The Optimist View: “Our Moment of Choice” – Reflections on hope for the future

“A conscious business is a mission with a business, not a business with a mission.” – Steve Farrell, in Our Moment of Choice 

BY ARIELLE TIANGCO

As I reflect on the unexpected events of this past year, I am confronted with a strange mix of emotions. Trepidation clashes with gratitude. Desolation contrasts with hope.

Humanity has struggled and continues to struggle with the global Covid-19 crisis. It feels, in many ways, that Mother Nature herself has “grounded” us. She has sent us to our rooms, taken away our sense of stability and our freedoms, and has demanded that we think about what we have done. And my oh my, we’ve done a lot.

I am lucky enough to reside in a relatively remote and tropical beach town, so the lock-down restrictions didn’t weigh as heavily on my life as they did for most of my family and friends living in big cities. Still, the absence of tourists left a hush over my home that inspired self-reflection.

It’s no surprise that during our “time-out”, the ugly, festering wounds of history have reared their heads in our collective consciousness, confronting us with atrocities we have committed and injustices we continue to perpetuate.

Political corruption, systematic racism, sexism, classism, and the shameless disregard for our environment in favor of monetary gain have finally caught up with us. We cannot avoid the consequences any longer; we cannot claim innocence in neutrality or ignorance.

So, that about covers trepidation and desolation. But what of gratitude and hope? Being pushed out of our comfort-zones by the pandemic has offered us an opportunity to show resilience. Periods of insecurity, destruction, and chaos are also opportunities for revolution, creation, and change.

This is the attitude that Our Moment of Choice: Evolutionary Visions and Hope for the Future brings to the forefront. It is a collection of pieces written by brilliant thinkers like Lynne McTaggart, Jean Houston, Deepak Chopra, and Daniel Christian Wahl who call on us to reconceptualize life and how we can transform the reality we have constructed for the betterment of all. Among these contributing thought leaders is Rinaldo Brutoco, founder of The Optimist Daily.

Our Moment of Choice is for those of us who refuse to give in to hopelessness. The book is divided into six “circles” that inspire us to consider themes such as the cultivation of world peace, new strategies for social change, and the synergy of science and spirituality in the name of unity.

The essayists encourage us to reach inward and spark ideological change through mindfulness, deep human connection, and love. They remind the reader that they are not alone in yearning for a better planet and a heightened self.

I must admit that the skeptic in me meets some of the idyllic proposals found within the pages of this book with raised eyebrows. For instance, the opening passage of Ervin Laszlo’s chapter entitled “Reasoning and Experiencing Our Way to Oneness”, reads: “Oneness means realizing our connectedness to the whole web of life. Such a transformation of consciousness must be universal, and it must come from the inside.”

As I read these words seated in a hammock at a beachside cafe, I watched in dismay as a distant group of vacationers carelessly left their single-use plastic cups in the sand. So much for oneness! I thought to myself. How can we cure ourselves of apathy on a universal level?

Regardless of whether you are a skeptic or an optimist, the contents of this book should not be ignored. These big ideas need to be circulated, put in the spotlight, talked about. Without great visionaries, there can be no change.

The littering merrymakers gone, I stood to collect their trash only to look up and see that two passers-by have already tossed the abandoned cups in a large bag, half full of garbage, strung between them. I turned back to the book, pushing away doubts and remembering that this past year we have seen a surge in communities banding together to fight for social justice, environmental change, and the adoption of sustainable practices.

Our Moment of Choice is a book that calls on the resilient and adaptable nature of humanity. Even though some of the ideas may seem out of reach, I appreciate how the chapters finish with a “Call to Action” that focuses on the individual, challenging them to first make the inner, ideological change that is necessary to realize lasting external change.

One of my favorite chapters is called “The Dawn of a Conscious Business Movement” by Steve Farrell, president and executive director of Humanity’s Team. The piece emphasizes the damaging effects of “unconscious business”, which is the model that capitalism has subscribed to until now.

Unconscious business, which prioritizes profit for the few over the well-being of all, is the driving force behind the irresponsible, unsustainable, and unethical lives we have subscribed to in this modern world.

But local and international businesses are making more conscious efforts to demonstrate mindfulness and become greener, whether that means using biodegradable straws or boasting transparent pricing and sourcing for their products. Farrell challenges businesses to take on the 4P model: people, planet, presence, and profit, where presence embodies the concept of unity and the awakened consciousness.

Consumers are not left off the hook. Though businesses should lead the shift in consciousness, we all have the power and responsibility to choose where we put our money carefully. We need to intentionally freeze out businesses that do not prioritize restoring and improving human and environmental well-being. He states: “As consumers, we each have the power to impact how businesses carry out their enterprise for the good of the whole.”

I felt the most uplifted when I read this chapter because even in my small corner of the world, I can see the truth in Farrell’s words. I myself have taken the vow to reject fast fashion a few years ago and know many people who have adopted similar life changes to break old habits of convenience to become a conscious consumer. And I can see, through the existence of games such as Brands Against Humanity that we are not in a generation that tolerates ignorance.

Our Moment of Choice is a relevant and eye-opening read. Perhaps just having it on your coffee table will fuel the difficult conversations needed to ignite consciousness and encourage us to harness this moment. Our collective future relies on it.

Our Moment of Choice: Evolutionary Visions and Hope for the Future 
Multiple contributors. Edited by Robert Atkinson, Kurt Johnson, and Deborah Moldow
(368 pp. Simon & Schuster. $27.00)

About the author: Arielle Tiangco is a writer for The Optimist Daily based in Costa Rica. She focuses on empowerment, environment, education, and solutions from Latin America.

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The Optimist View: “Our Moment of Choice” – Reflections on hope for the future

“A conscious business is a mission with a business, not a business with a mission.” – Steve Farrell, in Our Moment of Choice 

BY ARIELLE TIANGCO

As I reflect on the unexpected events of this past year, I am confronted with a strange mix of emotions. Trepidation clashes with gratitude. Desolation contrasts with hope.

Humanity has struggled and continues to struggle with the global Covid-19 crisis. It feels, in many ways, that Mother Nature herself has “grounded” us. She has sent us to our rooms, taken away our sense of stability and our freedoms, and has demanded that we think about what we have done. And my oh my, we’ve done a lot.

I am lucky enough to reside in a relatively remote and tropical beach town, so the lock-down restrictions didn’t weigh as heavily on my life as they did for most of my family and friends living in big cities. Still, the absence of tourists left a hush over my home that inspired self-reflection.

It’s no surprise that during our “time-out”, the ugly, festering wounds of history have reared their heads in our collective consciousness, confronting us with atrocities we have committed and injustices we continue to perpetuate.

Political corruption, systematic racism, sexism, classism, and the shameless disregard for our environment in favor of monetary gain have finally caught up with us. We cannot avoid the consequences any longer; we cannot claim innocence in neutrality or ignorance.

So, that about covers trepidation and desolation. But what of gratitude and hope? Being pushed out of our comfort-zones by the pandemic has offered us an opportunity to show resilience. Periods of insecurity, destruction, and chaos are also opportunities for revolution, creation, and change.

This is the attitude that Our Moment of Choice: Evolutionary Visions and Hope for the Future brings to the forefront. It is a collection of pieces written by brilliant thinkers like Lynne McTaggart, Jean Houston, Deepak Chopra, and Daniel Christian Wahl who call on us to reconceptualize life and how we can transform the reality we have constructed for the betterment of all. Among these contributing thought leaders is Rinaldo Brutoco, founder of The Optimist Daily.

Our Moment of Choice is for those of us who refuse to give in to hopelessness. The book is divided into six “circles” that inspire us to consider themes such as the cultivation of world peace, new strategies for social change, and the synergy of science and spirituality in the name of unity.

The essayists encourage us to reach inward and spark ideological change through mindfulness, deep human connection, and love. They remind the reader that they are not alone in yearning for a better planet and a heightened self.

I must admit that the skeptic in me meets some of the idyllic proposals found within the pages of this book with raised eyebrows. For instance, the opening passage of Ervin Laszlo’s chapter entitled “Reasoning and Experiencing Our Way to Oneness”, reads: “Oneness means realizing our connectedness to the whole web of life. Such a transformation of consciousness must be universal, and it must come from the inside.”

As I read these words seated in a hammock at a beachside cafe, I watched in dismay as a distant group of vacationers carelessly left their single-use plastic cups in the sand. So much for oneness! I thought to myself. How can we cure ourselves of apathy on a universal level?

Regardless of whether you are a skeptic or an optimist, the contents of this book should not be ignored. These big ideas need to be circulated, put in the spotlight, talked about. Without great visionaries, there can be no change.

The littering merrymakers gone, I stood to collect their trash only to look up and see that two passers-by have already tossed the abandoned cups in a large bag, half full of garbage, strung between them. I turned back to the book, pushing away doubts and remembering that this past year we have seen a surge in communities banding together to fight for social justice, environmental change, and the adoption of sustainable practices.

Our Moment of Choice is a book that calls on the resilient and adaptable nature of humanity. Even though some of the ideas may seem out of reach, I appreciate how the chapters finish with a “Call to Action” that focuses on the individual, challenging them to first make the inner, ideological change that is necessary to realize lasting external change.

One of my favorite chapters is called “The Dawn of a Conscious Business Movement” by Steve Farrell, president and executive director of Humanity’s Team. The piece emphasizes the damaging effects of “unconscious business”, which is the model that capitalism has subscribed to until now.

Unconscious business, which prioritizes profit for the few over the well-being of all, is the driving force behind the irresponsible, unsustainable, and unethical lives we have subscribed to in this modern world.

But local and international businesses are making more conscious efforts to demonstrate mindfulness and become greener, whether that means using biodegradable straws or boasting transparent pricing and sourcing for their products. Farrell challenges businesses to take on the 4P model: people, planet, presence, and profit, where presence embodies the concept of unity and the awakened consciousness.

Consumers are not left off the hook. Though businesses should lead the shift in consciousness, we all have the power and responsibility to choose where we put our money carefully. We need to intentionally freeze out businesses that do not prioritize restoring and improving human and environmental well-being. He states: “As consumers, we each have the power to impact how businesses carry out their enterprise for the good of the whole.”

I felt the most uplifted when I read this chapter because even in my small corner of the world, I can see the truth in Farrell’s words. I myself have taken the vow to reject fast fashion a few years ago and know many people who have adopted similar life changes to break old habits of convenience to become a conscious consumer. And I can see, through the existence of games such as Brands Against Humanity that we are not in a generation that tolerates ignorance.

Our Moment of Choice is a relevant and eye-opening read. Perhaps just having it on your coffee table will fuel the difficult conversations needed to ignite consciousness and encourage us to harness this moment. Our collective future relies on it.

Our Moment of Choice: Evolutionary Visions and Hope for the Future 
Multiple contributors. Edited by Robert Atkinson, Kurt Johnson, and Deborah Moldow
(368 pp. Simon & Schuster. $27.00)

About the author: Arielle Tiangco is a writer for The Optimist Daily based in Costa Rica. She focuses on empowerment, environment, education, and solutions from Latin America.

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