This Turning, as I experience it, is like what poet Robinson Jeffers called “falling in love outward.” Our mission is not to escape from our world, or tune it out, or fix things by remote control, but to fall in love with our world.
~ Joanna Macy
It is supposedly Black Friday, and we are bombarded with media pressure to join the mobs of frantic shoppers climbing all over each other to scoop up big-screen TVs and the must-have toy du jour. As if such behavior is normal and acceptable on the day after our national holiday observing how blessed with abundance we are.
In contrast, after a lovely day yesterday of quiet mindfulness, good food, and celebration with John, I am here at our home, at peace. And that makes me very, very thankful.
Of course, as an Army colonel’s daughter living only an hour away from one of the biggest military bases in the Southeast, I never forget that we are not really in peacetime, although most Americans would have to really look closely to know it.
Every day, our weary soldiers are deployed somewhere in harm’s way, or they are coming home to the task of shaking off their nightmares and healing from their wounds. In our business-as-usual culture, they are mostly invisible.
And in thinking of peace, of course, I pray for the truce in Gaza to hold and deepen into a dialogue that can bring mutual benefit and respect between Israel and Palestine. And I definitely do not forget Syria, Darfur, Somalia, Sudan, the Republic of Congo, and all the many other flash points of war in Africa and Asia.
Still, today as I bask in the mild November sun, I am blessed with deep peace within. And I know this is a gift of grace.
The only sound in our woods is the chatter of squirrels, the whisper of falling leaves, the calls of nuthatches and cardinals, and the rustling of white-tailed deer browsing. We sometimes hear gunfire from hunters across the river. But we never have to worry about car bombs, or mortar fire, or sniper attacks, or land mines. The only traffic noise we get is from migratory birds passing through.
So today, while the rest of the world is exhorted to speed up and jump on the holiday excess bandwagon, I am instead slipping into slow time. All my busy-ness will be creative, restorative, and gentle.
This is not a longing for escape, but an attempt to deepen the peace around me.
I believe that to do our Work, you and I must create a peaceful spaciousness in which we can cultivate calm, welcome serenity, and deeply engage with the beauty around us. In this way, we fall in love, again and again, with the world, exactly as she is.
Blessings and peace to you and yours.