Act your AgeSince every particle in your body goes back to the first flaring forth of space and time, you're really as old as the universe. So when you are lobbying at your congressperson's office, or visiting your local utility, or testifying at a hearing on nuclear waste, or standing up to protect an old grove of redwoods, you are doing that not out of some personal whim, but in the full authority of your 15 billions years.
-Joanna Macy describing the "Personal Guidelines for the Great Turning"
A few years ago my friend Shirley sent me a book called TWO OLD WOMEN written by Velma Wallis. Pete and I were living in Hilo on the island of Hawaii at the time. We had just sold my family home in Kuliouou Valley ... one of the many tough decisions that have made during a transit of morphing realities. I remember reading this beautiful re-telling of a traditional First People's tale about changing realities, resiliency and internal compasses. The book tells of a time in the life of a nomadic people who make tough decisions. Two old women, the oldest crones of the tribe are left behind to fend for themselves during a particularly gruesome winter. The tale that unfolds speaks of the memory that will not break in those two women ... the memory that turns life around, transforms the dark.
I have kept that little book among the few books that continue to travel with me. At the moment it is actually inside the Big House across the driveway ... nearby, it sparks that internal compass within me as Pete and I prepare once again for a move. Since the first reading of TWO OLD WOMEN, these two old dears have traversed islands, boarded planes and wandered aimlessly and than with aim trying to understand the condition of both my sensitive body and mind ... and the condition of the Earth's sensitive reality.
I found another 'old woman' who is helping me to view the nature of Earth sensitivity and what I can do about it. She is Joanna Macy. Rather than attempt to describe her I have included links to her website and post a bit of her working philosophy called the "Great Turning." This environmental illness I live with makes sense to me only when I step into a greater view. Perhaps this will help you make sense of the nonsense ...
PERSONAL GUIDELINES FOR THE GREAT TURNING
Come from Gratitude
To be alive in this beautiful, self-organizing universe--to participate in the dance of life with senses to perceive it, lungs that breathe it, organs that draw nourishment from it--is a wonder beyond words. Gratitude for the gift of life is the primary wellspring of all religions, the hallmark of the mystic, the source of all true art. Furthermore, it is a privilege to be alive in this time when we can choose to take part in the self-healing of our world.
Don't be Afraid of the Dark
This is a dark time, filled with suffering and uncertainty. Like living cells in a larger body, it is natural that we feel the trauma of our world. So don't be afraid of the anguish you feel, or the anger or fear, for these responses arise from the depth of your caring and the truth of your interconnectedness with all beings. To suffer with is the literal meaning of compassion.
Dare to Vision
Out of this darkness a new world can arise, not to be constructed by our minds so much as to emerge from our dreams. Even though we cannot see clearly how it's going to turn out, we are still called to let the future into our imagination. We will never be able to build what we have not first cherished in our hearts..
Roll up your Sleeves
Many people don't get involved in the Great Turning because there are so many different issues, which seem to compete with each other. Shall I save the whales or help battered children? The truth is that all aspects of the current crisis reflect the same mistake, setting ourselves apart and using others for our gain. So to heal one aspect helps the others to heal as well. Just find what you love to work on and take joy in that. Never try to do it alone. Link up with others; you'll spark each others' ideas and sustain each others' energy..
Act your Age
Since every particle in your body goes back to the first flaring forth of space and time, you're really as old as the universe. So when you are lobbying at your congressperson's office, or visiting your local utility, or testifying at a hearing on nuclear waste, or standing up to protect an old grove of redwoods, you are doing that not out of some personal whim, but in the full authority of your 15 billions years.