Creating Our Way Forward


It has been two months now since most of us have been in lockdown over the Coronavirus, and many of us are out of work.  Those of us who are still at work are in many cases risking contracting the disease by continuing to work.  We have been through shock, grief, and suffering, and many are still having difficulty accepting that the world as we know it has changed.  In the news now is talk of “opening the country”, allowing some businesses, closed because of the necessity of close contact between people to operate, to re-open, and the people employed by those businesses to return to work.  The issue is polarized.  On the one hand we have those who prioritize economic activity, and who are sometimes even willing to take up arms to force state governments to “re-open”.   On the other side, we hear the warnings from those who are looking to scientific advice to avoid as much as possible themselves and others contracting the virus.  Those scientists warn that “opening” too early will serve only to spur a resurgence of cases of Covid19 and lead to higher death rates.   Both sides have valid points, and neither side has the full story.

Three important aspects in particular are not being mentioned.  For a successful recovery of the country, human societies, and the Earth, these aspects need to be understood and internalized.  One is that our world has permanently changed, in that we cannot, ever, return to the way things were before the virus.  For better or for worse, things will be different.   Another is that the virus, irrespective of how specifically it came to be,  is a direct result of the negativity we have created upon the Earth, in our human societies, among the plant and animal denizens with whom we share our planet, and within the physical Earth itself.  Unless we cease creating the negativity and mitigate the damage we have caused, we will continue to experience disasters, and even more viruses.  The permafrost is currently melting; as it continues to melt, it will release ancient viruses it has stored in frozen limbo from ages ago.  We are no longer immune to these.  And last, we need to fully understand that the future that will emerge will be a creation of our collective consciousness.  The thoughts of mystics and visionaries, activists, workers who tend to the  Earth and  to each other, lovers of the Earth, lovers of technology, the apathetic who want to receive good while putting little out, the pessimistic who believe we are already on a path of destruction – these thoughts will all merge to create an outcome proportionate to their prevalence in the common subconscious.  We need to make those thoughts conscious, look at them, decide if this is a future we want, and have a real conversation about them.  To neglect to do this will almost certainly bring us results we will find we do not want.

There is no lack in literature and among the people concerning visions of what may be.  There are visions of catastrophic occurrences that throw us all back to prehistoric hunter-gatherer times.  There are visions of highly technologically developed societies, a la Brave New World or the evolved (and often invisible) citizens of otherworld cultures, as in the Star Trek series.  There is the thrust towards an ever-larger organization of a World Government (without a plan of how this will not be an overarching force to make all people conform).  There is the proposition of no big government at all, only many small self-governing groups cooperating with each other (and not completely acknowledging how we will all need to grow in the ability to peaceably get along).  There are plans for grand cities, and thoughts of rural life.    The story of Oversoul Seven shows most people in a domed city surrounded by complete wilderness which is inhabited by a few secluded people who have managed to adjust.  The author Richard Bach predicts a possible future of people who have converted their bodies into robots of themselves and uploaded their consciousnesses so as to be able to withstand a polluted Earth and care for the remaining animals, who live under a dome.    Religious prophecies foretell times of great tribulation followed by a time of reward.

Whatever outcome one envisions, there are underlying principles which need to be accepted in order to heal the Earth and ourselves and construct any kind of stable future.    We need first to recognize the very basis of our life, named by many with many names, the Creative Energy from which we are all formed; it is the substance which comprises and sustains the cosmos, the Earth, Nature, the plant and animal life on Earth, and humans as well.  There are patterns to that Energy, called perhaps laws of creation; they are the way that life functions.  We may learn from them and develop technology which is consistent and cooperative with them, so that we may more efficiently follow those patterns to support all life on Earth.   We may not use our technology to dominate Nature and to go against it when we think that will be more convenient to us, or more exciting.  When we try to conquer Nature and take its riches for ourselves, we destroy it.    Technology is a wonderful tool, used correctly; it is not God, and it will not save us, nor spare us from making changes.

We need to evolve from the either-or attitude that we are all the same and all have to agree about what is and what we are to do, or the alternative attitude that anyone who is different from ourselves is an enemy.  We need to accept that we are created different, and that it is possible to respect who/what is different from ourselves and acknowledge it as a creation of the Source.  In floral terms, we are not all roses.  We are daisies, sunflowers, violets, azaleas, begonias, honeysuckles, four-o-clocks, morning glories, baby’s breath, Queen Anne’s lace, marigolds, and many others.  We do not have to be the same, and we do not have to think alike and agree.  We do need to hear and honor each other, and to refrain from physical or verbal (or even mental) violence against each other, focusing on cooperation rather than competition and fear.  Especially, we need to avoid fear.  Priests and philosophers for ages have given us the message to “Fear not”.

We need to move beyond war as a means to settle differences.   This is a direct outcome of the above.  If we cease to fear each other and truly respect each other, much of the motive for war will be gone.   We need to abstain from the ideas that war is honorable, or that one side is right and the other side wrong, or that war is justified.   Our animal heritage might tell us that we need to fight over mating rights or territory.  I think we have grown beyond that, and we need to now renounce those thoughts.  A positive world cannot be created while war exists.

In addition, we need to cease making war on life itself.  We need to carefully watch ourselves to ensure that we are celebrating the life we are given and of which we are a part, declining to participate in its destruction in any form.  We will not by consuming destroy the Earth or the plants and animals on it.  We will not destroy our babies or our elderly. We will live as healthy lifestyles as possible.  If we do not wish ourselves to be conduits of life, then we will not conceive it.  We will not pollute the land or sea.  We will not destroy our protective atmosphere.  Instead, we will embrace and honor life.    We cannot create a positive future if we continue our habit of killing what is not convenient or what we do not like.

We need to shift the current economic inequities, which leave some people without the basic means of survival and shower others with more than they could ever need.  This needs to be an adjustment to our thinking and our beliefs, not simply governmental action that will measure, regulate, watch, and punish to ensure everyone is complying with rules designed to avoid greed and want. It needs to come from our hearts, our love of life and respect for each other, and from abstaining from collecting more than we need.   It needs to come from attitudes of cooperation, rather than competition.  Perhaps this is more easily done in small groups of tribal size, but it is not impossible in cities.   We also need, each of us, to grow a part of our subsistence, and create part of the energy we consume.  Whether this involves restorative farms, small indoor or roof gardens, closed systems of waste disposal/use and resource generation, or other creative means, it is up to each of us to participate personally in some small way.  We need to let go of the idea that we are privileged above others, and that it is someone else’s job to give us what we need.  Concurrently, we need to take the responsibility of governing ourselves, individually and in small groups. 

We need to learn to listen.  We need to listen to ourselves, to nature, to the mystic overarching Energy, to the wind and the waves, to our hearts.   We need to build into our systems time to reflect, to pay attention to what we hear, to share our insights, and to listen to each other – really listen, even if we do not agree.   We need to carve from our busy-ness the time to be still.      We need this time to, at least for the moment, understand what it is to be satisfied and what it is to be grateful.   We need to cultivate these attitudes.

I’m sure others may come up with more parameters; these are the ones I now see.   Whether we exist in vertically built cities surrounded by undeveloped land, or in small groups in clustered homes with the surrounding land farmed or wild (there are currently prototype groups that do this sustainably and self-sufficiently), or in whatever other form we envision, the principles above need be applied.   They are basic as we move forward.

Are we ready to answer the wake-up call, to let go of the past, have the needed conversations, and move forward to a more just and compassionate society and a healed Earth?   I hope we are.  We cannot sleep our way to it.  Let those of us who are awake each wake up at least one other and put our shoulders to the task of creating what we wish to emerge from the wreckage of the past and the tribulation of the coronavirus.

Peace, Diane

A Wake-Up Call

The dark just before dawn is a magical time.  The earth is morphing from the dreamlike state of night to the brightness and focused attention of day.  In like manner, most people are transitioning from sleep to wakefulness, from the slower pace of sleep to the activity of the day.  The dawn is special; it is the coming of the light.  A light switch in a home is also magical, though more sudden. It, too, brings light into a darkened area, revealing that which we could not see in the dark.  Often, it reveals to us work which we need to do, work which we may have preferred to ignore in favor of the more relaxed pace of the dark.  Sometimes, if we have ignored that work too long, it is painful to address: mountains of filing to be done, dusty clutter in basements to be cleared, overgrown lawns or gardens to be tended to are some of these.    Our current pandemic situation can be construed as a time of dark, when everything slows, pending work of the world is ignored or concealed, and the media at least try to keep telling us how lucky we are to have this time off.  Times of darkness are valuable times of introspection and renewal; they are also times when we are tempted to give in to the human fear of the dark and ignore anything but our fear.

Whatever our individual opinions on the coronavirus pandemic may be, it is obvious that the attention of most of us is placed on the pandemic, repeatedly focused there by the media.  Whether we think of when the lockdown will end, how we will survive unemployment or partial employment, the chances of getting sick or dying, staying six feet apart, the usefulness or need of masks, gloves, worry about whether others are following the rules, how to keep kids amused and engaged, opportunities to exercise or availability of food and supplies, the attention is on some aspect of the pandemic.   Other critical issues seem forgotten by most, except for activists or those who are campaigning.  We need to learn our lessons of introspection and begin emerging from our darkness to pay attention to what else is going on.  Our Earth, especially, needs our attention, including our planet and all its denizens, among them humans and their cultures.

Without a planet, any other issue with which we may be concerned is immaterial, because we will no longer be there to engage with it, and the Earth itself may or may not continue to be able to support life.   Our lives after this coronavirus dissipates will not in any case be the same as they were before the virus began.  However, if we wish to shape the directions our lives take, we will need to be ready to make changes on many fronts.  It is time we began looking at those fronts.

As our systems are interconnected, it is difficult to isolate any one of them with which to begin.  Perhaps they need to be addressed at the same time, each part by those with expertise in that part.  Our economic (especially banking) systems enable our energy systems, which enable our food production and distribution, which feed into our health systems and our medicines, all of which enable our media systems and our military systems, which in turn support our economic systems.  It is a Gordian knot.    We creative humans have built a massive, impressive construction for ourselves; that creation is on the verge of destroying the planet.  Three video productions, one older, two recent, vividly illustrate what is happening that we prefer not to see.  Earth 2100 (PBS) is fictional; it is an excellent pseudo-documentary of the years between 2000 and 2100, well done, based on fact and interesting to watch.  The Story of Plastic (by the environmental group The Story of Stuff, shown on the Discovery Channel) is a visceral revelation of what we have done with our desire for convenience and profit and the overwhelming task of cleanup.   Planet of the Humans by Michael Moore, available on You Tube, pulls back the curtain on what we are headed towards on the path we now walk.  They are not pleasurable distractions, but thought-provoking and hopefully action-inspiring information we need if we have the courage to look and act.

The main components of the Gordian knot we have built ourselves can be summarized as Big Oil/Big Energy, Big Agriculture, Big Health and Medicine, Big Media, Big Military, and Big Banks. Big Technology facilitates all of them. It is hard to talk about one without the other, and certainly there are experts on each topic.  However, it does not need a technical expert to know some things. One is that technology is an extremely useful tool and may help us if we can use it with humility.  However, it is not God, and it will not save us, especially if we worship it, put our hopes and reliance on it.  It will not help us to make no change and simply continue with some variety of the systems we are now following. 

The changes we need will not be convenient.  They will require us to take care of ourselves and each other, rather than being taken care of by a hopefully benevolent government.  They will require us to accept and respect each other with all our differences; we cannot require everyone to be the same, nor can we require everyone to adhere to the same ideas.   We will have to find ways to peacefully cooperate and to join as one while at the same time honoring each other’s differences.  We will have to give up the idea of killing – each other, the old, the young, the Earth and her denizens – for the sake of short-term profit or aggrandizement.  We will have to learn to live more simply, attaching our self-worth and comfort to inner/spiritual health rather than the production, consumption and amassment of things.     That is a huge task.

For example, in order to reduce the rising temperature of the planet, we need immediately to stop extracting and using fossil fuels. That is not so easy when we realize that the technology needed to make such things as solar panels or wind farms consumes fossil fuels and releases carbon dioxide as much or more as the panels or wind farms save.  Those things will not save us.  In addition, the electricity on which we all depend is itself dependent on fossil fuels. Yes, it is cars and factories, but not just that.  Imagine a world without electricity.  Imagine how we will live in such a world.  We also cannot burn up our forests for fuel, as the forests themselves are the lungs of the world, sequestering the carbon and providing us with oxygen.  Imagine living in a world in which our only fuel to burn would be the twigs and dead wood which are naturally created in the lifespan of a tree.  We may need to know how to do that.  It is not convenient.

Many people think that reducing our population is the answer to our problems:  fewer people, less need for resources.  Of course, none agree on who it is who should be culled.   Killing off the unborn or the elderly or the disabled or those different from the powerful does not result in a better situation; it results in an unbalanced population.   Pandemics are an equalizing way of reducing population, but most of us would prefer to avoid them.   Nature has a way of balancing populations; when an ecosystem can no longer provide for an ever-expanding species, that species simply quits or limits reproducing for a time.  They do not have the technology to create (imperfect) contraceptives; they simply abstain.  Are we as strong as they?  Can we do that?   (Try reading Out of the Silent Planet by C.S. Lewis and focus on the description of the Hrossa.)

We need to reduce our sprawl, which has devastated the habitats of animals who now try, to our chagrin, to live among us.  No more suburbs.    Cities can be built vertically, both in high rises and low rises (beneath the ground).  Here, our technology might be useful in making these more comfortable.  Or, we can build rurally in clusters, with the expanse of land around the clusters rather than around individual homes.   Can we agree to live in density?  Can we agree to govern ourselves based on the decisions of likeminded groups gathered together, respecting the decisions of other like-minded groups different from ourselves?  Can we trade peacefully with someone with whose philosophy we disagree?

We humans, with our advanced technology, have succeeded in polluting our land and waters with factory farm runoff and pesticides and genetically engineered plants and animals not in nature, and we have succeeded in destroying the living nature of our soil.  We need to immediately cease operations of our factory farms and slaughterhouses and clean up the mess they have created.  We need to give up our pre-prepared foods, our out of season foods, our excessive meat consumption, our sugar addictions.  We need to engage in restorative, regenerative agriculture and organic family farms.  We need as much as possible to grow our own foods and re-learn the arts of cooking from scratch (men and women) and preserving foods.  Are we willing to learn?

We must realize that the time to abandon war has come.  If we believe that to stop killing each other is a sacrifice, can we understand the benefits of not existing under the fear of being attacked by another group or individual?  War is a major destroyer of the planet, and a major contributor to the systems which have brought us to where we are now.

We must give up the systems of banking and interest, which fuel the entirety of the destructive components we have now and create the massive inequality of resources with which we are now faced.  (check out the video, The Biggest Scam in the History of the World by, I believe, hiddensecretsaboutmoney.com, and posted also on Socratesgold.com/crucial-education-about-money/         Video #4) .We need to learn again to trade with each other and be willing to help a neighbor.  I think those are our basic instincts.  Are we willing to change to use them?

We need to give up big government, which by its very nature is more interested in amassing power than in the welfare of the people.  We need to give up the instruments of government control, such as massive surveillance, and instead be willing to agree on laws and mores in smaller groups, with the basic tenet being that each group respects the other and does not engage in violence against another.  Countries could still exist, but the control would be with the people, not from the top.  Can we have that conversation?

In all this, a respectful use of technology could help us.  It is the abuse of technology to dominate and consume the planet and disregard the other beings which inhabit it that is destructive now.  It is the use of technology to discourage the personal, physical connection of person to person so as to live behind a screen in an electronic interweaving which ignores nature, assuming that technology needs no nature,  that turns technology toxic to life.  Used correctly, this amazing tool could help us to do what we need.  We could start with science fiction (from which inventions often come) for ideas.  For example, in Frank Herbert’s Dune Trilogy, the people of the desert had unique ways of conserving and creating water which enabled them to live in the desert without destroying the often-fragile desert ecosystem.  We can turn to existing communities (check www.fic.org ), some of which have made great strides in sustainable, off-grid living, and some of which are expert on how to live and get along with others.

This posting has been decidedly longer than usual, and still covers only a part of what needs doing.  The bottom line is that it is time to stop focusing on the pandemic, or on whether our neighbor annoys us, or even on political parties (focus on candidates and issues instead).  We need right now to have the conversation of how we will make the many changes needed to save the planet which is our home.  That is a real and urgent issue, not a sentimental one.  The time is now.  Later will be too late.   Let us awaken now and put our energy into this conversation and these actions.

Peace, Diane

Grief

We in the United States knew about the new virus called the Covid19, a more virulent variation of the SARS virus, well before we were seemingly suddenly affected.  At least, we had followed its progress in China, and tried pulling our citizens out of China.  We became aware that a cruise ship just off Japan had become affected.  We followed that but did not yet fully understand what was impending.  Seemingly suddenly, in March the virus began to spread – first in Washington State, then on the coasts in general, then over the entire country.  Schools were among the first to shut down.  This was quickly followed by the shutdown of any venue where people might gather – gyms, bars, etc.  Then, full lockdown was instituted in most states, with all but essential businesses closed, and people instructed to stay at home, keeping at least 6 feet between themselves and other human beings (except for the people with whom one lives).  No longer would close human contact be, as usual, a resource for stress and change.  No gatherings of more than 10 people, each 6 feet apart.  The news proceeded to issue running totals of the sick and dead, and to report how the hospitals and clinics were overwhelmed, understaffed, and poorly stocked with needed equipment.   Each day seemed to add a bit more on what we were to do and how dangerous our lives had become.  Fear mounted.   As Sonia Livingstone in YES magazine commented, we had “lost jobs, lost vacations, lost weddings, lost family members.”    Yet, the news says very little about grief.  Most of us are grieving.

The classic stages of grief are denial, anger, bargaining, acceptance, not necessarily in that order.  We deny our losses, saying they are not lost but just on hold for awhile.  We deny the situation, believing that shortly everything will go back to how it was.   We sedate ourselves with emphasis on the advantages of isolation (and there are advantages to slowing down, having time to be, and having time to be with family), trying to tell ourselves how fortunate we are.  We do not acknowledge the losses we have sustained from this virus.  This is denial.

Some of us are angry, and the news media likes this response.  It can be tapped for political reasons, and is sometimes used to deflect responsibility from ourselves by calling it “the Chinese virus” as if that would make it go away.  People who are angry can refuse to comply with distancing instructions or can unleash their fearful anger on others by criticizing and finger pointing.  None of this is helpful; yet, if we do not acknowledge the grief, the anger will not simply disappear.   Everything has suddenly changed; we no longer have the comfort of each other except by machine mediation; we no longer have the sense of being safe in our world; the simplest of tasks, e.g., grocery shopping, has taken on whole new aspects and component details; we have lost the sense of ourselves as productive workers, and some of us have physically lost family members who are no longer with us.  The losses are massive, and, although this particular virus will pass, the world will never be the way it was before.  The grief is also massive, and we need to acknowledge it.

Next, the bargaining; if we are very good and follow the rules, things may go back to the way they were before.  This is a hope, but not a reality.  There are definitely ways we need to change to engender positive outcomes, but just following the rules which keep us safe now are not those ways.   Understand that for a long time we have been inflicting problems and negativity on our planet.   Some of these are war, racism and rejection of the poor and suffering, massive development which destroys the natural habitats of our fellow beings on earth, fossil fuel extraction and burning combined with factory farming, especially CAFOs, which massively increase the pace of global warming, political divisions and feuding, plastic and other pollution, extreme income inequality, the results of global warming, such as increased fires and storms and the resulting suffering.   These actions of ours do not come without consequences.   Viruses thrive in an atmosphere of negativity, and the current state of the Earth is a feast for viruses.  This one may pass, but if we do not change our ways and act in ways that heal our earth and clean up our negativity, viruses will continue to appear and have a virus party at our expense.  These are the things on which we need to focus, rather than on futile attempts to be “good enough” so things will go back to the way they were before.  We can have a positive and wonderful result, but only if we accept that we need to clean up our acts first.

Which brings us to acceptance.  Most of us are not there yet.    Acceptance of what has happened, acceptance of our losses, acceptance of changes made and changes we need to make are what will lead us out of grief to a better situation.   We of course will not forget – one does not forget what was loved but is lost – but we will no longer be in a state of pain and suffering.   If we accept and do the work we need to do, we can transcend the current distress and rise whole from its remains.

We need to become aware of and acknowledge our grief.  We need not be ashamed of the stages of grief we may be experiencing now, but we need to acknowledge them for what they are.   We need to be as gentle as possible with ourselves as we pass through these stages and allow ourselves to feel them.  Unless we feel them, we cannot process them, and we become stuck in our grief.  We can raise our voices in cries and wails of mourning as we move through this wake for what was.  We need to feel all this and process it and arrive at the acceptance of loss and of what work now needs be done.    That is our hope; it is the only realistic one.

May we each allow ourselves to grieve, to be gentle with ourselves in grieving, and to finally accept – accept both our losses and our responsibility to do the work of moving ahead.

Peace, Diane

What Next?

I remember quite clearly the day I learned suddenly of the destruction taking place on 9/11.   I was teaching my preschool class, completely unaware of events, when a mother came in to sign out her child.    “We are under attack,” she said.  “They’re bombing the Pentagon.”  At first, I found it hard to believe what she was saying.   The day seemed perfectly normal to me.  Then, more parents came in to take their children home, and the director of the school confirmed the reports from what she had heard on the radio.      To say that the information was a shock is an understatement.  Who could be attacking America, and further, doing it successfully?  Neither I nor anyone else knew what would come next.

Something was lost that day – even more than the vast loss of life that caused immense suffering to so many people.  America lost her feeling of innocence, of being invulnerable to being hurt.  We were now as able as anyone else to undergo trauma.  We were no longer “on top”, unassailable, deferred to.   The loss angered most people.   It also changed our society forever.  The effects of those changes are now a part of our lives.

A score of years later, we are currently amidst another crisis, one of a different nature, but equal intensity.   From this crisis, too, many lives are being lost, and the nature of our nation is again changing.  The media are full of fear messages and instructions about how to cope.  People are asked to distance themselves physically from each other (especially no gatherings), and are, for the most part, cooperating with that.  Those of us who are not technologically savvy are either being left out or undergoing a steep learning curve.   Elders are being left to die alone, without loved ones in attendance.  People are losing jobs and income, and real solutions to that still have to emerge.  Other serious issues, such as climate change and elections, are on the back burner.  The increase in national debt to finance the very basic promised government help will create added stress on an already globally weakened dollar.  Everything seems to be falling apart, and no one seems to be able to put Humpty Dumpty together again.

All of which leave me wondering.  To what advantage to whom if anyone is an absence of people gathering together and of most interactions being done online?  Perhaps someone knows that answer.  What will happen to the poor and the disadvantaged?   How will our economy and business activity evolve, assuming they recover?  What will be the changes to our governing structure?  

The silver lining is that if we are aware and active, we have the chance to shape from chaos the organization that will emerge.  We have choices.  Certainly, we can sit back and wait, counting on others to take care of us and make our lives something we are happy to be experiencing.  We can also sit back and wait on the flip side of that, assuming that nothing needs be done because what is happening is needed; the loss of population and the collapse of institutions are good signs and whatever happens need not concern us now.  We can also start to envision what we would like to emerge, and to comprehend the steps we would need to take to get from here to there.  The one thing we cannot do, unless we wish to engage in a fairy tale, is to presume that after a few months everything will resume as it had been, and nothing much will change.

Perhaps we will continue to live as a people mostly living and working online.  That would be a change appreciated by some, while others will grieve the loss of being able to shop in a store instead of shopping online.  Perhaps the weak response of the Federal government, which has led to piecemeal approaches by each state as states attempt to take control of coronavirus action within their boundaries, will result in a confederation of states, rather than a central government – much as the structure of the UN.  Perhaps the rebound from social isolation will be that people meet and talk in person more than we did before.   Perhaps a heyday of machine mediated living will emerge, and we will be welcomed by self-driving cars, robot companions and helpers, and enhanced AI – we would need to do little or nothing.  Perhaps new ways of doing business and meeting our needs will emerge as the dollar continues to weaken to the point of collapse (there have already been predictions of that, before the coronavirus).   We do not exactly know what will emerge, but whatever emerges will be what we wish and design, or what someone else wishes and designs, according to the extent of our involvement or inactivity.

I have received over my email several theories and predictions about the economy and about what we should do as a result.  One group is convinced that the currency of the future will be digital, and that the wise thing to do is to learn about and invest in currencies such as Bitcoin.  Other people are more traditional; their take is that he or she who has the most gold will control the future, and that gold will again be the medium of exchange, at least until a seriously gold-backed new currency can evolve.  Not many are of my leaning, that what is most valuable is arable land and as many cooperating people as needed to tend it sustainably.  Food and shelter are basic needs.   One cannot eat gold, or Bitcoin either, for that matter.    (I am ignoring the theory of chaos populated by armed bandits that pits us against each other, individually and in groups.)  If I can, I will acquire such land, individually or in a group, however I can.    That is a large goal.   A smaller aim, one which most of us can do, is to learn how to garden, to grow our own food, and to learn the use of herbal medicines.  Some are also able to learn to lead in organizing our neighborhoods into cooperating groups.  It used to be that way – my mother told tales of growing up in such a neighborhood.  What we have forgotten, we can remember, and bring forth anew in a shape to fit our times.

It is admirable that people are responding positively to the current enforced distancing by singing from balconies, smiling and greeting each other from a distance, posting pictures in windows, and checking digitally more often on friends and family.    It is good to continually hear from the media (among more dire predictions) that we will all come through this.  These are blessings to be absorbed now, comforts that enable us to handle the sudden changes and the contra-intuitive way of being, apart from each other.  They are superb in the short term, but not enough to carry us through the long term.  We also need to  begin now to ponder the changes, the questions the changes engender, the direction in which current patterns are leading us (for example, I hear little about ameliorating climate change, which is also upon us), the directions in which we would like to go to achieve goals which we want, and the steps we need to take to get there.  We need to start talking about those things.  We need to be aware, and to take responsibility for creating that which emerges from this chaos.  We can no longer afford to be a nation of children, looking to others to solve the problems and take care of us.  In that way, we lose our power and our humanity.

Amid all that swirls around us, let us take the time and devote the energy to thinking about the questions which have arisen and to discuss them with others – both those who agree and who disagree.   Let us envision a future we want and ponder how to make the transition from here, now and in the near future, to that desired outcome.  Let us take the responsibility to create our systems, our futures, our lives.    It is certainly possible to do that.

Peace, Diane