Embodied Intimacy, Transformative Inquiry, Creative Emergence

Calling All Humans

Posted by on Aug 21, 2019 in Featured Writing, Lifeletters & Articles | 3 comments

Calling All Humans

Dear friends:

Last week I did something I have never done before. I sent out an email to 500 carefully selected people on my list.

Here is what I said to them:

“You don’t fall into any particular category–some of you I have not connected with in a long time. I am reaching out to you simply as human beings, who like me, are facing an immense global crisis right now.

This crisis has many interweaving dimensions. I am focusing here on what we are calling ‘the climate crisis,’ after a summer in which the Arctic has been on fire, and a whole glacier has melted. I have been walking with two questions for the last while that continue to grow stronger:

  • what is my real, whole-hearted response to the climate crisis?
  • why are we not talking about it a lot more?

I turn 70 this summer; and as I allow myself to inhabit the shape and fragrance of elderhood, I notice that I am not yet drawn to throw myself into massive action, as I would have done much more quickly when I was younger. I’ve seen, over the years that many of the well-meaning actions we take to solve a ‘disorienting dilemma’ can become part of what is perpetuating it.

Nor am I drawn to avoid or ignore the radical nature of what is happening on earth, to the earth, and to us, right now. I’m feeling quite baffled by how many conversations I have in which the enormity of this crisis is never mentioned. I’m really starting to wonder if the gravity of what is unravelling on our planet has simply overwhelmed our capacity to stay present to it, even when we don’t know yet, how to respond.

It seems clear to me that we will need to find a way to respond, and that this will involve a level of ‘quantum social change’ we have not yet seen on planet earth.

Spending many hours in loving inquiry and reflection, as I added your names to this email, is one true, whole-hearted way that I am responding. I would be deeply grateful if you choose to find the time and energy to watch some of what is being offered in these videos/articles. I believe in the goodness of listening to a variety of perspectives, so that we can discover what we most deeply resonate with.  These videos and articles are not easy watching. I thank you in advance for the courage it takes to digest this material. I believe it is time very well spent, far beyond whether we are moved to agree or disagree with what is being spoken.”


Grieve Play Love–Jim Bendell

The Time is Now–Roger Hallam-Extinction Rebellion



As of today, I have received over 100 replies from people all over the world to my email. Responses full of passion, fear, confusion, anger, overwhelm, gratitude, and deep caring. Each person that responded impacted me profoundly, and helped me realize how important it is to keep this conversation alive. If we continue to dialogue about this, ask real questions, and share our feelings, we will evolve, we will transform, and we will not collapse into overwhelm and despair. Although we will probably need to journey through despair, rage, terror and grief, as we turn to face what is actually happening.

Our whole civilization is going through a massive transition, a global initiation. The changes each one of us are being asked to make are not superficial. There is no patch up job that is going to work here. Radical transformation is the name of the game. Not on the outside—real transformation happens inside first.

A dear friend of mine who is an ecopsychologist, speaks to this:

“I now use a different language. Not climate crisis but lifestyle crisis. Even identity crisis! These reframings are far more interesting. And inspiring. And sometimes terrifying. Good. Let’s be real.”

 We are all in this together. May we truly, bravely, vulnerably, show up for ourselves and for each other, at this wildest of times. We are all in this together.


 To be of the Earth is to know the restlessness of being a seed. The darkness of being planted. The struggle toward the light. The joy of bursting and bearing fruit. The love of being food for someone. The scattering of seeds. The decay of season. The mystery of death and the miracle of birth.

~ John Soos from Earth Prayers ~


with love,


photo credit: Sandy Ibrahim


Join the conversation and post a comment.

  1. Mischa

    Im a psychologist interested in using my practice to bring people together to include all beings, all aspects of life to vision an alternative to this madness. To create new narratives around our aliveness and inter-being.

  2. Heather Coldwell

    Dearest Shayla,

    I wanted to let you know that I will be attending Francis Weller’s “Entering the Healing Ground:Grief As Sacred Work” this November in Salt Lake City. At this late late hour the holy ground of ritual seems like the right medicine for the times. May we be whole, may we heal, may it be so. Thank you for your wide awake heart, your guidance, your care, your tenderness and your action and your eldership.

  3. Margrit Bayer

    Beautifully said Shayla, thank you. Here is another video along the same lines that really resonates.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *