“Into a blinding darkness go they who worship action alone.
Into an even greater darkness go they who worship meditation.”
First off, a song that is both deep and hopeful (a rare combination) from my good friend Bob Ressler. Please check it out:
Global Social Witnessing
From where we are, we watch as a violent aggression takes place. Politicians and pundits who support their own country’s violent agressions issue condemnations while another tidal wave of human suffering comes to pass. Few of us have any access to the levers of power that would make a difference – even if we knew what would. Yet we feel the pain of it, the anger, the frustration, the sadness.
As a therapist, I’ve been aware for a long time that while my clients are troubled, anxious, depressed or just confused by one or another situation in their personal lives, whether they know it or not the weight of the world is magnifying their distress. Some choose to take in massive amounts of news information, knowing how much it troubles them, as if to satisfy an insatiable hunger for more pain. Some hide from all news sources as if that will keep them safe. It’s difficult, of course, to know what to do, how to be with this world.
I’ve been very moved and inspired lately by the work of Thomas Hubl . Hubl calls our attention to the collective, inter-generational trauma that we all have within us and the ways in which our own consciousness connects with and helps create the suffering in the world. He promotes and organizes gatherings of people willing to witness the catastrophes and conflicts as they happen in the world and look deeply inside. They are asked to pay attention to what is triggered within themselves, not their analyses of the events. People are asked to “be present – feel what you see – become a global witness.” What emerges are keys to healing both self and the world. The most recent gathering (which I attended) had over 550 people from all over the world focusing on Ukraine and the Russian invasion. Some who took part were from families with roots on both sides of the conflict.
The process is called Global Social Witnessing which is defined as “the emergent human capacity to mindfully attend to global events with an embodied awareness, thereby creating an inner world space mirroring these events.” I highly recommend this talk by Thomas in which he elaborates on the process: https://pocketproject.org/videos/global-social-witnessing-introduction-mindfully-attending-the-world/. (I know how busy everyone tends to be, so save it and check it out when you have an hour. It’s very, very much worth it.)
Passing of Paula Green———————-
We are inspired by and fortunate to have known anyone who dedicates their lives to making a positive difference in the world towards peace and justice. I feel that way about getting to meet and have a conversation with Paula Green who I’m sad to say passed from the Earth suddenly on February 21st. Her legacy includes establishing peace dialogues between warring groups in many parts of the world. As she said, “I found myself no longer willing to be a passive witness to the suffering caused by armed conflict and the unbridled misuse of power and privilege.” Her most recent activity involved creating “Hands Across the Hills,” which brought together Trump supporters from Kentucky and liberals from Massachusetts for meaningful and respectful dialogue. Here is the message about her from the Karuna Center for Peacebuilding which Paula founded.
You can see my interview with her at: https://youtu.be/BpfneC8HTO0
Or listen to the podcast here: https://www.buzzsprout.com/1827447/8945289
Finally, here’s a poem by Penelope Scambly Schott that I received from the wonderful Kosmos Journal.
I Wanted to Make a Difference
I didn’t want to be raised
by a sad mother.
I didn’t want her brother
to have died in World War II.
It’s hard to change history.
Even God can’t change history.
But with one trick, I will.
It’s 1912. I’ve gone back in time.
Adolf Hitler has just been rejected
from the Viennese Academy of Art.
I speak perfect German.
I have a purse full of gold marks.
I track down young Adolf
and knock on his door. It opens.
Ich bin gekommen um deine Bilder zu sehen.
I have come to see your paintings.
Wie schön, I say. Verwunderlich.
I purchase several. I rent a gallery.
His paintings get better.
He sells more.
His mustache gets messier.
He keeps painting.
World War II never happens.
The Jews of Europe, the Gypsies,
they all survive.
No Hiroshima. No Nagasaki.
My uncle has his 23rd birthday.
My mother smiles.
She is so pretty.