Hope from Hope

Hope Horton 12.20.2016

Dear friends,

A cold rain is falling today.  Yesterday, temperatures surged into the 70s.  The day before that, I scraped ice off the windshield on my way to the farmer’s market.  These spiking changes in weather but mirror my emotional state.  Hot flashes of anger and rage alternate with chilling fear and sodden grief as I react to a devastating change in political climate that promises to unravel hard-won webs of justice and protection across the land and beyond.  

I have been seeking for weeks to write my usual Winter Solstice seasonal essay in the midst of such upheaval, diligently writing every day and reading articles by wise people.  But there is no “usual” this year.  I have not yet found my footing on such shifting ground and I’m still groping for a way forward, still slogging through the shock and fear and grief that squeezes my body and dulls my brain.  

Hence, no polished essay is forthcoming today.  I do not yet know what to think, much less what to do, to safeguard all that I love and value.  But I can share with you a few themes that have emerged out of this time of troubles. 

The first is to feel the feelings whenever they arise.  In my case, it’s mostly grief right now.  As author Junot Diaz says in his November 21st New Yorker essay on the aftermath, we need to bear witness to what we have lost; our safety, our sense of belonging, our vision of our country.  We need to mourn all these injuries fully so that they do not drag us into despair, so that repair will be possible.  Joanna Macy’s Work that Reconnects offers powerful practices for feeling our pain for the world, and in drinking deeply from her well of wisdom I have had glimpses of the medicine that is brewing in the heart of grief.  It sometimes feels remarkably like love.

Believing in the power of love is my next charge.  Not the limp-wristed kind that makes nice, but the force that fuels creation itself, the stuff that wholeness is made of.  Charles Eisenstein in his essay on Standing Rock says: when we choose love in the face of enormous temptation to hate, we are issuing a powerful prayer for a world of love. When we refuse to dehumanize in the face of atrocity, we issue a prayer for universal dignity.  I want to start sourcing from this love more often than anger and fear—maybe most of the time—and that’s going to take a lot of awareness, courage, and practice.

At last, I’m being drawn into the embrace of the embodied Sacred Feminine once again.  I don’t know what this means and I’m not ready to talk about it.  Though the intuition is strong, I’m still in the dark and can merely say, “stay tuned.” 

Finally, I’m reminded that the Winter Solstice brings us to the farthest reaches of darkness and then hovers there for some time before turning towards the light.  Like the dark of the moon, this pause between waning and waxing seems to be built in to natural cycles.  Winter itself is a season of stillness, dormancy, and hibernation, the life force retreating within and below, holding its breath in the space between death and life, spinning the invisible threads that weave Spring’s emergent patterns and shapes in ways that we may attempt to influence yet cannot predict or control.

Something deeper, more grounded, more powerful is being called for from all of us to weather these extreme times and turn the tides.  I need this space of stillness, of silence, of deep introspection to begin to discern what life is asking for from me and, maybe, to discover what the heck I’m supposed to write about next.  

Whatever your experience is in these times, we take this journey together.  I’m so grateful for your presence and companionship in my life and welcome any input or comments you feel moved to offer to help support what wants to happen in these times of danger and opportunity.  

With love and gratitude, Hope