The Co-Intelligence Institute CII home // Y2K home // CIPolitics home

Y2K as a "birth"


To: (undisclosed list)
From: Tom Atlee <>
Subject: The birth of Y2k
Bcc: Y2K*full,coalition2000

Here's a metaphor for Y2K with some juice -- both the darkside and the brightside. Thanks, Rachel -- and to Hendrik for passing it on. -- Coheartedly, Tom

Date: Mon, 24 May 1999 13:29:02 +0900
From: Hendrik <>
Subject: The birth of Y2k

Hi all, i think you might like this... :-)

Regrds: Hendrik


-- forwarded article: --

The birth of Y2k

By RiverSoma <>

Many nicely written essays have discussed the connection between Y2k
awareness and the classic stages of grieving. Denial, anger, bargaining,
depression and acceptance. At first I found this a helpful metaphor but as
the days progress I am finding it to be pretty useless. This is because Y2k
is more complex than death. It is much more like birth.

In any given situation there is a certain amount of perceived
predictability and a certain amount of mystery. The more mystery involved
then the greater uncertainty in how to prepare.

The most mysterious process of my life was childbirth. It was similar to
Y2k in many ways.

I knew approximately when it was going to happen.

There were many "experts" with competing opinions that all felt compelled
to tell me what to do.

I had no idea what my baby was going to look like or how it was going to

I knew that my life would be forever changed after its arrival.

I knew I could die in the process or at the very least need medical

I knew I would very likely experience some pain.

I knew that my life and that of my child could be in the hands of strangers.

I knew that once the child was here there were many things I would have to
give up for a long time. Probably years.

Finally, I knew that regardless of what all those experts and well-meaning
friends said it was still me who had to decide how to prepare for the birth
and where I wanted to be when it happened.

This is what we are facing in Y2k. Not a death. A birth. Birth in all its
scariest most primal ramifications. This is not a happy Hallmark stork and
bunting birth. This is an old fashioned rag chewing, gut screaming, no pain
killers birth. Here in America the mother has had problems all through the
pregnancy. She is out of shape and has been living on a diet of junk food,
nicotine, alcohol and Tee Vee. The baby is breach and has the umbilical
cord wrapped around its neck three times. The mother has appeared to go
into premature labor several times. She may yet. She has ambivalent
feelings about breast feeding and is more concerned with her own appearance
and bank balance than she is about the baby's health. If the little tyke
makes it and the mother survives you have to wonder what the baby will eat
since the mother doesn't know how to grow a garden or prepare healthy food.

The father? Off diddling interns and bombing babies.

Next prenatal check-up is June 30th. We hope for good news but hey - its
only a physical. Its not like the Dr. can guarantee the birth will go well
just because the pre-natal seems OK.

So here I sit like a nervous aunt. If the mother comes to me for help do I
feed her? Do I let her starve? She has made some heinous life decisions and
she and her string of Presidential hubbies have squandered my hard-earned
tax dollars in a bewildering variety of wasteful and (IMHO) often immoral
ways. She could turn on me in a heartbeat.

I could leave the country. I could hide. I could lie about how much food I
have. I could run whenever I see her or shoot her if she comes for my
beans. No matter what I do she will always be there. Her child may be sweet
and resourceful or it may be demon spawn. With parents like that its hard
to be too optimistic.

Just like every other basic human survival skill - farming, self defense,
shelter construction - birth has become something done by experts in
protective clothes. Most people have never experienced a real birth so they
have no way of seeing the Y2k process for what it is. They recognize it as
a major life passage but our culture is so obsessed with death that that is
the only metaphor it can come up with.

Time to roll up the sleeves, chop some wood and boil some water. Theres a
baby coming.

- Rachel
We're gonna party like it's 1799!



Date: Mon, 24 May 1999 10:59:27 -0400
From: Sharon Joy Kleitsch <>


REally enjoyed this connection. I'd been saying for some time, including
Larry Shoook last week, that this period of relative quiet is about the
rest between labor pains, birthing the "global human". Treat it
similarly. REst, breath, prepare for the next push. SJOy


Date: Mon, 24 May 1999 11:52:07 EDT
Subject: Re: The birth of Y2k - childbirth lessons relevant to Y2K
To: (Rachel)

I'm inspired by your metaphor for Y2K as a birth. And I agree with you

You write: " Most people have never experienced a real birth so they
have no way of seeing the Y2k process for what it is. "
I have birthed two babies, and my lessons are relevant to our Y2K experience.

In the first birth, we strove to become experts, inexperienced as we were.
We read everything I could find, we learned from others, we took Lamaze, and
prepared ourselves as best we could. When the time came, 17 hours of hard
labor wore me out. I tried every technique - hot showers, music, breathing.
And while this was a most amazing experience of love and connectedness, it
also was painful. I lost my sense of humor and was crabby when the labor
nurse couldn't answer my demands for knowing when this child would be born.
I was afraid I would choke and die, as my father had accidentally 20 years
before. An external intervention (epidural and IV) restored my energy in
time to welcome this new life. It wasn't until our second childbirth, 4
years later, that I realized what was the source of all that pain. Me.

In our second childbirth, my husband/coach spoke guided meditations
throughout my labor. With every contraction, I visualized the birth canal
widening. And with each visualization, I could physically feel my body
responding, easily, flexibly, without resistance. I felt little pain and my
second daughter was born less than 2 hours after we began our visualizations.
I needed no painkillers or intervention.

Only through experiencing the second childbirth did I realize why the first
had been so painful. I had been focusing on the pain, and on trying to
control the pain. I was resisting what was natural. I was the source of my
own pain.

As we prepare for Y2K, I'm wondering how we might apply these lessons.
Rather than focusing on the pain and trying to control the situation, what if
we reframed how we look at Y2K? What if, instead of looking at Y2K as the
Millennium Bug, a "bug" to be squashed, a problem to be solved, as a pain,
what if we imagined the Millennium Bug to be the precursor -- the catalyst
-- the caterpillar that emerges into the Millennium Butterfly?

We offer a visualization activity, which invites others to visualize and
share what the Millennium Butterfly looks like to them
<A HREF="">Click here: A

Inspired by your story, Rachel, I'm adding some guidance for greeting each
Y2K (labor) pain with a visualization of becoming more flexible, resilient,
of "widening the birth canal" that we can sustain our energy, our humor, our
grace, and our expressions of love throughout this mysterious process of

I would like your permission to display your essay, along with my response,
in the "musings" section of our website,
<A HREF="">Click here:
Would that be all right with you?


Jan Nickerson
Y2K Connections - building community not crises - the only Y2K game in town