Paradigm Coma

The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you.
Don’t go back to sleep.

You must ask for what you really want.
Don’t go back to sleep.

People are going back and forth across the doorsill
where the two worlds touch.

The door is round and open.
Don’t go back to sleep.
— Rumi
dog sleeps on railroad tracks
Paradigm coma

I tend to slip into a paradigm coma every now and then. I go back to sleep. I forget everything I’ve learned about peak oil, impending economic collapse, climate change, species extinction and go back to living according to the prevailing western paradigm: keep striving for more, keep improving your assets, success equals money and affluence. This is the paradigm where we are so well off that we can’t concern ourselves with social and environmental problems at hand; we’d rather gossip about the sex lives of celebrities and entertain ourselves with fantasy in some electronic form.

I don’t know why I keep falling back asleep. Is it because it’s so hard to change your paradigm once it’s been programmed in you since birth? Is it because I simply can’t accept that anything bad will happen to me/us? Is it just my optimistic nature?
Sometime in the next several weeks I will be co-facilitating a “Work That Reconnects” workshop with my friend and fellow ecopsychologist Donna Dubois. I’m looking forward to providing a forum for people to express their feelings and angst over this very issue. I need the support and understanding of people who know what it feels like to be at the windowsill of two worlds.
I’m also planning on hosting a book discussion group with Carolyn Baker’s book, “Sacred Demise: Walking the Path of Industrial Civilization’s Collapse” an examination of the heart and soul of our predicament.
Meanwhile, whenever I feel myself seduced into slipping back into my western paradigm coma, I ask myself what really matters and what will have real meaning in my life. What thrills my heart and soul, no matter how many years have passed and no matter where I am in my life? The answer is always the mountains. The mountains are my constant lover.

3 thoughts on “Paradigm Coma”

  1. So true. For what it’s worth you have my support. My (dramatic) analogy of your windowsill of two worlds is: A fulcrum. Picture a plank balanced on the peak of a triangle. I feel as I am balanced right over the fulcrum and any step in either direction can have a much greater reaction than the action itself. Either metaphor is so true to all of us, except that it is truly harder to take steps of forward progression than submit to our lifestyle “programmed in at birth”. I will have to read the Baker book. Also I love the desciptive picture coupled with the article!

  2. Margaret… love love your new blog! As I walked my dog early this morning in the mountains, finally feeling human again after toooo many hours at the computor (my life as a graphic designer) I whole heartily agree “no matter how many years pass and no matter where I am in my life, the mountains are my constant lover and always my answer”. Thanks…. P.S. love the pic, if only my dog would take a comma break!

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