It was said, widely and loudly, that the Mayan calendar predicted the world would end Dec. 21, 2012. There was a movie. There was the popular imagination.
But that's what life is: Not knowing.
We can never know with absolute certainty what will happen. We can never know even what is happening because it's colored by our experience and hope. And everyone who is present in the present has a different perspective, a slightly different story. Was the man tall? Only in relation to the observer's height.
What the Mayan calendar predicted was not the end of the world but the end of an era. And honestly, I'm ready for a new era.
We can't know what will happen, but we can influence it, through our actions, speech, and thoughts, through our intention, through our view of what is possible. We can let the world continue on its fear-based descent into a Mad Max-like hell of aggression and defensiveness. Or we can move it in a new direction.
bell hooks, in her book "all about love: New Visions," breaks down the ways in which our culture is hostile to love, how we can overcome that, and what it would look like. If we think of "love" as a verb, an action, rather than an emotion, it becomes a source of responsibility and accountability, she writes.
Awaking to love can happen only as we let go of our obsession with power and domination. Culturally, all spheres of American life -- politics, religion, the workplace, domestic households, intimate relationships -- should and could have as their foundation a love ethic ... a love ethic presupposes that everyone has the right to be free, to live fully and well. To bring a love ethic to every dimension of our lives, our society would need to embrace change.
The last era was built on a foundation of fear and defensiveness: Is there enough? Will it run out? How can I get more? How can I keep others from taking what I have?
The ancients say this is a new era. Things will change -- in the direction we choose.
What would a world built on love look like? How would it feel to live there? How would people act in that world -- in mundane moments, in conflict, in friendship, in celebration? What's stopping you from acting that way now?