Riding the Paradigm Shift
By: By Sheelagh Matthews
| Posted: Wednesday, Aug 07, 2013 12:23 pm
The party’s over, as they say — at least it is for all of southern Alberta.
Gone are the days of long, luxurious, hot showers, of using toilets with little regard to the quality drinking water being flushed down the drain, of watering lawns with our liquid blue gold. The 2013 floods have pointedly reminded us just how important water is to our well-being, not to mention to our property values.
Just because the party’s over doesn’t mean we’re not in for a wild, exhilarating ride. Our next big adventure comes in the form of a new way of understanding our lives, and how we are connected to each other and the natural world around us. It’s like the Calgary Stampede got a new rodeo event — only this time it’s we are the ones riding a rockin’ and reelin’ “Paradigm Shift.”
I’m thinking this ride will buck us off into unfamiliar, yet friendly, places. For instance, instead of us competing to be kings of our castles, we’ll become princes among men. Instead of asking what our country can do for us, we’ll start relaxing into the idea of being in this world together. Instead of wanting more and more, we’ll come to the clever conclusion that less is more.
After all, hasn’t Mother Nature reminded us she holds the trump card in all hands we decide to play? Hasn’t she shown us how both our actions and inactions have consequences? Sometimes they are ripple effects, sometimes they are floods. These are important lessons to learn. I wonder if we’ll get them this time.
Full points for a ride on the Paradigm Shift requires learning them and fast. This means shifting our values to those around connecting with family and community, instead of insulation and isolation made easy with TVs, computers and video games.
With the old normal left in the wake of the flood, our new normal is charging in like a bull out of a rodeo gate.
Those living near one of Alberta’s bursting rivers are all too aware of this. Due to the decisions they now face — whether to stay or to go, whether to rebuild and with what, and even whether to flood proof their basements by leaving them as empty utilitarian spaces reserved for furnaces and water heaters — it is our worst-off, flood-soaked citizens who can show the rest of us a new way of being, one that is fresh, bold, and kind.
Even Alberta’s Disaster Recovery Program has embraced the new normal: they’ll help flood victims replace a practical winter parka with another one, and they’ll also replace an expensive fur coat with a practical winter parka, too.
As we stand at the precipice of a new life, one embracing lower material expectations and gives higher value to relationships, are we scared or more than ready to dive into the deep end? Perhaps we’re a bit of both and not exactly sure how to go about it. As human beings, we tend to be motivated by fear and reward; and the one that looms biggest is the one we go by. In our new Normal 2.0 lives, let’s hope that reward is our operative approach, as that will mean a new party is starting.
There’s nothing like an invitation to a party to get us excited. What will we wear, what will we bring, who will we go with, who else will be there, what will we do? Anticipation is half the fun, isn’t it? In case you haven’t noticed, Mother Nature has invited us to the party of a lifetime.
Yes, think about it. Will we wear clothes made by poorly treated factory workers, or apparel with good karma? Will we bring a plate of chemical-laden calories or a homemade dish made with love? Will we go with someone we know or meet new friends and neighbours for the first time? Will we dance up a storm, will we talk and sing and laugh until dawn? The way I see it, we can be the life of the party, or a real drag on all of life. Which will it be for you?
Riding the Paradigm Shift like a champion bull rider and accepting Mother Nature’s invitation to the party —now that’s in our best interest.