Monday, March 12, 2012

Beginning again...

That's one of the wonderful things about this life, if you are not too attached to identity, personal history (or, baggage), career, beliefs - you can begin again - over and over and over. Evolution continues to create and recreate life over millions and millions of years. Why not mine?

Star formation. Chandra: NASA
Of course, this also means dying over and over again, letting go what no longer works, what no longer fits, what no longer describes or provides narrative for what we learn as we go along in life. It means not clinging to belief systems when those systems have cracked open at the foundations under the weight of new discoveries, new realizations, new unfolding...

I just try to open these days, more and more. It's hard right now because it means opening to some shattering truths about where this species seems headed, the damage we're doing, the deepening of suffering as a defining reality of our times. On the other hand, I see no other way to address that suffering at its causes. If we don't go to the source - and it is, indeed, a harsh journey - we can't get to the place where suffering ceases.

Thich Nhat Hahn writes: "...the absence of the presence of well-being." So simple. So seemingly impossible in this world right now. Look at what just happened in Afghanistan where a soldier made into a killing machine, then sent to war over and over again - 3 tours of duty in Iraq, then on to Afghanistan - finally breaks in a murderous rage. We went through this in Vietnam, the My Lai massacre being the most notorious example. We dehumanized this soldier, broke his humanity. In many ways, his is a saner response than those who can adapt, kill, then do it over and over again, still apparently sane - apparently, because we also know that the majority of the soldiers who do the fighting end up with various forms of psychological distress and illness.

Lake Michigan bluff - photo: Margaret Swedish
We know the causes of this suffering, but we are afraid to embrace the vulnerability and insecurity it would mean to risk going to those causes and removing them.

This weekend I attended the 10th annual writers festival sponsored by the UW-Milwaukee Continuing Education department - an entire weekend spent with writers, editors, agents, and more. You come out of a weekend like that reinvigorated, reaffirmed in the belief that writing, for a writer, is the most important thing you should be doing, so why do you let so much in life distract you from your vocation?

Well, paying the bills is always a problem. You can help this writer by supporting the non-profit through which she does her paid work - speaking, organizing, facilitating, writing about the ecological crisis and how to live through it. See: Spirituality and Ecological Hope for more info.

So this has been a blog about Wisconsin politics, with some cultural reflections mixed in. Now I want this to be about my writing, what I'm writing about, and why that matters. What I hope for is your input as well. Thoughtful responses to what you read here are most welcome. I neither want to write nor think alone. Community is the gestation space for creating life anew.

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1 comment:

  1. I wish you much luck with this new project! I think of writing, more and more, as a form of yoga. You can sometimes reach a clear space from which to reflect. Writing can be therapeutic too when it allows us to see our own personal smallness in perspective(I don't mean this in a demeaning sense). Seeing that smallness in comparison to the universe can be experienced as the lifting of a great weight (the ego..)