BY LYNNAEA LUMBARD
Whidbey Life Magazine Guest Contributor
November 5, 2014
Sometimes Whidbey goes traveling. Like to the UK. Unbeknownst to each other, five of us Whidbey-ites showed up at the New Story Summit: Inspiring Pathways for our Planetary Future at the Findhorn Foundation in Northern Scotland in late September. Two years in the making, this Summit was designed to support the emergence of a coherent new story for humanity and to produce practical, collaborative ways to live this new story.
It really shouldn’t have been a surprise to any of us. To begin with, we’re all friends of the Whidbey Institute, which has had a long-standing resonant relationship with Findhorn, having adopted many of its early principles and practices through the work of Fritz and Vivienne Hull and David Spangler. And Thomas Berry, the namesake of the Institute’s Hall was one of the first to write about the need for A New Story, back in 1978.
It’s all a question of story. We are in trouble just now because we are in-between stories. The Old Story—the account of how the world came to be and how we fit into it—sustained us for a long time. It shaped our emotional attitudes, provided us with life purpose, energized action, consecrated suffering, integrated knowledge, and guided education. We awoke in the morning and knew where we were. We could answer the questions of our children. But now it is no longer functioning properly, and we have not yet learned the New Story.
All five of us have been dedicated to helping envision a New Story for many years. Robert Gilman was there as he wrote one of the seminal texts for the New Story in his In Context magazine in 1985. Plus he is currently consulting with Findhorn on the development of their eco-village.
My husband, Rick Paine, and I were there because we steward a non-profit called New Stories out of Freeland with essentially the same mission and intention of the conference: How do we name and live into a New Story for humanity that will help us survive and thrive through these turbulent times when so many of our old systems are collapsing around us. Rick and I, along with Christina Baldwin, Rick Ingrasci and others, have been working for the past six years to curate emerging stories that offer hope and guidance for our future while also supporting projects on Whidbey and around the country that cultivate the practices that create thriving communities.
Ann Amberg was there because of her beautiful work with What Does the Universe Do?, a holistic inquiry and introduction to ten primary cosmological dynamics that come out of work of Brian Swimme, which comes out of the work of Thomas Berry. There’s a lineage here.
And Deborah Koff-Chapin was there to offer her Touch Drawing as a kind of soul-based graphic recording of the Summit as it proceeded through the seven days. This is an extraordinary gift that she has provided many such conferences like the Winter Gatherings offered at the Whidbey Institute by Peggy Taylor and Rick Ingrasci and the Dawn of InterSpirituality Conference hosted by other fellow Whidbey-ites, Will Keepin and Cynthia Brix. There is really nothing quite like having dozens of Deborah’s spontaneous drawings spread out on the floor, down the staircase or shown on a large screen at the end of a conference. Through her art she bears witness to the energies that are emergent in our collectives as we tackle some of the deeper questions of our times.
It would have been enough to have our friendships with each other deepen through a week of gathering with 325 others from fifty countries around the world to contemplate how we might restory our future and live more respectfully, collaboratively and joyously with all of humanity and with Earth. However, Rick and I were to be treated to an additional, most serendipitous event.
Our one free night in Europe before returning to the States just happened to be the opening reception for Deborah and Ross Chapin’s daughter Aleah Chapin’s new portrait show Maiden, Mother, Child & Crone at the prestigious Flowers Gallery on Cork Street in London.
Aleah’s paintings have already graced these Whidbey Life pages as she is one of the extraordinary young talents this island has produced and recognized. And there we were, with Deborah and Aleah, surrounded by her larger than life portraits of Whidbey Women and the cream of the London art crowd. Of course, no one else knew they were Whidbey Women, just Aleah’s Aunties. But we knew, and how amazing is that? She sold half of the paintings before we even got there—more amazing still.
So Whidbey Life isn’t always on Whidbey. You can find it in nooks and crannies everywhere. I’m always surprised—when I say I’m from Whidbey Island—how many people around the world have experienced the magic of our community. And how delightful to experience that same magic somewhere else.
Image at top: Author Lynnaea Lumbard (photo by Rick Paine)
Lynnaea Lumbard has been co-president of New Stories for the past six years. She is a transformational psychologist, Interfaith Minister, evolutionary leader, writer and speaker. Her current passions are community weaving, social artistry, and strategic philanthropy. She lives on both ends of the Salish Sea: Whidbey Island WA and Cortes Island BC.
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