Betsy Chasse: Change — One Way or Another, It’s Going to Happen

Why is it that we often refuse to change our ways until we’re forced to? How come it takes a crisis to get us off our butts and move forward, or sometimes backwards – but to move! Is it possible to change what needs to be changed in our lives before it blows up? 11 years ago today we all remember one of the biggest blow ups in our generations history.  It was a tragic and shocking wake up call. We refused to heed the signs along the road for years, for many generations even and finally it could no longer be held back. We needed to make changes and if we weren’t going to do it on our own, well then, the universe, God, our collective consciousness, or whatever you want to call it decided to do it for us. To me 9/11 was a macro experience of what we all needed to do in our own micro lives. Change, grow, let go of being right and knowing. As I reflect on what was happening in my own life- clearly I needed to change. And I wasn’t listening to the voicemails. There is a moment after the initial shock of a crisis wears off where most of us reflect back, see the signs and know for sure what it is we missed and what it is we must change. During the aftermath of 9/11 there was the truest sense of belonging, of community I had ever felt in my life. I saw so many people join together to focus on a hopeful future, people remembering we are all connected, a sense of family. In the macro and micro people started projects, people helped each other more, people took stock of their lives and their world. For me, one of the biggest shifts in my entire life came. On 9/11, as I sat and watched in sadness as the towers fell I got a phone call from William Arntz. He and I were set to meet that day in Los Angeles to discuss me working on “BLEEP”. We had never met before and neither of us were sure we wanted to work together.  Will, trapped in Washington picked up the phone and called me and said. “We have to make this movie, now” and with that we began the journey of making “BLEEP”. In that reflective space we sought hope and possibility. We both expressed our desire to create a film that would show people how it’s possible to create the lives we all desired in the world we all desired, by understanding how we got where we were and how we could move forward. Maybe with a little less chaos and hurt. So, is that possible? Can we change without such a tragic experience? Of course we can, the question is, are we willing? 11 years after 9/11 I have to look a little harder to find that sense of community, mostly because the messages screaming out from everywhere I turn point to “doom and gloom.” It’s hard to find hope when you’re told over and over again the sky is falling. But, if I am willing to look deeper, take moment more to see past the first layer, I can see the hope. Yes, it takes work, it takes not being bogged down by the rhetoric. It means being optimistic, but it also means paying attention to the signs when they are sublte and heeding them, before they turn into something far more menacing. Because we have learned that for sure, if we don’t listen, don’t act to make the shifts we need to- the messages will just get louder and louder.