The Daily Hope

Sunday, June 26, 2022

The Path of Transformation

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Holding the Present

Never let a serious crisis go to waste… it’s an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before.
Rahm Emanuel

 

Through each crisis in my life, with acceptance and hope, in a single defining moment, I finally gained the courage to do things differently.”
Sharon E. Rainey

 

In a crisis, be aware of the danger — but recognize the opportunity.
John F. Kennedy

Crisis.
Opportunity.

Sometimes our greatest gifts come in strange packages and we wish we could send them back where they came from.

What was “normal”, until a few months ago?

We could sit in a cafe, enjoy the smells of fresh coffee and frying eggs without masks on our faces. Stand up and cheer with the crowd at a baseball game or concert. Not worry that our job might disappear as the economic dominoes of quarantine knocked each other down. Have a meeting that didn’t require a phone or computer. When we met our friends on the street we could shake hands, embrace, whisper secrets at close range.

What else was “normal”?

Democracy was under assault and we felt helpless to slow its decline, stood by watching our nation become a colony of the wealthy, a “democracy theme park” 1. We hoped elections could still make a difference, but weren’t so sure any more. That had become a “new normal”.

We imagined we had turned a corner on racism, on all forms of organized hatred, only to see them grow again. Systemic discrimination of every kind – the systemic non-recognition of every human soul as equally valuable – was woven through our institutions. We sensed this; maybe even sensed it was getting worse, or at least failing to get better. We had no idea what to do. It had become a “new normal”.

Our desire for speed, convenience, and more “things” had far outstripped our desire for a livable planet. We worried about climate change and environmental degradation, but for most of us its worst effects were off in an unseen future, or happening elsewhere to someone else. Meanwhile, we bought disposable everything and left our engines idling while we shopped. That had become a “new normal”.

Our families and communities had lost their viability as foundations for knowing who we are and where we belong in the world. Beyond our immediate households and a few close friends, most of our interactions were with people equally overwhelmed by the faceless institutions they worked for – the government agencies, the corporate chains, the school systems where creativity had been banned in the name of standardized testing. The ability to see each other as individuals with unique characteristics and abilities was disappearing.  That had become a “new normal”.

For decades we lived in a world in apparent decline. Most of us who were trying to “do good” in the world, felt like we were putting fingers in a dike that was going to collapse soon anyway. There were lots of books and movies speculating about the future. None of them were optimistic. Most were horrifying. We tried to encourage each other to stay hopeful, as we privately wondered “It’s so out of control. What could possibly turn this around?”

Then, early in 2020, opportunity arrived – who could have imagined it would look like this, or cause so much suffering? But dear friends, this is the opening we’ve been waiting for, the pivotal event that releases the stranglehold of habit, tradition, entrenched systems of power and opens the way to a new world of possibilities. The hole torn in the fabric of “business as usual”, where new light comes through to show a new way. In this moment it may not look much like that; those “entrenched systems” are still very much in place, and in many parts of the world are obstructing an effective response to the immediate crisis of coronavirus – not to mention opening routes to a better future.

But look to the places where the most effective responses are happening – where there is wise, caring leadership in place and people willing to sacrifice personal desires to the common good. It’s more than “good government”. It’s a new model for cooperation-based society where all needs are considered, and anyone who wants to is welcomed to be part of the solution.

Then look where effective responses are not happening, where those in power – government,  profit-takers –  use the crisis to prey on peoples’ fears and further divide and exploit – or even try to pretend the crisis doesn’t exist. And see this: Where the national government fails to help, the state or regional governments step in; where those fail to help, the local communities step in. And here on the ground where we live, people are rising to the occasion, showing their resilience, their resourcefulness, their fundamental generosity of spirit. For every headline-grabbing example of rebellion against accepting the limitations of the moment and looking out for each other, there are a million tiny events showing the opposite: People asking themselves and each other, “how can I help?”

And… in this isolation, this “new stillness” that severely constrains our freedom of movement, is an opportunity unprecedented in human history: To come into closer relationship with those whom our souls have chosen to be near us at this time: Family members, housemates, intimates in our circles of friends, faith communities, etc. – but most importantly, with ourselves, deepening the most primary relationship in every life.

IF we believe that goodness is the essence of every human being; if we believe that every person carries a spark of the Divine, a place of purity where every person is one with every other, their own fertile field “beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing” 2 – then this time can only help to bring us all into closer relationship with that part of ourselves; and in doing so, can only help to open the doors to a positive future that would have been hard to imagine just a short time ago.

In this section of The Daily Hope, we offer tools and resources not only to help us endure the challenges of the present with greater resilience and ease, but to find purpose and meaning in these events, and find joy in the possibilities offered by this doorway to the future.

Some of our favorite voices speaking to this moment

The Inspirations section is devoted to creative offerings that inspire the mind and nourish the heart in difficult times. Here are a few that have been particularly inspiring in creating The Daily Hope:

External: LO Coronavirus and You
Coronavirus and You: A New Reality Being Born
External: Vander Clute Message from Coronavirus
After the Coronavirus: A Vision
External: Eisenstein The Coronation
The Coronation
External: Horx The Post Corona World
The Post Corona World
External: What if the Virus is the Medicine?
What if the Virus is the Medicine?
External: Thoughts on What’s Happening
Thoughts on What's Happening

Footnotes

  1. This term was coined in 1996 by “corporate anthropologist” Jane Anne Morris to describe “the place where we play at pulling the levers of democracy, only to discover they aren’t connected to anything”. See http://democracythemepark.org/home/
  2. From “A Great Wagon”, by the mystic poet Rumi. One translation can be found here: https://onbeing.org/poetry/a-great-wagon/