Saturday, March 5, 2011

Blessed Unrest

I’ve recently become aware of the phrase blessed unrest. What an evocative description of the feeling that stirs hearts and souls toward positive action! I don’t know how original the phrase is, but I recognize the concept as stretching back through time.

Blessed unrest has inspired opposition to war, economic injustice, environmental degradation, and legislated forms of discrimination. It was the impetus for the overthrow of apartheid in South Africa, the rejection of colonial and totalitarian rule throughout the world, and the social justice and environmental movements in our own country over the last century. Currently, blessed unrest is propelling change throughout the Middle East and elsewhere, including right here at home.

There is a commonly held perception that we humans are too small and insignificant to make a substantive difference. Author and environmental activist, Paul Hawken, views that impression as erroneous. In a video easily found on YouTube and linked below, he begins to scroll through the names of some two million organizations worldwide that are transforming blessed unrest into positive change.

To help us grasp how many two million is, he explains that if the scrolling continued, “all day and all night, and the day after that, until a week passed, and then for three more weeks, and then a month after that, we still would not have seen the names of all the groups in the world.” While these organizations vary in size and focus, each is fruit of the plant called blessed unrest.

I recently heard a reference to a teaching of the Buddha concerning a mother who had no arms. When that woman’s beloved toddler fell into a rushing river, she immediately moved forward into action, no matter her missing limbs. When we move forward, even against great odds, we remain true to that larger creative and loving Essence which imbues and surrounds us. Living in harmony with that force, we act~~and thus minimize the perils of apathy and despair.

“There is another superpower here on earth,” Hawkins continues, one that “flies under the radar of the media by and large. It is non~violent; it is grassroots. It has no cluster bombs, no armies, and no helicopters. It has no central ideology. A male vertebrate is not in charge.”

“This is fundamentally a civil rights movement, a human rights movement; this is a democracy movement. The very word “movement” is too small to describe it. It is the coming world.”

In my last posting, I referred to the Awakening the Dreamer, Changing the Dream Symposium. At the Symposia I attended last weekend, we were brought face to face with our blessed unrest. We were encouraged, too, to discover the issues we felt most passionate about~~and to act. Now.

We each come to this moment in history with unique dispositions, different skill sets, and varying interests. The Symposia reminded me that we don’t all have to do it the same way. There are so many areas in need of attention. If we act in the arenas that are most dear to our hearts and souls~~and support others in doing the same~~we become, as Paul Hawken describes, active members of a movement that is larger than that word can convey.

So, we take time to look around our lives to ascertain what contribution we feel moved to make. We see what inspires us, note what devastates us. And then we act. We may start slowly at first~~making one shift in our daily habits, doing one small thing in the outer world~~but our momentum will increase as inertia is surmounted. We move forward, just as the mother who didn’t let the mere fact of two missing limbs slow her down.

Whether the baby gets rescued or not, whether our world survives or not, is not ours to decide. We act because we are caring, connected beings. We act out of love. To do otherwise offers indifference and hopelessness a toehold. If we choose that route, we twist our natures and support the problem rather than its solution. No, we do what’s ours to do and let the outcome take care of itself.

There is one development in my small part of the world that cries out for my attention. I will be attending the meeting of the Pueblo County Commissioners as they consider a zoning change that would allow agricultural land in Avondale to be used for an energy~producing facility. Intended for inclusion in that multi~faceted enterprise is at least one nuclear reactor.

I recently re~read an article from the Feb 5th Pueblo Chieftain about this issue. One quote stood out. “If you zone it, they will come.” While this quote alone compels me to act, I initially misread it. Believe it or not, I first read, “If you zone out, they will come.” Indeed.

Nuclear reactors in Pueblo County? Not without my voicing my concerns. Blessed unrest has me refusing to zone out.

The meeting will be at the Sangre de Cristo Arts Center Ballroom on Tuesday, March 15th at 5 p.m. (NOPE! THE DATE'S BEEN CHANGED TO WEDS, THE 16TH AT 5*). I’ll meet you there. I’ll greet in person those who live nearby, and I’ll feel the presence of the rest of you, who will join us in spirit.

Thank you each for who you are in this shared world of ours. I pray you never believe you are alone or that your contribution goes unnoticed.

Loanne Marie

Here are links to two videos I was introduced to during the Awakening the Dreamer, Changing the Dream events. The first is the Paul Hawkin video mentioned above. Truly inspiring and, I believe, worthy of a few minutes of your time. Here it is~~Blessed Unrest. The second is a fun video with a serious message. Only a minute long and I guarantee at least one chuckle, if not an actual guffaw. Here it is~~Listen to the Wombat.

And here’s a simple gift~~just cause I love you! A beautiful rendition of an even more beautiful poem by the always exuberant Hafiz. Here it is~~We have not come here to take prisoners.


* Re the meeting dates: They've decided to divide the meeting in two. The meeting on the 15th is for people FOR the zoning change; the meeting on 16th is for folks OPPOSED to the change. I find this rather odd, as though they're not expecting anyone to have their minds changed by listening to the other side. Likely true, but unfortunate. See you there~~in body or spirit!


Val Stepien said...

Hi, Loanne.
Thanks for your reminder that we all have a part to play, and most especially for the part you played last weekend in bringing Awakening the Dreamer to Pueblo and La Veta. Just wanted to let you and your readers know that the meeting in Pueblo re: the nuclear reactor has been changed to Wed., March 16th and 5:00 at the location of 201 N. Santa Fe. Ave. See you there!

Loanne Marie said...

I'll re~check the date when the courthouse opens Monday so we'll be absolutely sure. I'll put a note here sometime that day, so any of you who are interested, please check back then.

Thanks, Val, for writing. And for the rest of you, Val was one of the wonderful facilitators of the Symposia. And she's open to doing more. So if you have a group~~including a group of just a few friends~~that's interested, let us know!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your info regarding the meetings.I think there is a reason for the splitting: No knowledge of numbers.I for one do not want a nuclear plant anywhere near me- mustard gas is enough, of course that is nothing to worry about, right, it only leaks every now and then. If ashes of a volcano can travel to us, and smoke from fires miles away can darken our skies, what??? My guess is it is already a done deal-I think the great powers that hold the keys to our city have already been convinced this is what we need to get rich like Kansas? Are we chasing the golden egg? Must we kill the goose? I am sorry I am cynical. I am 68. Politics and duplicity seem to go hand in hand these days. Japans problems should be a wake-up call, not to mention a couple other plants too. With all my cynicism I am trying to stay in contact with you for balance- trying to find peace in being positive- to act and not re-act- see you there! Thank you for your support!

Loanne Marie said...

Yes, cynicism is a temptation for us all. What I like about the "blessed unrest" idea is that we put our energy into doing what feels best, without focusing too much on the outcome. Ours is simply to do our part. And like you said, keeping connected with others is so very important. In fact, I would say that it is our species current tendency to stay disconnected~~from the earth, from other species, from other groups within our own species, from the long~term consequences of our actions~~that accounts for our most serious problems. We all need to reconnect in order to heal what has gone awry in so many areas. So, I see you here, and I will see you there! Thanks for writing!

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Leia Marie