Perhaps if I keep writing the same thing over and over again, I will find my way into a new story. I keep returning to what the balances are in these days. Contemplation and activism, destruction and building up, resistance and gelassenheit, staying awake and staying sane.
This morning, after I had posted yet another horrifying news blurb (this one about the WH stance on the press as the enemy) on Facebook, my friend Anna politely and respectfully asked me whether there might be a point at which the continued reposting of the outrages might actually feed the energy of the current administration. This makes a lot of sense to me. When I live in a state of high anxiety about the meanness or pettiness or rudeness of someone else, I hand that person power, I let the bully control me. When I name someone my enemy, I bind myself to that person in a powerful way, and then every move that person makes becomes something I need to react to.
So. Cut the bindings. I can’t let these news cycles control me, can’t let every new atrocity throw me out of kilter. Yet this sounds dangerously similar to dis-engagement, to willful ignorance, something my privilege might allow me to do, but something my conscience cannot allow. How can I keep from being battered about by every move of this bully giant we’ve brought into existence, but still keep close enough to lend my strength to the toppling of the giant?
This is the thing I keep re-writing, over and over and over again: How can I keep from being carried along blindly by the waves of outrage, and still stay awake to the very real dangers that this giant poses to my Beloved Community? How can we live with a sense of peace and purpose in the midst of the storm? Resist AND persist?
I think that the next four years are going to necessitate a constant reassessment of that balance, and it may not be the same for every person. Here are some things I am going to try:
1. Listen to my wise Beloveds. Like Anna. Like you.
2. Learn to ask tender gentle questions like Anna did for me. Little wake-ups that help bring people around to themselves.
3. Remember to call people by their truest name: Beloved.
4. Limit the news. I need it in order to stay awake, to know my Work, but I can’t let it control my emotional state.
5. Read the words of MLK. He found a balance.
6. Watch more videos of baby fruit bats with their expressive ears and eyes.
7. Don’t fall into the pit of thinking that action is better than prayer.
8. Don’t fall into the pit of thinking that the Work is done when the prayer is done.
9. Feed action with contemplation.
10. Go outside and look up. Feel the wind. Feel the rain. Absorb color like sunlight.
1. The voice of the travelers in the morning, high above. “You do not have to be good.” “What we need is here.” (Mary Oliver and Wendell Berry references.)
2. The way winter trees stand against the sky, letting the magenta or the Maryblue or the aquamarine slip through their branches and twigs.
3. Although it was a little scary to drive through it, the way that storm front moved through. The scary clouds are also beautiful and exhilarating. Is there a life lesson in that? Sounds a little like Little Red in “Into the woods.”
4. All my Beloveds. We can always widen our circles to contain more and more Beloveds. Our hearts have limitless capacity.
5. A small retreat I took today at Radiance, to write and meditate and make art based on the chakras.
May we walk in Beauty!