Giving birth to The Moon
For months I've been feeling lost; waking each night wondering why I'm so anxious, restless, and ill at ease. Finally falling into exhausted sleep only to arise late, wonder what my problem is, and scramble to catch up with the day--only to repeat the scenario that night.
Paul H. Ray and Sherry Ruth Anderson, authors of The Cultural Creatives: How 50 Million People Are Changing the World, prophetically described my condition 13 years ago when they were writing their book. Like the Jews wandering in the desert after their escape from Egypt, I've been betwixt and between. I've wandered away from my old life that was no longer working for me, and my new life has yet to take form. Or rather, I've not yet completed the inner transformation that will call my new life forth.
In the meantime I've been working to launch a new online magazine, The Moon, a journal of personal and planetary reflections. The first issue addresses the theme, "The beginning is near," with interviews and essays by some of the progressive thinkers I admire most: the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation's David Krieger, the Network of Spiritual Progressives' Rabbi Michael Lerner, mythologist Michael Meade, Buddhist activists Thanissara and Rev. angel Kyodo williams, and The Morning Blessings' Rev. Angela Peregoff. My friend Audrey Addison Williams contributed a memoir of her 17 months in East Africa, and my friend Jennifer Freed contributed a poem. My husband created the website and worked tirelessly to fine-tune its appearance, eliminate bugs and kinks, and add functionality.
Was I happy during this time?
Like a woman in labor is happy, maybe. To look at me, I was driven, irritable, impatient, possessed. Beside myself at interruptions and technical glitches. Despondent over software and hardware. Yet working on the magazine was all I wanted to do. Ask a woman in the throes of delivery if she'd like to come over for tea and a chat. Most likely she'll snap your head off.
At least now I knew why I was waking up in the middle of the night, though: it was because I'd forgotten to credit a contributor; or hadn't followed up with someone who'd said they'd send me an article.
The Moon rose on Monday night--just a few nights before the end of the Mayan calendar, and a few days after the nightmare that was the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre of 20 first-graders and six adults.
In light of that tragedy it seemed hugely naive and optimistic to propose that “The beginning is near.” When I think of the parents and families and friends of the victims, I easily imagine that their worlds ended that day. Though life will doubtless require them to pick up the remnants and stagger on, their hearts won’t be in it. Their hearts will be on lockdown, sealed by the pain of losing those light-filled children so senselessly, so young.
But then I read the words of my contributors--Michael Meade, reminding us that birth and death are always interconnected, and that there is a world behind this one from which all things come, and to which all things return, making appearances deceiving. I remember my own knowing that each of us is more than these flesh-and-bone bodies; we are immortal spirits, here on purpose. That being true, I consider that the beings we lost last Friday actually did what they came here to do: wake us up to all the ways that we have been sleep-walking through our precious lives on this precious planet.
It’s a tragedy of being human that we too often change only when we are absolutely forced; when there’s no other way. Our nation's history is steeped in the blood of innocents--from the Native Americans we slaughtered, to the slaves we imported, to the Marshallese we nuked, to the "collateral damage" we inflict through drone attacks in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and elsewhere. Though we've had the freedom to renounce this violence at any point, we haven't done so. Perhaps the souls we lost last Friday were trying one last time to horrifying us into turning our backs definitively on violence and unconsciousness in all its many forms. And so I launched The Moon, with its optimistic theme, and reception has been favorable. One kind reader even thanked me for my "moral energy."
Is that what it is?
It's a redeeming thought.
All I know is that when I awaken at 3:00 a.m. my anxiety is no longer free-floating; it's concrete: who will my next interview be? Which of the inspirational people I know doing inspirational work will I include in next month's issue? Which stories will best illustrate the coming themes--of Community, Consciousness, Co-Creation, and Courage?
What a blessing it is to immerse myself in the work of those who are building a world that works for everyone--and to tell their stories to a wider world.
And so it is.
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