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Kingston, NY, Friday, Nov. 21, 2008

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Discovering The Way Forward
By Judith Gayle | Political Waves

LAST WEEK one of my favorite, dependable websites closed its cyber-door. I was devastated, briefly, but I got over it. On this, my yearly trip home to California, there have been meetings with some I didn't expect to connect with, and difficulty spending time with those whom I depend on to be there. Events I'd counted on fell by the wayside, replaced by other happenings that appeared out of nowhere; I flexed easily with all of it. The expected, solid and comfortable seems to have faded away; the unusual, spontaneous and surprising has taken its place. Do your life, they say, and let life do you. As accustomed as I am to doing just that, I'm finding this new space we're in a bit bewildering. Not disturbing or difficult, just bewildering.
It would be a mistake to think that the change we have called for, worldwide, is merely political or social. The change is internal. Our ingrained habits of dealing with challenges, achieving our goals, assessing our progress -- all of this in flux; we have called to be the change we see, and we are in the process of discarding the rules -- the shoulds and have tos -- we've used in the past. We're changing our way of being, and that truly is bewildering. We're in unexplored territory, we have no signposts and, at least for the moment, we don't appear to be too disturbed about it.

It has occurred to me many times in the last few years how much of my attention I've hung on the hook of politics; that was because I thought so little of what I was seeing was helpful to the larger becoming we were about. I'm considerably more a spiritual wonk than a political one, but I embraced it to bring attention to the downward spiral we were experiencing in an attempt to increase awareness of how much our own energy dictated our reality. (Perhaps we flower children were the original Yes We Can people; old dreams as powerful as that don't die.)  

It seemed to me that we couldn't spiral upward into a leap, if we were being plunged downward by the actions of the government and the fundamentalists. Increased warring, domestic and foreign, seemed a huge mistake. Ah, nuance -- it was the boomerang of that very energy that shot us forward. I should have remembered.

We live in a plane of polarization. It is essential to understand how that works; it has rules, its full of twists and turns, and it takes a committed intention to discover it within ourselves. It's Chess, not Checkers. It's Cribbage, not Go Fish.

The culture wars of these last decades followed the polarization rules, ratcheting up up up until it came to a new conclusion with this last election. Whether you're happy about an Obama win or not, it was a paradigm breaker; and the man in charge, the one we selected for the job, is asking us to lift ourselves above polarization to find a new path into the future.

I read an interesting article on shock jocks that details how they use their skills to lead an audience and grow a following. They know how polarization works, and how to anticipate the next move; jump-start the conversation in a new way to take them back to their point of disinformation. Why is this important? Polarization is the enemy to unity; understanding how it happens, and where it resides within us, allows us to not only notice it when it appears, but police ourselves for its influence.

Attempting to eliminate a polarized experience of life is akin to taking a path into enlightenment; we're all in that process, but just now we're noticing how much of our power we give away to the side we stand on, and our determination to win for it. The Eastern mystics and masters tell us that nothing going on around us has any power over us, yet that is not our experience.

The more we notice how much power we give away to circumstance, the more power we have available to us; yet, in these times when everything is a learning curve, we're not sure what to do with it when we get it. There is a new wrinkle of energy out there that is worth noting, because you may be feeling it yourself: it's ambivalence.

There are reports reflecting ambivalence in the news. For instance, Hillary Clinton, who has been offered the position of Secretary of State, is ambivalent; at this writing, she is undecided. The progressive community seems to be ambivalent about Joe Lieberman, former Vice-Presidential candidate under Al Gore and DINO (Democrat In Name Only), having dodged a bullet in the Democratic Party. Lieberman was not only arm-in-arm with John McCain throughout his run, but conspicuously derisive of Obama. He will keep his chairmanship of the Homeland Security Committee, even though many progressives are furious with him and want him punished.

Rahm Emanuel, Obama's new head honcho, has warned Wall Street that there are "big, serious changes coming." They seem ambivalent about that possibility. Surely they knew it was coming, with a Blue win; the Bull market could not go unchecked forever and their own out-of-control insiders have brought the great beast to its knees. They cannot move forward while the rules by which they play are changed before their very eyes; and neither can we. 

Ambivalence is that state of indecision that comes about when we're not sure where something is taking us. The rules and times are changing, the polarization is weakening -- and we don't know where we're going. I'm thinking ambivalence is not a bad place to be at the moment; it's a lot more productive in opening our minds than knowing for sure what something means. 

A Course In Miracles tells us that we, ourselves, assign the meaning to everything we see around us; if we stand back far enough, it's clear that every decision we make is then pigeonholed in our own personal agenda. Human history usually has those decisions supporting tribal allegiances. In this century, that is more often family allegiance. In short, we stack the deck in our own favor.

One of my favorite reads is Heinlein's Stranger In A Strange Land, with its futuristic character named Anne who is a Fair Witness -- a professional, official observer of important events, who has the capacity to report on any happening without a hint of bias or judgment. We need some Fair Witnesses in our own lives, to point out to us how often we overreact to good news or bad, shifting our outlook according to our emotional barometer and for our own purposes, ignoring logic or fact. The more we can become a Fair Witness in our own lives, the more powerful and, I would suggest, the more peaceful we become.

Over these last years I prioritized politics, which polarized me to take a hard Left turn and brought me back to decisions I'd ignored in the past. I've mentioned how holographic I believe this time frame to be, revisiting earlier periods and energies. Perhaps we're doing that because we left some things undone. Or perhaps, holographically, we're re-experiencing what we've done before because of the circular energy of enlightenment; what we understand now is deeper and wider than what we understood before.

There are books like that -- they're examples of that kind of holographic experience. Most of the Holy books have those properties, as do many of the classics; most anything that increases spiritual awareness has that capacity as well. Most of the metaphysical tools -- tarot, i ching, astrology -- are lift-off points that bring us a fuller experience of ourselves and an ever-widening understanding of the whole. We return to them, finding new understanding as we increase our level of experience with them. They become focal points for the energetic state we wish to inhabit; they become the mandala we enter.

We are not what we were yesterday, nor is the world. Indeed, it would be painful to try to stay as we were. The new energy that drives us has superimposed challenges that shift us out of pattern, blast us out of old ways of thinking, drive us forward into change. It is part of our new energy signal to stand in our moment of now, deciding what to drag along with us and what to release; that is also our current challenge. Since this is such an important moment, perhaps our new ambivalence is a good thing; it's a kind of e-brake we've pulled to slow ourselves down as we get our footing.

It is difficult to untangle our emotions of the last years because so much of what we've seen has been outrageous; we have a charge, a spark of emotional resonance with the past that requires exorcising. We have one foot in new, one in old. We're deciding where to step next.

Now, as we anticipate a Democratic administration in charge of government, we are looking toward restoration of the many systems put in place by the opportunistic Bushies. We are torn between wanting their liver on a spike or rushing forward to reconfigure the various governmental departments as helpful, not harmful. Progressive activists, myself included, are less than excited about letting some of these top-level thugs off the hook.

I believe in logical consequences. Bush and Cheney, Gonzales and Rove, along with those who were culpable in assisting them, need to be held accountable. I think that if Nixon had been held accountable for his crimes, there would have been second thoughts about furthering the unitary powers of the president; Cheney and Rumsfeld, Nixon staffers, were like political sleeper cells waiting to reactivate and go rogue. They found their opportunity with the second of our presidential Bushes.

News that Obama won't go after them has disappointed those who have been Progressive Warriors in the last eight years; the president-elect was up front about that early on, citing the challenges of the moment as too important to ignore in favor of tying up the nation in some kind of prosecution. If we step back far enough, I think we can see the wisdom in that; especially for a candidate who has defined himself by his desire to reconcile a fractured nation. Essentially, Obama is telling us that revenge isn't his job; but that doesn't mean accountability won't occur, anyway.

An administration such as Obama's, declared as sensitive to the will of the people, should be able to count on the public and a reconfigured judicial system to hold the Bushies feet to the fire. Interestingly, Cheney and Gonzales have recently been indicted by a Texas Grand Jury for criminal activity and prison abuse. The presiding judge could dismiss such a trial, of course, which points up the worry that Bush's appointment of partisan judges will make this case, or future ones, moot; but I have a notion that this is just a shot across the bow of the Bush legal tangles.

In January we will begin to see all that this administration has put in place, behind our backs and in secret. I would be very surprised not to see legal suits piling up against them. As well, the international community has grievance with the Bush administration and seems eager to go after them for war crimes

Rumsfeld had to be whisked out of France in 2005, and again in 2007, to avoid being pressed for war crimes; he's kept a low profile since. Karl Rove is unable to move freely in the US as activists are constantly trying to make citizens arrests; incidents in San Francisco and Des Moines occurred in October.

I think Bush himself is in for the shock of his life when his presidential bubble pops; known to be cranky with people who tell him the truth, and thereby avoiding hearing it, I have no doubt he will be stunned by the amount of vitriol aimed his way.  If there's one person I wouldn't want to be in the coming months, it's George. Even worse than what might await him legally, it’s what he might be poised to learn about himself; he's done a crackerjack job of avoiding that these many years. But change is here, perhaps even for George W. Bush.

Ambivalence is not a bad thing, nor a good -- it's just a way to process change at the moment. It isn't going to let Bush off the hook, Lieberman have a free ride or any of us stay long in our comfort zones. We're being informed by the new thing, directed into a stream of new feelings and options. It reminds me of this, from A Course In Miracles:
When your peace is threatened or disturbed in any way say to yourself,

'I do not know what anything, including this, means.
And so I do not know how to respond to it.
And I will not use my own past learning as the light to guide me now.’
For eight years we've been struggling, fighting; it was exciting and addictive, we don't want to let it go but now we are being led toward something new. We have to give up our need to win ... in order to win.  Conundrum? Yes; because in polarity, there are winners and losers -- in unity, there is only winning.

New means new; inexperienced. It's all a process of discovery now. The wrinkles are just bits of ourselves we need to see before we proceed; parts of what we gave away long ago, needing reclaiming. Part of a peace process we're only now beginning.

We are no longer citizens of the old paradigm, nor full participants in the new one -- we're in that void space where things begin to reveal themselves. The way forward requires our cooperation; today that may take some ambivalence. After all, we don't actually know what anything means. Take a deep breath, enter the new energy and enjoy the ride.

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