The world is in the midst of an intense struggle for survival - Good versus Evil, Dark versus Light. We feel the grit of our times. So much of our focus has been on bank bailouts, regulatory reform and massive fraud. Bernie Madoff will live out his days in prison, yet investors are no less devastated. None of it matters if we don't feel a reason to hope for the future.
We are worn out by the global economic crisis. We are tired of floundering rescue plans and masters of the universe gone awry. We are tired of watching friends in tears over lost jobs, lost homes, and lost dreams. We are tired of witnessing global economic devastation.
While this mess will be messy for a good while longer, we may have found one reason to hope in the most unlikely of places. Rich folks hit hard by the economic crisis are turning towards each other as never before. Tough times have made it chic for the uber-privileged to rely on friends and family for practical support.
Conversations can be overheard everywhere about how to join forces to handle the things that many can no longer afford. People are trading off on childcare, sharing their tales of woe over cheaper lattes while thinking carefully about expenses. Some are even considering communal living.
One of the biggest problems with living a life of excess is that you can pay for everything - McMansions, full time housekeepers, round the clock childcare, gourmet cooks, chauffer driven cars, boats, and fancy clothes. You really don't NEED anyone if you can pay someone else to take care of it for you.
We live in a society where love is viewed much more as an esoteric feeling as opposed to the actions we take in support of that feeling. Nothing like being out of work to remind us of how much you really do need other people. When life is lived with no need to turn towards anyone for help, the absence of need, strangely, comes into high relief.
People are becoming each other's cheerleaders when there is nothing to cheer about. That all by itself is a reason to hope.
In an attempt to restore my own hope, I gathered with friends to bring some Love to Wall Street. The purposeful venue was the terrace of 15 Broad Street in New York City, formerly the headquarters of JP Morgan and once at the vortex of the banking industry in the United States. The building overlooks the New York Stock Exchange and has amazing historic significance for our economy. The agreement to form the New York Stock Exchange was signed in front of this spot under a Buttonwood Tree in 1792. Since that is where it all began, panning the lense way back seemed apropos.
The collective unconscious of the history of this country's economy seemed palpable as we overlooked the New York Stock Exchange by the light of the Moon. At eye level in the pediment we faced the imposing marble sculpture by John Quincy Adams Ward, above six tall Corinthian capitals called "Integrity Protecting the Works of Man." Integrity Protecting the Works of Man...
When there is nothing left to do, love is usually the answer. We've heard it said that love conquers all, but can love conquer Wall Street's woes? It seemed like it had a better shot of helping the economy than any plan I've read about in the papers. Call it meditation, call it prayer or just a desperate attempt to feel better, but it was a packed house.
Did my gathering make a difference? Well, the market is still insanely unpredictable and the global economic fallout continues to play out each day. However, while the economic trauma was apparent, everyone wanted to change their perspective on Wall Street from one of fear and mistrust to hope for positive transformation. There was no Cool-Aid to drink.
We face more than an economic crisis in these troubling times. We have suffered a breach of trust so deep that it feels impossible to ever collectively heal. None of us can accept this reality as our fate.
So send some good vibes to the Street, and Treasury, and even AIG. While we still feel betrayed, one mind at a time, one heart at a time, one life at a time, we can give each other a reason to survive by tapping into the most basic human instinct - HOPE.