The world didn't end on December 21st as many had feared. But something did end. Call it a way of thinking, an outlook, an attitude. It's in the air... something unquestionably has shifted.
There were those who believed that based on the predictions of The Mayan Calendar, the world would cease to exist after December 21st, 2012. For many in Newtown CT, where I happen to reside, the Mayans were only off by a week.
For myself and others however, those Mayans were spot-on. Something significant did "end" on December 21st. But not in an asteroid/alien/apocalyptic sense; no, this "ending" was much more subtle, yet equally -- if not more -- affecting.
That first week after the Newtown shootings, it was hard to feel anything in our town. Most were numb. It was December 21st, one week after the shootings, when something began to feel "different." While the shock subsided, a difficult to articulate yet very real adjustment in perspective began to take shape; not just here in Newtown, but seemingly everywhere. Indeed, there are many who felt the Mayan prediction was less a literal prediction of destruction and doom but rather an expectation of a "shift in consciousness."
History has demonstrated that certain events, in subtle yet profound ways, can change the course of people's thinking and ultimately the course of history itself. This may be one of those times.
There is a palatable and pervasive feeling of connectedness. I'm hearing more and more about our human interrelationship, both scientifically and spiritually. Suddenly, things appear less black and white, less right and wrong, less "them" vs. "us." There is more "we" being espoused. Conversations are different. There is a sense of knowing -- knowing on an instinctual rather than intellectual level that things must change if we are to evolve as a species.
The family of Daniel Barden, a boy killed in the Sandy Hook shooting, created a Facebook page titled, "What Would Daniel Do?" meant to share Daniel's acts of kindness and to encourage others to spread such kindness. Daniel's father recently wrote:
The reaction has been overwhelming. Folks from all over are reporting how they are holding doors, paying for someone in line behind them, just being nicer and more patient with each other.
Long before December, 2012, numerous philosophers and spiritual teachers foretasted a time when humanity would recognize its signs of madness and undergo inner transformation. Only in recent years, however, have their ideas begun to resonate with so many. Such teachers, who formerly had a limited following, like Eckhart Tolle, (A New Earth) and Michael Singer (The Untethered Soul) and whose messages were commonly viewed as wicked or outlandish, are now embraced by millions.
I have no doubt the shooting in our town will incite change. Not as straightforward or sound bite friendly as the inevitable changes in gun control legislation or mental health policy, but a deeper change -- harder to define on the nightly news, but significant nonetheless. A change in heart -- a change more influential than any legislation or fear mongering could ever cultivate
With this change will come the crazies, the radicals, the conspiracy theorists. Transformation incites fear. Familiarity is comfortable. When something you can't control is inevitable, one can panic or go with the flow. Most, I presume, will go with the flow.
Upon reading Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's dire warning, "You and I are literally surrounded. The gun-grabbers in the Senate are about to launch an all-out-assault on the Second Amendment. On your rights. On your freedom," I was reminded of Kevin McCarthy's frenzied character in the classic 1956 science fiction movie Invasion of the Body Snatchers, wildly darting through a sea of cars while shrieking, "They're here, they're coming for you... you're next!!!"
The futility and destructiveness of such hysteria and melodrama is more apparent than ever.
Indeed, it's an electrifying time. It's unfortunate that it so often takes heartbreak and suffering to move forward. I tell my kids they are living in a time of both deep turmoil and emerging consciousness. We grieve for the loss our town suffered but we celebrate what lies ahead.