RADICAL RELOCALIZATION


Your relocalization success has a lot to do with living out of a story that works for you. One you love, one that in some way, really is your story.
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The Local Story You Want

Have you noticed that most of the conversations about issues, in both mainstream and alternative media, are about a right opinion versus a wrong one? Nuclear / non-nuclear, vegetarian / carnivore, local / global, dem / GOP, renewable energy / clean coal. When this is the conversation we're in, the temptation is to hone and change our opinions, upgrading them to ever better ones, as if that would get us to a more beautiful world. The temptation is to want to believe the right thing, and put the wrong thing out of sight, or make someone else responsible for it.

Unfortunately, better opinions or taking the right position aren't leading to the change we want, or even to understanding the world better. In fact, as Werner Erhard observed, “understanding is the booby prize.” He was referring I think to our tendency to take a position and hold it to the exclusion of others, which is just what we tend to do with positions. There is definitely a place for models and I will be sharing one I find useful shortly. But what's alive and important for us is more than an opinion, more than something we can capture and then “have”. Having right opinions isn't really more useful than having “right furniture”.

So what is useful then? I think it serves us if we can live out of a story that inspires us and surprises us. Our own story's more useful to us than someone else's novel. A story's no fixed thing, opinion or position. It's dynamic and alive and has change built into the heart of it. We don't know how a story's going to end or even what happens next.

Relocalization is a theme in the larger story of transition in out time. Sometimes if we're lucky we see that it's part of something very grand and majestic, the larger change that's trying to happen here as depths and resonances that we usually miss. We're more than the sum of our parts and our relocalization work is connected to a larger network we can't fully see.

It's a vast story. The depth and degree of the change that's needed – and the change that's possible – the sheer scope of the story are unprecedented. It's a story of a whole world that's headed for a wall and waking quickly to that fact. And it's not just a story out there on a computer screen. It's real and now,. We're like someone who bought a ticket for a roller coaster and suddenly finds him/herself on top of the ride and wondering whether those possibly stoned carnies tightened all the bolts. The unknown's part of the story too.

But we're also like someone who finds they're just where s/he need to be in a world of gifted co-travelers we're privileged to be with, with gifts and possibilities at every turn, notwithstanding our sustainability limits.

Your relocalization success has a lot to do, it seems to me, with how good you get at living out of a story that works for you. One you love, one that in some way, is your story. You won't do it because it's “good for you” (no one would) or because your partner wants you to, but because something in you deeply says, “yes,” recognizes that that story is about you. And you want it! It doesn't matter that you don't know what's next or how to accomplish that. That's part of the story too.


The basic instruction  is to make a story up that reflects your deepest longing. You can even do it quickly in 15 minutes, then check it over and see what you think or feel about it. If you incorporate those new insights in, it'll be stronger. The idea is that your reflection will bring up at least some of the unconscious response and that'll help make the story more resilient.

Maybe your story involves living with less, learning skills that will be useful in the new economy. Maybe it's about gardening and getting good at producing a lot of food, a move to a rust belt city where housing prices are very low (and a new relocalization is taking root). Maybe it involves moving somewhere or moving back, or making a huge mistake. Maybe you'll just learn to sit quietly and notice what's there, since “relocalization” comes down to this body. Maybe you'll join or start a Transition Town group in your town.

When you enter into a story you like and lean into it, then all kinds of new story lines come into play. All the unpredictability and possibility that belongs to life can find its way into it.

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