Two posts to share from others this very foggy morning. The outside of my window looks like snow and mist combined. I love fog, driving through it, walking through it, not the least of which is that it completely changes how the world looks. What was plain is now mysterious. How I use my eyes, completely different. What I see is now dependent on where light falls. I can drive through familiar streets, but expect magic and mystery to jump out at any corner, revealed.
Sometimes the fog of the inner experience doesn’t feel quite as good. I, and others I know, struggle with justice work and how it doesn’t seem loved or easy and for me at least, it’s easy to get lost and wonder just how to stay connected.
I’m a fan of Dianna Anderson, a blogger on faith and feminism, and really loved this piece on her blog about the importance of engagement even when (always) justice doesn’t seem popular.
“Justice isn’t popular. It never really is. When it gets some traction in the mainstream, it’s not long before it’s been co-opted into a viral marketing scheme. Macy’s pledges to donate to children in need – but only if you bring your Santa letter to Macy’s and hopefully do some shopping while you’re there. TOMS will give shoes to people in need – but only if you buy a pair first. PetSmart will help homeless pets, but you have to donate to them at the check out counter before they can do it. Justice now comes with strings attached, with capitalistic bargains and hopes that you’ll help the company turn a profit and save its reputation at the same time. Billion dollar companies depend on you, the buyer, to consume compassionately before they’ll make the world better.
In the meantime, while you bring your Santa letter to Macy’s to assuage your guilt about buying that nice sweater, factory workers in Bangladesh burn their workplace to the ground to protest their working conditions.
“Justice” is packaged, sold, and marketed just like any other product.”
That’s the very sneaky way that Empire co-opts our innate desire for fairness and justice and turns it around onto a benefit for itself. Money for Empire and you get to ease your guilt just a little. But because some part of you KNOWS that you are being tricked, you still sense that unfairness and still have to assuage those feelings and where are your options? More shopping and Empire.
This really tires a person out even when the know they must find a way out of the trap, out of the cycle, and even when it makes us look like big Debbie Downers all the time because we are constantly pointing out privilege, pointing out examples of our own cultural Hunger Games, pointing out and seeing what’s there in front of all of us instead of just giving in to more Empire.
“We must engage with our world critically, on a daily basis. This sometimes makes us the wet blanket – okay, it often does. It means always questioning, engaging with our doubt, and deferring to the people who are experts on their own experience. This means a careful combination of both silence and speaking – a balance that is hard to get right. I fail on this just as anyone else – rushing to speak when I should stay silent.
But this is what justice work means. It isn’t pretty. It isn’t marketable. It isn’t fun, most of the time. It’s work. But it is necessary if we hope to survive.”
So how do we recharge as part of that work? What help lifts the fog either of confusion or exhaustion, when we are working hard towards fairness? I found this gem in my inbox this morning and I really liked it.
I truly believe that every person is a divine creator. Independent of your race, gender, culture, social status, education, religious beliefs, or even past mistakes, there is a power within each of us that is common to every human being and we are all connected to it. This invisible consciousness is the quantum field expressing itself in all things. It is both personal and, at the same time, universal. It is the giver of life. This refined mindful energy is conscious enough to support, maintain, protect, and heal us every moment. It keeps our heart beating hundreds of thousands of times per day; creates more than 60 million cells every minute; and organizes hundreds of thousands of chemical reactions in one cell every second, just to name a few. It is also the same intelligence that creates supernovas in distant galaxies, that keeps the planets rotating around the sun, and that loves the lily into bloom.
When we take the time to develop a relationship with this mind, when we make contact with it, when we use it to produce desired events in our future, when we ask it to intervene in our lives and finally, when we emulate by being a creator, when we express its power, love, and intelligence through us, we become more like it-we become divine.
A good first step on this path is to do something that breaks your routine. I have found over the years that when you retreat from the world and eliminate the typical environmental stimuli that cause you to think in routine ways, you can begin the process of true change. In order to change, you have to think greater than your present reality, you have to dream beyond the familiar feelings you’ve memorized that contribute to your identity-self, and you must create a life that exists in a future time.
~from Joe DiSpenza
For some it might be meditation or spiritual service, for others a day or week or more away from the day to day routine. For others it might be just incorporating a daily walk, or refusing to eat a specific restaurant you worry might be engaging in less than ethical practices (but you love their pizza). It’s about, I think, listening inwardly and observing how our eyes see things differently as that practice occurs.
And it’s hard because once the eyes start seeing things differently, man, everything seems like it’s falling apart. This is true for my process at least. Some days all I can see is The Problem-race, class, ablism, sexism, isms abounding, isms everywhere, injustice sitting it’s cruel self down wherever it wants. And yeah, that’s exhausting. Especially because on the internet, I can find about 45 things to be outraged and ill about in an hour if I look hard enough. One of the reasons I find myself frustrated with the internet.
Because of that frustration, for me, the cycle begins a new. Retreat, wait, listen, focus on joy, find new inspiration, open my eyes some more, and I hope that what happens over time is that I see the “problems” but I increasingly will see ALL of us as solutions, universal, connected, joyful in our ability to do that work, offline but also on.
Which is one reason I forgive the internet all my frustrations, because it helps that building. Because of that tool I found Dianna’s words, and the words of Joe DiSpenza and I get to type out my words which hopefully help someone else.
Justice isn’t popular, but it’s right and we know it. Connection and inner listening isn’t popular either, but we know that helps us as we move towards justice. Routine feels good, but sometimes we need to break it to be able to deepen. And sometimes we, or at least I, just need to walk in the fog for a while, enjoying both the joy and frustration of mysteries that might be right in front of us.