It is so amazing that the day before the inauguration is also Martin Luther King Jr. day. What an incredible time we live in. So much of Dr. King’s historic “I have a dream” speech rings true for where we are today. If you, like me, are too young to have been around when he gave it, I really suggest you go watch the speech or read the transcript.
And today is the last full day of the Bush presidency. I don’t talk much about politics on this blog, and I have no plan to start. I don’t feel that I’m informed enough to really discuss politics very intelligently, and I keep my opinions to myself except among personal friends and family.
BUT, I think we can all agree that the past eight years have been challenging and sometimes frightening years.
Fear is such an insidious thing, isn’t it? It sometimes provokes kind people to be cruel, happy people to be depressed. When we feel fear, we feel that constriction inside, and the temptation is so often to draw the boundaries closer, build the walls higher, and take on a “me and mine” attitude. We think there’s not enough to go around, so we cling to what we have and don’t share. In fear, we sometimes lose our ability to look ahead, to look up, to look around, because we are so busy looking down to make sure the ground is still solid under our feet. Looking at our storage rooms to see if there’s enough. Not making eye contact with our neighbors because they might want what we’ve got.
I have no idea what’s ahead. I don’t know if the economy will suddenly take an upswing, or will collapse altogether. I don’t know if Obama’s presidency will be brilliant or not. I don’t know if our government will suddenly become intelligent and civilized or not. But I do know this:
If we continue to live by our fears rather than our dreams, if we continue to define ourselves by our separateness from one another rather than from what we hold in common, if we continue to perfect the art of blaming everything on someone else rather than embracing our responsibilities for our own happiness, then no future will be a bright future. No economy will be solid enough to make us feel truly wealthy, no truce will make us feel peaceful, no good news will make us happy.
No President can heal this country for us. All the President can do is lend his voice and influence to the public discourse and hope to help inspire the appropriate changes in our national consciousness. The fate of our country is and always has been in our hands. I don’t know if it’s possible to make our “leaders” hear us and do what we want, but it IS possible to determine the course of our actions, even in the face of tremendous uncertainty. Even in the face of a future that terrifies us.
We can choose to share what we have with one another–always believing that if we share with one another, we not only have enough, but we have true abundance.
We can choose to love each other–always believing that love is the only power that lasts, the only power that is not based on the illusion of control over others, the only power that can make us better instead of corrupting us.
We can choose to hope–always believing that no matter how hard things get, hope will give us a reason to keep trying new things until we find a better way.
We can dream–knowing that we will only be able to create a better future if we can understand what a better future IS for us, knowing that we must see it in our minds before we can realize it in our world.
We can take responsibility–knowing that our future is ours to determine.
The changing of presidency is at the very least an opportunity for us to look back at the last term and evaluate what We the People have learned, to decide what has worked and what has not, and then to look ahead and consider what we want to happen in our country. There is an energetic gateway here, a chance for us to stop, consider, and change the course of our nation by joining together to build a better life. This all sounds very lofty and dreamy and maybe unattainable, but it all comes down to each of us taking up our power and responsibility.
This is a big challenge, I know. I struggle daily with the idea that I might have any kind of power or influence over the world. But I belive that every change the world has ever seen began in the spirits of individuals who, for whatever reason, found the ability to see beyond their personal needs of the moment, to recognize a problem or a need, and to give themselves to the creation of a solution, of a way to fill that need. We can argue that those people were extraordinary, had special gifts, were smarter or more wealthy or more blessed by the gods. OR, we can follow their example by looking outside of ourselves and asking, “how can I serve?”.
I’m not saying I’ve really managed to do this yet. I am trying, but I’m just a normal person with challenges to overcome. I don’t consider myself to be above average, I don’t have my shit together, I am not smiling serenely from my lotus position ready to lead you all to the light. But I am willing to open myself to the possibility that I might have a role to play in shaping the world, even if it is only the tiniest imaginable role. I believe that my thoughts and attitudes, as well as my actions, create my reality. We all take part in the creation of reality.
Today seems like a good day to challenge everyone to consider the reality we are creating. Do you like the world you are living in? If not, let’s change it. Let’s turn our hearts and minds to the consideration of what we DO want, of what we do desire, not just for ourselves but for our family and friends, for our community, for our state, for our nation, for our world. I challenge everyone to search for ways to start creating justice, nourishment, health, peace, and abundance.
And you know what I’d really like? I’d like to hear from you all about what you are doing to create the world you want to see. That would be so inspiring, especially for me, since I’m still sort of figuring out what I want to be doing. So let’s start talking about what we want to create, and how we want to try to create it.
I’ve got this awesome talking stick to pass around–who wants it next?
*I use the word heroine in the loosest sense. And mostly as a joke.