I was just reading a blog post of a dear friend of mine Barri Carian, who poses the question The New Normal – What is it?  (Visit her blog here.)

I found this a wonderful question for as she points out the phrase is being used everywhere but just what does it mean and can we determine what the New Normal is?

What we all seem to be feeling is that there is some sort of shift happening at the Context Level of our society.  And most people will agree there is a strong sense that the future will not look like the past.  What we really don’t know is what the future WILL look like.

As humans all we have to draw on is what we know (If you think about it, it is impossible to draw on what we don’t know simply because we don’t know about it to draw on).  So we will always tend to project the past onto the future, even when we know it will not look like that.

Because all we have is our existing paradigms to draw from we feel anxious, even fearful about a future that does not fit within those worldviews.  Yet such a time can also be viewed as a wonderfully creative time rather than a frightening time.  We can see it as an opportunity to explore the domain of possibilities and ask the question what it can look like.

To do that we have to shift our thinking away from the Activity field and move it into the Context field.  The Activity field is a place where we take action; where we apply the rules of action that has in the past produced the results we want.  But we know (or at least sense) the old rules no longer apply.  So Old Activity in a new merging Context will never produce the results we desire.

To explore what the new Context might be, and hence provide guidance for the new rules of action for Activity energy, we must understand the flow of energy occurring in the Context field.  What we know is there is a global shift of Context energy stemming from a re-evaluation of how we got here.

Think of what happens to a person who has a heart attack.  After the surgery they are motivated to examine their lifestyle and ask the question what got me here and what do I need to change so that it doesn’t repeat.

Our society, our world for that matter, has just experienced a collective heart attack.  And as a collective (not necessarily every individual) we are asking the question what got us here and what new values and choices do we want to live by.  It is this deep Context reframing that has everything unsettled.

I think it will take a few years yet to know what the outcome of this realignment will be.  From where I sit, the sense of this shift is away from the “glutinous” values of excess consumption which serves the ego’s needs) and a move towards value based consumption (that which serves the soul’s needs).  And as these new values emerge we will see a shift in the Activity energy that will begin to align to this and a “new normal” will merge.  Until we finish this process (and it is a process) we each will have an opportunity to explore the domain of possibilities and ask the question what do I want it to look like.

Thanks Barri for opening the conversation

Throughout his professional career as a Chief Executive Officer, Corporate Director, and Advisor to CEOs, Norman Wolfe has successfully guided corporations through major transitions leading to substantial growth, market expansion and enhanced financial performance.