Here we are, on our calendars it’s another year end, 2016, mighty and full and intense, in my memory.
Last year, at this very time, the town I live in and surrounding villages and towns were only just beginning to surface from the most severe flood catastrophe in a long time. Both the magnitude of this event and of the unprecedented community cohesion and action to bring us all – literally – out of the water, have left an enduring mark in our spirit that makes us look around now, at the aliveness and brightness of everything this year, with wonder, gratitude and relief.
Somehow, in my own soul register, this felt like a turning point not only in this valley, but in the collective consciousness of many, carrying an overbearing sense that we have entered times of unimagined change, the sense of loss most prominent at the time and also, later on, of possibilities, but with an inevitability and necessity attached to this that made the feeling unsettling, pushing some of us to sniff the air, scan the horizon, search for signs and tracks. Fox as an animal symbol has appeared repeatedly throughout my experience of this time.
I won’t need to sum up some of the most crucial and destabilising global events that characterised this year. So much of it in process and indicating again a magnitude and unpredictability to the possible developments of such extreme phenomena the human species is causing and living through that is evoking collective terrors and shaking the texture of our known world.
Many have realised how so much of this unthinkable turmoil has to do with the erupting voice of all neglected distress, poverty, injustice, deprivation and fears. Like all suppressed voices, this explodes and manifests in extremisms and irrational, counter-survival behaviour, mob based reactions, thoughtless blind attacks. An extreme way of becoming visible, being heard, reclaiming power, ‘amplifying’ the problem so that it can no longer be denied. This is both a catastrophe and an unprecedented opportunity. Here we listen, respond, learn, change or implode.
In my personal life I have felt directly affected by these events, some more than others. There have also been illness, distress and loss amongst my circle of friends and family and we lost a dear friend too at the end of Summer, painfully and shockingly.
Life feels more precious than ever, the capacity to maintain hope more important than ever. But above all, in the face of the pervasive sense of powerlessness and disillusion, it feels absolutely crucial to recover and preserve as sense of meaningfulness, of worth, and of our birth right ability to effect and change the course of events, decisions and actions both in our own individual lives and elsewhere in our world.
This might sound naive or out of place, but at this time the abundance of magical imagery in children movies and stories presents itself to me in a new important light. This is not about denying the hardship and tragedy of some realities in ours and other people’s lives, but about reminding ourselves of our original ‘trust’ in our ‘power’ to impact reality. If used this way, the magic we believed in as children will have taught us not about relinquishing this power to other entities, bigger than us, farther away, but about faith in our own ability to connect to the inner and outer resources we need to be who we are, connected, worthy, effective, impactful, meaningful, not by merit, not because of a reward for extraordinary, heroic and unusual acts, but by virtue of our own existence here.
As a friend put beautifully in one of his posts lately, not only we each and all have influence on the course of events, on our environment, our politics, our economy, our health, our creativity, but we can’t possibly NOT! We are inextricably part of ecosystems, at micro and macro levels, inevitably, undeniably. Nature, life, our bodies, communities, humans and all species operate this way, it’s a given. Once we fully realise and feel this in our own very cells, and act accordingly, we then effect the most powerful paradigm shift in recent history, we know that we cannot NOT have power and that to act as if we didn’t, also has an effect, consequences, far reaching and unavoidable. So we might as well embrace our power responsibly and notice how far it goes, make it work in favour of life.
The good news is also that once we know this, we no longer have to feel that it is the size or specialness of our acts that makes a difference, but ALL of who we are, ALL OF THE TIME. That all the little minute, neglected, underestimated, overridden acts of positive change, of compassion, help, courage, decisiveness, integrity, has infinite ripples. Look at how much has also been achieved and changed and stopped by the force of collective gathering and effort everywhere! Powerlessness becomes an illusion.
So here we are. Alan Watts says in one of his inspiring talks that life is an act of faith. Think about it, our daily lives are made of endless series of acts of faith, of which there is no guaranteed outcome (just think of how many of these takes to just drive in a box in the middle of traffic for few mins to the shops!). Pure faith.
The magic is that we CAN. This is my wish for us all.