By Judith Gayle | Political Waves
TWO THOUSAND NINE promises to be a year of transition, in more ways than one. The obvious, of
course, is a new President and his staff, being handed off to a nation that
needs leadership, direction and a big dose of confidence in the worst way.
The economic meltdown will probably define much of what can, and cannot, be
done. Most economists say they don't know what comes next.
Each of us will be in a transition phase, as well; what happens outside of
us reflects what is within us, and vice versa. While everything is fluid,
most of us have a hint about what that might look like by now. Maybe you're
just starting school, or you're leaving it; perhaps you're changing your
job, your neighborhood, or even your partner. Whatever we've called upon
ourselves to do next, it will begin a new chapter in our collective life.
Transition always asks us to do what none of us are happy to do: leave
behind our comfort zones. Our habitual behaviors and time-worn patterns are
sometimes the only things in an increasingly chaotic world that soothe us.
Here's my advice: select a couple of favorites you don't think you can do
without, and allow the rest to fly where they will. We have a choice of how
we see the coming year -- while we might see it as disruptive and difficult,
I think we'd do ourselves a favor if we choose to consider it an adventure
that will test our flexibility and provide us growth.
As the collection of year-end editorials come along, we will be looking back
at 2008 to see where we've been in an effort to get a hint about where we're
going. I think historians will be looking back at this year for decades to
come. Something most amazing happened, a shift in consciousness that we'll
be telling our kids and grandkids about. The possibilities ahead of us are
still in the wind, swirling like winter snow.
In what I think of as the Post-partisan Blues, members of the Lefty and
Righty camps are reverberating like tuning forks, right now. Our traditional
process of resistance seems to be losing its energy; the 'moon bats' on the
Left and the 'wing nuts' on the Right are still up in arms for their point
of view but it feels like everyone's screaming into a void now.
In the latest Left/Right exchange, we have seen our gay and lesbian brothers
and sisters, and many others who worked passionately for the Democratic
ticket, distressed because Obama has asked Evangelical pastor, Rick
, to give the invocation at his inauguration; as counterpoint, he has
also asked veteran civil rights icon, 87-year-old Rev. Joseph Lowery, to
deliver the benediction.
I'm confident that Obama and those around him do not share the homophobia Warren has promoted, so I find this a remarkable choice. From a political point of view, I'm disappointed -- but from the view of a student of the metaphysical, I'm dazzled and intrigued.
Pastor Warren, considered the Billy Graham of his time, has said some very
mean-spirited things about homosexuals and supported California's
Proposition 8 which stripped the gay community of its right to marry. Warren's ignorance of gay issues and fundamentalist influence has made him an enemy of progressives.
This invitation has caused many to believe that Obama has betrayed them, yet I find that suspect thinking; nothing I've seen of this man suggests bigotry. Morality cannot be legislated, nor should it be as it is transcendent; I think it more likely that in these unusual times, Mr. Obama has chosen to try a transcendental experiment.
You'll find commentary and articles on that situation at the Political Waves
blog site; this is a very emotional topic, but I would suggest that it can be a
game-changer, if we allow it to be. Did I mention we are losing comfort
zones right and left? Yes, pun intended.
Mr. Obama has given us a paradigm-buster of a gift, if we can calm down a
bit and wrap our minds around it. The Fundamentalist Christians have been
given an opportunity to discover an experience of the Christ message,
instead of -- to borrow an Eric quote -- furthering their 'false witness' of
censure, arrogance and unlovingness. Religiosity is a blight upon the world
because it has fostered the 'us vs. them' competition that has driven us
forward into mayhem throughout history, but especially in this last cycle.
The conundrum is that within each of the world's religions, the seeds of
metaphysical wisdom still await planting in the human heart.
Progressives have been given an opportunity to allow those who have opposed
us to be welcome under a larger tent than the small one they inhabit; we meet them
as equals, now, to alter their misperceptions of who Lefties are, and give
them an opportunity to change their mind. This has already begun to happen.
We have fought the good political fight, and we have won. What comes next
instructs us all; this is not an acquiescence, as in being 'good sports' --
this is an olive branch. If we are to inhabit the peaceful principles of the
progressive movement, we must speak for peace at every opportunity.
As the one known as the Prince of Peace would suggest, "Blessed are the
peacemakers..." The chance that one person, two ... or perhaps hundreds or
thousands more ... open their minds to reconsider their understanding of our
common humanity should not go wanting due to political strategy and hurt
Somewhere in the last months, I'd think during the heated rhetoric of the
campaign season, we all maxed out on divisiveness. The nation has called
for, and elected, someone who they think will meet them half way; and that
represents the dreaded "middle." Barack Obama, who seems to have found a
resonance with Abraham Lincoln's personal philosophy, is trying to do what
the cynical call impossible -- unify the nation. And I have no doubt he's
pondered this Lincoln quote: "The best way to destroy an enemy is to make
him a friend."
Perhaps this change in direction occurred because of Obama's energy signal
and philosophy, but this man, while fascinating in his calm and confidence,
is in effect, not a cause of this interesting time and space. This is the kind of
governance we have collectively called for, after having found the old model
dysfunctional -- and that includes a new dialogue, one without partisan
excess and heavy-handed delivery. One that turns a fist into an open hand.
Evidently the buzz-phrases of this era have entered our consciousness: we've
decided to be the change we want, and we want to do it differently, finally
dealing with our collective insanity. The vainglorious United States of
America has been humbled in the last decade; some say we deserved it because
of our policies, others that we had a bad run of circumstance. I think that
humility, however it comes to us, is both necessary and welcome if we are to
find common ground here and around the world, and put our nation back
We have fought for ideas and for territory, for relationships and jobs and
money, since the first tribes formed in caves. We have fought and won;
fought and lost. Fighting is what we know best. If we are to rise above our
tribal thought system, now that we've proven its limitations, we can
disinvite no one; we must include everyone. And that means we'll have to
learn how to communicate in a different way. Perhaps walking the talk of peace and reconciliation is a potent astringent to heal assaults on human dignity and freedom; we'll never know until we try.
Due to the enormity of that proposition, I've turned to those who knew how
to do this for some advice -- I'm passing some quotes along for your New
From Kahlil Gibran:
When I wrote on my door:
"Leave your traditions outside,
Before you come in,"
Not a soul dared
To visit me or open my door.
I believe that it is in you to be good citizens. And what is it to be a good
citizen? It is to acknowledge the other person's rights before asserting
your own, but always to be conscious of your own. It is to be free in word
and deed, but it is also to know that your freedom is subject to the other
My brothers, seek counsel of one another, for therein lies the way out of
error and futile repentance. The wisdom of the many is your shield against
tyranny. For when we turn to one another for counsel we reduce the number of
Humanity is the spirit of the Supreme Being on earth, and that Supreme Being
preaches love and good will.
You and I are all children of one faith, for the diverse paths of religion
are fingers of the loving hand of one Supreme Being, a hand extended to all,
offering completeness of spirit to all, eager to receive all.
Whenever I see an erring man, I say to myself I have also erred; when I see
a lustful man I say to myself, so was I once; and in this way I feel kinship
with everyone in the world and feel that I cannot be happy without the
humblest of us being happy.
It is easy enough to be friendly to one's friends. But to befriend the one
who regards himself as your enemy is the quintessence of true religion. The
other is mere business.
They cannot take away our self-respect if we do not give it to them.
We are staring down a transition of social consciousness; that is, of
course, a transition of spiritual consciousness, as well. Coming to an
experience of our connectedness with one another, and with everything around
us, can only create us as better people both personally and politically.
Perhaps we could start by understanding that we have nothing to lose and
everything to gain.
Neale Donald Walsch sent this lovely quote to my inbox recently, and I
think the God he speaks to must be the same Goddess that accompanies me on
"You have come here to become the grandest version of the greatest vision
ever you held about Who You Are."
Our transition is upon us -- we are scrapping the old version of ourselves
and we're struggling to emerge in a new century that is lush with the
possibility of peace and prosperity. What is old must be discarded, even the
attitudes that have served us so well in times gone by, but now only serve
to slow us down.
From Corinthians, this quote has always impressed me: "When I was a child I
spoke as a child; I understood as a child; I thought as a child; but when I
became a man I put away childish things."
To become the grandest version of our greatest vision, we must let go of our
limited selves, quick to defend our personal indignation; we must find our
generosity of spirit, we must beat a few swords into plowshares. We must
become bigger than that old version of ourselves, and aspire to the courage
of genuinely loving one another as ourselves.
What was well begun in these last months will continue to push us forward.
Breathe into it, see if you're already bigger than your wounded feelings;
let go of old ways of thinking and consider anew. The planet is taking a
leap, and we're here to assist it -- we accomplish that by becoming
peace-brokers, each of us, confident that our collective vision will carry
us into a new human experience. As 2008 closes, let the Dalai Lama's words take you to that next
place that we must all find -- and will, hand in hand.
"If you wish to experience peace, provide peace for another."