As we enter the Full Moon in Pisces, maybe you can feel that subtle tug, a pulling away from the demands of extraversion, towards the inner life again.
These last couple of weeks on the West Coast, living in the thick of wildfire smoke has been really difficult. Physically, obviously, but also emotionally. As we are deprived of clean air to breathe, and as our forests are burning down, it is bringing up so much conversation in our community about the “slow apocalypse” that is encroaching upon us.
Whether by way of flooding, wildfire, scarcity, or social chaos, we are all being asked to face the destructive nature of our species.
Yes, humans are astonishingly lovely and creative, but we also seem to be in a stunted adolescence of our evolution. We see the consequences of our behaviours, and yet we repeat them, as if narcoleptic; perpetually falling unconscious on a stark reality.
We find ourselves wondering about the future we will need to endure. What are our priorities, when despair sets in? When our career status, our prestige, our troves of wealth become meaningless? Of what use can we be?
Having given it a lot of thought, my priorities come down to 3 things. Wild water, seeds (& the ability to grow food), and a community upon which to rely when things get hard. As long as we have access to these things, we can hope to endure.
Though I have always wrestled with the validity of my writing poetry in a time when there are so many battles to fight, I believe in my heart of hearts that we need every form of activism. Anything that is working to reconnect, rather than to disconnect us. We need the frontline fighters, we need the mothers, we need the farmers, we need the poets. And when I begin to feel despair about the insufficiency of our efforts, I remember that despair is what happens to us when we can’t grieve properly. It’s the grief that has no welcoming container, no place to express itself.
I think we need to have more conversations in our families and communities about this threshold we’re on together.
There is a driving force in us which wants to step in and make something useful of it all, turn it into fuel for transformation! But another, quieter voice says says stop. Don’t commodify this loss. Don’t be so hasty to write a new story, in which the events of heartbreak are made meaningful, before the magnitude of what’s been destroyed can be witnessed in its entirety.
Yes, there will be a new world forming from the rubble. Yes, there is something valuable to take from this, I’m sure. But please, let us not turn this heartbreak into something useful just yet. If we do, we will be tempted to walk inour old ways. We will rely on tired words. We will make memes of ourselves.
Is there a way instead to really bear witness? To let the fog of uncertainty obscure our clarity. To not know where or how we’ll live. To be fumbling and full of grief, because what we always counted on has been struck from our horizon. We may never be so magnificent again.
I hope you have some good strategies for navigating the grief that you may feel. And if not, I recommend Martin Prechtel’s jewel of a book, The Smell of Rain on Dust, or listen to Clare Dubois and Joanna Macy speak on Grit, Grief and Grace.
In the meantime, let us turn towards to the unknown in the hopes that what we find there will help us to learn how to walk in a new way, for a new world.