At two points in my life, I stopped drinking: first, when I was 18, sickened by my decisions and the hold that alcohol had on me. By ultimatum, I attended Alcoholics Anonymous and stayed sober for five years. My motivation was escaping the destructiveness I experienced in myself: the poor choices, the darkness, the desire to be numb.
Sometimes, resisting something is enough. Certainly, it was enough to keep me sober for 5 years.
However, the second time I got sober I was again sickened by my decisions and the mess my life had become. But this time, I wanted something better. My motive wasn't to escape myself, but to become the person I knew myself to be. I didn't know what, exactly, that would look like, but I knew it existed, I knew in my heart I was better than my behavior.
The ease with which I was able to stop drinking the second time taught me a valuable lesson: moving toward a vision is far more potent than fighting against what you don't like.
The courage to see beyond the chaos
My sense is that we are standing at an opening-- in my mind's eye, it looks like a large cave with an opening to the light. Between you and I and that opening stands a dying system of power. What that means to me (and what it looks like) are people and structures making decisions that are creating chaos as they try and roll us back into an old way of being.
This, and their ideas, are old news. Obviously. Look at the response of people around the world -- the strength of our conviction that black lives matter, that the environment matters, that women are sovereign beings who are in charge of their own bodies and their own voices, that immigrants are vital to our economy and welcome here, that separation of religion and state is desirable and necessary and let's not forget that the truth matters. The truth and actual facts matter very much to a majority of people.
What you are seeing are ghosts -- they appear real, they appear solid but they are not. The reason they appear to have any power is the fear and anger and accusation that many of us are sending their way by buying into the chaos, and reacting to their unbelievably hateful and destructive actions. In my mind's eye, it appears that the more attention the old structure receives through fear and anger and disbelief, the more real it appears.
It's so difficult to see what is happening, to acknowledge it and not react in a way that gives the ghosts more energy and power. However, when we react in kind with anger, disdain and us vs. them language and energy, we perpetuate the same dynamics over and over.
I, for one, am ready for something different. Are you?
The power of using tension for change
To have an intention is to be in tension -- to want one thing and to not be there....yet. To even know that you are in tension, you must have a vision for where you want to be. This is a most powerful and potent act. I believe that what is happening can clarify your vision: what do you see beyond the ghosts? What world do you believe exists beyond the opening where they stand guard?
And beyond the wall of ghosts? Beyond, I see light. I see equity, justice and Truth. I see respect for all beings and a world community working in partnership with the earth instead of against ourselves by trying to extract every single "valuable" particle from our beautiful planet.
We have a choice in every moment that something hateful and horrible happens - to rail against it in anger, giving the ghosts more power or, we can see what's happening, acknowledge that this is an old story that very few people believe in and allow it to break our hearts open and clarify our vision. This in turn will strengthen our action on behalf of the world we wish to create beyond the opening.
If you and I can hold the vision for the just and equitable and safe world that is possible for all; then the old paradigm and it's limited remaining power will, in time, dissolve. Like water against stone -- the water does not see the stone and become angry that the stone stands in her path -- the water flows around the stone and eventually dissolves any resistance as she continues to flow to her final destination.
Hold the Vision
What kind of world do you wish to live in? Hold the vision for that world, and move into action - the action that is meaningful for you.
Stay rooted in the center of your heart -- now is the time to nurture your connections and your community. Commit to your work in the world with increased passion. Dance and sing and cry. Eat well, travel, delight in the world, and honor the earth. Make love to your life. As I watch us live fully, holding the vision and acting with the strength of our convictions, I see power and energy draining away from the ghosts, freeing up the opening. Your lived joy and commitment to the vision you hold weakens them and strengthens you - strengthens us all, which will help move us into the world we wish to create beyond the ghosts.
It is in holding the vision with fierce love for the planet and for all beings on this planet, that our power becomes like the ocean - an unstoppable force for change.
Finally, let us be like water.
Flow around the obstacles and see beyond what is before you. Trust that in the power of flow, the seemingly immovable object is dissolved and becomes part of the water itself. We will move through the opening to a new world.
Whatever part you are playing, I honor you. Thank you to the reporters and truth tellers, thank you to the analysts, thank you to the warriors. Thank you to those coaching and working with the traumatized. Thank you to the immigration lawyers and those who are standing tall for civil rights. Thank you to the water protectors and those who link arms between the bulldozers and the land. Thank you to those who are donating money and quietly making calls. Thank you to those of you who are drumming and dancing and calling your neighbors together to share a meal. I honor you. I thank you.
I believe in you. I believe in us. No matter how long it takes.
And I believe we can hold the vision and move over the threshold, together.