The Times They Are A-Changin’…We Can Change With Them!

earthI was playing at a recent music jam when a young man, probably around 20, played Bob Dylan’s The Times They Are A-Changin’. I registered surprise and delight that he even knew that song. I felt touched that the song could still resonate with young hearts. The times are changing; many people I know are feeling it. Communities are growing in many directions for healing: re-connecting with earth, growing food, holding vibrant spiritual gatherings, and working for social and economic justice. Increasingly, I see these communities intersecting and finding ways to work together to create a new world all around us.

At the same time, recent events leave many feeling angry and scared. Our collective shadow of the Western colonizing, dominating, and destructive mindset is on display for all to see (and feel!). A shared pain and grief resonate in many hearts. As Joanna Macy teaches, our pain for the world activates us: it is information from the earth system telling us that change is needed, is happening, and it’s time to get on board! Willingness to feel our pain means that we are sensitive to the plight of others (human and non-human) on the planet at this time. Recently, we see in response to our shared pain for the world much activation happening for healing and change throughout the public sphere.

We have the capacity to feel pain for the world deeply, allowing it to wake us up from the trance of techno-industrial consciousness. Simultaneously, we can focus our profound creative potential toward planetary transformation by seeding our thoughts and conversation with visions of an earth-honoring, sustainable, and just planetary culture. With that in mind, I am starting the Visioning the Change series on the Lake Erie Institute Facebook page ( Each week, I will post examples from around the world that represent “the change.” These ideas and happenings will offer stories of a vibrant and healthy planetary community happening right now. Most often, these re-earthings are locally based and locally grown (double entendre intended). Paradoxically, highly diversified and localized community development is the hallmark of a sustainable planetary civilization. Development of culture and community in a land/place connected context are an important part of a transformation well underway. We are re-building our communities from the ground up. Knowing and seeing that healing has already begun, we can find ways to be the change more and more each day. The times they are a changin,’ and we can change with them.

The Times They Are A-Changin’, by Bob Dylan

Come gather around people
Wherever you roam
And admit that the waters
Around you have grown
And accept it that soon
You’ll be drenched to the bone
And if your breath to you is worth saving
Then you better start swimming or you’ll sink like a stone
For the times they are a-changing

Come writers and critics
Who prophesize with your pen
And keep your eyes wide
The chance won’t come again
And don’t speak too soon
For the wheel’s still in spin
And there’s no telling who that it’s naming
For the loser now will be later to win
Cause the times they are a-changing

Come senators, congressmen
Please heed the call
Don’t stand in the doorway
Don’t block up the hall
For he that gets hurt
Will be he who has stalled
There’s the battle outside raging
It’ll soon shake your windows and rattle your walls
For the times they are a-changing

Come mothers and fathers
Throughout the land
And don’t criticize
What you can’t understand
Your sons and your daughters
Are beyond your command
Your old road is rapidly aging
Please get out of the new one if you can’t lend your hand
Cause the times they are a-changing

The line it is drawn
The curse it is cast
The slowest now
Will later be fast
As the present now
Will later be past
The order is rapidly fading
And the first one now will later be last
Cause the times they are a-changing

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