Ponderings of our Spiritual Life Director 6-17-20

Experiencing Active Hope

In April, I introduced you to the book/concept “Active Hope” as presented by Joanna Macy.

“Active Hopeis something we do rather than have. It involves being clear what we hope for and then playing our role in the process of bringing that about. The journey of finding, and offering, our unique contribution to the Great Turning helps us to discover new strengths, open to a wider network of allies and experience a deepening of our aliveness. When our responses are guided by the intention to act for the healing of our world, the mess we’re in not only becomes easier to face, our lives also become more meaningful and satisfying.” –Joanna Macy, https://www.activehope.info/

We began with giving gratitude to a plant, honoring the pain in the world, and deepening our sense of who we are and how we are connected to the whole of existence. In the beginning of May, we continued this journey of being able to move into active hope through a short meditation I offered:

Think about a magnificent structure- something fantastical like you’ve never seen before. Something that would take years and thousands of humans to build. Now, focus in on just a part of that structure- a very small part, the part that you put in place. Make it unique- as unique as you- and know that without that small unique part that you placed during your lifetime, that this big fantastical structure would not be complete.

And then, we began a spiritual practice of creating a “life map”, with roots and ancestors, our own life flowing out of it, and pictures of significant events along the way.

Have you reflected upon that recently? Have you added to it?

Spiritual practices are so important right now. Yes, I’m repeating myself, but we all need a reminder! And here’s the thing- there is a whole lot of work going on right now and if we reflect on our contributions to it through these practices, we can begin to see how our unique part is coming to life in this “mess” we’re in and getting us closer to the Great Turning. And then we can begin to know what active hope feels like. Hope becomes something embodied and lived and creates a powerful force for change.

The “It Takes a Village” Coalition is providing essentials to hundreds of people (about 100 families with many members of all ages). And we’ve only just begun, but we’ve for sure created a wider network of allies. We contributed to this not just by hoping that hungry people could be fed, but by actively giving resources (time, energy, space) to make it come to fruition even if it seemed impossible!

Many of us have participated in the Black Lives Matter protests (and many of you have supported us- yes, that’s important, too!), helping to stress the importance of valuing the lives of black people. This movement has spurred conversations between black communities and police departments across the country, and here in Lakeland, bringing life back to hope for so many oppressed people who have found hope to be an empty sentiment.

This coming Sunday, we will have our annual UUCL Pride worship service (on Zoom) and we will be centering trans voices. UUCL is a home for many LGBTQ+ (GSRM = gender, sexual, romantic minorities) because we are not just welcoming, but also affirming and uplifting. We are embodying active hope when we listen (and don’t talk over and deny what was said), hear experience and truth from other folx, and provide a spiritual home where individual meaning-making is honored and everyone’s voice is included in the building of this beloved community.

Thank you for playing a part in making great things happen!