We have made it to the end of 2020. And what a profound year it has been.

When reflecting with colleagues and friends I often hear the same three things: “I have learned a whole lot about myself as I struggled to adapt”; “I grieved many losses, injustices, ongoing violence and the decline of planetary health.” And “I have worked harder than ever.”

This is my experience of this year, too. Perhaps it also feels like yours.

But we have all kept going, became more resilient, have grown in our capacity to adapt and collaborate and discovered the power of working virtually.

And we have seen that radical change is indeed possible. Some of our governments and institutions mobilized vast amounts of money in service of health and livelihoods. We were part of the growth of movements and uprisings for racial justice, tax justice, Indigenous rights, feminism, and divestment from fossil fuel. And yes, a lot more fast paced and urgent change is necessary.

But I believe a different shift is taking place as well, a slower, more quiet and intimate one, about changes in our relationships with each other, to nature and our humanity. From the numerous coaching conversations, trainings and convenings we were part of this past year we found that many of us are on a pilgrimage of sorts, an inward journey of reflection. As Arundhati Roy told us so beautifully in April, the pandemic is like a portal, “a gateway between one world and the next”. A time where humans are forced to “break with the past and imagine their world anew.”

It is by slowing down and inward reflection that we will re-discover how truly interconnected we are to each other and this planet. It is then that we will we be able to turn our hearts and minds to the deeper level wisdom that will guide us to a fair and life sustaining future: patterns and solutions based on connection and reciprocity, instead of extraction and competition.

In spite of all its horror and heartbreak, 2020 has also brought its gifts. Bayo Akomolafe says it best: “The times are urgent, let us slow down.”

At the end of this unimaginable year, I hope you will have the opportunity to slow down.

Warmest wishes from all of us at Spring,

Ellen Sprenger