Monthly Archives: November 2016

Now What? We Die. Then We Rise.

www.livingviriditas.orgNow what?

We got walloped. Many of us are grieving. Many of us are worried and afraid. Many of us are angry. Most of us are all three. Some of us can barely function.

Friends, we’re being invited into the holy cycle of death and rebirth. Dying and rising again is written in our DNA and embedded in the structure of our world. Dying and rising again is the Way of the Cross.

These times are inviting us to grow up and become stronger, luminous, loving beings we can’t presently imagine.

But only if we do the work.

We are resilient. We can do this. We can die and we can rise.

This is what faith looks like. This is what Jesus did.

I think dying and rising again will look like this, for me. If this roadmap is helpful for you, I’m glad.

1. Be terribly sad. Be heartbroken. Be angry. Feel the feelings, but don’t get too attached to them. Take the time you need, but don’t wallow.

Fear is different than sadness or anger. Please don’t give in to the fear. Fear of the future is useless and disempowering. Recognize fear, and then bring your attention back to the reality of this present moment. Avoid spinning in fear and worry. Have compassion for people stuck in fear and worry, going down that rabbit hole. Help them if you can, and then get out. Sit down, focus on your body and your breath, and let your heart tell you what comes next.

2. When it’s time to rise, rise up. When it’s time, as Mary Oliver says, “Rise up from the stump of sorrow, and be green also, like the diligent leaves.” You don’t have to get over yourself, and you’re not overreacting or being a bad loser. Take the time you need to heal. Do what you need to do to feel stronger. When you feel like you can, please get back in the arena. When it’s time to rise up, rise up.

3. Choose positive goals and words. We can only achieve positive things. We can’t accomplish a negative, because there’s nothing there. Stop, close your eyes, and say these phrases: “No hate.” “Be kind.” Which one feels more peaceful and powerful? I’m betting it was “Be kind.” Be clear on what you want. Let go of what you don’t want. Dream big. Dream outrageously.

4. Pick one area of focus. “Be a meaningful specific rather than a wandering generality,” to quote Seth Godin. Let your passion be your guide. If we all do this, we’ll cover the bases. I’m picking the environment, specifically climate issues and public lands. Be clear on both your line in the sand, and what you want to accomplish. I’ll chain myself to a tree if I have to. I’ll go to jail if necessary, to keep Oregon’s public lands protected.

5. Be part of supportive communities. As Ram Dass says, “We’re all just walking each other home.” Now, more than ever. Your community might be church. It might be wisdom circles, or neighborhood potlucks, or running groups.

6. Practice excellent self-care. Stay connected to your Source. Pray, meditate, take long walks, cherish your body, make music, whatever it is for you that keeps your spirit strong.

My friends, we are love warriors.

We can do this thing.

I’m Angry.

angerI’m angry.

Here’s a sampling of what I’m angry about, in no particular order:

I’m angry that mother Orcas are starving to death in Puget Sound, leaving their babies to die. Chinook salmon are getting harder to find because of overfishing and dams, and the salmon the Orcas do find is laden with toxic chemicals.

I’m angry that people are chaining women like dogs inside storage containers.

I’m angry that kids who aren’t white are getting crappier educations than their white counterparts.

I’m angry that assault rifle-toting militia members get acquitted while peaceful Native protesters are set upon with dogs and pepper spray.

I’m angry that there are still climate change deniers, and that they’re still getting air time.

I’m angry that I’m complicit in climate change because I’m embedded in a society that doesn’t really give a rat’s ass.

I’m angry that Donald Trump can say what he says about women, minorities, the disabled, immigrants, and others, and he still might get elected.

I’m angry that Hillary Clinton did dumb stuff with her State Department email.

I’m angry that people think “Dump that Bitch” is an appropriate way to talk about anyone, and that those same people think Hillary’s email is in any way equivalent to Trump’s hate speech.

I’m angry that poachers kill rhinos for their horns.

I’m angry that we’re killing cougars and bears and wolves. I’m angry that wolves are being shot from helicopters. I can’t imagine how frightening this must be.

I’m angry that we spend so much time and money in this country watching professional sports (Yay Cubs!), and we can’t seem to solve big problems.

I’m angry that anyone is still killing elephants, let alone boasting about it.

I’m angry that the Episcopal Church and other mainline Protestant churches are still calling God “He.”

I’m angry that we’re still clearcutting old-growth forests.

I’m angry about so f**king much these days.

I don’t like being angry. I’m angry about feeling angry.

I’m not sure how to handle my anger and still be a kind person.

I feel more powerful when I notice what my anger says about my values. What values are being infracted by these things about which I am so f**king angry?

  • Compassion for all living creatures.
  • Respect for women.
  • Respect for ourselves.
  • Living on Earth reverently.

For a start.

“Nice” and “kind” aren’t the same thing.

How do I want to change my behavior to more closely reflect my values?

How do I want to speak up for the defenseless and powerless?

How do I want to be a more compassionate and thoughtful Earthling?

How do I speak respectfully to disrespectful people?

Now I’m back in what I have control over: myself.

And here’s a dog dressed as a minion, so we feel a little light. Thank you for reading.

dog-in-minion-costume