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End Times

Reflection

The other day, in the midst of this period of major change and disruption in the world, I happened to be listening to a audio tape by Michael Meade. He was talking about the “end of times”, which he says we as a species have felt as imminent for two hundred years at least.

That’s not to say, he hastens to clarify, that we don’t need to do absolutely everything that we can to address the challenges of our time – both cultural and environmental – but that we also need to access “eternal time” or that still small place inside us that stays constant through upsets large and small.

Meade's long-term perspective served to jolt me out of my overwhelm for a minute – and his call to center ourselves in what's permanent and unchanging is certainly an apt reminder in these times that threaten to drown us in the sheer chaos of change and uncertainty. The poet William Yeats described this moment, which has obviously come before, in the lines of his famous The Second Coming:

"Turning and turning in the widening gyre

The falcon cannot hear the falconer;

Things fall apart; the center cannot hold;

Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,

The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere

The ceremony of innocence is drowned;

The best lack all conviction, while the worst

Are full of passionate intensity."

In the wake of massive challenges in our economic, political and environmental spheres, there are many life-style choices that need to be made right now – crucial choices about consumption and political representation and the fundamental will to care for ourselves and others – that will determine the ways we impact each other, create our futures and decide the fate of our species (among others).

Many of those choices, however, are not only important responses to the pressing issues of our time but choices that define what it means for each of us to be human and live a conscious life – a life of sanity and humanity. These are crucial decisions to make no matter what condition the external world is in.

Finding that “timeless” center of “right relationship” for myself, & making the daily choices that align me with it is what helps me avoid the panic & despair that the daily news would otherwise trigger in my fearful psyche.

One last thing – as Maturana and others have said so well, language – what we speak into the world with our words, our images, our voices and our movement – is of seminal importance. When we are awake and consciously languaging the lives and futures we want to bring forward into the world, for ourselves and for all beings, that is what manifests between us.

So I write this to bring an awareness of that unchanging moment and suggest that we collectively use this knowledge as our True North, our guiding star as we go forward in these days of light and shadow. That we look to what is possible and to what is being born; that we keep our eyes on "that rough beast" (or to use today's metaphor, the imaginal cells that are at this very moment forming into a butterfly) as it emerges in our midst, rather than lose ourselves in the eddies of despair and lament over what is sick and dying.

We choose our future; we speak it and imagine it in each moment of our everyday lives. Together we can make it whole and beautiful. May it be so.

Comments

  1. Thanks, Lion! It’s great to hear from you, too.

    Yes, isn’t John O’Donohue wonderful? I’ve gone back to his seminal “Beauty: The Invisible Embrace” so often that my paperback version is dog-eared and ragged; I finally broke down and bought myself a hardback copy.

  2. Firstly…’seeing’ you as you ask the Question links our connectedness…being the ‘visual’ being I am, the wonderful online technology of webcasting ~ video streaming is a dimension that is fundamental for me! Connection is multi-dimensional along with the interactive nature of the online medium…which allows us to connect (and stay connected) with others that are around the Globe.

    This medium also allows us to explore, search and seek out others who are on similar Paths or Journeys…Words and Pictures (or Video) are powerful tools in expressing our feelings, emotions and human-ness…laying the ground for connecting with others with similar thoughts and/or feelings. We no longer have to ‘wait’ for a letter in the mail, or a book to be published to make those connections! We have a plethora of Choices…which opens us to an entire realm of possibilities!

    Amy, “Thank You” for asking the Question and creating such a beautiful space in which to express and interact! You truly are a Jewel!!

  3. What fun!

    Thanks, Janet, for your enthusiasm and loving engagement. You make some great points, and I think your focus on ‘connection’ is really key for a lot of us.

  4. Hi ya Amy,

    You know, it isn’t just email – it’s also keeping up with everything else – from social networking sites to blog comments, etc. I go in and out of being on top of it and feeling overwhelmed. But, looking at your beautiful photos is somehow very calming ..

  5. Hi Beth!

    You’re right – it’s all the increased communication demands, oops I mean opportunities 🙂 we experience today that add to the general stress level of our day.

    I love the connection and exposure that being in touch with so many people brings, but I also search for ways to hold it all in balance.

    Thanks for your kind words about my photography – that’s definitely one of the ways I’m able to slow down and see things differently.

  6. Hi Amy, Huge thanks for this latest post, it rings so deep and true, I want to read over it a few times more, let it keep soaking in. Yesterday afternoon I was walking home, caught up in my head, going over the usual mentations, when that quote by M.C. Richards cut through: “Learn to move in the world as if it were your lover…” It had been raining all day, so everything was wet, dense …when I say the thought “cut through”, I mean it quite distinctly, viscerally, as those words were like a sword that completely cut open my vision in an instant…. The first thing my sight fell upon, the side of a brick building with ivy, starting it’s autumn turning, the colors so rich and dense, then I turned my head and a small newly planted tree in front of me, bare-branches hanging heavy with water drops at every node, each reflecting the landscape around it, each a jewel, this little thing completely laden with water jewels, I kept moving and the next thing was a blue light on the side of a brick wall, glowing,pulsing, then a red door, the color so intense, the extraordinary-ness of simple things …this all happened inside a minute but everywhere I looked, beauty was staring me down, so shockingly close, that in that moment it was unbelievable to imagine not seeing all this, how could that be, just a moment before? I heard a friend say recently “Change happens at the speed of thought”, and it’s absolutely true. Anyways, thanks again for your post this morning, words, images can be like arrows pointing, continually shifting us in a new, more open direction…. much gratitude, Laurie

  7. Right on, Amy! Thanks so much for your words.

    The world we are a part of is beautiful and constantly developing, not just degrading, though everything has a life span. As Ram Daas said, Be Here Now. It’s the most fun!

    Love,

    Barbara

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