I haven't written anything for a while. I think Trump's presidency threw me off, but maybe that's just an excuse. Hillary's presidency would have also messed with my reality. I'm not a simple person. I don't even think Jesus could fix things at this point!
But I am back to dreaming -- remembering my dreams, and that is a very good sign. A start. Paying attention to my dreams brings a certain dimension of depth back into my life. They show me what my life looks like from the perspective of inside out. But when you are inside, that is, dreaming, you are in the dream and you are in your dream-body. The inside is the whole reality. When you wake up, if you remember the dream, the dream is a memory and you are back in your body-self, which likes to think it's in charge. You are back in your head.
Our waking life thrives on all of the attention we can spare it. We are committed to living our waking lives on many levels simultaneously. And that seems to suffice when the world is not in crisis, or at least when we perceive that the world is not in crisis, we can focus on our lives, our commitments. Trouble is, as a poetic soul, and a dreamer, in my life, there have been few contiguous years when I can say the world wasn't in crisis. I was a child of the 50s (post WW2). That was the beginning of the Cold War. And the nuclear threat. The battle for civil rights was heating up. In the 60s, our leaders were being assassinated, China was in revolution. Vietnam was escalating, the civil-rights movement was in full swing. The working class was being screwed. The living wage was frozen. The environment was going down the tubes.
The seventies were a time to catch my breath, I suppose, even though our government was morphing into a modern Roman Empire, I sat tight. I pretty much minded my own business, reading, filling notebooks with dreams and journaling, trying to grow up, trying to figure out who I was as a man of conscience. Gradually I got my life together. At the end of the seventies I lived in the streets in Santa Cruz. I wrote a journal I titled: Beggar, Pilgrim: One Eye Opened, One Eye Closed. I defined myself as an outsider, which is what the homeless are. In 1980, I wrote a post-apocalyptic book of poems, The Blue Man: Poems for the late Nuclear Age. I predicted a nuclear-plant meltdown, and assumed that when there was a meltdown, that fission as a way of producing energy would be abandoned and maybe even the arms race would slow down. It didn't turn out that way by a long shot. The best result of Chernobyl, for me, was that a nuclear plant in Pennsylvania, located about 50 miles north of Baltimore, where I was living, shut down (ostensibly for "cleaning"). The truth is, the design of the Peach Bottom plant was the same as Chernobyl and its owners were worried. As soon as it dawned on me that many American nuclear plants were susceptible to containment breaches in the event of an accident, I moved to Vermont with my family. These were the Reagan years when the spirit of greed (both private and corporate) held sway. (I personified this spirit as the Blue Man, long before they formally designated corporations as people.) Capitalism and consumerism, together, became the new religion. It was monolithic. It was our Yahweh, our Allah.
The '90s for me were a time of solemnly watching the possibility of a healthy environment slip away. I wrote two books straddling the threshold of a new millennium. Both were hyperbolic, hand-wringing testaments of simmering dread as I envisioned the future we were creating for ourselves. I saw people digging in, looking down, forgetting what was important. It was a long dark night-of-the-soul. The US was becoming a defensive, cocky, trigger-happy Empire. I distanced myself from my own government. Sometimes I felt like a foreigner in my own land. Around then, I discovered shamanism. I communed with the forest. I started to heal. I started to get pieces of my soul back. I was a middle-aged father, trying to write poetry, fumbling in the dark for the reset button, doing vision quests, trying to remember my core values, and succeeding.
Going into the 21st century, my concerns were for the beleaguered environment. Shamanism was bringing nature alive for me. I saw that nature had a spirit or was a spirit, that even stones were alive in their own way. Gaia was revealing herself to me little by little. I started to undergo a shift. My brain was being rewired to synchronize with my heart.
Yes, the world has never not been in crisis during my 66 years, my country has never not been at war, fomenting war. This is hard for a pacifist. (If Obama was the peace-president I shiver to think what a hawkish-president might do.)
So, I want to sum things up now. I will just conclude by saying that Trump was inevitable. The liberals and progressives in the country were nowhere near organized enough or pissed enough or galvanized enough to make history. It took Standing Rock to wake us up from our trance and it took a Trump. Now will we be able to create and sustain real change?
I've been out of it for a few weeks. Not depressed. I've been processing, trying to figure things out. Trying to find that reset button. But, the thing is (and this sentiment comes from owning my elderhood), I'm here to tell you that much has been lost that will never come back -- not in my lifetime and not in my son's lifetime. Much, not everything ... yet. That is very, very sad. Even tragic. I mean bits of the human soul have been lost and places have been lost and the souls of places. I am weary and I am angry but I am "on". I'm ready. My heart is anxious for me to step up. Maybe yours is too?