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Shake It Up
By Judith Gayle | Political Waves

NANCY PELOSI, Democratic Leader of the House of Representatives (long understood as the "people's House" due to its many representatives of local communities) recently gave commentary on the economy with some pointed remarks on how we got in this current financial mess.
She laid it at the feet of Bushonomics and compliant Republican leaders. You'd have thought the world had never heard such a ringing condemnation before. Indeed, the Republican congresspersons got their feelings hurt, and quashed the waiting vote for an economic bailout, both in a bid to satisfy their outraged constituents and a fit of pique at having to bear any portion of the blame.

That was a mercy. The original bill had few protections for American taxpayers and much more to do with corporate welfare. And time has quickly erased the old iteration of Wall Street, now that all the big financial houses have fallen.
I've learned over the years to trust timing on these things; even the worst errors made have some bit of wisdom to glean from them. Some might call that looking for the pony in the horseshit, or the optimist's position: in my estimation, it's infinitely more. It's a sure faith that each twist and turn will take us somewhere and clarify our understanding of the global reality we share.

The mighty clash of egos in Congress over the process of stemming the hemorrhage on Wall Street continues to bring the public up to speed on a portion of American life that we have slept through for too long.
We have become accustomed to being victimized by accounting practices and business policies. We have forgotten that sound economy is both the duty of government and the promise of American commonwealth. We have dropped the hope that national leadership will do anything for us other than make our lives more difficult and line the pockets of fat cats. The conversation we're having is shaking us awake.

Today, I watched both candidates address their constituents on the stump, prior to flying back to Washington to participate in another vote. On economic policy, John McCain seemed muddled and angry; he continues to promise a clean-up in government and the banking industry, while depending on an army of lobbyists and Republican operatives that not only got us in this mess but have little interest in killing their golden goose. McCain's 26-year record in Washington belies his message of both reconstruction and "change." His speech left me tired and disheartened.

In contrast, Obama's campaign address in La Crosse, Wisconsin, put fire in my belly and hope in my heart. Once again, I felt that inner spark that assured me that this man is not only the leader for these times but squarely on the side of the angels; the lump in my throat and the sting of tears in my eyes informed me.
Why? Because he talks about us, the folks on Main Street. He speaks to moving our country ahead from the bottom up, he tells us that each of us are needed in such an experiment. He spoke today about reconciliation and accountability, about securing the future for our children, about being our brother’s/sister’s keeper.

"Greed and irresponsibility have dominated Washington and Wall Street," said this eloquent young man, following with a promise to bring "real enforcement and real accountability" to economic policy and institutions. "Now, more than ever, we're all in this together," he said, finishing his speech with quotes from FDR, including, "together we cannot fail."

When John McCain says similar words, I feel tired: when Obama says them, my spirit lifts. Why is that, you ask? Because the energy signal being sent across the airwaves has little to do with words, and everything to do with paradigm shift. What is old and fading away makes me feel lethargic and exhausted; what is new and bright with promise lights a spark in me and puts wind beneath my wings.

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The abandoned railway bridge over Rondout Creek, in Ulster County, New York, which is today a part of the county rail trail. Photo by Danielle Voirin.
Besides the obvious -- that I believe one candidate and don't believe the other -- when the Democratic candidate speaks, I'm filled with a resonance that activates my inner awareness of the amazing journey we're taking and energizes me. Listening with my heart and trusting my intuition allows me to shake off my concerns for the future and tap reserves of resolve and enthusiasm for Obama's plea to "fight with me, work with me," for a better tomorrow.

The Senate vote for the economic bailout is scheduled for after sundown, in observance of the Jewish holiday when no business can be done during the day. It coincides with Rosh Hashanah, the two-day period of High Holy Days that ends on the 10th day of Yom Kippur. This is referred to as the Jewish New Year, and it has a meaning that all of us should note for our secular New Years celebrations. Known as a Day of Judgment, this is the time when practicing Jews review their history, the events of the year passed, and seek forgiveness for their sins.

Please note that I'm no big fan of the word sin, because it's been used to keep people shackled to their powerlessness for eons; rather, I think of it in its meaning from the Classical Greek, which defines it as an archery term: "missing the mark" or "missing the target."

Sin, as used in the Judeo/Christian rhetoric, defines us as perpetually flawed; I prefer to see sin as missed attempts holding no self-defeating, esteem-bashing punch. We are all doing the best we can, although surely our individual best relies on our state of consciousness. It is that very earthquake of consciousness that is shaking us now, awakening the dreamers and lifting layers of fog from our minds.

As everything is grist for the mill of our growth, it's one of those cosmic A-Ha's that this dialogue takes place on Rosh Hashanah, which requires of its adherents a practice of ten days of atonement for past transgressions; it's in clearing the slate of old energy that Jews traditionally move forward with renewed confidence and a clean conscience.

A Course in Miracles tells us that the process of atonement is critical to our enlightenment; in fact it is THE concept that we must fully integrate if we are to step into recognition of our spiritual inheritance as the beloved of God/dess.
Atonement, Course instructs, is a closing of the illusion that we are single and separate from our brothers/sisters, and all of us from our Source; it is an embrace of the awareness that we are all one. In that "keep it simple, stupid," way that so often cuts to the chase, the word itself encapsulates that truth: at-one-ment.

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Mother and daughter, Brussels. Photo by Eric Francis.
When we shake out the cobwebs of our old paradigm notions about who God loves, how to keep ourselves safe, how to provide good lives for ourselves, it becomes clear that unless we take care of the whole of us, the body of humanity is not sound. Unless we are able to provide for the least of these, on every level, we are still mired in old energy and attitudes that will produce only more of the same.

Obama tells us that working together, we can change the world. Does that shake up everything you know about how history has played out so far? Good. Dare to dream! Unless we try this thing, seizing this opportunity to shake off thousands of years of tried and failed patriarchy and power-playing, we are destined for more of the same and decades of the doom and gloom that I feel when I listen to John McCain speak.

It would be easy enough to bring our cynicism and disenchantment to this frightening time in history, effortless to nurse our fears and allow our doubts to keep us from seeing this political race as a first step toward addressing the challenges that have dogged us for decades, if not since our inception; but this is a period when we've, globally, demanded an experience of accountability and change.

We've faced down corruption and now we seek principle and ethics; we've endured deception and now we want truth and transparency. And this isn't something we vote on once or twice and then step back from; each of us has a vital part in making that reality a part of our daily life. It is what we are that is at work, now; if we do not hold ourselves accountable for the emotional dynamics that inform us, and the intuitive grasp of which we're capable, then we become part of the problem, not the solution.

The vision we hold of a healed planet, an equitable world and a productive future asks of us that we shake off our exhaustion and disdain; those disabling attitudes that are so contagious to discouraged humanity.
We are in it to win it, aren't we? This is not just a political race or a change in leadership, this is a time of turning; one paradigm is fading and another is taking its place. Some would argue that this is the entire purpose of our incarnation at this time in history.

Together, we will either look forward, or turn to look backwards. The divisiveness of the McCain/Palin ticket offers us what we've known; the Obama/Biden ticket contains a zillion unknowns but just as many dearly-held hopes. We are choosing which paradigm we will embrace for ourselves and our children. We are growing in confidence to become the change we want.
Jews may be the historical Chosen, but we, my friend, will make the choice for the future of the planet; let's take a cue from their tradition. In these High Holy Days of our Jewish brothers and sisters, we are reminded that what is old has passed away and does not have to be dragged behind us, forever weighing us down; we can step away from what is old if our hearts have prepared a place for the new. It is a time for atonement -- a time for at-one-ment.

In all this remarkable chaos, can we find our center and stand in the calm of it, shaking off the fear that has marked our old way of being, and stepping forward into the possibilities that shine on our horizon? Can we change the world, you and I? We'll never know until we try.

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