It's all about the journey...
Along with just about everyone else I know, I have been moving through various stages of depression, anxiety, dread, horror, and grief as I witness the travesty of government, the utter destruction of anything remotely resembling democracy, a social safety net, or environmental protections, indicated by Congress and the evolving cabinet of the soon-to-be-inaugurated dictator-wannabe.
But lately something has happened that – while it hasn’t brought me to singing and dancing, it has allowed me to put my feet more firmly on the ground. take a deep breath, and put myself back together.
You’re one of my angels now, nine years gone, cheering and challenging me from the spirit world after you blessed my vocation in our
last real talk….but I’m still trying to make sense of your paradoxical legacy as I, in my turn, approach elderhood. Not only your legacy in my own life, but the legacy you left the nation through your contributions to the Heritage Foundation and Republican Party and the rest of your conservative causes.
There are powerful books…and then there are books that grasp me by the spiritual lapels and shake me to the bones. Return to Joy by Andrew Harvey and Carolyn Baker, published this year by iUniverse, is one of the latter.
Like almost all of the people I know, I’ve been struggling with grief that’s deepened to despair, watching the relentless befouling of our global biosphere and the implacable destruction of the social safety net here and around the world….the death of the oceans and the looming great sixth extinction…the progress and outcome of the presidential election, and all that has followed….
At two-twenty one morning, after a week of horrific news from Standing Rock, Washington, Aleppo, ecosystems of the world, I was numbly clicking through Facebook posts so I didn’t have to go to bed, lie there staring at the ceiling, and possibly get waylaid by the despair that had been building in me since….I’m not sure when, probably since the brutal attacks started at Standing Rock.
I’m watching the election returns, seeing my friends’ Facebook feeds registering fear, horror, anger as each new bit of news shows up. Fighting the sick feeling in the pit of my stomach, madly tracing Reiki symbols in the air and sending energy, then turning back to the spiraling disaster.
What happened???? Yes, the polls were all over the map, and when I went to Standing Rock the Midwest was a sea of Trump signs….but how could anyone seriously vote for this racist rapist….we all know the epithets he’s earned.
Just a brief post tonight….and yes, there will be more about my visit to Standing Rock; after the horrific events of 10/27, I am still madly sharing the news I see to inform sympathetic friends.
But this thought: One of the most moving elements of my experience at Oceti Sakowin was the warmth of the welcome and the shared support of the men and women camped there. The elders at the drum circle would speak of the campers as family – “we are all relations here” – and it was common to hear groups addressed as “relatives” or “brothers” or “sisters” with the deepest authenticity.
To the Editors:
Reading the prevailing mainstream coverage of the horrifying events at Standing Rock on 10/27 and 11/2, as hundreds of police from multiple states massed in military vehicles and riot gear against the unarmed, praying water protectors, I have been simply appalled. While some reporters have represented the full situation (more or less), too many have been one-sided or biased in their coverage, weighting the words of corrupt officials beholden to the oil industry and diminishing the just claims of the people being victimized as they struggle to protect the water resources not only of their tribal lands, but of the nation’s heartland. Even cursory research would have turned up the truth that there is far more to the situation than is being represented.
There is a time when human-interest stories of strong and gentle people preparing for winter in a remote resistance camp fade before a heart-stopping demonstration of raw communal courage, made in the face of overwhelming militarized force. A demonstration documented only on social media; the most important history of our time is being made far away from the mainstream news cameras.
That’s what happened yesterday. My accustomed middle-class routine was setting in; I’d intended to spend the day blogging about the amazing people I met at Standing Rock. But upon seeing a stark, terse warning in a NoDAPL group’s feed, I spent the day frantically scouring Facebook for the latest news, trying desperately to find out what was happening and get the news to someone – anyone – who could give it the mainstream media coverage it deserves.
On Saturday, October 15, everyone in the camp met for Pipe ceremony preceding a direct action at the pipeline construction site. This account is based on my memory; no notes were taken. I’ve made every effort to remain faithful to the messages conveyed, but these are paraphrases, not direct quotes.
In the morning of my first full day at Standing Rock, I awoke to the sunrise and the song of the Four Directions echoing over the camp. Quickly unwrapping myself from the emergency blanket, sleeping-bag liner and mummy bag in which I’d coccooned against the frigid night air, I did my morning preparations and hurried down to the central drum circle for the morning’s ceremonies.