First, some mulling drawn from today’s Facebook conversations. Then a poem. Then a Gratitude List.
Sometimes I don’t know if I can bear the weight of the problems of the world. I get so furious, not just at the military-industrial complex, but at the way corporations have become the ruling classes, the way Monsanto has taken over the USDA, the way our consumer culture is balanced on the backs of slaves and oppressed people elsewhere in the world. I don’t know if we can turn things back. But I know that there are lots of like-minded people out there who want to turn things back. I’m not sure how we do that, but I want to start by putting as much love out there as possible in the meantime.
I don’t mean for that to sound childish or like I am ignoring the problem. I bring it back to the metaphor of the bowl for the heart. I used to think that I could only have one thing in there at a time, either the joyful things full of wonder, or the angry and despairing things. But recently I have pledged to just sit with the bowl open and let it all fall in together. And the whole crazy mix belongs there. The love I have for butterflies and songbirds is precisely why I hate Monsanto so. The delight I take in my children is precisely why the military-industrial complex terrifies me.
How can I maintain the balance in my head when I get so furious and despairing and tired and sad about so much that is happening in the world? Sometimes it feels so schizophrenic to speak of beauty and wonder and delight when something in my heart is cringing in fear of what the future holds for my children. I know that remembering what I love, remembering what holds my heart, reminding myself why I fight, all this helps me to keep doing my work.
If we who care deeply enough to walk the cliffs of despair, if we let ourselves get frozen or lost or broken on those cliffs, then whatever it is that we’re fighting against has begun to win. Maybe that’s it. Instead of just using my rage and despair to fight this thing, I want to find ways to use my love and wonder to overcome it.
Perhaps my work of late has been too passive, too much in the realm of prayer and contemplation. What is the next step, I wonder?
These Are the Words
These are the things that I tell myself, over and over again.
These are the words I use to remember.
Don’t forget to do your soul-work.
Don’t stop because it seems like no one is watching,
because it seems like no one else is doing their work.
They are working.
Ask around. Tell your own story.
Suddenly they pop up like mushrooms,
all over the yard,
like fairy rings that fairly sparkle in the moonlight.
I always say, Be the web. Throw the lines from one to one to one.
Today I say, Be mycelium.
All those underground signals racing through the soil,
through the roots, through the fine hairs so tiny,
so tiny they are more energy than matter.
But that’s what matters.
That’s the heart of the matter.
We’re all doing our work, sending messages to each other,
invisible like energy,
like the sermons of the fungi
traveling those invisible underground highways.
Something is going to pop up.
I say, Something is going to pop up!
One morning you will wake up
and they’ll be there,
not just hiding underneath the leaves
with the shy toads and salamanders,
but spiced throughout the lawn
throughout the lawns
all over the world,
We are here!
We are doing our work!
In the meantime, keep hoping,
keep making magic spells,
like the one my son made today
from dandelions and Virginia Creeper
to bring peace among the chickens,
and from them to their eggs and to us
and then to the whole world.
In the meantime,
keeping speaking the names of the captives.
Your words will set them free.
Keep singing and dancing,
praying and hoping.
Be the Underground Laureate of The Poetry of Waiting.
Be the One who Sings to the Dark Moon.
Be the Dancer in the Sullen Crowd.
Be the Painter of Speckled Eggs.
Oh, I have to say it, though the activists have said it a thousand times,
like Gandhi said it:
Be the change you wish to see.
Until the twining vines of the sacred squash
grow from your heaving heart,
until the song of the whale echoes through your deserts,
until the world is born afresh.
Until the world is born afresh.
This is the song. This is the poem.
This is the story that will heal the world.
Let’s get down to business.
1. A pair of indigo buntings feeding in the dandelions before the rain. (Perhaps some day I will write a gratitude list without the wing-folk. Or perhaps not.)
2. Ferns. The ones I transplanted today from the barn wall to the house and walkway were taller than my children. I think I may just keep adding and adding until the lawn is gone and the children can walk beneath their waving fronds like hobbits.
3. The feeling of something being released in my spirit as the air pressure changes before rain.
4. The way people care for your spirit when you ask for help. That’s what I mean by asking around. All that good work is being done, all that hopeful energy, all that intentionality, all that tremendous love waiting to spring into action, springing into action even before it is called upon. Oh, I believe in angels, and some of them take human form.
5. Conversations about the grandmothers that bring them into the present moment.
May we walk in beauty. May we walk in love.