Mar 202020
 

Dear Tellers and Dreamers,

I hope you are all well and staying safe, as the world is tumulted into strange and unknown territory. I find myself cycling through different systems of reality at the moment; the strange reshifting of a world in which the unsafe has arrived, frustration and fear at my government’s handling of the situation, a vivid sense of peculiar blessedness at being in close company with my family more than I ever have been, and a sense – beneath and threaded through my own terror – of a relief that something has arisen to confront the human world.

Awhile ago, I was scrolling on social media and I saw someone had posted a question along the lines of – if you could do one thing to change the world, what would it be. I was taken aback by how many answers were to get rid of humanity. We know that we are breaking this world at a rate so swift as to seem unstoppable. But the fantasy of our elimination seemed to me too glib and unthought. We are, also, made of world.

And what now? It’s one thing to fantasize about our cessation, and it’s quite another to be confronted by the reality of its possibility. It’s one thing to know that change is necessary, and it’s another to be on the raw edge of it, where we may no longer have the power to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe. And it’s one thing to be aware of the necessary slowness that is now filling our bodies and our world, and another to be in mute company with those across the world for whom social distancing is not a possibility, or for those whom slowness does not arise as a luxury, who cannot step outside into wild spaces or feel safe with those with whom they are in forced proximity. With those multitudes – old and young – whose bodies cannot afford the blustering experiments of incompetent governments, but who need to be kept and to stay immediately and urgently safe. And all those on the medical frontline, who are choosing the world’s need as greater than their own, right now. To all those beings, in fact to all of us, I wish that you may breathe in chorus with the world and may it rise like the elements around you, and keep you safe.

I feel as if my mind keeps reeling upon finding itself here. Many of us have lived our lives with the slowly growing awareness that our systems, lifestyles and Western existences are like rotating vectors, keeping us relatively safe within them, but spinning out suffering in every direction to the more than human, multiple world. We have been rising to it as we can and we have been rising bravely, spinning out blessings alongside all that we harm by default, and gathering together in this strange centre, asking ourselves how to refigure it, and how to stop its vicious rotation.

Yet now it comes, it seems, something from the multiple world that makes us falter and the spinning begin stop. And how, then, do we reconcile a sense that it is, perhaps, time for this, with the dread, passion and fight to protect those who need us, reverence our safety, and keep life going for as long as we can? I don’t know the answer to this question, but I think it should be spoken and held together.

I keep having a vision of a bridge of grassy light, stretching somehow through this time of darkness, not only of Covid 19 but of the anthropocentric system from whence it has sprung. And the bridge leads us to a world that looks the same as this one does, only every part of it is drenched in our awe-inspired attention, so that it is also that Other world of incomprehensible beauty that we have believed so long to be out of our corporeal reach. Today I read in the news that dolphins are now swimming in a clear, blue Venice canal, so perhaps it’s somehow, somewhere, coming.

For the foreseeable future, I’m holding Story Common Zoom sessions at 6 – 7 pm on Monday and Friday evenings, for people to gather and share their stories of this now. We are in the midst of story, and how we tell it together matters.

At 7.30 every evening, I’m going to dance in my house or in my garden. If anyone would like to join me, from where they are, then please do. If we can do nothing else, then we can dance and tell ourselves into the change. I thought, if people wished to, we could share on social media the songs that we are dancing to.

I’ve set up a Story Commons Facebook group to keep space for his. If you are not on Facebook but want to be involved, let me know and I will make a mailing list.

Blessings of love and safety to you all,
Joanna

  One Response to “In Strange Darkness”

  1. Oh that’s so beautiful and resonates so strongly – thank you for your wise sharing. One rule I have is that I don’t look at my fone if I’m awake in the night- but these are strange times and something made me do it right now- and it was to find this- so thank you!! I have been dancing too and wondering deeply like many of us all over the world….. I will join the dance… with love connection intention reaching out and gratitude 💚 I feel green at my cure ( I meant core but I like the typo!) – it feels strong and wholy good

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