Deep in our bones lies an intuition that we arrive here carrying a bundle of gifts to offer to the community.
-Francis Weller, The Wild Edge of Sorrow
If you come again, don't throw a grenade, knock on the door.
-Chem Goldstein-Almog, a released Israeli hostage kidnapped by Hamas 10/7/23
We must concentrate not merely on the negative expulsion of war, but on the positive affirmation of peace.
-Martin Luther King, Jr.
The persecuting spirit is running rampant this holiday season, boobytraps in the most innocent expression of an idea or point of view among friends, relations, or colleagues, and the presumed safety of a home, a campus and a homeland shattered. War overseas and warring among ourselves. We are all both witness and unintended participant in this devolution of civilized society.
Where is it safe to reside these days without the menace of guns, famine, death threat, climate changed flooding, or bombs, cancellation or intimidation? A spectrum of catastrophe to be sure as I sit here safe, or safe enough, in my apartment. My musings are for next year, the immediate future, and beyond: How can we protect and sustain our children and educate them with depth and compassion? What tools will they require to protect and sustain themselves and their children? As I am an educator as well as a writer, I think about these questions often, more so when I am in the presence of educators and attempt to pry open their "apertures of compassion," as psychotherapist Francis Weller calls them.
There is work to be done—within ourselves, our communities, our body politic, our schools, and the world. Do not tarry, do not rest. Is that how the saying goes? We must not shirk our responsibilities. The possibility of a fascist entering the White House is real, among many other horrors. What can we do from the limited space in which we reside?
Consider yourself a co-author of this blog post, dear reader, as I solicit your suggestions at the end of 2023. Please share your ideas in a comment in which you explain—or summarize—your effort to staunch the tide of despair so many are feeling, and to remain active, and stay in balance. Concretely, what is your new year's resolution as a peace activist, a climate activist, a political activist, a hard working parent, a voter, or an educator? What small action towards peace and stability—national or international—are you taking?