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Back in the Tangles
A month ago, I wrote about tangling or doodling.
I have been meditating this way in the (very fraught)
intervening weeks and I realize that
tangling feels to me like it is a good metaphor
for lots and lots of life experiences –
including those we are facing right now.
My thoughts feel very tangled.
My vision feels very tangled.
My relationships feel very tangled.
Our future as a nation looks very tangled from where I stand.
But it seems to me that tangled is not necessarily a bad place to be.
The universe is an interdependent web…
which is another way of saying it is a beautiful tangle.
Friendships and marriages and extended families and churches
and communities of colleagues are tangles with sometimes ugly knots,
but, equally, with intricate and extraordinary connections (tangles).
Educational systems, political systems, cultural systems, financial systems
are all tangled together…sometimes for ill, but sometimes for good.
In the meditative process of tangling, there are no mistakes
because there is no ‘right way’.
A mark we don’t like can simply be adapted or transformed.
If we think about it, almost every breath of every day is unpredictable.
So, we can see the unexpected as a ‘blot’ or as a flourish in the pattern.
As we move into an uncertain future (and, of course, any future is uncertain!)
we can see the tangles that reveal themselves either as frustrating knots
or as an opportunity to create a unique design.
And when my inner four-year old gets over her sulks,
I know which one she is going to choose.
A few years ago, the Butterfly Effect
had a brief moment in the limelight…
and lots of us were enchanted with the idea that
some small act on our part could influence the world.
Which, of course, is (uncomfortably and sometimes unfortunately) true.
So that means that the negative or thoughtless choices we make
lead to things like human trafficking and indentured slavery
and the extinction of whole animal species
and the destruction of mountain ranges and wild habitat.
[Hold that thought because we need to own this.] It also means, my friends,
that the courageous and life-giving choices we make
tilt the world toward justice and compassion.
We must not wait for an ‘opportune moment’
or the cameras to be rolling
or a ‘better time’
or powerful allies to be in place.
We act now, and now, and now, and now.
The Butterfly Effect means that each small singular
act of generosity or witness counts.
Every one. [And we need to own this wonderful part, too.] May this day be filled with empowering acts and encouraging words.
May this day be a day of building and weaving
and growing and nurturing.
This day may your wing-beat carry love.
My cherry tomato plant is struggling valiantly
to ripen the last dozen-and-a-half tiny, sweet, greeny-purple globes.
I transplanted my scented geranium to over-winter
and discovered another half-dozen miniature sweet potatoes
from the sweet potato vine in among the roots of the geranium.
The matriarch of our family (who is 98) fell and broke her hip
and I know that her final journey is not any longer in the far distant future.
Our daughter and son-in-law called to say it looks like
they will be settling into Minnesota and would we really be unhappy there?
Or could we see our way clear to move north and east
when my beloved retires?
So, I’m juggling grief and opportunity,
abundance and the season of dormancy,
disappointment and fear (the election),
and a reinvigorated sense of purpose
(response to disappointment and fear about the election).
In other words, life is pretty much unfolding as normal.
Just pause on the cusp of this moment and think about that!
I am in awe – in absolute awe –
at the stupendous breadth and width of existence,
and the flavor and scent and tempo and chaos and mystery
that is held in every single breath.
I am in awe of the never-ending chance to contribute
to the beauty and the wonder,
to make a difference and to receive the difference made by others.
And so, I wish you a day as various as you can possibly enfold
(and then just a tiny bit more various to stretch you – )
and I wish you the whimsical spirit to be as varied as you like right along with it.
Just over a year ago, I created 21 pieces of art in 21 days.
Today, I opened the folder of the 21 pictures on my computer
and this one — called ‘Playing the Angles’ — stopped me in my tracks.
I think my (still somewhat bruised) heart needed it again.
Here is the poem-reflection I wrote to go with it:
They say that
life is about playing the angles,
going for the gold every time.
(by luck or wits)
you play the right angles…
they’re all wrong.
So, isn’t it good that
the heart doesn’t have angles?
If you want to make an apple pie from scratch,
you must first invent the universe.
What is truth?
Are we willing to know what is true
even if it is frightening and uncomfortable?
Are we willing to speak truth
even if people laugh or dismiss it or try to silence us?
Do we dare to name untruth
even in the face of threat?
Are we willing to be truth in the midst of lies?
If not now, when?
[Laughing helps. Laughing with someone you love helps even more.]
It is anger and prejudice and division
that got us to this place in our nation.
More anger, more prejudice
(no, not all Trump supporters are, in fact, morons),
and more divisive behavior is not likely to improve the situation.
Negative energy is, by definition, negative
and if anything is going to improve
we are going to need to nurture positive energy.
We are not ‘over it’ yet (well, I’m not anyway),
but I am ready to start actively healing.
We are community in a wide and wonderful way
and I would like to tap our various coping mechanisms for times of trial.
So, I’m asking each of you, each one of you (yes, you!)
to respond by sending me your best ways of coping.
For me, laughter will lift me every single time.
I just finished Janet Evanovich’s most recent Stephanie Plum novel
which had me whooping more than once.
No, it’s not great literature, but frankly I don’t need
finely nuanced plot and meaningful character development at the moment.
I need to laugh so hard, I am gasping for breath.
I will be using your ideas in upcoming posts as this time unwinds…
not every day or all at once, but we need to lean together right now.
As someone said, We are stronger together.
Text © 2016, Andrea La Sonde Anastos
Photos © 2009, 2012, 2015, 2016 Immram Chara, LLC