Monday, February 20, 2017

'Unconditional' activism

Here are a few more thoughts from last week; both seem important.

First of all, on the subject of activism - A friend and I were recently discussing the ever more urgent need to engage actively in standing up for our principles - and for liberties we have probably been taking for granted.  In particular, how can we know that our efforts are having an impact, and, more to the point, I believe, is it necessary to see concrete 'results'?   Lately it seems to me that such assurances (of results) are a luxury and that activism is simply our responsibility, whenever and however we can participate, and whether or not we are convinced of or can see its effects.  Many of our actions will be 'fruitless' in practical terms, but we cannot let that fact silence our voices.

And speaking of taking things for granted - in my several seasons of pilgrimage so far, it has never been so clear to me as it is now,  that I might not have the nerve to embark on this walk were I not a white person.  That thought has certainly crossed my mind regularly in past seasons; it's just that in our present sociopolitical climate it becomes even more painfully obvious!

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Next steps: learning to go forward with an open mind, a positive attitude and a broken heart...

Some responses to this question seem to be dawning on me as I meditate on the paradox of discovering equanimity, even optimism, and grief all together within the same activities.

After the 'presidential election' it occurred to me that I had come to feel 'curdled' by negativity and cynicism, was avoiding contact with fellow humans in groups larger than one or two, and withdrawing even further than usual into a bubble of apathy, or was it antipathy?  This attitude is contrary to the essential purpose of my walk-journey, and so I resolved to take steps to turn it around. Among the various 'therapies' undertaken was a 10-day fast beginning on the Winter Solstice, incorporating meditation and contemplation with gentle walking, resting and reading.  The fast also had a physiological purpose and, now that it's been over for a while I can say that the results were positive all around.  

Otherwise, aside from whatever odd-job work is available, my attention has often been focussed on 'walk practice', and participating in those sorts of gatherings (more frequent these day) that involve marching with signs and yelling slogans! As to the subject mentioned above - time will tell how this year's walk (Stage III!) unfolds, but based on past experience it seems possible that, through meeting the challenge of engaging in openminded mutual inquiry with others, I will continue to encounter kind and generous people, which does wonders toward the maintenance of a positive attitude!  My broken heart will go with me, and may help guide encounters with those who share my grief for the earth and its many dispossessed people and critters.  This pilgrimage is less about a belief in human capability to stop or slow the massive, runaway train of global abuses, and more about appreciating our planet's many existing (and declining) life forms and meeting other people who care!

Practice walk between storms!

Joining hands across the GG Bridge!

The tree that fell on my neighbor's house in the last storm this week.