I think it's time for me to be completely honest here I've avoided it long enough.
I am grieving. I can no longer pretend otherwise. I've started this writing at least a dozen times, attempting to address some of the heavy stuff we're dealing with here in this country, and around the world, while trying desperately to stay really positive, upbeat, solution-oriented. I've tried to be funny, or clever, or even to keep it totally impersonal, like a sports commentator. I've tried to come from a deep faith that I've always had that we would surely navigate our way through troubled waters, that some universal truth rooted in the divine essence of our true nature, our God-selves, would take hold of our collective consciousness and lead us to paths of love, forgiveness, understanding, reconciliation and healing, both for our common humanity and for our relationship with Gaia, our magnificent earth mother whom we have so wounded, exploited and taken for granted. Lately, that faith has been eluding me.
I find it in moments, sometimes even days. Despite my anguish about the challenges we face and the suffering of so many, or the uncertainty about what the future holds, I am reminded of that seed of potential within each of us to lean into our higher selves, our greater possibilities, to scale the seemingly impenetrable walls of division and misperception that have arisen between us, to transcend limited thinking about who we are and what kind of world we might create. I think of the quote from Dr. King that, "The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward Justice." Surely this must be true, even when despairing the continued existence of so much injustice.
I know I am very far from alone in this thinking. I'm surrounded by countless good and beautiful souls, desiring and seeking a deeper connection to life, a sense of the sacredness of it, a shared vision of a world that works for all. I'm inspired and humbled by the ongoing efforts of so many to build that world, even in the midst of overwhelming need or discord. I'm emboldened by the courage, wisdom and compassion I see demonstrated daily by those actively teaching or re-imagining ways in which we might learn to live more equitably, sustainably and harmoniously with one another, and with the natural world upon which we all depend.
By finding strength in the good work of others, in nature, in art and music, in the writing of my own songs, I can stem the tide of the grief for a while. But it's there, nonetheless. It's there in the recognition that our ability to pull through this time of multiple converging crises, environmental degradation, social and political upheaval and failed leadership intact is not a given. We must WANT to do this, to come together and find real solutions to these very real problems more than we want to simply maintain the status quo, to hide behind masks of complacency, passivity, distraction or denial, or behind identities steeped in fear or hatred for what we don't know or understand. I'm no longer convinced we want it badly enough.
If it isn't our own house that's on fire, our own skin color that causes another to react with unwarranted fear or hostility, our own battle with addiction, our own bankruptcy or worse for getting sick without affordable healthcare, our own homelessness or food insecurity for lack of a job with a living wage... If it isn't our own life that's been turned upside down in some way, too many of us still manage to convince ourselves it's somehow not our problem. We deny the fundamental truth that we really are all in this together. We have to want the same peace, safety, and well-being for ALL people that we want for ourselves.
So I've made a pledge to work just a little harder, to give a little more, to require a little less, to show up and speak up when it counts, to give to organizations whose work supports values of equity, inclusion, and protection for the environment. I've reduced my consumption in many areas, and am moving toward becoming a vegetarian. My husband and I are working on maintaining a small Spring and Fall food garden. We recycle everything we can, turn off lights and appliances when not in use, limit our use of water, try to buy certain items in bulk or limit packaging, look for organically produced products, "fair trade" or other options that support workers and the earth. There is always more to do or learn on the path toward a more just and sustainable way of life. These are just baby steps, but hopefully they will take us in the right direction.