Now is the Time
Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing,
there is a field. I'll meet you there.
When the soul lies down in that grass,
the world is too full to talk about.
Ideas, language, even the phrase "each other"
doesn't make any sense.
–Jelaluddin Rumi (13th century)
Now, more than ever . . . this phrase has echoed through countless conversations I’ve had, and have witnessed, in the aftermath of waking up on November 9th to an America that felt strangely foreign.
Now, more than ever, it is time for me, for you, for us, to . . .
Now is quivering with a potency that many of our generation have not felt since the sixties. Our nation, indeed the entire world, appears to be swept up in swirling currents of conflicting self-identities and loyalties that have quickly gathered into full-fledged storms. Unsettled weather that puts us on notice that there is no absolute truth or safe hiding in any of our pre-existing sheltered conditionings. Winds that rouse idealism from its comfortable sleep, stirring a felt remembrance of our soul’s true purpose and passion. Stirrings, on all levels.
Ever is likewise shaking with delight at being welcomed into the now of so many well-intended conversations. William Blake had it right when he trembled with the realization that “eternity is in love with the productions of time.” Some part of the bigger picture that lives outside our current predicament, some perspective of the fullness of who we are beyond what can be measured, passionately wants to enter into our lives and service now. Many would see us to be fortunate.
The notion of We as a people is quivering with an uncertainty that is certainly not unprecedented in our nation’s history, and is most certainly up for review once again. (I find myself grasping for “certainties” wherever I can find them these days.) And the We, with its strengthening and enlivening We-ness, wants to meet with each one of us in a field where the idea, “each other,” makes no sense at all. Is this not the compelling, mind-boggling invitation that our hearts have been waiting for, for a long time—to host such a meeting?
Those of us who’ve weathered many storms by way of having a wealth of history under our belts can rest, somewhat assured, in our experience of passing in and through many seasons of personal and social turbulence. Perhaps the gift a long life bestows on us is the lived experience of numerous free falls into pits of illusion, despair, rage—and the lived experience of many strengthening returns. Can we not turn, if even reluctantly, in gratitude to the ripening, the maturing, that these times gift to us?
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In this special edition of Turning Point— devoted to specific current events rather than to the more over-arching themes that a periodical of this sort is suited to address—we offer a collection of responses from our CEN community to their post-election experience.
Most were drafted weeks ago and are simply offered as markers of felt experience along the way. We are living now beyond the impact moment of the recent election, yet its reverberations continue. Perhaps we could best use the occasion of the Presidential Inauguration to reflect on who/what we’ve each elected to govern our own minds and hearts these past couple of months. And stand, with quivering stability, to inaugurate or reaffirm our embracement of the oath that brought us into life in the first place.
Remembering as well, this is no time to leave our youthfulness behind! Bring your own entertainment to this Inauguration Day—a song, a dance, a poem, even if barely whispered, can go a long way toward breathing life into what we care most about.
Now, more than ever, it is time for me to…