The World Is In Flames—What Do We Do?

The World Is In Flames—What Do We Do?

“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’”

—Martin Luther King, Jr.

The world is in flames. We see that it is burning.

We cannot simply go on the way we have, pretending it will all be alright, pretending we can live our lives in the same manner we always have, the very manner that has set the oceans aflame, the forests toppling, the people starving, brutalized and caged.

We cannot keep upholding our mortgages and insurance as if they were sacred, as if they were the all. We cannot keep trying to buffer ourselves against impermanence, when impermanence is the very nature of life.

So, what do we do? We can begin by asking generative questions. And feeling all of our feelings. Listening to our hearts and bodies.

We are handed a precious opportunity to band together, to come out of our terrible aloneness, our defensiveness and pride, our small, unimaginative wants, and sing a new song, tell new stories, remember ancient stories, and hear the sacred stories in the land and wind and waters.

We are called to larger life, more uncomfortable life, yes, but comfort, though lovely, is not the all. And so much pure grace exists outside of it, that if we never let ourselves be wet by rain and chilled through, if we never let ourselves feel our fear and anger and woundedness and shame, we won’t ever know the greatness of which we are capable.

We have to learn to sing new songs together, holding hands with one another, as painful as it can be to rub up against another imperfect human and feel our own imperfections.

And I don’t know how to do it. We have to discover that together.

These times ask much of us. We have brought them on ourselves. They may be the end of humanity, though not of life on earth. Earth renews herself brilliantly. Whether it is our end or no, we can learn to make the most of the time we are given, to truly do our best, be our best. Everything else is rapidly becoming irrelevant.

“Yet it is not our part to master all the tides of the world, but to do what is in us for the succour of those years wherein we are set, uprooting the evil in the fields that we know, so that those who live after may have clean earth to till. What weather they shall have is not ours to rule.”

—J.R.R. Tolkein, The Lord of the Rings
  • What is the greatness you have to share?
  • How can it be magnified by joining together with others, instead of seeking to build your own small empire?
  • What part of your fear, your separateness, your greed and blindness, your old wounds and victimhood are you willing to shed this day?
  • What part of the light are you willing to shine?
  • What do you need to grieve, to rage over, to tremble in fear at, to howl at the moon about? What do you need to feel fully, so that you can begin to free yourself and be more whole, more present and alive?

I am asking myself these questions earnestly. And I am asking you.

These are generative questions, questions for which we don’t rush to find easy answers, questions we keep asking because they call us to greater aliveness and participation with our magnificent, troubled world.

“The marvelous thing about a good question is that it shapes our identity as much by the asking as it does by the answering.”

—David Whyte

What other generative questions might help us all awaken and live more boldly and beautifully from our hearts and souls?

Here, poet David Whyte shares “10 Questions That Have No Right to Go Away” in Oprah’s Life Class: http://www.oprah.com/oprahs-lifeclass/poet-david-whytes-questions-that-have-no-right-to-go-away_1/all#ixzz6OtkumTJG

And here is a powerful list of generative questions for Racism Stops With Me Circles. You don’t have to wait for a circle to ask yourself these and begin to unwind the oppression within: https://www.iirp.edu/images/pdf/sample-questions.pdf

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