By Judith Gayle | Political Waves
YESTERDAY, SEVERAL of the airlines announced that henceforth fliers would only be allowed a single piece of luggage: not two as has been standard for decades; now a second bag will cost extra. This follows several years of shake-up in the airline industry; most recently complicated by politicians no longer interested in appropriating funds for a bail out, the FAA's inability to oversee safety standards which has grounded thousands of flights and the sharp increase in fuel prices.
These are the kinds of events, I call them echoes, that tickle me; not because I'm pleased with that decision (in fact, it puts a real crimp in my yearly pattern of bringing must-have items to the Pea Patch from my yearly trips home.) No, it's the multidimensional properties of such an announcement that impress me, a kind of inner-outer linkage and "a-ha!" moment that comes from a soul level and works its way into materiality in interesting ways. I found this echo particularly delicious because we've been talking about this for a while now, haven't we?
It's time to ditch the baggage. We can't afford it anymore.
These kinds of multidimensional echoes are everywhere we look if we'll develop an eye to notice them, an ear to hear them. I recently attended a meeting of the Democrats Club, a small gathering of folk who represent what passes for Progressives in the Pea Patch; very small -- perhaps fifteen people in an overwhelmingly Republican county. I've gone to these monthly meetings occasionally over the years to see what they're up to, which isn't much. They hold raffles, they check in with larger organizations, they have a booth at the fair to sell bumper stickers and pins; but they accomplish little and their lethargy annoys me. I do my best to fade into the background, although that's unlikely in this Ozark culture; I don't look like them, talk like them or think as they do. I'm about as close to exotic as it comes in the Patch and I usually keep my own counsel. I didn't the other evening; because there were two candidates for local office attending and soliciting suggestions; I offered a modest proposal for improving the community.
That was when I hit the old boy wall. As I spoke, I noted a series of frowns forming on the faces of several elderly gents across the table. As soon as I finished, two of them weighed in on why nothing I'd proposed would work. A feisty little woman at the edge of the group piped up. "She said we can, you're saying we can't. I like the way she thinks." The men looked uncomfortable but determined, countering that "that's just the way it is in this community; the way it's always been." They were sitting smugly on a couple of hundred years worth of small-town baggage, a comfortable position that allowed them not to have to take any responsibility for change. The debate died when the moderator stepped in, indicating that the meeting was not the place for such a discussion (which seemed as absurd then as it does as I write this), and it should be noted that the people who came up to talk to me about the possibilities after the meeting were all, of course, women.
Now, it's not my intention to become the Barack Obama (Yes, We Can!) of the Ozarks; but if we stand on what has always been, presuming its solidity an endorsement of our inability to move forward, we are spinning our wheels and wasting valuable time. Our souls are asking us to step into change, but our baggage continues to inhibit us. And one of the reasons that the status quo seems so solid is because someone -- many, in fact -- are speaking up for it. The old way of politics won the day in Pennsylvania, for instance: Obama lost points he'd worked hard for in the last days of the primary when Hillary Clinton used the old tried-and-true kitchen sink political tactic to create doubt in the mind of voters who were nervous about the racial issues
he represents. Social and cultural determinations have temporarily occulted the more pressing problems of the nation: like war and economy, and pulled Obama into defense posture. Between shots with the boys
and bowling scores; accusations of elitism sounded louder in Pennsylvania than startling figures on tax returns.
Only in America do we force our politicians to perform stupid pet tricks in order to humanize them, dumb them down until we can consider them our friend. Ultimately, our own personal bias and baggage drowns out intellect and altruism to pull us back into our comfort zones, and ignoring the larger calls for service and change: for new options and unknown possibilities.
Much of what we're enduring in this political race, with the new message struggling to lift itself over the old tactics, is a product of generational
baggage. It's the older folks who are driving this dialogue. Mrs. Clinton has enjoyed the support of older women yearning for a female president, as well as rural citizens who did well under her husband's tenure in the 90s and consider her candidacy a "two-fer." And what Obama has called the silly season; I have no hesitation in calling the mean season; Hillary has lost a good deal of personal credibility with her smear tactics, yet politically they have worked to keep her in the race. I heard a pundit discussing this echo in voting response as the difference between the older folks with baggage and the younger; without. Younger people have yet to collect their political baggage, erect the walls beyond which they cannot conceive progress: by and large, they reflect less stressful and duplicitous sociological rules than those before them. They appear to have very little issue with topics such as gay marriage, race or religious preference and are more interested in environmental emergencies and economic opportunities. Another of those cosmic "a-ha!" echoes can be found in those who see Barack Obama reminiscent of a young Bill Clinton, a fresh face and Washington neophyte; that Big Bill himself has called Obama's vision for the future fairy tales, illustrates that old baggage limits our ability to dream, makes us cynical and, too often, in service to self.
Because the political is personal, and vice versa, we will find echoes in our own lives as well. On the home front, you are likely to hear "No, you can't," more often than you'll get a supportive "Go for it!" Those family, friends and co-workers who know the ropes are circling their wagons, self-protecting and locking up their energy in fear. With so much in doubt around us, doing what we've always done can only earn us more of the same, yet thinking outside of the box seems risky and frightening not only to those doing it, but to those watching. In a time of great change, moving along into something new is fearful: but so is hunkering down and staying put. The option to stay with what we know is tempting, but it requires that personal space to be acceptable: what if it isn't?
The economic challenges we face, pressure growing daily, is creating migration, both internally in our thought process and externally, resulting in relocation to find employment and housing. We can't stay put anymore; and we can't do it the way it's always been done if we are to survive what is shaping up to be a serious crisis of this new century. We'd do well to let go of the old notions that hold us back and strip down to fighting weight, clutching fresh ideas and possibilities.
History is full of examples of people accomplishing great things despite great odds because they didn't know they couldn't. There was no baggage in their way; they'd either not collected any or, more likely, set it down to move beyond it. Until we can step away from our own baggage -- our old rules, negativities and programming -- the new thing that awaits us cannot be born into consciousness. We are being led toward a breakthrough in understanding by the many echoes; the soul prompting that is driving us forward, decision by decision. Clearly, we must move along toward the possibilities because stagnation is all that awaits us if we don't. There will always be people, like the old boys in the Pea Patch, telling us what won't work because they couldn't make it happen, and maybe never even tried: they are the voices of the past, pulling us into a vortex of complacency. But that's not where we're going; it's where we've been.
In this period of Wesak
and Beltane, sandwiched between double Full Moons in grounded, sensual Taurus, we are being flooded by help from the universe, urging us to integrate the mystical with the practical, our soul purpose with our life path; our creative juice is flowing, our intuition is high. The multidimensional echoes are all around us, pulling us forward, pushing us into authenticity and awakening us from old thought forms that burden us with collective baggage. We are making a choice: to circle the wagons and believe the old saws about how the more everything changes, the more it stays the same: or to shake off the signature density of the old paradigm and lift ourselves beyond it to see what new thing we can create with our collective focus and intention.
The choice is simple enough: continue in the old way or embrace the new. Neither path will be comfortable, but is there an actual choice when we look around us? Isn't it time to move along, trusting tomorrow? Dare I say it? Yes, We Can! And since baggage is going to cost us extra, it's time to leave that all behind.