A Call to Community

Wisdom tells us that the present is the only reality.  The past is gone, the future not yet here.  Thus, a snapshot of the present is the clearest truth.  The rest is memory or guesswork.   Currently, my state of Virginia has just gone into stage 3 of opening its economy, which had been closed by the Coronavirus.   Other states are in various stages of re-opening.  Yes, the virus is still being transmitted, but the consensus seems to be that if the states do not open their economies, we can choose between death from Coronavirus or death from deceased economies.  Most states have added precautionary regulations to their re-opening plans.  Some states are more consistent about enforcement than others.  Many people are rejoicing, seeing a return to “normal”, or the way things used to be before the virus.  Others are reserving their joy, maintaining a ‘wait and see” attitude. There is no consensus.

In true Alice in Wonderland fashion, events keep happening and creating chaos.  Given, needed changes can emerge out of chaos.  Ending racism, economic justice, and climate change are three of them currently in the news; others, such as restorative agriculture and abolishing war seem to garner less attention now.  No one really knows what will happen.  The only development with some certainty is that the “normal” of before the coronavirus is gone and will not return.   The new normal is yet unformed but will be different than before.

There are predictions by pundits of oncoming catastrophes of one kind or another that will inform the new normal.  One such prediction is economic collapse; the dollar will lose its value, there will be massive inflation and disruption to supply lines, creating shortages of foods, medicines, supplements (and maybe more toilet paper).  Another is a physical calamity, such as an EMP, or the sabotage of the power grid, or perhaps earthquakes or volcanic eruptions.   Yet another is the advent of massive Big Brother type tyranny, and the digitization of everything, even our bodies, so that we and everything else can be tracked.  A fourth is the effects of climate change, such as droughts, storms, floods, and dwindling water tables.  Each prediction has its reasons, and they can be investigated online. Some may happen, in full or part, and some may not.  Or, the other extreme, none of these things will happen and we will somehow attain a utopian society without much effort at change-making.  Whatever happens, it will not be the same as pre-Coronavirus.

Many of those who see catastrophes happening are busy preparing silently for the difficulties they foresee.   Most of this prepping is done individually by families who prepare for themselves, in as much detail as they can.  A few groups prepare together.  An underlying theme is that there will be chaos, and everyone will have to fend for himself/his family amidst looting and violence.  Cooperation is not the largest goal.  The thrust is to have as much of everything necessary or desired for oneself and one’s family and protect that from the envisioned chaos.

There is wisdom in being prepared, and perhaps the anticipated chaos will occur, although that cannot be known for certain.   What is missing, so far as I can see, is the element of community, cooperation and sharing.  This used to be a part of the lives of our ancestors, whether those in tribes or neighborhoods or frontier homesteads.  One cooperated and shared with one’s neighbors and hosting a stranger with generosity was a virtue.  We seem to have lost this in modern times.  It is not that there was no struggle; tribes and homesteaders fought, and neighborhoods tended to be of people who had known each other for a while.  However, the concepts of the virtues of cooperation and sharing were there.

We need to recapture these virtues if we are to create a new normal that is nurturing for people.  We need to expand these virtues, extending them to others who are different.  We need to combine our skills, wisdom, and energy to create a new normal in which all of us can live with dignity, exercise our creativity, be assured that our world will not poison us and that there will be enough food, shelter, water, clothes, medicine, education and the like for all who are open to receiving it.  That cannot be legislated from above.  It must come from people changing their own hearts and attitudes and working together cooperatively to create these conditions.  We need to recapture the attitude of community.

Communities, of whatever flavor, such as tribe, neighborhood, extended family, intentional community, are self-governing groups of people, from, say, 10 or 15 to as many as say, 50 (there is no set number, other than that which is workable for the group in its entirety) who commit to helping and supporting each other, working together, and who have the intent of staying together over time.  They occupy land of various acreages (some are rural, some urban) and are often self-sustaining.  They tend to be cognizant of the needs of the earth and the non-human life which inhabits it, and work in cooperation with those needs.   Generally, they govern themselves by consensus.  This contrasts with what now exists (and is in chaos) such as nations, states, counties, and other large units using forms of governance which are top heavy and authoritarian.  Voting still exists, but direct participation of the governed is rare.  People usually tend to look out for themselves and their families, embracing an ethos of competition and a race to the top or a sinking to the bottom.  Resources are indisputably unevenly distributed; those at the bottom often do not have enough.  The needs of the earth and other creatures go unseen or are neglected, following the apparent belief that the entire Earth and its resources are there simply to serve the needs and convenience of humanity.  (Some human beings were once held in slavery on plantations under a similar assumption.)

What now exists does not seem to be working very well.

Examples of how a modern community can function exist.  These extant communities show that people are truly able to come together and create successful community not only now, but also more prevalently into the future.  Like-minded people tend to gather into communities with others who hold similar values.  They are also willing to allow other groups their own values and beliefs.   Other than not attacking and harming one another, they recognize structures which are different from their own.  They also recognize the value and the right to continue living of the Earth and the plants and other animals who inhabit the Earth along with us.   Their ability to use communal wisdom enhances their ability to live in general harmony with the Earth and with each other. This is a summary; details can be found online at www.fic.org , for one, and also from many books written on the topic, including a directory of communities worldwide, available through www.fic.org .

We need now to examine how such a lifestyle might be possible for us.  Yes, there are difficulties to overcome; they are difficulties inherent in ourselves as people of a dominant and prosperous culture.  For example, we need to be less dependent on being right, on being one up on another, of being dependent on having many things, of tending to argue rather than try to reach agreement.  We can choose to overcome these difficulties and learn to truly cooperate, or we can carry our current stances into our demise.  The Earth will not choose to die so we can continue to be “right” until the end.  Even if the Earth did so choose, the death of the world which sustains us is also our own death.   Community is our hope; it is people working together, as cooperative units, to learn to heal the Earth and to give value and sustenance to every living being on the Earth.   People, is it harder to learn these things, or to continue to struggle with the chaos around us as we refuse to change?  Neither will be easy, but I do believe that the former will be exponentially more satisfying.

Let us now, before it is too late, to ponder the changes that need to be made, and the ineffectiveness of top-heavy government to make those changes.  We cannot avoid individual responsibility.  The struggle and chaos of the virus have given us our second chance.  Let us examine the format of cooperative community as a supportive medium in which to make these changes.  Let us research websites, read books and talk to those who have already made community, and then talk with each other about how we might do the same.    It is time.   We need community if we ourselves are to survive.  The whole supports the many, and the many support the whole.

Peace, Diane

Be the Change; the Way of Love

For more than a week now, the death of George Floyd via police brutality and the resulting widespread, vocal, and persistent call for police reform and the end of racism has pre-empted the prioritized space of the Covid-19 in the news.  Most of the protests have been peaceful; some have been violent and destructive.  Protests have been held in small town parks and cities worldwide.  Protests are still continuing, politicians have weighed in with their stances, and proposals have been put forth for completely eliminating the police, to demilitarizing the police, to more anti-racial attitude training.  Serious thought is also being given to increased funds being allocated to issues such as homelessness, mental health, food deserts, education disparity, and other issues which effect the poor, but mainly the poor of color.  We have yet to see if any or what will be a permanent outcome.

Protests are necessary, but they are only the beginning of change.   They serve to wake people up, to make as many as possible aware of the change that is needed and desired.  That is as far as they go; protests are dramatic, but they do not in themselves create change.   Political action and legislation can be helpful, but they, too, are limited.  Legislation can control specific actions, such as stopping for a red light.  It cannot govern attitudes, thoughts, and emotions, such as road rage.  For permanent change to occur, the perceptions, thoughts, attitudes, and emotions of people must change.  These are what underlie conditions; they create the conditions that the protests and laws are trying to change, and they create the change.   Negative emotional pressure, such as guilt, shame and fear cannot alter underlying conditions; in fact, they reinforce them.  Logic can inspire people to want to change, but the change must come from inside people themselves.   Change is truly a grassroots endeavor.

Most of us are familiar with the adage, “Be the change you want to see.”  Jay Shetty, in an interview in the September/October 2019 issue of Unity Magazine, explains, “When you start with being, you end up doing more effectively, but when you start with doing, you sacrifice being.  Everything is a byproduct of being.”   He advocates making to-be lists, rather than to-do lists.    Achievements, then, flow not from what is done, but from the being that underlies them.  The concept is not too difficult to understand; the application, however, can be a bit more confounding.
For example, it can be quite clear that one’s home needs organizing, but understanding what it means to be the organization, to be organized, is a bit less clear.  Being organized does not come from doing organizing; it is the other way around.  Yes, one can require oneself to do some organizing, and even achieve the result of an organized house.   However, if the being organized is not there, the result does not last.   Exactly how to change oneself from not being organized to being organized is still a mystery to me.  However, I know it does not come from shaming or guilting myself for disorder or fearing judgments or results of the disorder.  I can accept the logical desirability of being organized, and on rare occasions can even feel organized for a short while, but I have not yet learned to make organizing a central part of my being.  (It is also a virtue to be able to respond spontaneously, even in no visible organized order.)

To return to the topic of social order and social change, let’s pick three topics to explore.  Racism, the underlying motivator of “Black Lives Matter”, the practice of war, and the restoration of life and health to our Earth are three good examples.

Given that the more gradual method of being the change is the surest way of making lasting change, how would we proceed to change subconscious institutionalized racism into a social construct supporting the humanity of all and granting an equal status to both the needs of all and the peaceful expressions of all? How could we change our own being in such a way as to support the larger change we wish to see?   Perhaps, if one is white or of a group perceived as privileged, one way would be to make a true friendship with someone who is black or of another color.  By this, I do not mean befriending someone who is black.  That is the stance of the privileged helping the lesser person.  It is not bad to befriend someone, but that will not end racism.  By friendship, I mean becoming vulnerable to that person, in an equal emotional relationship.  Becoming a true friend means hearing the hurts and anger of the other person without judging, and appreciating even if not participating in the cultural expression of that person.  It means taking joy in the achievements of that person, and letting that person know of your joy.  It means accepting and acknowledging help from that person, as well as enjoying activities together.  It means feeling the human connection between you and recognizing the dignity of the other.  It means learning to love the other.   Conversely, if one is black (or of another underprivileged group), it means setting aside the assumption that someone who is white is not trustworthy (a kind of reverse racism when broadly applied) and making a true friendship with someone who is white.  In the movie Remember the Titans, the coach understood this when he integrated the team.   It is this kind of thing, multiplied many times over, that will bring about lasting change.  I think it has already begun.

War has plagued humanity since tribal groups encountered each other and competed for what were perceived to be scarce resources.  Over the lifetime of humanity, war has increased in virulence until it now can destroy not only humanity but Earth itself.   It is time for this to change – but how?  Agreements and treaties have been made, but because the underlying perceptions have not changed, the treaties have been manipulated, ignored, broken and betrayed innumerable times. That method is not viable.  War persists, more destructive weapons are developed and distributed, and more people are being trained to kill.  Here is something many people do not know; in order to be able to kill another human being without overwhelming damage to oneself, one must first become convinced that the ‘other’ is somehow less human than himself.   Boot camp sergeants are well aware of this.  The soldiers in any one army are taught that the soldiers in the other army, the ‘enemy’, are somehow less human than themselves, and permission is given to kill them.  This is the underlying assumption – that the ‘other’ is evil, barbaric, dangerous or in some way lesser, and therefore, it is OK to kill him and take what he has.  How, then, would one who wishes to transform war into peace go about this Herculean task?  How can one be peace, on a deep level?  It is easy to see how this is related to the root of racism – the idea that another human can be less human, less valuable than oneself.   Being friends with an enemy is certainly a possibility; there are stories about this which involve almost any war.  But the instances are presented as exceptions, not the rule.  In addition, the “enemy” keeps changing, depending on the era and the circumstances.  Somehow, we must give up judging the other entirely, give up the idea that we are better or more valuable than anyone else. On a personal level, this would mean not judging the person one considers to be one’s worst enemy or biggest threat.  It would involve not wrong making the backbiter who one perceives is destroying one’s reputation, or the one who cheated to get the higher grade on the test or the desired promotion.  It would mean finding compassion in one’s heart for such a person.  That is a tall order, but it is the underpinning of lasting peace.  Be the peacemaker, be peace; do not expect a government to negotiate and implement lasting peace without the underlying change in the majority of people, starting with oneself.

Healing our Earth is now of critical importance, to the extent that the survival of our own species is at risk if we do not do it.  The topic has been discussed, debated, and pronounced upon for nearly a century without any appreciable progress being made.  Yes, protests are held, activists are persistent, volunteers plant trees and examples have been made by communities who have discovered sustainable living.  Laws have been created and rescinded.  Yet, the Earth is in even more danger than before.  How can one be the change of a healed Earth?  Everyone can do something – even small children can raise their voices and remind adults of what needs to be done.  How, though, can we be the change?  Others wiser than I may have better answers, but it seems to me that the start of being the change of a healed Earth is to love that Earth – to spend time in nature, to enjoy and appreciate wildlife, to treat the Earth with respect, as one would a friend, to feel the earth under bare feet, to feel the energy of the Earth inside oneself.    How can one be the change of something of which one is unaware?  Secondly, a being agent of change would mean looking upon the Earth with the vision of Earth in its state of glorious wholeness, as a lover looks upon the face of the beloved in all its perfection.  The objections to the perfection – the scars of pollution on the Earth, for example, or the blemishes on the face of the beloved, would not be the central focus of perception.  That does not mean an unawareness of what needs healing; it means the vision would not be of the wounds, but of the wholeness.  We need more people who can do and are willing to do this.  No, the being is not the doing; it is the wellspring of the doing.  When we can be the change, the steps will be taken and the change will be done, and it will be lasting.

For most of us, this being is difficult; for many, it is also counterintuitive.  We have been trained to accomplish, to do.  It is time, now that doing has seemed to accomplish little, to raise our awareness to the level of being, and to begin our creations there.  It would seem to me that the level of being is also the level of love – not romance, but that love which considers the other as equal to and at one with oneself.  The time is now to go within and call upon this awareness.  In this way, we can make lasting desired change.

Peace, Diane

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

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