Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Life in our brave new world

Settling into the shift we’ve been striving and yearning for – and fearing – after days, weeks, months, and yes, for me – years, does not slide into place as naturally as do my springtime daffodils, now searching for the sunlight as they come into bloom.
This shift jars instead. Like the rusted out gears on an old jalopy, manned by an inexperienced teen-ager with a learners permit.

Astrologists tell us that we are in the midst of a planetary upheaval; important cycles endings and profound beginnings. Others, offering Biblical interpretations, predict the end of the world. And, the daily fare of reports from Washington continues to insist that our country is falling into irreversible decline, which is, of course, the other parties fault.
But who knows where the truest wisdom that can be relied upon lies here?

Last year Sue, my collaborator, and I sat outside one lovely Tuesday afternoon, peacefully eating our lunches, leisurely discussing our Steering Committee agenda, when the earth started moving.  Before long we discovered that an earthquake had shaken our ground. Or was that the year before?
Then came  Hurricane Sandy and the Frankenstorm, followed soon by election madness and the Newtown shooting tragedy. One can barely remember times and dates from one shocking event to the next.

Today is Tuesday again. Sue and I are planning another sunshiny meeting day.  Will the earth quake again today, rocking the very spots we sit upon?  
We cannot predict that any better than we know what lies ahead around the entire globe for today. So what is one to do, living in the midst of constant uncertainty and upheaval?

Personally, I decided to take some steps back from the maddening crowd in search of a grounding perspective; mature wisdom to rely upon, if I could find that inside myself or out.

Of course, I am hoping that this very ground I walk on will not quake again, today.
Still I think I have found my source, at least temporarily.

My dear, now deceased, friend, Rabbi Edwin Friedman originated the formula in his well-regarded Generation To Generation. He offered it as a remedy for what ails any dysfunctional family that one would seek to set aright. There is no reason to not apply its useful three-part solution, listed below, to a dysfunctional nation or planet.
1.       Define oneself;

2.      Invest in connection with others;

3.      Hold to a non-reactive presence.
Having applied this formula to numerous tough spots in my life  before, here I sit, reflecting on how best for me, personally, to manage this brave new world, drawing on Ed’s prescription for what “ails ye.” Tumultuous and scary as the world often is these days, I have set my course, at least for today; “suit up and show up” as my best self.
The sun is coming out and going back in, again, behind the clouds, just as life seems to do these days, I will, nonetheless, do my best to hold my ground.

There are, at least, one hundred ways to Sunday. I have mine; being true to me and leaning toward others with clarity and an intention for harmony. With that in mind, I am hoping things will turn round right, if we each do our best, first and foremost, to maintain our small “zones of peace.”

 Let there be peace. And, let it begin with me.

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