• Helen Dillon-Cottee

The world is changing

Something is happening around us.

This ‘something’ is happening in our world, in our countries, in our institutions, in families and homes and in ourselves. It has been brewing for a while, forming, developing, emerging… becoming.

This something has, of course, happened before. This bubbling, brewing, becoming. And whilst this isn’t the first time, it is also new.

A new evolution of an old process.

We have started to name this ‘something’ in different ways — through science and philosophy and religion and activism. We have begun to give language, the way humans do, to make sense of difficult and wild things. We give a name to tame the wildness — because wild things are to be feared whilst things with a name belong in our homes and our arms.

Of course, naming something also has its draw backs because it’s hard to name something that is in process without putting it in a box too early and squeezing the life out of it, or maybe its wildness. Therefore, naming parts of this ‘something’ through many voices helps — because the scientist and the activist and the church leader and feminist and the queer community can all name different parts of the ‘thing’, keeping its wide, wild beauty. Together then, we have a chance of discovering more of this ‘something’, of creating a wider and deeper understanding of what is happening in the air all around us.

It is, of course, too easy to think this whole thing is already being talked about by others, but as the past decades have shown, when we lend our story to a ‘me too’ chorus, the whole is made richer not poorer. There is more energy to the whole thing — not less.

I suppose I am simply adding my voice to the chorus of others who are starting to hum a similar tune and sing a similar song. I am someone who can name unnamed things to help others have a language that makes sense of difficult and wild things. As a teacher and a coach and a writer I use my voice to say things that others are finding hard to say, specifically in processes that we each experience as human beings living in the world we do. Finding words for wordless things is the thing that brings me joy and then helps others take a breath when they realise they’re not alone.

‘Freedom is the breath of the soul,’ said Moshe Dayan. And so more than anything else I hope this ‘naming’ is a breath for you, a deep soul breath that fills your lungs as you navigate this season and find your freedom.

These words have been brewing for a while. They too have been forming, developing, emerging… becoming. And now as the collective hum is rising, it becomes more pressing to add my own harmony to the song. These words have been formed through my experience in the Christian church, in leaving a broken marriage, in being a parent, in being invited to have a front row seat in the lives of others as a coach, and in seeing what is happening in institutions and systems all around me. My own journey has been my scientific field of discovery, and the lives and stories of those with whom I have crossed paths have been the corroborative data that made sense of the story.

So, what is this ‘something’? In its most simple terms, it is that the world is lurching forwards in its evolution. The world is changing.

The world has always been evolving, but where we are now is what happens when the evolution hits a tipping point. It is the point when a butterfly goes from being one thing to another — a culmination of a lifetime’s work and a specific moment where everything changes. We are in a season shift — a global, world-shaking shift. We are at the point where the thing flips on its axis. We are at the moment just before one thing ends and a new one begins — where history will be able to look back with hindsight and name that the world became something new.

And because we are here now — we are those ones who will live the tipping point, the disorientation and discontent that occurs when we outgrow one skin and need to create a new one.

The wildness that is swirling around us is an ‘era’ change. And we, for some God-known reason have been plonked in the middle of it with an invitation to be the change, create the change and usher in the change.

There is a new world coming and it has already begun. The old thing is unravelling, and we can see and feel it in a thousand strange and complex ways. And my current mission is to try to name and document some of this shift — to explain the journey of change as best as I can to those I work with. To aid the becoming of those who want to become a conscious addition to the tipping process, rather than being someone who braces against it.

This process of change has been given some beautiful names by some wonderful others who are not hiding from the disorientation of feeling the world tip upside down. I have called this process ‘reform’ — when one ‘form’ no longer works (or maybe never worked), and a new form is created. And this is the work I do in the world — I coach people through reform and I write about the journey of reform.

I help people reform in their countries and institutions and families and homes and within themselves. I help them unravel and recreate. I guide them through the arc of deconstructing then reconstructing. And in my writing, I explain what I have learned, from myself and from others, about how we can best give ourselves to this arc, where we can be in the flow of era change rather than in a stance of resistance.

You know that feeling you get when you watch the news as powerful men are held accountable; when people take a knee; when institutions are held to account for decades of abuse; when #metoo changes countless lives; when your friend leaves her awful relationship; when a gay vicar is given a platform; when women with bigger bodies are celebrated; when men share in public their pain and sadness and mental health struggles without shame…

…the world tips just that little bit further into this new era that is being ushered in.

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