Lost in Transformation

Lost in Transformation

May has taken hold in Minnesota with warm temperatures, very little rain and lots of sunshine. The lake is being swallowed up by weeds already, but the birds and frogs are conversing, the wildflowers are holding up their brightly colored arms in triumph, Jack in the Pulpit has returned to the shady parts of the woods and the crab apple trees are flaunting their beauty as only a flowering apple tree can.  Life is emerging and flowing and thriving in every direction, and it shows no sign of letting up.

But in the midst of all this growth and aliveness, there is death, too.  The river has claimed another young life.  A dear friend lost her brother. A family in the community mourns a son.  Cancer took a friend of a friend sooner than anyone thought it would.  The sweet spring air is laced with a sense of loss, and it is jarring to try to find one’s balance as the beauty and vibrancy of a new season sits next to the sadness and grief of death.

We feel for the ones who lost those dear to them in unexpected ways.  We wonder how to give our support, we are unsure of what to say.   We suspect that simply showing up and feeling the enormity of what has happened is what is important, but we don’t have a road map for navigating something that has never happened before.  No one does.  Every death is new, never to be repeated.  Like every birth, every blossoming, every newly unfurled leaf, death leaves us gasping in astonishment.  It shows us the amazement of life, and it shows us the fragility.  It offers these things to us as another’s life passes on into whatever comes next. Continue reading “Lost in Transformation”

The Earth is Calling

The Earth is Calling

Gaia.  Mother Earth.  The planet.  Nature.  Outside.  Habitat.  Whatever you want to call this place, this conglomerate of matter, this energy field where millions of beings live out their lives — this very important element of human life is angry this week.  Maybe she has been for a while, or maybe she was just sad and exasperated before.  Maybe her soul has run the gamut of emotion and is as confused as we are.  But however she’s been feeling the last few years, this week she is angry.  You can see it in the brittle, dusty ground of a Minnesota spring, parched for moisture three months earlier than usual.  You can see it in the dry leaves, in how they writhe in the breeze, casting her irritation out over the ground.  And you can see it in the tsunamis and hurricanes and tornadoes that have increased in power and frequency over the last year years.  You can see it in the way the earth shook in Nepal five days ago, leaving part of her surface re-formed and thousands reeling in the aftermath.  Her anguish flows out over the cities in their concrete jackets, over the lakes and their expensive waterfronts, over the mountains that have been stripped of their peaks, over the garbage that floods her waterways,  and over the corn and strawberry fields that are toxic wastelands due to pesticides.   Perhaps she is tired of waiting for people to come around, to wake up and own what’s happening and to see her, to acknowledge — to remember– that she is here and that her wellbeing matters just as much as any human’s does. Continue reading “The Earth is Calling”

A More Beautiful World: The Space Between Stories

A More Beautiful World: The Space Between Stories

How beautiful can life be? We hardly dare imagine it.

Charles Eisenstein

I’m taking an eCourse over the next six weeks called the Space Between Stories. It’s being put on by author Charles Eisenstein and will include guest speakers as well as the opportunity to connect and process the materials and ideas put forth with other course participants via online forums. I’m not sure exactly what it will be like, and I don’t really have any expectations going into the experience, but Charles’ writing and verbalization of ideas has resonated with me over the last few years so it feels like an important thing to participate in.  The course calls the “space between stories” the time when the old story of who I am, what is real, and how to navigate life has broken down. It is the time when my familiar ways of making meaning are no longer relevant. I don’t know who I am. What had seemed so permanent, reliable, understandable and real is revealed as an illusion.

In The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know is Possible, Charles makes the case that we are currently stuck in between two stories: the old story of Separation and the new story of Interbeing.

You might already have an inkling of what the old story of Separation is all about. It’s about achieving success in life by doing well in school, getting a well-paying job, contributing to the growth of the economy; basically, it’s about following the rules of society and relies on human advancements to keep everything continually moving forward. It’s about getting more, doing better, and “making things happen.” In Chapter One, Eisenstein writes about his childhood,

Life made sense. If you worked hard you could get good grades, get into a good college, go to grad school or follow some other professional path, and you would be happy. With a few unfortunate exceptions, you would be successful if you obeyed the rules of our society: if you followed the latest medical advice, kept informed by reading the New York Times, got a good education, obeyed the law, made prudent investments, and stayed away from Bad Things like drugs. Sure there were problems, but the scientists and experts were working hard to fix them. Soon a new medical advance, a new law, a new educational technique, would propel the onward improvement of life. My childhood perceptions were part of a narrative I call the Story of the People, in which humanity was destined to create a perfect world through science, reason, and technology: to conquer nature, transcend our animal origins, and engineer a rational society.

Continue reading “A More Beautiful World: The Space Between Stories”