Several little realignings in my life have meant that this blog has gone through one of it’s periodic wanings. Also, I have been enjoying some time off and some time developing projects which aren’t ready to be written about yet. But I’m still here, watching calendars tick over, watching the rhythms of light and darkness oscillate in everything, and committed more than ever to a kind of gratitude of the present moment that seems helpful in a world where we are increasingly disenfranchised from everything that lies outside the skin (and some that lies within as well.)
Meg Wheatley has a new book out, and her message is pretty resonant with what I have been thinking lately: that spiritual warriorship is essentially doing the right thing anyway. Doing it in spite of the fact that nothing might work, in spite of the fact that we know no certainty for our effectiveness in the world, that we are small and human and able to do what we are able to do. I have appreciated that.
I don’t like making new year’s resolutions, but in these temporal turnings my thought turns to what is alive in me that may take shape in the next year. At this point I’m refining a new spiritual practice, trying to fit some stuff about what I know into some old stories that I know pretty well. It is engaging my mind and heart and making me more compassionate, but the path is a confusing one and I think being knocked around by it is helpful, for to have certainty in a spiritual practice while swimming in uncertainty is a dangerous thing. I am appreciating a spiritual practice that is chaotic and confusing and demands my attention to inconsistency and struggle. It wants me to be rational and compassionate, exploring new frontiers and rooting myself deeply in old stories. So…
This year too, I’m trying to figure out how to work with power. I mean real, brutal, cold and independent power. Power that doesn’t need me or doesn’t care about me, but might occasionally invite me to engage with it. How do you work WITH the system that you hold blame for? How do you work from within? This comes from a place of occupying, not moving against. It comes from an idea that if we occupy exactly where we are at the moment, we are in good shape, doing what we can. I love the flashmob round dances that #IdleNoMore is putting on. What does that look like when you are bringing that kind of serious play to questions like “how do I bring more life to my work in the bank? Or with a land developer? Or with the establishment?”
My friends Tim Merry, Marguerite Drescher and Tuesday Ryan-Hart and my beloved Caitlin Frost are deepening this inquiry at ALIA this year. Consider joining us.
And I think this is the year I look at the practice of participating, as one of the core Art of Hosting practices. What does it men to be a participant in different contexts? Whose responsibility is it for a good experience? Is cynicism just a way of not participating? I feel this one deeply in my bones, thanks to a lovely inquiry into the nature of the sacred with my friend Tenneson Woolf.
Travel-wise, I’m lucky to have a lot of local work lined up for this year. Nevertheless, I’m off to Ontario and Quebec next week and will travel to Sweden, Denmark, Chicago, calgary and around British Columbia a little this year. I may also visit Estonia and Zimbabwe as well. And who knows what else will come my way. i’m trying to reduce my travel and have happily lost my Air Canada Elite status for the coming year, which was a goal of mine from a couple of years ago. It means that I am travelling less and working closer to home.
Elsewhere, this will be a year of all season stand up paddleboarding, continued music making in sacred and secular contexts (it’s all sacred actually!) and being close to the natural world. Something about a paddle in my hand, a song in my heart and a lung full of forest air.
And I may even return to this space more frequently.
See you out there.