Cray cray! Pandemics, disarrayed financial markets, lackluster leaders, and me waiting for rain that never was. Not to mention mail order plants that never arrived!
Okay. Take three deep breaths. Acknowledge the opening door of a much needed change — or a correction, if you please.
Maybe. Gawd, I hope so.
But do not crow! I repeat: DO NOT CROW!
The door appears to be opening that may welcome the reentrance of decency, rationality, truth, and concern and care for those without. So many of us rejoice, but with breath held in prayer that, indeed this cycle of support for megalomaniac authoritarianism, will reach its natural end. Disruption of the norm as it stands at the moment I craft this post, is like a hurricane that upends our lives and cleans house. But at the same time, we must be 100 percent aware that the debris left by the storm remains. It hasn’t disappeared nor gone into the depths of non-existence.
This post is directed to those of us who just want to crow and crow loud. Yes, a bit of crowing feels good—but it is exactly way the disruptors have behaved for too many years. Let us not follow that muddy path.
In January of 2016, my soul writhed at the negative change exhibited daily through news and reports. So I took a 30-day retreat from the noise, to include consuming inspirational books, and a silence retreat in the hills above Big Sur at the New Camaldoli Hermitage. There, I sought counsel. From my post Flowering into Full Blossom–The Mindfulness Project:
I arrived for my 10 a.m. consultation early. I took a seat inside the hermitage’s chapel. Liturgical incense lingered in the air. On pillows in the rotunda, to the left of where I sat, a group of mostly younger persons sat silent in mediation. That sight, compounded by the previous day’s sunrise candlelight procession and vigils, through the evening’s vespers followed by a half-hour mediation, emotionally impacted me. There are good people who care.
My counselor, in his cream-colored hooded robe of a Camaldolese monk greeted me and gently grasped my hands. I crumbled into tears and began to shake. My guess is that he expected me to seek counsel for some horrible life event or experience.
“Let me explain my emotions,” I began as I wiped the tears and tried to regain my dignity. “My life is good with a healthy family and a pleasant life. I’m not spiritually conflicted. But I am deeply concerned about our world. I don’t know how to apply my only talent to help make a difference and be a true force for good.”
We sat face to face where one could see truth in the other’s eyes.
I watched this priest’s face relax in that I was not there to find my way through an awful marriage, nor was I facing a life-threatening disease, etc. I gave him a full resume of what I have done with life, what I do now, and a detailed recap of what I wrote above.
He seemed to rejoice in discussing the state of our world, spirituality, creativity, and our place in the universe.
He took the professorial position with explanation of both world and ecclesiastical history, and he became the wise and objective voice of a spiritual counselor.
“Charmaine, keep true to hope and don’t despair when speaking truth to power,” he said. ‘And go beyond the division.”
His eyes sparkled with this advice: “And when you feel despair, ask yourself, ‘How do ants empty a silo?’ One ant at a time.”
The 76 year-old scholar and monk suggested that I change nothing of what I do. “But at the same time,” he interjected, ”prepare your soul. Tragedy will happen in this changing world, but do not despair.”
As we neared the end an hour’s conversation, he added, that even though many find false comfort in believing that there is no such thing as climate change, and should calamity come down, as predicted and already indicated, “be sure to never use the I told you so retort.”
Let me highlight his last statement “BE SURE TO NEVER USE THE I TOLD YOU SO RETORT.”
His instruction was to remind me to stay above slinging arrows, verbal jabs and, simply, crowing. He captured something within me, and wished to pull that tendency away from my habitual response to proving that I was correct all along. As a matter of fact, I learned that it’s foolish to prove that I was correct, because the action will prove itself. Be gracious in winning as in defeat.
My personal life has dramatically changed since January 2016. So has our world. I’ve been stripped of many of life’s pleasures, as the planet has been stripped of forests and its other domains. Forces of good prevail, however. Healers work with my body. We pray healers (us) to repair the damage to our home — planet Earth.
So as light begins to shine through the opening of a door that can allow positive change to return, let us not crow about the failure of what may be behind us. Instead, let’s take that energy and get to work to curbing this pandemic, returning balance to all facets of economic forces, and let lackluster leaders retreat to their idolatrous caves of disintegrating gold.