More of us were murdered this week. Hatred spoke louder than love on many of our streets this month. Too many mothers and fathers and sisters and brothers fear for their lives this year. Addressing thousands of us who gathered at an interfaith prayer service in Dallas today, Mayor Mike Rawlings wondered, “Does it always have to be hatred that makes us love?” Apparently so, as Rebecca Solnit describes beautifully in A Paradise Built in Hell and Hope in the Dark: Our species rises to our better angels most notably at the darkest of times. Quoting F. Scott Fitzgerald, Rawlings continued passionately, “The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.” And so…How can we love and protect the boys in blue and the black boys, so they stop shooting each other? How can we protect our rights and also our children? How we can hold hope and despair in these dark, dark times?
If we don’t, the Mayor warned, “Cancer of separation will kill this body.” Enough bodies have been killed already. On that we can all agree. And yet, the epidemic-level statistics evidencing our discord do not seem to be making us love each other any better. A Dallas rabbi who spoke said, “There is no peace in the city unless we make peace.” In other words, it is up to us. To love. To live in harmony. To hope for a better future. To find a way to function, better, together. After all, there is no one else but us.
In addition to experiencing deep sadness over this week’s violence and loss, I savored moments of deep connection with my family, my friends, and in Nature. Life was terrible and terrific, all at once. We tell stories of nirvana and nightmares, success and sabotage, in which we reveal our divinity and our demons. Awake, alive humans who are fully engaged embrace it all. I learn that this new capacity — the ability to hold paradox — is now coming online as our species evolves past a dualistic worldview. How can I see that I am living, and at the same time, also dying? How can I experience myself as an individual, who is also part of a unified whole? How can I be realistic about what is, and also imagine what can be?
Our future is uncertain, some say moreso than ever. At present, when we aren’t pointing fingers blaming each other, we recede or escape into a widespread malaise, feeling stuck, trapped in our own inability to envision a way out. That’s where hope enters the scene, and not in the way you might traditionally imagine (i.e. optimism). “Hope locates itself in the premises that we don’t know what will happen and that in the spaciousness of uncertainty is room to act. When you recognize uncertainty, you recognize that you may be able to influence the outcomes — you alone or you in concert with a few dozen or several million others.” (Rebecca Solnit)
In other words, it is up to us. It is time to step up our game, individually and collectively — both/and. It is possible for us to meet our own needs, to have our own rights protected, and also to meet each others' needs and to protect each others' children. Everything is uncertain. And in the space in between, there is room to act, to influence the outcome, to truly see each other, to be with each other in our misery and ecstasy, to listen to each other even as we disagree, and to be heard speaking our truths.
Ready to spread the wings of your higher angels? Stay tuned for new opportunities this fall to up your game with me, either 1:1 or with others in Circle, or… both. Until then, Hold Hope!