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Carolyn Baker stopped by for a Peak Moment conversation on her way back to Colorado after conducting a workshop based on her new book, Navigating the Coming Chaos: A Handbook for Inner Transition.

In spring of 2010 we’d taped a long-distance conversation via skype about her earlier ground-breaking book Sacred Demise: Walking the Spiritual Path of Industrial Civilization’s Collapse.

I was so glad to at last meet Carolyn in person! I’ve subscribed to her Daily Email Digest for three years or so, and find it a valuable filter and lens onto both the symptoms of collapse as well as resources and examples of transition unfolding.

And away we went! Carolyn’s new book devotes a major section to coping with, and even befriending, the “dark emotions” of fear, despair, grief and anger. She notes that ours is a culture of emotional numbness, looking askance even at expressions of joy that go beyond a certain point.

She said she began the day-long workshop with Death. Death is the big taboo in our culture, the fear underlying many collapse-aware peoples’ survival orientation and preparations. With the fear of death out in the open where we can look at it, Carolyn said, people can move to a different place — to find meaning for their lives even as industrial civilization comes unglued.

The heart of the book is really about soul work that is both personal and yet also about community. Opening our hearts, facing the shadow, finding supportive relationships among people and the more-than-human world, coming to know deeper layers in ourselves. These will enable us to be more present with the uncertainties that come our way, and perhaps to help frightened and confused other people.

I love her notion that those who are now aware of collapse, regardless of age, may be called to the role of Elders, holding wisdom to assist humanity in a rite of passage to a new evolutionary threshold — one that will enable those who come after us to NOT follow in the footsteps of this destructive industrial civilization. Elderhood at any Age.

Look forward to a gem of a conversation. [http://www.carolynbaker.net]