I’m trying to get through this election without falling apart. Why am I so surprised that people would vote for this awful, bigoted man? I’m trying to visualize Joe Biden as my president. To read what (once-conservative) columnist David Brooks wrote about Biden, this centrist (not a communist) statesman with progressive (yay!) leanings, click here: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/10/29/opinion/joe-biden.html
I made the excellent choice to enroll in a poetry class, which started this week, and so my assignment to write a poem is welcome. It also helped to get new blog posts in my in-box from here: http://ritaottramstad.com/
Re those blog posts: apart from the election, my dog, too, is getting old. Dang it.
But it helps to know that there are–in point of fact–more of us who believe that the world can be a kinder, better place, that we belong to a nation that protects children and people of every kind, values education, values justice, and cares about the freaking planet.
Meanwhile, a friend forwarded these paragraphs from Clarissa Pinkola Estes and I’ve been sharing them with everyone I know. Also trying to remember to breathe. I hope you are, too.
“In any dark time, there is a tendency to veer toward fainting over how much is wrong or unmended in the world. Do not focus on that. There is a tendency to fall into being weakened by dwelling on what is outside your reach, by what cannot yet be. Do not focus there. That is spending the wind without raising the sails. We are needed, that is all we can know. And though we meet resistance, we more so will meet great souls who will hail us, love us and guide us, and we will know them when they appear. Didn’t you say you were a believer? Didn’t you say you pledged to listen to a voice greater? Didn’t you ask for grace? Don’t you remember that to be in grace means to submit to the voice greater?
“Ours is not the task of fixing the entire world all at once, but of stretching out to mend the part of the world that is within our reach. Any small, calm thing that one soul can do to help another soul, to assist some portion of this our suffering world, will help immensely. It is not given to us to know which acts or by whom, will cause the critical mass to tip toward an enduring good. What is needed for dramatic change is an accumulation of acts, adding, adding to, adding more, continuing. We know that it does not take ‘everyone on earth’ to bring justice and peace, but only a small, determined group who will not give up during the first, second, or hundredth gale. One of the most calming and powerful actions you can do to intervene in a stormy world is to stand up and show your soul. Soul on deck shines like gold in dark times. The light of the soul throws sparks, can send up flares, builds signal fires, causes proper matters to catch fire. To display the lantern of the soul in shadowy times like these–to be fierce and to show mercy toward others, both, are acts of immense bravery and greatest necessity. Struggling souls catch light from other souls who are fully lit and willing to show it. If you would help to calm the tumult, this is one of the strongest things you can do.
“There will always be times when you feel discouraged. I too have felt despair many times in my life, but I do not keep a chair for it; I will not entertain it. It is not allowed to eat from my plate. The reason is this: in my uttermost bones I know something, as do you. It is that there can be no despair when you remember why you came to Earth, who you serve, and who sent you here. The good words we say and the good deeds we do are not ours: They are the words and deeds of the One who brought us here. In that spirit, I hope you will write on your wall: When a great ship is in harbor and moored, it is safe, there can be no doubt. But that is not what great ships are built for. This comes with much love and a prayer that you remember who you came from, and why you came to this beautiful, needful Earth.”
-Clarissa Pinkola Estes