This assemblage is an affirmation that despite constraints, disintegration and loss, there is always renewal and new growth, no matter how hidden or unseen. The old and broken can be the foundation for new forms, that there is always room for optimism and what can become, for evolutionary, higher purpose, no matter how hard won.
Internal and External Actions to Take, During Turbulent Times.
Like many Americans, I am taking political action. I am making calls to politicians and sign petitions from political organizations every day. I am grateful for the work that they do, to create forums for rallying and change. But, I question continuous requests to“ fight against” policies and policy makers. Why not rephrase calls to action to be more affirmative? What about being and doing for, which shifts intentions to empowerment, stewardship and creating new paradigms, as issues and challenges are being addressed?
As fear creates divisiveness, it is easy to devolve into judgment, criticism and blame. Like others, I am struggling with disappointment and loss of respect for and trust in family members, acquaintances, community members and especially friends, whose political views and values that I don't share. These are people that I love. I want to bridge these chasms before they widen further. What does it take to emerge from the eddies of anger, frustration and despair? I'm finding that internal, spiritual action is necessary, including contemplation, forgiveness and imagination.
Internal, Spiritual Actions.
These are a few that I'm exploring:
Contemplation. When judgment comes up, I'm checking within. I'm observing- what are my biases, prejudices and assumptions towards those that I disagree with? What is resolution around this?
Contemplation leads me to gratitude. I'm expressing gratitude more frequently. Gratitude builds optimism and pierces through fear and dense, overwhelming cultural divisiveness and negativity.
Forgiveness. Who do I need to forgive, despite opposition to their beliefs, bigotry, and hatred, all fear based reactions? I'm choosing to exercise compassion towards those who do unintentional and intentional harm, even when I'm not feeling it fully. Fake it till you make it, right?
Imagination. Imagination, the first step towards intention, is a powerful, often disregarded tool. It is not synonymous with pretending! What becomes physical reality is first imagined, for better or worse.
We each have the ability and responsibility for imagining what is and what can be. Why not replace habitual blame and negative thinking with imagining the highest good, for humanity and our planet? What do we, individually and collectively choose to envision that is based upon the spiritual truths in every tradition? What could happen?
I'm attempting to embrace the uncertainties and instabilities that arise with deep turbulence, remembering that they are precursors to change. At least complacency has receded. May turbulent times result in planetary changes that are long overdue.
In the bizarre winter of 2017, I had a few firsts. One was cross country skiing in the rain, while wearing a raincoat. What! Rain, here in January and February, near Gunnison, often the coldest spot in Colorado and sometimes in the nation? Second, so warm that one day in February I post holed through [sunk into] thigh deep snow, on the pathway to my studio. I've never shoveled in hip waders before, but they were appropriate attire.
The winter of 2018 is equally strange. A serious shortage of snow and unseasonably warm weather prevails. I'm wondering how the trees, plants and wildlife will fare this summer, if the drought continues. How many wells will be dry? How alarmingly insufficient will irrigation water be? How scarce, the wildflowers?
What to do, to navigate the weirdness of non-winter? To bring some balance to the elements? Some practices:
-Appreciate the weather, no matter what. Welcome the wind as a carrier of clouds. Where there are clouds there is hope for precipitation, right?
- Unplug, go outside and breathe. Slow down, notice and have gratitude for anything that is alive, that catches your attention. Feel how our bodies connect to the natural world, how our bones are like those of animals and birds, that we breathe the same air and need pure water, for life.
-Imagine nature being in balance, with enough moisture and sun. Envision your environment thriving and full of energy. Like people, nature responds to love and presence. Yeah, fellow tree huggers. Skeptics? A deep experience, if you're intentional about it.
I continue to chop wood to heat my studio and carry water for painting, but do very little shoveling, to get in the door. [Isn't being an artist glamorous?] Here's to some snowfall and knocking the dust off of my shovel. Here's to environmental balance and healthy eco-systems.