Wisdom and Insurrection

After yesterday, it seems odd to come into this zone and write contemplatively about my dreams and images for the coming year. Sorting through the words and images, I return again and again to gnosis and hiddenness as my theme for the year, and the gnomon and its shadow as my image. I don’t think I can work more with that image at the moment. Part of the point of gnosis and the gnomon is to get at the truth, and so what I need to do today is to speak the truth as I see it.

Yesterday was traumatic. My thoughts are all a-jumble, so I’ll do it in bullet points:
* Yes, it was an insurrection and not a protest.
* It was incited, very directly by the country’s own president, which really makes it a coup.
* No actually, this is, unfortunately, very much who we are. It might not be who WE are, but we’ve had terroristic bands of White Supremacist thugs rising in our country since its beginning. So it’s who America is. And we’ve let them get away with their terrorism and murder and bigotry for too long. There were people inside that room who are as White Supremacist as any of the thugs waving Confederate battle flags in the hallways–they just do a better job of pretending to be socially acceptable.
* Make no mistake. This is about White Supremacy. It’s about wealth and power and White Supremacy. And they were creating their chaos at the bidding of the president.
* Had the rioters and insurrectionists not been almost entirely white people, you can be sure there would have been mass arrests and probably more than one person would have been killed. You can edit out that probably. It’s happened already–Black people have been killed for peacefully protesting the killing of Black people.
* There is absolutely no equivalence between the protests of this summer and the attempted coup of yesterday. Yes, some of those protesters did resort to violence and looting, but these were people protesting the murders of Black people and the fact that the murderers continue to get off without consequence, and yesterday was a violent takeover of our country’s Capitol building. No matter how stupidly tourist-like they may have appeared as they wandered through the halls snapping photos, they were violent insurrectionists.
* Hawley and Cruz, for starters, and probably a whole lot of others, ought to be censured in some way for their inciting words and behavior. Hawley offered the insurrectionists a fist pump as he walked into the Capitol in the morning. He needs to be held accountable. Can he be impeached?
* Yes, those congressfolx who backtracked and decided not to press their own internal coup yesterday ought to be commended, perhaps, for getting with the program, but they, too, have been part of the fuel in this fire, and we need to remember.
* Hey, did you hear the one about the Georgia Senate race flipping the Senate? I know, it seems like weeks ago now. Say it with me: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.
* When I was a college student, a group of us participated in a protest in DC which included civil disobedience. We sat in a street, singing, and holding pots of flowers, and we were arrested in the hundreds by a very efficient DC Police Force. Yesterday’s force was Capitol Police instead, but I would have thought they would be equally or even more prepared to respond swiftly and efficiently to illegal protest (especially when they turn riotous and become an insurrection). I know they were overwhelmed, but they made 52 arrests. In the photos, I saw more than that number just wandering through the Capitol taking photos and selfies with the cops. And only 52 were arrested? People were rifling through Congresspeople’s desks and looting the Capitol building, and only 52 were arrested?
* I saw the video of the officer moving a barricade to let the insurrectionists in. There’s no re-interpreting that. It is what it is.
* Maxine Waters tweeted yesterday that she had been worried that something like this could happen and that four days ago, she had spoken with the Chief of Capitol Police and was told not to worry, that everything was under control.
* The lives of our elected officials were in danger yesterday. There were people in that crowd talking about executing Democrats.
* After the trauma of being violently taken over and evacuated, the people of Congress returned to their work, and stayed at it until at least 3:40 a.m., until their business was finished. Some of them, no doubt, left that work to go and continue to write the articles of impeachment that will, if there is any justice in the land, convict and then remove this president from office as soon as possible.
* Christopher Miller and Mark Milley completely bypassed the president himself and went to VP Pence, Pelosi, and Schumer to engage the National Guard. That is telling. Even if he hadn’t sparked and fueled this insurrection, even if he weren’t the instigator of the coup, he is so ineffective and incapable of governing that his own military muckety-mucks bypassed him to make a call in an emergency.
* I am so sorry that these Congresspeople are so tired, but they have work to do today in order to save our republic, to preserve our democracy. The president must be removed before he does anymore damage. (I don’t think I have ever before used the phrase “save our republic.”)
* If we know anything from women who have left abusive relationships, it’s that the moment she tells him she is planning to leave becomes the most dangerous time for her. Yesterday morning, Mike Pence essentially told the President that the US was leaving the abusive relationship, and he wasn’t going to stand in its way.
* For all his apparent grace under pressure and smooth leadership yesterday, Mike Pence still needs to stand accountable for his enabling of this house fire. He, too, has added fuel to this fire. But yes, even so, I am grateful that he decided to shift over from the dark side for yesterday’s business.
* To reiterate, we can’t let the rich and powerful white men (and a few others) of Congress, who helped to instigate and fuel this insurrection, walk away without keeping them accountable. The yahoos who disgraced the halls of Congress yesterday were merely the tools of people like Hawley and Cruz and Graham (no matter how sweetly he backpedals), McConnell (no matter how grandly he talks of upholding the Constitution), and especially the President and Mr. Pence.


What gratitude does one offer on a morning like this?
I’m grateful for the results of the Georgia race, grateful that the Senate is flipped.
I’m grateful that there was not more death in the halls of the Capitol, that the people of Congress were kept safe, that they were able to get their business completed.
I’m grateful for the net of beloveds who hold me, hold each other, hold the world, in love and prayer.


Thursday’s Thoughts:
I don’t have the internal space today to search out quotations that might be more apt for the moment, nothing for the rage I am feeling today, for the deep wells of anxiety. Here are some grounding quotations that might help me breathe–and maybe you, too?


“We think we tell stories, but stories often tell us, tell us to love or hate, to see or be seen. Often, too often, stories saddle us, ride us, whip us onward, tell us what to do, and we do it without questioning. The task of learning to be free requires learning to hear them, to question them, to pause and hear silence, to name them, and then become a story-teller.” —Rebecca Solnit


“There are years that ask questions, and years that answer.”
—Zora Neale Hurston


I see her walking
on a path through a pathless forest
or a maze, a labyrinth.
As she walks, she spins
and the fine threads fall behind her
following her way,
telling
where she is going,
telling
where she has gone.
Telling the story.
The line, the thread of voice,
the sentences saying the way.
—Ursula K. Le Guin (from “The Writer On, and At, Her Work)

In the Dreamtime, Day 13

We’re still within the twelve days of Christmas, but since I start counting the Dreamtime at Solstice, we’re on to Day 13 now in this little pocket of my counting of time.

One of the things I begin to discover at this point in the process of collecting the words and images from my dreams is that I start to catch echoes of my collection in the world around me. Bridges and boundaries are common enough metaphors, but because they’ve been swirling around in my dream-soup, when I catch references to them in people’s daily speech, it feels like I am receiving secret messages. I am listening for echoes now, affirmation that the words and images I am sanding and honing are the ones I should put in my internal medicine pouch to carry into the coming year.

In last night’s dream, Jon and I and a child (perhaps an amalgam of the two boys) are trying to get somewhere, hitching rides on the trains like hobos. It’s really dangerous, and I am terribly worried that the child will fall off. We finally decide to stop taking the risks and walk, but by this time we are far out in the wilderness, in the woods, and getting to civilization will take days. We sleep in the woods, and find our food where we can. Despite the long walk and the uncertainty, it feels like the right choice. I think the child is really me, and some of the recent choices I am making about the way I work, and the boundaries I set, are making the journey harder and lonelier perhaps, but safer for that inner child. Good choices.

In other dreams I am trying to text Jon that my meeting has gone really short and I can take Ellis home from school after all. Technology and phones never seem to work in dreams. I cannot find the numbers or the right app to text. Typical anxiety dream. Will Deep Self really be able to get the necessary messages across to Waking Self?


Gratitude List:
1. The dawning of women. I was unprepared for quite how relieved I would feel yesterday looking at the images of those joyful, powerful women entering Congress. I thought I had experienced all the joy when I learned they had been elected, but yesterday was a joyful day.
2. The three million women of Kerala who made a chain to tell the world that it is the time of women.
3. It’s the Tuesday of my work week, but it’s Friday. I really needed this slow start.
4. Michelle Obama’s book. She weaves words and ideas well. Her story is so completely her own story and her family’s story, but she deftly weaves the connection of her story to the experiences of black families in the past century, so that as I am learning her own history, I am developing a deeper context for understanding the Great Migration, white flight from cities, and the persistence of structural racism.
5. Dean’s pies. Every year my colleague makes a tableful of pies (8? 10? 12?) for us. It creates truly impossible choices. I take tiny slivers of several. And it’s sublime. Yesterday was a delicious day.

May we walk in Beauty!


“The glory of friendship is not the outstretched hand, not the kindly smile, nor the joy of companionship; it is the spiritual inspiration that comes to one when you discover that someone else believes in you and is willing to trust you with a friendship.” —Ralph Waldo Emerson


“We use language to build the structures upon which we hang our ideas. Language is the scaffold upon which we develop whole structures of thought. Language anchors and shapes and breathes life into thought and idea. Conventional thinking, and conventional language, can end up being a pretty tight little box of a windowless building that doesn’t let in the light. The air in there gets pretty stale. When language—and its attendant ideas—become calcified and crippled into arthritic patterns, poetic image and word-use can find new ways to say things, can break windows into the walls of those airless rooms and build ornate new additions onto the old structures. Poetry jars the cart of language out of its constricting wheel ruts. This is why poets and writers can make good revolutionaries—if they know their work and do their jobs well.” —Beth Weaver-Kreider, 2014


“The nuclear arms race is like two sworn enemies standing waist-deep in gasoline, one with three matches, the other with five.” —Carl Sagan


Mary Oliver, on the Great Horned Owl: “I know this bird. If it could, it would eat the whole world.” And then: “The world where the owl is endlessly hungry and endlessly on the hunt is the world in which I too live. There is only one world.”


Fierce Wild Joy
by Beth Weaver-Kreider, 2016

May this year bring you joy
like crows rising from the fields

fierce
wild joy

yelling full-voice
into the wind

rowing through the tempest
with nothing but feathers.


“Have patience with everything
that remains unsolved in your heart.
Try to love the questions themselves,
like locked rooms and like books
written in a foreign language.
Do not now look for the answers.
They cannot now be given to you
because you could not live them.
It is a question of experiencing everything.
At present you need to live the question.
Perhaps you will gradually,
without even noticing it,
find yourself experiencing the answer,
some distant day.”
―Rainer Maria Rilke


“With life as short as a half taken breath, don’t plant anything but love.”
―Jalaluddin Rumi