by Rosie Snow
Space Between Stories
Perhaps you’ve noticed that things are pretty crazy in the world right now. As if the cascading effects from climate change—the fires, floods, swarms of locusts—aren’t enough, now we are plunging headfirst into a global pandemic with severe implications for public health and the economy. Many of you are watching this from home, unable to leave, and wondering what is happening. To make things worse, these shocks are coming during a time that already feels very chaotic, with institutions, norms, and standards of leadership crumbling right and left. It is easy to feel very frightened.
Like so many others, I have also felt disoriented and frightened, but when I do, I find it helpful to take a broader view. The philosopher Charles Eisenstein describes this time we are all living through as “the space between stories.” Old stories we told ourselves and lived within—about our country, our shared values, our relationship with God, each other and the earth—are breaking down. They are no longer working well in some deep way, and so we found ourselves with little firm ground to stand upon. There is a new story on the way, with new shared values and a deepened understanding our relationship with God, each other, and the earth, but it is still emerging. For now, we remain in the disorienting, uncomfortable “space between stories.” We remain in the wilderness. And this is true collectively, but can also be true individually, if you have left behind an identity, a relationship, a job, or any situation that was no longer working, but have not yet arrived at something new. This sense of being stranded in the wilderness can be very upsetting.