November 3, 2020
Lynne Twist is the founder of the Soul of Money Institute and author of the best-selling book “The Soul of Money: Transforming Your Relationship with Money and Life.” Over the past 40 years, Lynne has worked with over 100,000 people in 50 countries in the areas of fundraising with integrity, conscious philanthropy, strategic visioning, and having a healthy relationship with money.
She is a co-founder of The Pachamama Alliance — a nonprofit organization whose mission is to empower indigenous people of the Amazon rainforest to preserve their lands and culture. In addition, Lynne serves on a number of nonprofit boards including the Fetzer Institute, The Institute of Noetic Sciences, Bioneers, Conscious Capitalism, and Women’s Earth Alliance.
Lynne brings a soulful connection to the question of What Could Possibly Go Right? including:
- That we need to move from a “you or me” mindset of scarcity, to a “you AND me” paradigm of enoughness; that our institutions, governance, and even religion are rooted in this scarcity we need to shake off.
- That as in Marianne Williamson’s words, “The rehearsal is over. The curtain is up.”
- That this pandemic is like “a morning sickness, for a civilization that’s pregnant with a new birth of itself.”
- That there are links between our current transition in time, with Baha’i prophecies and predictions by shamans of the Andes and Amazon
- That in every breakdown, there are the seeds of a breakthrough – though they can be hard to find.
- That we are starting to see through a pinhole of awareness, “an aperture that is opening as things fall apart. It gets wider and wider and wider.”
Lynne Twist: I find the awareness of the human family, the consciousness of human family, completely altering as we speak.
Welcome to “What Could Possibly Go Right?”, a project of the Post Carbon Institute, where we interview cultural scouts to help us see more clearly so we can act more courageously in these crazy times. I’m Vicki Robin, your host. Today, you’ll meet Lynne Twist. She is the author of The Soul of Money, and the founder of The Soul of Money Institute. Together with her husband Bill Twist, she co-founded the Pachamama Alliance to preserve the headwaters of the Amazon, and the people who are their natural stewards. Lynne is a prodigious fundraiser and teaches fundraising from the heart. She’s been honored worldwide for her love-based service to humanitarian goals. Anyone who’s heard Lynne knows what an inspiring speaker she is, how she conveys the urgency of the moment and the ennobling gift of participating for a time, talent and treasure. We love bringing you these inspiring voices, and invite you to chip in some financial love, so we can keep doing it. So now, here’s Lynne.
Hi, Vicki Robin.
Oh, God. I just want people to know that 20 years ago, Lynne and I started a project together and we convened what we called successful social innovators to investigate the question, what is – Utter necessity: what we must do in order to survive? New possibility: what we can do now that we couldn’t do even 10 years ago? And human longing: what people would do in a heartbeat if they only knew how? And honestly, Lynne, in a way, so much came out of that one intention; so much has happened. But, you know, I’m still on the same question in a way. This series of interviews, the question for this series, is in a way, it’s the same question of, even in the midst of pandemic, a social justice uprising, recession, economic precarity, climate disruptions; still, what could possibly go right? So you don’t have to refer at all to our past work together, I just wanted to toss you that ball, and then you take it wherever you want. So Lynne, what could possibly go right?
Well, talking to you is part of that, I’d say. What could possibly go right is getting invited by Vicki Robin to even look at the question. And I love the question. It’s such a mind boggle to take those words, “what could possibly go” and then put “right” at the end of that sentence. I love even thinking that. I would say that, I know you’re not talking about the big giant vision completely, but it’s hard for me to not address that. So I may slip into that territory, because as things collapse, one by one and all at once, the rule of law, our democracy, our economy, our educational system, our health, our climate, our this or that, our cities… I’m in California, where everything is literally on fire, literally on fire. And not only does COVID attack the lungs, but now the very air we breathe is dangerous to us. So I’m very aware that the collapse is here. I talked with Marianne Williamson a couple days ago, and she said, “The rehearsal is over. The curtain is up.” And I thought, “Ooh, that’s a really great way to look at this.”
Another way to look at it is that Buckminster Fuller, who was one of my great teachers and mentors in 1976, ’76, before many people were born who are probably listening to this, said in a presentation he made that I was present at, that the “you or me” paradigm – the paradigm of scarcity, the paradigm of the belief system that there’s not enough to go around and someone somewhere is always going to be left out, that kind of thinking that we live on a planet that can’t really provide for everybody and so some of us need to hoard and take more than we need to make sure to protect ours, and make sure that the people that we’re responsible for, whoever that is, are taken care of, even if it leaves out other people – that “you or me” mentality, the mindset of scarcity was no longer viable. Because, and Bucky said this in 1976, it’s absolutely clear that – and he said it had been for about 50 years and that’s in 1976 and I’m going to keep saying that – that there is enough for everyone everywhere to have a healthy and productive life; that there is sufficient resources on this planet and there would always be sufficient resources on this planet because humanity’s genius, humanity’s innovation, the direction of the inventiveness, the discoveries, and particularly our innovative genius, what is to do more and more and more with less and less and less.
It’s clear, in 1976, he really didn’t know what was coming, but he predicted what was coming. When you think about the devices we have that do more and more and more and more with less and less and less and less. And you think about biodynamic farming and you know, there’s so many innovations now that do more with less. But the mindset we have is that there’s not enough to go around. So we hoard, we accumulate, we consume, we destroy. Bucky said it would take 50 years, is exactly what he said, for the “you or me” mindset to really come into full decline enough that we would see what’s actually true is the “you AND me” world, that you and I can both make it at no one’s expense, rather than you make it at my expense, or I make it at your expense, because there’s not enough for both of us.
No, you and I can both make it at no one’s expense, and that changes everything. That changes our relationship with one another, that changes our relationship with the earth, it changes our relationship with the future, it changes the way we behave, it changes everything. He said it would take 50 years because the institutions of humankind are all rooted – and they were in 1976, this is when he said this – in a “you or me” understanding the world. Clearly the economy is rooted in the “you or me” understanding of the world, a scarcity mentality. But he said also governance is rooted in a “you or me” understanding of the world. Education is actually rooted, sourced from a “you or me” understanding of the world. Actually, he even went on to name every institution, every great institution in inside of which we actually live our lives. Then he said, even religion is rooted in a you or me understanding of the world, which is a false understanding of the world. He said it would take 50 years for those institutions to begin to become so dysfunctional, that they would collapse; they would literally, and little by little fall apart, and we would not be able to fix them, he said, because their root is off. We would need to allow them to disintegrate so that we can recreate civilization in every institution of civilization, from an accurate paradigm, a “you and me” understanding of the world; a paradigm of sufficient resources, a paradigm that there’s enough for everyone to have a healthy and productive life. He said in 1976, when it would happen is somewhere around 50 years.
So you look at ’76, 2020; it’s exactly what he predicted. Every institution has become so dysfunctional, that we can’t repair it, we can’t fix it, we can’t tweak it, we can’t adjust it. We need to hospice the death of the old structures and systems, and midwife the birth of the new ones. We need to be hospice workers, and midwives. All of that is in our capacity, and it comes from our capacity to love, which is completely infinite, which is completely infinite. I think the COVID situation, this pandemic; I like to look at it as morning sickness, for a civilization that’s pregnant with a new birth of itself. That we’re not yet in the birth canal. We have morning sickness; we think there’s something wrong with us. I know that might be true.
But when you’re pregnant, and I know you haven’t had kids, but many other people have and you know people who have; in the very beginning when you’re first pregnant, you don’t know you’re pregnant. You think there’s something wrong with you, because you feel sick, you’re irritable, you want to eat weird things. You can’t always sleep so well. You’re exhausted when you shouldn’t be. It’s so confusing. But then when you find out you’re pregnant: “Ah! Oh my god, I can handle this. Oh my god, I’m kind of excited to be nauseous. Oh, wow. I’m pregnant. Holy cow. And I want some pickles and ice cream right now.” So it changes everything. The context is everything; the context informs the content of life. If the context is “you or me”, scarcity, there’s not enough to go around, it’s all falling apart; then of course, that defines the way we behave, what we talk about, who we think we are. It actually generates – or predicts. Not generates, but predicts, a terrible future. But if the context is we’re shifting from a “you or me” paradigm to a “you and me” paradigm and as the old paradigm dies and falls away because it has to, because it’s unsustainable, it is dying and we’re very proximate to death right now.
Obviously, my heart goes out to people who’ve lost loved ones. In this transition, even the shamans of the Andes and the Amazon have said that there will be a 25 year shift from one paradigm, the paradigm of dominance and darkness they call it. That’s a Pachacuti dominance and darkness for 500 years from about 1492, if that sounds familiar, to about 1992. They call that the Pachacuti, the 500 year cycle of dominance and darkness. Then they say it might, around 1992, it’ll start to shift to the new Pachacuti, the new 500 year cycle. This is another prophecy, and that says that the next Pachacuti will be defined by balance and light. But the shift between the old Pachacuti, dominance and darkness, to the Pachacuti of balance and light will take about 25 years. And during that 25 year transition, Pachamama, their name for Mother Earth, will humble all her creatures with huge climactic events – volcanic eruptions, climate change that we couldn’t have predicted, melting glaciers, floods, hurricanes, fires – to humble her creatures, all of them, including the animal kingdom, so they will remember their rightful role in relationship with her as we go into the possibility of balance and light.
So I tell you the Bucky prediction, that’s called the prophecy of the eagle and condor, to make sense of the intensity of the breakdown. Knowing that in every breakdown, we all know there’s the seeds of a breakthrough, but it’s hard to find. Where are those seeds? The pinhole that you want me to really talk about is people finding out who they are and who they are not in relationship to resources, in relationship to privileges, in relationship to what we’ve taken for granted, in relationship to government, in relationship to health and well-being, in relationship to the food system. All of it is at risk. And when something is at risk, you begin to understand that you’ve been pounding on that, expecting it, taking it for granted, having no role in producing it, but just enjoying it. It’s humbling. It wakes you up to who you are. It generates a field of accountability, of emerging accountability and responsibility, and generative, committed future action, or complete and total denial and depression. Or something in between.
But I find the awareness of the human family, the consciousness of human family, completely altering as we speak. Every single day, actually, I feel it. We’re having this conversation on a certain day, but not that long ago, it was September 8, the day after Labor Day. Now, normally, the day after Labor Day is the go back to work, go back to school, go back, go back, go back, go back from the summer. September 8 this year was just another day. I realized that those rhythms that we’ve established, that we take for granted aren’t there, and we have to rethink who we are, what we’re doing. I can’t remember what day it is. Is it Friday? Is it Thursday? Is it September? Is it August? So that is, although it’s shaking us, we need to be shaken. We’re being shaken in a way that we’re shaking awake. Now, maybe not everybody, but if enough of us do, just like the wonderful metaphor of the caterpillar and the butterfly; if enough of us do and we cluster, like you’re clustering people around this message, what could go right? This is meant to be. This is not happening to us; it’s happening for us. This is what we’ve been waiting for, that we couldn’t do on our own, that we knew needed to disrupt lifestyles, directions, economies, ways of being, political systems that are so toxic, so dysfunctional, so not working, that no matter who you elect, no matter who you put in charge – I know that does matter, and especially now because we’re about to go into election – but I mean, the whole thing is rotten. We aren’t, but the systems we’re in are, and to have them fall apart is a complete blessing. Now we need to generate. We need to regenerate ourselves.
We need to regenerate life. We need to regenerate the soils, regenerate humanity, regenerate structures and systems, regenerate what do we mean by governance? What do we mean by police? You know, my granddaughter is 21. She self identifies as black. She’s mixed race; she’s self identifies as black. She goes to UC Santa Cruz. She is having the time of her life, redesigning the police budget in Santa Cruz. She’s head of the NAACP and Black Lives Matter on campus, and she’s meeting with the Mayor and the Chief of Police. There’s a whole group of students and faculty that are reallocating the resources of police, which in Santa Cruz like every single city in part of our country, 41% of the city budget goes to the police department, and a bunch of militarization of these good people who just want to help, but are kind of being forced to be over violent in almost every situation; because what do they do with a homeless person who’s on drugs, who has no place to live? And who’s screaming in the middle of the street and naked? They’re not trained to handle that. What do they do with a domestic situation where someone is so frustrated with their baby, that they’re actually harming their baby? Police aren’t set up to deal with that. But we don’t have our allocation of resources designed to support humanity. We have them designed to punish humanity. That’s so off. But these policemen, there’s nothing wrong with them. It’s just the system.
So I feel like we are in that sweet spot of, as Marianne says, “Rehearsal’s over. The curtain is up.” We’ve been, you and I, and a lot of people in our age group; we’ve been preparing for this. Since the 60s, we’ve been marching, we’ve been taking courses, we’ve been transforming ourselves, we’ve been meditating, we’ve been getting ready for this. We may be in the elder category now. But what’s wanted and needed now is wisdom; ours. The other thing she said, I’m quoting Marianne and I know you’re going to have her as a guest, but I’ll just say, she said, “The data is in.” We don’t need any more data. There’s zillions and trillions of bits of data and more coming at us than we can even begin to comprehend. We don’t need any more data; the data is in. What we need is wisdom. And I call this, as you know, the Sophia Century; the century when the heart and mind of humanity will come together, when women will take our rightful role in co-equal partnership with men and the world will come into balance.
And then the prophecy, that’s actually Baha’i prophecy – I’ve been saying it’s a Cherokee prophecy, I was wrong, but it’s a Baha’i prophecy – says that, in the 21st century right around now, the beginning of the 2020s… The first year of the 2020s has been pretty rough, but I think it’s been preparing us for the 2020s. The bird of humanity, which has a male wing and a female wing. The male wing for the last hundreds, probably 500, 900 years, 1000 years, has been fully extended, and pretty much holding the bird of humanity up. But the female wing of that bird of humanity has been folded in and not quite expressed and not strong and kind of held back. So the male wing, in order to keep the bird of humanity afloat, has gotten over muscular and over developed and become violent. And the bird of humanity has been flying in circles for hundreds of years. But in the 21st century, the female wing, the feminine in all of us, will begin to fully express itself and then the male wing in all of us can relax. The bird of humanity, for the first time in hundreds of years, can soar. You could say this is the mind, this is the heart. This is the masculine, this is the feminine. You could say, this is fire, this is water. This is yang, this is yin,. There’s a lot of different ways to talk about that. But it’s so clear to me that what people need, they need to be held and loved, and nourished and seen and listened to. They need to get in touch and tap into wisdom, wisdom and heart. So I think the pinhole is an aperture that is opening, opening as things fall apart. It gets wider and wider and wider. And that I’m grateful for.
Wow. Yeah, I’ll just reflect back a few things and then we should complete to be kind to people who are listening or watching because we’re trying to keep these brief so that people actually have the time to start, listen and finish. One of the things I feel like you’ve done here is to say that paying attention to the pinhole, that’s an aperture, simply paying attention to that with no content, with a sense of expectancy, with that something is coming, because I’m seeing a light and so I’m going to follow the light. In surfing, they say, follow the light, which means as the wave is curling, you’re looking toward the light, that directs you, as things are just like you’re just about to be swallowed by the ocean. The other thing I appreciate is that, I tend to be sort of nose right up against the glass of what’s happening, and so it creates a sense of sorrow and upset, and a desire to help in some way, and a sense of frustration and inability to help. You know, when we’re so close to the falling apart and so connected to, you said, morning sickness, and I heard m-o-u-r-n-ing. There’s a mourning, there’s what is dying. It’s a mourning sickness in a way, how frozen we can become because we can’t affect things the way we’ve affected them. We can’t do it. So there’s a sense of mourning, but there’s also, what you’re saying is, you’re sort of expanding the lens. So let’s look through this. What’s happening? We won’t be here for the century. We won’t be here for this. But what a privilege to be here in the necessary falling apart. That’s what I appreciate.
I’ll say another thing that Bucky said, because Bucky just is, he’s a friend on my shoulder right now. Bucky Fuller, Buckminster Fuller, I’m talking about. He said this wonderful thing when he came to dinner at our house, and our children where at the kitchen table with us, and my daughter said something really inspiring and she was only eight years old. And he turned to Bill, my husband, and he said, “Never forget your children are your elders in universe time. They’ve come into a more complete, more evolved universe than you can ever understand, except through their eyes.” I see that in my grandchildren and young people who’ve been born into this scary world. They have something, they know something, they’re bringing something or they wouldn’t be born. So I have trust in that. I have trust in the universe and I know they need us; they need this experience and wisdom that you and I possess from a long life of being pro-activists and getting involved in all these issues. But I also feel very, very inspired by the young indigenous people that I have the privilege of knowing, by my own grandchildren who are in their teens and early 20s, and by the voice of youth; the Greta Thunbergs of the world. There’s thousands of them, millions of them. She’s the one who shows up most visibly, but she represents millions of young awake people that I think are the elders in universe time.
Yeah, for sure.
Thank you, Vicki.
Yeah, thank you, Lynne. That was so beautiful. Yeah.