As noted before, that Mother’s Day spent with Joanna Macy was, as my Aunt Kay would have said, “only transformational.”
And here’s a significant way I’m feeling The Change:
Having been away for a couple of super-fun weekends lately, I have twice, now, returned home to hundreds of e-mails. Hundreds. And 90% of them are DIRE. “Call this politician!” “Take action!” “Send $$$” “Save (affordable housing, fair elections in Louisiana. . . )” You get them too, right?
But here’s the thing. If I can’t sense the connectedness of a particular action to something greater, something profoundly, cosmically Whole I can feel in that hair-rising-on-the-back-of-my-neck way that I feel about, say, God, I push Delete. No longer will I get swept hither and yon by demands on my time and energy and credit card unless I can comprehend this action’s connectedness to Something Hugely Interconnected & Sustainable & Systemic.
This, too: Joanna Macy said something like “Our intention is more important than effectiveness.”
Which is why I’ve volunteered my time and my energy to collect signatures for a Massachusetts referendum, “Budget 4 All,” that on one level is absolutely hopeless and on a deeper level, all about HOPE.
Basically the referendum says, “Let’s end the war in Afghanistan, let’s close corporate tax loopholes, let’s raise the taxes on people making more than $250,000 and spend that money on things like renewable energy, public transportation, public education, et al.”
Pretty comprehensive, right? Pretty Big Picture, I’d say. Pretty “Hey, guys. Let’s do it differently.” And, of course, this referendum, if it does get on the MA ballot, doesn’t have a snowball in Hell’s chance of actually Implementing Anything!
But here’s the third and last thing. Joanna Macy urges all of us to do work that “reconnects.” Which, as I discovered yesterday when I collected signatures at the Davis Square Farmers Market, is a two-way street. People were so damned grateful to hear that such an initiative is happening! “Really? I love it.” One guy thanked me!
Which, is guess, brings me to another hero in my life: Wendell Berry. Who said something like this: That in his poems he offers hope because that’s the way to pull people in. (He was talking about climate-change work.)