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Life clothes itself in many forms. These many forms of life are gifts, if we are open to receiving them.
What comes to mind when you hear the phrase ‘Living Earth?’ How do you personally feel when you observe and honor the aliveness around you? Do you feel enveloped and enlivened by a nurturing life force that perhaps even defies words to describe it? How do you cultivate a more vibrant sense of your own inner aliveness? How is life calling you to evolve and with what degree of receptivity do you answer that call?
The story arc of Kosmos Journal, for 15 years, has been the ongoing narrative of life expanding and contracting at the global level. It is the record of how we are learning to live together as a global family. There have been, and will continue to be, some missteps along the way—evolution being a trial-and-error process—but I hope it is no hubris-guided misstep now to say that the path of our contributors represents the coming together that is what global life is seeking. Cutting through the chaos and noise, these stories are the signal that is becoming the new enlivened way.
By reaching out to feel more connected to the world and the people around us, we become more alive. The stories and images shared in this “Awakening to Life” issue stirred my heart and I hope they will stir yours too. These authors are students of life: how life cycles through rebirth, transformation, and death; how life can bloom at all levels in business, in economics, in education, and in all other institutions; how the bleakness of a dark night can bring more brilliant life than one can imagine; how life is reciprocity and reciprocity is life; and how Mother Earth is to be honored as the source of life for us all, every living creature.
Through three decades of work spanning the United Nations and Kosmos Journal, I have been blessed to meet pioneering world citizens who are tireless servers for a better life for all beings. For many of these world servers, it is as if they are dying to live each day, maximizing their time in service of what they can bring to life, what they can do for the common good. Their purpose and will is strong, yet the strongest of them also have a humble receptivity in knowing they are merely the vessel for life to come through. More than being the doer, they are the channel through which the intelligence of life operates.
Awakening to life and becoming such a channel can often ask unexpected things in our own evolution. Along the way, somewhat like the butterfly in metamorphosis, we cannot yet see what we are becoming. Some days, all we have is hope. We sometimes absorb life lessons for years only to find the most potent way to apply that knowledge years later. In my case, my form of service—what I now consider to be my life’s work—was unexpected after my first career as a psychotherapist, transpersonal psychologist, and spiritual guide working individually with clients in the 1960s. It was very rewarding work and I didn’t foresee ever changing my career trajectory. Many clients came to me with grief over what they sensed was lacking—a connection to the world around them. They felt isolated and often struggled with a sense of overwhelm. If I were in the same career today, in these days when depression, anxiety, and suicide are escalating, I wonder how intense these struggles would be.
As a clinician back in those days, I could never have imagined my life’s work would culminate in a career as a publisher, trying to become a clear channel for telling The New Story. It is what life opened up to me. Step by step, although initially confused and self-doubting that I would ever know enough about global affairs to fill this role, I answered the call—rebirthing, transforming, and sometimes dying to my old ways of life along the way.
For me personally, Kosmos Journal has been, chapter by chapter, the story of learning again and again to trust the deepest wells of inner guidance. That soft, wise voice, which can be heard only in contemplative stillness, is somehow aligned with the life force in ineffable and beautiful ways. Although I have been a student of that stillness and how to help others find it and align with their life purpose, I now am challenged to discover the multiple ways that our Western culture has led us away from the vitality of life itself as it slowly evolves—struggling to transform and awaiting its rebirth.
Now a tracker and voicepiece of the unfolding New Story, I recognize that the pathology and suffering I saw causing turmoil inside of individuals is now playing out on the global level. We all struggle when we are disconnected from life—people, corporations, and nations are disconnected from life and the living Earth. Because we are all interconnected now more than ever, we all struggle when there is denial of and disconnection from life.
Tragically, what I see around me is this: Many live as if they are never going to die, then end up dying never having fully lived. Embodying all that life has to offer—indeed, becoming what life wants us to become—is a gift. When enough of us practice that on the personal level, we will eventually awaken to the gift of what we can become as a global collective.
In service of Life,
Nancy Roof with Stephanie Shorter
Nancy Roof, Ph.D. is the founder of the award-winning Kosmos Journal: The Journal for World Citizens and Planetary Civilization, which is based on evolving interior development and cultural values as they impact globalization and world community. Kosmos Associates, Inc. is also actively involved in the founding of the Global Commons movement with James Quilligan of the Global Commons Trust.
Stephanie Shorter PhD was trained as a sensory neuroscientist and cortical electrophysiologist, and has long been interested in perception, cognition and consciousness. She is a seeker who embraces yoga as her tool of individual transformation on her path towards being an agent of social transformation.