More space to invite peace, has meant more space to access hope, for me. And in that hope, I have realised it means giving change a chance. It means sitting with the uncertainty of it. The distress of it. Again, without judgement or intention about how to move through it. A process that isn’t always smooth sailing and pretty.
This message comes to me time and time again, in different aspects of my life, through different situations and also in varying measures of intensity and urgency. And lately, it has come so often, I know I cannot ignore it anymore.
People have always been good at imagining the end of the world, which is much easier to picture than the strange sidelong paths of change in a world without end.
I found these words by Rebecca Solnit (from Hope in the Dark) that hit the spot, felt especially right for this time and they have given me fresh energy to dig my heels in and commit to doing the work anyway. My work, starting with me. Because aren’t we a collective of individuals anyway?
I’ve been thinking about the nature of hope a lot these days. What it feels like. What shapes it takes, what ideas come to kind, how my body feels and responds when I’m feeling hopeful. And it has been surprising to journal this. Invariably this train of thought takes me to the ingredients of hope. And change. And what it might take to get there — to these ideas of a changed world.
In swirling thoughts about all of this, I feel more and more close to being in agreement with the inherently broken, flawed, imperfectly perfect humanness of us as a species. I see more and more with gentle eyes, why we behave the way we do, why we are the people we are and why our beliefs make us do the things we do. I see a traumatised human being in Narendra Modi. I see incredible unprocessed pain in bigotry and potential for healing and integration in those hanging on to and peddling hate (on both sides of the spectrum).
Suddenly, I have noticed that the raging anger that came in waves has turned to exasperated and confounded laughter. I cannot excuse the impossible levels of injustice, and I am in no way justifying them, but I find my reactions changing. Softer, not in power, but in the gaze with which I view it.
This is a very unsettling place to be. Because it almost makes me sympathise with all that I have held as the “enemy” for so long now. I almost don’t want to allow it. I don’t want to allow myself the softening because of what it has meant to my old brain to hold on to polarities. But I see now that some part of that holding on also means not allowing new possibilities. And that is no longer an option for me. I have got to give change a chance. Beginning with me.
In seeing the connection between peace and hope in myself, I also realise that if the hope for peace in the world at large is the goal, everything about the way in which we remain in our polarities has to change. Everything about the way I remain in my polarities has to change.