A 2020 Carol
Many of us watched The Christmas Carol as a part of our holiday traditions. You know the story of Ebenezer Scrooge and his visits from the guides of Christmas Past, Christmas Present, and Christmas Future, which led to a remarkable overnight inner transformation just in time for Christmas Day. What if 2020 was a year-long version of visits from guides of the past, present, and future through our lived experiences?
Prior to 2020, I thought I had my Christmas Carol experience in a neat box tied with a bow. As a purpose practitioner, I tell my purpose story in the fashion of the Christmas Carol highlighting what I thought were the main highlights of my life that led to my shifts in perspective that allowed me to gather the pieces of my purpose clarity — always close by and yet feeling out of reach.
Then 2020 happened. I describe 2020 as a year of reckoning — inner, collective, and humanity. These reckonings are not neat and orderly. They do not appear in a linear trajectory. They are not in any instructional manual or prescribed by a guru. These reckonings are lived through. They are like the guides that did not leave Ebenezer Scrooge alone even though he begged. They did not slow down for him when they took him to the places he needed to really see, revisit, and contemplate.
The inner reckoning is what happens to us individually when we take in new information that causes us to revisit our lives through new perspectives. Through a worldwide pandemic, unprecedented division amongst human beings, and a social justice uprising, we have witnessed things that perhaps our lived experiences to this point left unseen. We experienced things that we can not unsee. With these new entries into our frame of reference, the reckoning begins.
When we revisit our memories, the formation of our worldviews with new information, with new information, it shifts the perspective of our memories, which causes a wreck filled with the intersections of all the things this perspective influences. It is as if a wrench were thrown in the program of our inner expert system of if this, then that. What if this does not lead to that? What if this leads to multiple that scenarios? What if these shifts sound like the voices that we could not hear and take in before this shift? Welcome to inner reckoning.
When a group, like your family, community, workgroup, friends begins to co-sense shifts or cracks in cultural norms, behaviors, and/or mindsets, the collective reckoning begins. What happens when we see that some things no longer serve or make sense in the light of now? What happens when we sit with the uncertainty and unknowing of this no longer serves but what next? Or its cousin, how will we be perceived, what will we have to give up when embracing an emerging path?
The thing about collective reckoning is that it ups the ante. It is no longer an individual reckoning that is personal where the risk of exposure and level of vulnerability is equal to the level of share. Collective reckoning happens amongst the groups. There is interdependence to sense and name what is shifting and why. There is a need to be in communities with a high aptitude for psychological safety, seeing, hearing, and witnessing the inner truths and workings of transformation.
Humanity reckoning is the convergence when all the pebbles in the ponds of inner reckoning gather with community reckoning and cause tidal waves and tsunamis that stir the pot of transformation across large volumes of human beings. When we see the protests across the world and allies lifting their voices and agency in solidarity, this is the witness of humanity reckoning. When human beings stand up for justice and use influence to widen the awareness and understanding of other lived experiences, we have the makings of humanity reckoning.
The changes in our environment are leading us to a humanity reckoning. Some have seen it for some time and now the cries are audible to increasing volumes of humans who see the worldwide expert system showing us our if/then scenarios. If we continue to do this, then this impacts humans and life across the world in that way. We can not unsee it. What was once a possibility of behavior and practice has become reality.
Trying to solve the issues revealed through humanity reckoning without individual and community reckoning is difficult. Humanity reckoning grows in power through the individual and collective reckoning that shift inner and outer clarity for sustainable behavior change. Being with the irony of the gifts of reckoning become the greatest sources of power for sustainable change.
Nature of Reckoning
What do we do with this awareness? Be with it and let it teach and inform us. I heard a saying during a community townhall by Rev. Lakeesha Walrond, “move at the speed of purpose.” This was my first conscious awareness of a difference in how I operate in time. Integrating this mic drop moment gave me permission and agency to be ok with slowing down and stopping to be in keeping with the questions, who am I at this time, and what is mine to do in this season.
In recent months I realize practicing moving at the speed of purpose and working with the resonance without full knowledge of what is in alignment at this time, led to moving at the speed of reckoning. I have come to appreciate reckoning as a form of purpose guiding. Ancient wisdom unlocked, shared history unleashed, and connecting with inklings of what is to come are also purpose guides. They help us to navigate the thresholds of external expectations, ego hiding through purpose, and alignment with soul purpose.
There are no three steps to owning your reckoning or truthfully, attempting to take control of it. Consider those quick fixes as a fear-based response to unprecedented change, or the unexpected experiences of change. Because reckoning does not move in a linear fashion or a neat progression from individual, collective, and humanity. Consider that the three reckonings are experiences that reflect a part of a whole. What if we embraced the practice of growing in awareness of reckoning as a practice and being with where it leads us, like the guides of Ebenezer Scrooge with less resistance.
What To Do With Reckoning
Be with it. Reckoning is taking us individually and collectively on the journey to the new normal. I know, many dislike that term. I prefer the term, next evolution of beingness.
We are moving from know/do action to know/be/do action. Being with what we know and allowing ourselves to evolve our knowing. This is an aspect of having an open mind. An open mind is not opened to embracing everything as fact, but it is opened to seeing, witnessing, and hearing divergent perspectives that may expand our thinking and understanding through witnessing life through other lived experiences.
I love the question of what to do with reckoning because therein lies the challenge! Being is an action verb. Our culture is evolving to embrace being as an action verb before the action of doing. It is a critical step that usually brings forth the real costs of change and evolution. The being step allows us to squeeze the sponge of capacity by letting go of what no longer serves with grace and dignity to let come what is emerging from the composting process of letting go. It is a difficult aspect of change and when we jump over it or go around it, it elongates the change process and causes inner and communal suffrage.
Be in places that celebrate becoming. Some call this phase the betweening phase. Others call this the liminal space, the space between thresholds. Be with people and sandboxes that embrace the speed of purpose, the speed of reckoning, the speed of emergence. These processes do not have prescriptive timetables. Be with people and places who honor your process and what it takes to realize its intention.
Be with the disrupted parts of yourself. Allow them to have a voice and to grieve what is shifting, composting, and transforming within and through you. Allow yourself to be a safe harbor for reckoning. Embrace your edges of growth required to be with uncertainty, not knowing, guided by resonance and vibration, which may be out of your comfort zone.
The Gifts of Reckoning
Often, I use the transformation of the butterfly to describe the path to purpose process. Highlighting the gifts of reckoning feels emergent. I liken it to seeing the beginning shape of something forming. During the transformation of the butterfly, while it remains in its chrysalis, the imaginal cells begin to form in the image of wings and the emergent parts of it becoming its new normal.
Some of the emergent gifts of reckoning, the ones that I see taking form are:
- Building Muscles of Acceptance: Witnessing & Letting Go: When we work these muscles within our individual reckoning, we can be in the space and hold the space to exercise the muscle in community.
- Expansion: Expanded awareness, understanding, and wisdom does not dismiss the thinking of the past but uses them as compost to grow greater awareness and understanding. Even the process of composting is reusable to grow in compassion with the lived experiences of others.
- Healing: This is a time to heal. Our reckoning experiences allow pathways for healing. Healing takes many forms — being seen, heard, and witnessed, filling in the blanks of our shared history, embracing the history to see the pathway to conscious choices, experiencing the choir voice of the things that we think separate us (pain, hope, belonging, acceptance).
- Authentic Connection: Within ourselves, with our Source, with each other, and with our planet. Think of any relationship that deepens, it is through authentic connection, often through navigating a challenging period or experience together.
- Legacy: When we reckon, our next generation does not carry the burden of what we refused to see, acknowledge, witness, and transform.
As we continue to navigate this time in our shared history, my hope is that you surrender to the different nuances of reckoning. Allow them to take you on journeys of understanding. Suspend premature closure and be with the discomforts of the process. This is a process that is for you, for me, and for us. See you in the cross paths of our great realizations as we heal the heart of humanity, one reckoning at a time.