Making our way through challenging days, it can be tough to take even a moment to imagine the world we’d love to live in. Since we’re much more likely to manifest what we have pictured and felt with our emotions, I offer this vision of Utopia. Imagine waking up to this world:
In our culture, which promotes self-awareness, self-compassion and balance, our focus is on ensuring our personal well-being as a contribution to the community’s well-being. There isn’t a strong emphasis on competing for recognition or reward. Instead, we share a fundamental belief that each person is worthy of respect and care. Each of us works through moments when more might be demanded of us than feels healthy at the time, but we realize this is a temporary condition and we’ll return to our equilibrium when it’s possible.
Our social events, family rituals, work spaces and recreation are rooted in nature. Holidays and work schedules are in synch with the rhythms and cycles of nature as well. The background sound track, the vibratory hum of the culture isn’t a frenetic drive to produce more and faster, more and faster-instead, it is a meandering creek at times, gradually shifting to a gentle rain, then a downpour, then water rushing over rock, then slowing to a steady stream. It varies—it’s not a ceaseless pedal-to-the-metal that wears on our adrenals and sets our nervous systems on edge.
Convenience stores offer kava, an herbal drink, as well as coffee and caffeinated soda. Vending machines sell more fruit than candy bars. When we walk into the grocery store, we see fewer magazines, because we are spending more of our time out in nature, soaking in gifts of beauty offered freely every day. Outdoor meditation, yoga, walking and gardening are very popular practices, commonplace anywhere we want to travel. It is easy to find restaurants serving delicious meals made of organic, locally grown food. It is cool to hang out in bookstores and libraries, gathering in pairs and small groups to explore how we can support one another to grow deeper, stronger and more effective on the spiritual journey.
A person driven to accumulate money and power is greeted with compassion and understood to have a spiritual illness in need of healing. Our heroes are real human beings, not icons we idealize but people we know to be struggling and growing along with us, people of humility, courage and grace, able to share their vulnerability because as a culture, we respect imperfection.
Our institutions—churches and synagogues, schools, businesses, athletic organizations, the health care community—embrace these values. They nourish and support people to thrive in community. Instead of glorifying violence and sex devoid of connection, films and music and books and theater engage us in thrilling exploration of the myriad ways we can evolve—complex, not cookie cutter, acknowledging the dark and the light of human experience.
It is understood that working for money is one part of life in balance with creating a loving, nourishing home life, whether that be with a partner and children or in one of many other configurations. People feel free to determine which lifestyle is most fulfilling for them. Parenting is strongly supported by cultural institutions and workplace cultures accommodate the rhythms of family life.
Children learn to recognize and respect their emotions as a valuable source of information. At home and at school, they learn about healthy boundaries, empathy, generosity and gratitude. Grieving and the expression of healthy anger are accepted as normal elements of everyday life, not relegated to the shadows. Creative expression including music and dance are built into daily life as well. Radiant well-being, joy, harmony and creativity are the natural result of living in this culture!
Utopia? Yes. Within reach? Anything the human mind can conceive, it can achieve. We can notice our own reactions and choose beliefs, thoughts, emotions and actions that align with our vision.
Together, cultivating mindful self-awareness, we can create this world one present moment at a time. (September 2020)