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Navigating the Coming Chaos – A Handbook For Inner Transition

by N.R. Mallery, publisher of Green Energy Times 11.24.11

While Carolyn Baker’s words can be quite disturbing, in Navigating the Coming Chaos – A Handbook For Inner Transition, it is worth the read. Carolyn quotes James Gustave Spelth’s assertion that “We need to be reminded of the nightmare ahead… we will never do the things that are needed unless we know the full extent of our predicament.”

She continues with a blog piece from Michael Greer: “…the thing that most people in the industrial world are going to want most in the very near future is something that neither a revitalization movement nor anything else can do. We are passing from an age of unparalleled abundance to an age of scarcity, economic contraction, and environmental payback…. the end of the age of abundance isn’t happening because of changes in consciousness; it’s happening because of the laws of physics…. a predicament that we will have to live with, one way or another, for a very long time… there is no bright future ahead…”

“But for mathematical cosmologist and physicist, Brian Swimme, the issue is not preventing or avoiding cataclysm but rather, attentively responding to it. ‘Cataclysm is happening, but the choice before us is whether we will participate consciously.’ “

We are now presented with unprecedented and daunting challenges with our energy, environment and economics. Navigating the Coming Chaos can be likened to a toolkit that outlines the inner preparedness we need to attend to, as we begin a journey down a path we have not taken before.

From inevitable violence, collapse of relationships with our government and those we have grown to rely on, transitioning will include involvement with new relationships within communities and the psychological and emotional catastrophes that follow the massive denial among the masses that still currently exists. Baker warns that “in a chaotic, collapsing world, neighborlessness may well become lethal. We should be cultivating connections with neighbors and others in our communities… whether or not our neighbors understand the collapse of industrial civilization is far less important than whether or not we have formed cordial relationships with them… seize the opportunity to share food, plant community gardens, create opportunities for working together to mutually support each other and the immediate vicinity around us.

The book covers unthought of topics such as Creating Livelihood for Means and Meaning; Finding Home in a Volatile, Uncertain World; Embodied In a Disembodied World; Emotions: Becoming a Warrior of Vulnerability; Befriending Grief and Depression in The Coming Chaos; Managing Fear, Anxiety, and Terror; From Despair to Impassioned Inspiration; Cultivating Compassion Amid Chaos; Courage – Compassion Embodied and Fulfilled; The Joy of Mindful Preparation; The Skillful Use of Inner Transition Tools; and on to Beyond Survival and Preparing For Not Knowing. Interactive Journals at the end of each chapter encourage participation as well as Exercises and Practices to assure the resilience that we can all benefit from.

As Andre Angelantoni, founder of Post Peak Living wrote: “This is an invaluable tool for people who are committed to creating a fulfilling life no matter what the future brings.”

Editor’s Note: On pg. 73, Baker argues that Vermont did not meet her needs to prepare for the coming chaos, due to geographical challenges, not enough sun and lack of a sense of community. Being 100% solar powered and unable to use all of the energy my system makes, I do not agree and since Irene’s devastation, that community spirit certainly proved otherwise. Rural living does present challenges, but also affords the ability to live even more sustainably as they did in pre-industrial times – only with modern technologies to make life easier. Preparing now for the ‘coming chaos’ will be a challenge that must be taken seriously. Procrastination is not an option.

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