
out from them how they had organized, how many people were involved
in their organization, and what their current activities were. I also
asked for suggestions about how to organize our community. Then I contacted
our local city government. I learned that Sedona, unlike most cities
in the U.S., had a person in charge of their Y2K efforts. Unfortunately,
her efforts were largely limited to upgrading PCs and traffic lights
and there was little awareness of the larger, more serious implications
of Y2K (the potential loss of food, water, power, communications, etc.,
and possibility of worldwide disruptions). My early exchanges with the
city were polite, but since Y2K was not being viewed as a major threat
to Sedona (or any other part of the country for that matter), the city
had little interest in stirring up the populace.
Realizing I couldn't count on city officials to educate and mobilize
Sedona, I decided to follow Medford's lead and organize a grassroots
response. I contacted the members of our online team who lived in or
around Sedona and began organizing a meeting of friends, and friends
of friends. We invited the people we knew the best and trusted the most
to a private meeting to let them know what we had found out about Y2K.
We also asked them to invite friends who might be interested. Then we
rented a space that could accommodate a hundred people, passed out flyers
to remind everyone where and when the meeting would be, set out some
cookies and tea, and waited for the room to fill up. All together, 19
people showed up, six of whom were staff people. Although it was a disappointing
turnout, almost everyone who came ended up joining our efforts.
INSIGHT NUMBER ONE:
SOMEONE NEEDS TO LEAD THE CHARGE
For those of you who are interested in organizing Y2K efforts in your
part of the world, here's my first pointer: someone has to lead the
charge. In my case, I was fortunate enough to have others who were willing
to help, but unless I took the lead, nothing would have happened. I
had to act without having all the answers and wade into areas (like
city government) that I normally wouldn't have. What motivated me was
knowing that Y2K was a serious threat that needed to be addressed. If
no one is working to educate and mobilize your part of the world --
and if you care about the welfare of your family, friends, and community
-- then the task may fall to you.
After this first meeting, we organized follow-up meetings, joined forces
with others in our community that were interested in Y2K, and a natural
sorting process began: new people showed up, old people fell away, and
a solid core group began to emerge. The most difficult part of this
process was forming a cohesive group with a clear vision. We had to
decide how we were going to make decisions, what we wanted to achieve
as a group, and who was going to do what. One of the most important
steps in this process for me was realizing that I had to continue to
provide leadership. Since I wasn't sure my efforts to educate and mobilize
Sedona went beyond getting things started, I wasn't sure what my role
in the emerging group would be. Moreover, I was more interested in working
online and galvanizing the NHNE membership, than working in Sedona planting
gardens, dealing with city governments, and speaking to local audiences.
To complicate matters, none of us, including me, wanted to work in a
hierarchical group with some people designated as leaders and others
as followers. We all saw ourselves as equals and insisted on a round
After struggling with this for weeks, and watching our group flounder
in the resulting confusion, two things finally became clear:
1. Like it or not, I needed to provide leadership for our group.
2. Until I did, we weren't going to get anywhere.
Once I realized this, everything started falling in place. A name for
our group was decided upon, a mission statement was created, specific
roles and job descriptions were defined, and we started charting how
we were going to fire up our local community.
INSIGHT NUMBER TWO:
ROUND TABLES HAVE LEADERS TOO
For some reason, all of the people that have ended up in leadership
roles on our task force have strong spiritual backgrounds, which includes
a fundamental belief in medicine-wheel-style organizations: different
people, with different strengths and perspectives, joining together
as equals to accomplish a specific task. How does leadership operate
in such a group? What I've learned is that everyone provides leadership
in their respective areas. But the group, as a whole, also has a leader,
whether that leader is publicly acknowledged or not. A healthy group
acknowledges the need for one person to provide leadership for the group
as a whole. And a healthy leader understands that he/she fills only
one space in the circle and requires the feedback and support of all
the other positions to effectively lead.
Now that our group was up and running, we launched a series of projects:
we developed materials and organized meetings to educate our local community
about Y2K, brought in well-known Y2K speakers to drive home the information
we presented, helped our city and local community service organizations
stage panel discussions, started organizing neighborhood preparedness
programs, created several exploration teams to find out how Sedona would
be affected by potential Y2K disturbances, acquired a centrally-locally
office space to meet and work in, and visited other communities and
city governments in our area to help them do the same. Many of these
activities are databased on The Sedona Y2K Task Force Website:
From the beginning, I have felt that an effective response to Y2K would
hinge on two things: we would need to educate and mobilize our local
community; and we would need to connect with other communities all over
the world so we could learn from one another's efforts, share resources,
and stay reliably informed about all aspects of Y2K.
We've been very fortunate in Sedona to have both of these bases covered.
NHNE has been busy gathering information and resources from all over
the world that has been put to work by our local task force, which,
in turn, has pumped what we've learned back into the global bloodstream
to be assimilated by others and returned again with new insights.
INSIGHT NUMBER THREE:
WHEN THINGS GET TOUGH, THE TOUGH WORK TOGETHER
The two-pronged approach I've outlined above is extremely important.
Y2K is such an enormous, overwhelming, unpredictable problem that we
need to be able to tap everyone's talents and learn from one another's
experience. All local groups, in my opinion, should establish clear
connections with the global community, and the global community needs
to establish clear connections with local groups. The free flow of information,
discoveries, experience, and resources will, in the end, probably be
the most important asset we have to deal with whatever fallout comes
from Y2K -- and other threats that might challenge our race in the future.
EIGHT MORE SUGGESTIONS:
Finally, here are eight more suggestions that have helped us organize
our local task force and community.
1. Don't waste time trying to convince public officials that Y2K is
a problem. Instead, provide them with a steady stream of current, credible,
well-sourced information, and keep them posted on your efforts to organize
a grassroots response. If they respond to your overtures, great, work
with them. If they don't, that's great, too, because once they realize
how serious Y2K is, you, and the organization you've helped build, will
be the ones they turn to for help.
2. Treat the people and organizations who provide you with power, water,
food, money, and other basic necessities the same way you treat public
officials: be nice, and work with them if they are willing. In the meantime,
don't kid yourself, and don't allow them to kid you: no matter how well
prepared they say they are, there is still a chance their services won't
be available. Because of this, you, and your community, should pursue
off-the-grid backup plans.
3. Encourage others to prepare for Y2K by buying a little extra food,
and setting aside a little extra cash, a little at a time. There is
still enough time for everyone to prepare if it is done responsibly.
If, however, too many people start buying large quantities of supplies,
we could bring the entire system down prematurely which, in turn, would
make things far worse than they might otherwise be.
4. While storing life's basic necessities at little at a time, also
look for ways to grow your own food and supply your own water. If the
supply chain is disrupted for any length of time, all kinds of packaged/processed
goods will be very difficult to get, and there will be extraordinary
demand for whatever is available. Those who can provide for their own
basic needs, and help provide for the basic needs of others, will be
in a much better position than those who are relying on packaged goods
that need to be replenished.
5. If you, or those you love don't have the means to buy extra food,
water and other necessities right now, do what you can to prepare in
other ways. Get educated about Y2K and self-sufficiency. Strengthen
your personal relationships. Get to know your neighbors. Pray. Exercise.
Improve and simplify your diet. Lighten your load by budgeting your
time more carefully and getting rid of unnecessary material possessions.
Ponder the emotional ramifications of Y2K and work through your fears.
Help organize your local community. If there is anyone on this mailing
list who should be physically prepared for Y2K disruptions, it's me.
But I haven't had enough money to buy the resources I need to take care
of my family. I have, however, had the ability to educate and mobilize
my community and spread the word via NHNE. My hope, and motivating belief,
is that everyone will be taken care of who does what they can to be
of service to others.
6. In terms of local organizations and projects, figure out what needs
to be done and then use whomever shows up to do it. If no one shows
up for a particular job, then consider the possibility it doesn't need
to be done. Also, do everything you can to turn people loose on the
projects that interest them. In my view, one of the best guidance systems
we have is who spirit sends to us and what those who show up carry in
their hearts. Use this, more than carefully crafted plans, to determine
what really needs to be done, and by whom. And don't try and do everything
yourself. Do what you feel most called to do, then delegate, empower
others, and leave the million jobs that never get done up to God.
7. When conflicts arise (and you can be sure they will), remind everyone
involved that human beings have been designed to see things from different
vantage points. This is a good thing. There are many different ways
to see and solve every problem. After reminding everyone that differences
of perspective are good, give each person a chance to fully share their
perspective and do everything you can to be sure their perspective is
fully heard and understood. Since most conflicts are based on people
not hearing or understanding another person's perspective, most conflicts
will end right here. But if they don't, and it becomes clear that honest
differences of opinion can't be bridged, then find ways for them to
work apart. Empower each person to express their particular perspective.
Remember that challenging and/or forcing others to adopt a path they
don't agree with doesn't help anyone. It creates animosity, hard feelings
and distrust among everyone involved. Empowering others, on the other
hand, engenders respect, good will, and a willingness on everyone's
part to cooperate and consider other perspectives.
8. And, finally, remember that Y2K is a passing phenomenon, as are
all other events that fill our short lives on planet Earth. What lasts
are our relationships with one another and the way we have lived our
lives. Bottomline: do everything you can, in every moment you live,
to be kind, sensitive, thoughtful, considerate, and loving towards those
you are in relationship with. All of us can get our way a little while
by running over others, but this kind of behavior doesn't produce the
kind of happy families, meaningful groups, and loving societies that
we all seek.
So that's a little bit about how the Sedona Y2K Task Force came to
be, what we've been doing, and how you can help the communities you
are a part of prepare for Y2K.
Since we still have a great deal of work to do in Sedona, I don't know
how our story will unfold from here. From having talked with the leaders
of other Y2K grassroots movements, I do know that many Y2K efforts are
having a rough time organizing themselves and their communities. Some
of the problems they are having are universal -- poor attendance at
public events, little support from public officials, lack of funds,
burnout, poor leadership, not enough people to do everything that needs
to be done -- while other problems are unique to their particular area
and group of people. This notwithstanding, there are also some marvelous
I hope our efforts in Sedona, and your efforts wherever you may be,
are the latter -- and both myself and NHNE will continue to do everything
we can to be sure to stack the odds in favor of success.
In future updates, I will introduce some of the other talented members
of our task force and let them tell you what they've done and learned.
A GATHERING OF EAGLES
SHOCK TREATMENTS & ELEPHANTS
Everyone I've encountered who has been seriously involved in Y2K --
researchers, programmers, community organizers, government officials,
journalists -- eventually starts feeling like they've slipped in the
Twilight Zone. Slowly at first, and then with increasing intensity,
your normal way of viewing life on planet Earth starts to get blurry:
you realize that governments around the world might topple, missiles
might launch unexpectedly, terrorists might attack, nuclear reactors
might melt down, medical equipment might not work, power grids might
fail, the IRS and many other U.S. government agencies might go belly
up, 911 and emergency services might not work, grocery stores might
run out of food, WAL-MART, for goodness sake, might not get new shipments
Pondering the ramifications of thousands upon thousands of vitally
important, highly-interconnected systems failing all over the world
at the same time does something to normal awareness. Tom Atlee, founder
of THE CO-INTELLIGENCE INSTITUTE, coined a term for this kind of pondering:
"Perhaps there's something called Y2K Fatigue," writes Tom. "Like battle
fatigue or compassion fatigue. I think its main ingredient is ambiguity
fatigue. It is exhausting to continually contemplate a massive threat
from a place of radical uncertainty littered with certainties that blink
on and off."
The kind of "blinking certainties" that Tom refers to includes the
DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE declaring several mission critical systems to
be Y2K compliant only to be challenged by government watchdog agencies
who discovered that the DoD had falsified their reports -- on at least
two separate occasions. Or the FEDERAL AVIATION ADMINISTRATION installing
brand new Y2K compliant computer systems at three major airports only
to find out that their new systems were so riddled with bugs that the
old non-Y2K compliant systems had to be reinstalled before planes, which
were disappearing from radar screens, crashed into each other.
Blinking certainties. There are a lot of those these days. And there
are also electric shocks. Writes Tom again:
"I heard once that giving rats regular shocks and random shocks were
both less stressful than giving them semi-predictable shocks. The most
stressful regimen was a regular schedule of shocks occasionally interrupted
with shocks that didn't happen when they were supposed to and shocks
that did happen when they weren't supposed to. The poor rats couldn't
even develop psychological defenses against the shocks. They just sank
into apathy. There's something about Y2K that's like that. On Monday
we may feel certain about something, only to find that by Tuesday some
new evidence or hearsay or shift in perspective makes it feel like a
far shot -- or worse: that its opposite may suddenly appear to be true
-- while other things we thought were fairly iffy may suddenly seem
as sure as sunrise. Where is the landscape here? Where's the ground?
What is going on? Where can I stand? Am I crazy?"
And then there is Y2K itself. Why has it appeared in human history
now? What is its purpose in the grand scheme of things? And what are
we -- private citizens, mothers, fathers and families, small businesses,
corporations, cities, states, nations -- to do about it? David La Chapelle,
who reported on the first national gathering of Y2K leaders that met
in Boulder, Colorado in August of last year, had this to say:
"I came away from the Boulder conference with a profound appreciation
for the depth of integrity, courage and heartfulness of the participants.
I also experienced very strongly that we were living within the story
of the blind men and the elephant. A very large and strange creature
has appeared in our midst and we still do not have fundamental agreement
as to what that creature looks like. We all were groping to describe
a phenomenon which has such far-reaching implications and such powerful
psychic and physical consequences that we were in some fundamental way
blinded. The very complexity of the issue we face and the necessity
to be able to make huge leaps of whole systems integration created a
"I found that I was tiring easily in the discussions and several of
my good friends reported similar levels of exhaustion. I have observed
in the course of communicating about Y2K, with many people in many different
settings, a similar process of overload. One of the positive aspects
of the conference was the fact that so many people were in a similar
state of awakened exhaustion that many participants were able to be
carried by the container of the whole, even if their individual nodes
of concentration weakened at times. This points to a fundamental truth
which the conference brought home to me: we cannot do this alone or
in isolation. The very networked nature of the crisis is calling forth
a level of communication across all social and cultural levels which
I believe is unparalleled in our modern experience."
SOMETHING IN THE WIND
I guess you get the picture: Y2K is not only causing a great deal of
mischief in the world of software, hardware, and embedded chips, but
it is also causing a great deal of mischief inside the human beings
who are trying to understand it. Put simply, none of us, it seems, has
been able to get a handle on the global elephant that has wandered into
our house and sat on us.
But there are movements afoot now that are trying to.
In October of this past year, David La Chapelle approached me about
gathering together with a small group of Y2K leaders from around the
country to do a vision quest (or "quest" as David prefers to calls it).
The idea was to create a way for those of us who have been wrestling
with Y2K on the Internet to meet in the real world and compare notes,
seek guidance, and deepen our bonds with one another. As David and I
discussed this, Sedona emerged as the place to meet and this spring
the time. Last month, I sent out a letter to some of the main Y2K leaders
and visionaries I've been corresponding with. Among other things, I
mentioned the upcoming gathering and my growing need to meet with others
who have been wrestling as intensely with Y2K as I have. Tom Atlee responded
with a stirring reply:
"There's something in the wind.
"About two weeks ago I found myself feeling like I/we were on the wrong
track somehow. I felt like something BIG was trying to surface through
us -- or through Y2K -- and the way we were operating was somehow blocking
that. I have found it increasingly difficult to focus on many Y2K activities
that were of compelling interest just a month or so ago. Burnout is
part of it, but not all of it. Not by a long shot.
"When I talked tentatively to three Y2K activist friends, they all
said they felt the same way. In particular, their attention was drifting
to spiritual and other 'larger' issues beyond preparation.
"Then I went to the weekly BAY2K meeting of Bay Area Y2K organizers.
I decided I wouldn't say how I was feeling, because I didn't want to
undermine the momentum of anyone's community organizing or preparation
projects. But then one of the other participants said that she was having
a hard time focusing on Y2K preparedness and educational issues and
was drifting towards spiritual concerns that had long been relegated
to the background. As soon as she said that (and she was very much groping
for words), EVERYONE ELSE IN THE MEETING said they felt the same way.
"We ended up having a hilarious meeting in which we joked about the
seriousness of our efforts. We decided that dried food was a perfect
symbol for a certain dessicated quality we'd observed in Y2K 'preparedness'
efforts. Preparedness itself seemed like a soulless, often fearful black
hole into which we could dump all our resources and attention and never
really succeed -- because no matter HOW prepared we ever are, there
is always some plausible worse-case scenario that could overwhelm us.
We joked about creating a book or screenplay or poem entitled 'Just
Add Water: Finding the Juice in Y2K.' Phrases like 'Reclaim your soul
from the infrastructure before it falls apart' and 'Waiting for the
Y2K Godot' were tossed around. Joyful, boisterous life came back into
the room. Something shifted. It was like the decks were being cleared
for something. But then we weren't sure where to go from there.
"What did it mean? Someone said, 'Something passionate is waiting for
us to be ready.' I have that distinct feeling. Something is in the wind."
Tom went on to say that my letter strengthened his sense that something
was, indeed, "in the wind." He wrote that he planned to organize a small
gathering of friends over the holidays for a time of inner work together:
"It will be a reflective time, with lots of silence (Quaker style)
and lots of listening circles (like the indigenous 'council') with enough
time for many rounds of the talking stick. Perhaps we'll do some dyads
and triads, getting to know each other deeply or pursuing together some
inquiry of compelling shared interest. I'm thinking of having people
handy who know Jungian psychology, Tarot, focusing, or other techniques
for fishing out what's trying to become conscious. Or something like
that. The form is not so important as taking time out together for reflection."
Finally, Tom suggested that it might be a good idea for similar vision
seeking gatherings to happen all over the country. "There is something
very important going on here," wrote Tom. "If we discover it, I suspect,
Y2K preparedness will suddenly become a thrilling side issue -- a tool
for joy, relationship and transformation."
I wanted to pass these thoughts on to all of you so if you felt so
motivated, you could begin focusing more strongly on the vision seeking
side of Y2K. Later, as winter gives way to spring, I'll be writing all
of you about this again, asking those of you who are interested to organize
vision quests in your part of the world to coincide with the upcoming
vision quest in Sedona.
More about this in the future.
PART FOUR: DREAMS & GATHERINGS
The final part of this special report contains three special announcements.
The first is from David La Chapelle and concerns a place he has created
on his website to database dreams that deal with the powerful changes
sweeping across our planet. The second comes from Robert Theobald and
introduces an innovative, potentially very important satellite videoconference.
And the third announcement is about an upcoming workshop in Tucson,
Arizona that is being hosted by Linda O'Keefe. I am proud to be connected
with all three of these events (some of my dreams will be appearing
on David's website, the Sedona Y2K Task Force will be participating
in Robert's satellite videoconference, and Linda's husband, Lance, will
be filming the Tucson gathering so we can use the footage on our upcoming
Y2K television program). I hope everyone on this list will check all
out three of these activities and, if you feel the inner nudge, join
DREAMS OF CHANGE
David La Chapelle
During this period of accelerated change there are many ways of receiving
the "news" of the universe. Of the many modes available there is one
which occurs to most people, appears nearly every night, and is often
filled with more direct guidance than we receive from any other source
if we know how to decipher the messages contained. Our dreams can be
illuminated with an understanding which is often much deeper than our
conscious minds can comprehend. In periods of personal crisis, messages
often appear to help guide the work which needs to be done.
This is true on a collective level as well. As we enter 1999, we, as
a society, will be facing many challenges, even crises. It may well
be that some of the "solutions" we need will appear in the dream state.
With this in mind I am issuing a call for dreams which speak to the
changes which are present in our global condition. If you have had a
dream which feels larger than your own issues and addresses some aspect
of change I would love to hear from you. I will post the dreams I receive
on my Tides of Change Website at the following location:
Dreams of Change:
I am proposing a dream bank: a treasury of images and depictions of
the change we are undergoing as a society from the world of our collective
dreaming. I invite you to join this creative collaboration.
If you have a dream you would like to submit please send a succinct
description of the dream with any added interpretation you might have
RESILIENT COMMUNITIES VIDEOCONFERENCE
Robert Theobald & Meg Wheatley
On January 22nd, Robert Theobald and Meg Wheatley will be co-hosting
a live satellite videoconference. The videoconference will offer Theobald
and Wheatley's "big picture" of change in the world, including comments
about Y2K. Theobald and Wheatley will also help participants lead groups
in their communities who want to increase personal, family, community
and ecological resiliency. Hundreds of groups, from many different parts
of the United States and world, have signed up to participate in the
program, including the Sedona Y2K Task Force.
The program will be produced and aired between 10:30 and 12:30 AM,
Pacific Time on January 22, 1999. It will originate in the studios of
WASHINGTON STATE UNIVERSITY, in Pullman, Washington. It will be "uplinked"
as a signal to a satellite which can be retrieved by downlink sites.
The uplink site (in Pullman) will provide a combination of presentations
by Theobald/Wheatley, panel discussion, video clips, and responses to
questions and comments from downlink sites via phone, fax, and email.
There will also be studio group interacting with the program in Pullman.
A follow-up videoconference is scheduled for April 23, 1998.
For more information about this program and/or how you can become a
site-coordinator for your community, please contact:
NORTHWEST REGIONAL FACILITATORS
East 525 Mission Avenue
Spokane, WA 99202
Phone: (509) 484 6733
Fax: (509) 483 0345
Resilient Communities Website:
Y2K: OPPORTUNITY OF A LIFETIME
Michael Brownlee, Shayla Roberts, Lynette Marie Hanthorn
Hosted By Linda O'Keefe
"Y2K: Opportunity Of A Lifetime" is the name of a powerful one day
workshop scheduled for Saturday, January 16th in Tucson, Arizona. The
experience is meant specifically to meet the needs of those in a leadership
position who want to address Y2K related challenges from a creative,
proactive prospective. Information about the numerous ways in which
technological failures could impact all of us will be shared, and experiential
exercises that pinpoint individual fears & strengths facilitated.
Goal setting for psychological and physical preparedness and life beyond
the disruptions that Y2K may bring will also be addressed.
Michael Brownlee (communication consultant/designer, journalist, editor
of COGENISIS JOURNAL, marketing strategist)
Shayla Roberts (change consultant, visual designer, performing artist,
Lynette Marie Hanthorn (author of "Fear and Anger in the Workplace",
conflict resolution consultant, change consultant)
OPTIONS FOR GROWTH is sponsoring the workshop, which will be held at
the Zenith Center, from 8:30 AM to 6:00 PM. A free introductory lecture
will be given on the Friday evening before the workshop for all who
may be interested in attending. Cost of the workshop is $59.00. Linda
O'Keefe, CISW, Life Coach and owner of Options, is thrilled about the
opportunity to bring the Cogenisis Group and their message to Tucson.
"So much of the information I've read on Y2K triggers some deep fears
about the future," states O'Keefe. "Michael, Shayla and Marie look at
this uncertainty through innovative glasses, finding the blessings in
For further information and pre-registration, contact Linda at:
Phone: (520) 615-1449
Copyright 1998 by NewHeavenNewEarth
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Editor-in-Chief: James Gregory (JG)
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