HUB Sonoma State U
Thanks to Lisa Chacon, Konda Mason and Ed Street for inspiring us with HUB’s vision and plans for structures to serve its Purpose. Thanks for sharing that the HUB’s job is to nurture Joy – What Makes You Truly Alive. Your video also mentionned how different this is than focusing on the World’s Greatest Needs. But I wonder what would happen if everyone coming to the HUB could notice the intersection of their Greatest Joy and the World’s Greatest Needs? There, I believe, is the sweet spot of everyone’s Purpose!! And tonight I’d like to talk to you about the mysterious connection between Great Purpose,Great Need and Great Joy.
A Great Purpose
My name is Marilyn Hamilton, and I am most well known for my book Integral City: Evolutionary Intelligences for the Human Hive. That is my purpose – I wake up the Human Hive!!
Let me hold up a cover so that you can see the lineage that I come from – that we all come from. You can see Gaia in the context of our Solar System, Galaxy and the Universe. She has birthed all geographies and Life on earth – including our eco-regions and all its plants and animals – including us Human Beings. In turn we have birthed our families, clans, kingdoms, nations and states. We have co-created the cities – which I call Human Hives.
I call cities Human Hives, taking instruction from another species – the Honey Bee. Apis Mellifera is the most intelligent species on the branch of the Tree of Life called the Invertebrates. Homo Sapiens is supposed to be the most intelligent species on the branch called the Vertebrates.
Now Honey Bees as a species are a 100 million years old. We as a species are only 100,000 to 1 million years old (depending on whose metrics you use). And Honey Bees have populated every geography on Earth with their bee hives. So I have been wondering what might we learn from a species that is 100 million years old that might not only sustain us, or create thriving cities – but contribute as much to all of Earth’s species as the Honey Bee does.
This morning I was walking with Alex&er Laszlo, Chair of ISSS, on the powerful land of IONS Earthrise in Petaluma. He said to me, ” You know all the species in all of the ecologies of the world know what the bee contributes to everyone’s wellbeing. Now, I am asking,‘What does the human species contribute that supports the whole?'”.
This is a powerful question that ties in with my admiration of the honey bees. For each hive must produce 40 pounds of honey a year in order to support a hive of about 50,000 bees. But in achieving that goal, year after year those bees pollinate the plants in the fields, around the globe, that produce $90 billion worth of food that humans consume each year (and we don’t even count the ways that other species also benefit). And that cycle of harvesting pollen and nectar, pollinating plants and producing honey, is a double sustainability cycle where the bees are creating renewable energy that supports them in the following year. This is an exponentially greater contribution to sustainability of global ecosystems – because it not only serves the bees, but the whole eco-region on which they depend.
The question I ask is “What is the equivalent of the bees’ 40 pounds of honey for the Human Hive?”.
A major hint of the answer has been given by James Lovelock who developed the Gaia Hypothesis – that the Earth is a living, self-regulating system. I heard him interviewed by a reporter who asked in a very disdainful voice. “Well I guess you don’t have a very high opinion of humans with all the damage they have done to the Earth?”. Lovelock countered with considerable vigour, “On the contrary,humans are Gaia’s reflective organ!” It is just that as a species we are very young – hardly teenagers in comparison with the 100 million year old honey bee. As reflective organs we have a lot of evolutionary maturing ahead of us.
In fact, I suggest that humans as individuals are cells in Gaia’s reflective Human Hive organs – and these reflective organs are like nodes on a planetary meridian system – our Planet of Cities. It is cities or Human Hives that are actually Gaia’s reflective organs. And those too are at very early stages of maturity – in comparison to what they could be. Because most of our sustainability paradigms focus only on sustaining ourselves, and not on the symbiotic relationship that the bees have established, with their capacity to co-create renewable energy.
Now if the bees as the most intelligent species of the invertebrates, can do that, I ask, why cannot the most intelligent species of the vertebrates also accomplish that? Especially with our distinctive capacity to be reflective organs? Organs that can multiply reflective capacity through both individual and collective consciousness and culture?? Organs that live by what I call the Master Code: Take Care of Yourself, Take Care of Each Other and Take Care of this Place.
So those are the kind of questions I am asking myself about the “Evolutionary Intelligences of the Human Hive”.
When I first wrote my book, I imagined my readers would come from the “progressive” thinking in cities on the west coast of North America and northern Europe. And so do many invitations to speak in academic settings affirm that audience. But much to my surprise, invitations have also come from cities in the Developing World – Mexico, South Africa and even Russia. (My book has been translated into Russian and Korean this year.) When I first received those invitations, I was not sure how to respond – whether I was the right person to do this kind of work in those challenging (and challenged) locations?
A Great Need
Then an experience in my personal life, changed my whole perspective about how I do my work in cities. Two years ago my brother, Richard, called me and told me that he had been suffering (silently) from lymphoma for 11 years. (This is a cancer of the blood, related to leukemia, that destroys your immune system by attacking your white blood cells.) Richard had completed many rounds of chemo, and all possible treatment modalities except one – a bone marrow/stem cell transplant. He needed a sibling donor (as they have the most likely blood markers) and asked if I would do that for him. I was shocked!! This is one of those times, when one’s IOU to the Universe, to serve at the highest and best use, is called in for payment!! With considerable trepidation, I agreed to go for the tests to see if we were a match. I was a 10 out 10. (My friends said that was typical – I am an overachiever!!).
Another friend did some subtle energy work with me and told me my lineage from both sides of my family were so happy that I would do this. But best of all – my blood cells were intoxicated with delight, that they were going to have an out of body experience!! That totally cracked me up – just to think I had a scheduled date for an OBE!! Still, both Richard and I knew that there were no guarantees with this treatment – it only created the conditions for his own system to re-gain the strength to re-balance his immune system and start producing his own white and red blood cells again. It might take months to do this. It might take years. It might take the rest of his life. Or it might not take at all. Basically, it came down to – nothing ventured, nothing gained.
I wasn’t sure I could do this – and if I did, I knew I couldn’t do it alone – so, I told my brother I asked for three conditions:
1. I needed to ask my sangha to support me (and they did).
2. I would send him not just my blood but every mindful condition for health and wellbeing I could infuse directly and non-locally into my transplant.
3. I needed to ask him to stop working at the successful entrepreneurial venture he had created as a second career choice. He had traded in his music career for a high-tech welding operation. I asked my brother as a condition of the transplant not to return to this “job from hell”. If he was going to live, then I asked him to go back to his first love – to live for his music – not to let the music die in him.
He agreed. And he wrote me (and his wife Jean) the symphony “Appaloosa” (now playing here).
So we did the transplant. 36 hours and 13 complete transfers of my whole blood system through a centrifuge machine to collect 2 bags of stem cells that took 50 minutes to be transplanted into Richard’s bloodstream. On transplant day plus one, his positive indicators shot through the roof. We were all elated. And that was a good thing – because we needed that first blast of success to see us through the weeks and months ahead of us where his fight for survival was as demanding as you can imagine – where death seemed like the only realistic thing to plan for. And at the end of six months, that is what we all expected. But it turns out those stem cells were not prepared to stop living their purpose. They were intent on doing the magic that these primal cells can do – and they were busy colonizing Richard’s bone marrow to such an extent that his own body’s immune system kicked back into life. Just when Richard thought the doctors were going to tell him all hope was gone, they told him: “You better stop preparing to die – and start preparing to live!!! Most of your misery is now caused by graft-host disease!! Your body’s immune system is fighting your sister’s stem cells. That’s what we wanted to see because it means your body is exerting its own sovereignty and energy.”
Richard went through many ups and downs in the last year. Little did we know the power of this stem cell transplant, meant that his whole blood type converted into my blood type (and all the other organs in his body had to make that adjustment!! He changed from a personality subject to SAD syndrome to my radically optimistic personality (one of those little extras that I said I’d send along for the ride).
Fast forward one year – just 2 weeks ago. Richard has been in a slump and once again feeling like this whole risk has been for naught. The docs sit him down and this time the news is: “You are cancer free!!”. Imagine, after 13 years being told he is cancer free!! He called me up overjoyed and a little amazed. I was ecstatic!! I share it with you this Easter weekend, as a true story of commitment, faith, deliverance and hope. A true Easter message that we can celebrate here at the HUB’s opening.
A Great Joy
So, this is a very long story that I said helped me understand how to look at my work differently. It helped me understand that when I align my Greatest Joy to Great Need, my Purpose is easily expressed. It also helped me realize that the Master Code – Taking care of yourself is the pre-requisite to being able to take care of others, so that we all can take care of this place and this planet.
I have come to imagine myself as a stem cell when I go into challenging and challenged places. My Purpose is to transplant the primal capacities for the habitat to grow strong enough to take care of itself. The first job I have is to Turn Up on Purpose. The second is to be Present to Joy – both mine and the people in the city I am working with – so I can hear and witness what the system’s next natural evolutionary step, most needs. The third is to respond appropriately with the appropriate gift to strengthen the existing system. The last step is at once the simplest and the hardest – it is to let go of results. Just like I had to let my stem cells do their work in my brother’s bloodstream, I must let the people in the Human Hive grow capacities for themselves. So they can discover, what is the way they can produce their 40 pounds of honey to look after themselves, each other, the city, the eco-region and even the planet.
As HUB Oakland opens its doors in our City of Planets, I affirm and invite all the magic that will happen here because your Purpose is to create a habitat for what Makes People Fully Alive. Everyone in the HUB are the stem cells for the Reflective Organ – the Human Hive of Oakland. You are really living your Purpose with the Master Code. You are co-creating all the conditions to model how – Taking care of yourself will enable all of you, working together, to take care of each other, so that you can take care of this place and our planet.
Participating in HUB Oakland is the key to Great Joy and a requisite ingredient to co-generating Oakland’s 40 pounds of honey!!
Congratulations. Happy Easter. And JOY to HUB Oakland!!
(This was my keynote to HUB Oakland’s Opening Night, March 29, 2013)