We Were Made For These Times

Editor’s Note: This valuable call to renew hope is a central theme of Tikkun magazine the Network of Spiritual Progressives, and in my view of Judaism and Christianity as well. Estes, unfortunately, tries to reassure people of the importance of their own action by saying that “Ours is not the task of fixing the entire world all at once, but of stretching out to mend the part of the world that is within our reach.” That sentiment can often lead people to narrowing their vision to that which others have told them is “realistic” and focused just on what actions they can do in some small project or other.  That kind of thinking disempowers. What we need to do is to not counterpose the small with the big. Yes, we should find small projects that seem graspable and immediate. But at the same time we should also involve ourselves in larger projects–like spreading the idea of a New Bottom Line for the whole world, advocating for the Global Marshall Plan and the Environmental and Social Responsibility Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, and in other ways spreading the spiritual progressive vision of a world of love (please read it at www.spiritualprogressives.org/covenant).  –Rabbi Michael Lerner

 We Were Made For These Times

Ours is not the task of fixing the entire world all at once, but of stretching out to mend the part of the world that is within our reach. Any small, calm thing that one soul can do to help another soul, to assist some portion of this poor suffering world, will help immensely. It is not given to us to know which acts or by whom, will cause the critical mass to tip toward an enduring good.

 

What is needed for dramatic change is an accumulation of acts, adding, adding to, adding more, continuing. We know that it does not take everyone on Earth to bring justice and peace, but only a small, determined group who will not give up during the first, second, or hundredth gale.

 

One of the most calming and powerful actions you can do to intervene in a stormy world is to stand up and show your soul. Soul on deck shines like gold in dark times. The light of the soul throws sparks, can send up flares, builds signal fires, causes proper matters to catch fire. To display the lantern of soul in shadowy times like these – to be fierce and to show mercy toward others; both are acts of immense bravery and greatest necessity.

 

Struggling souls catch light from other souls who are fully lit and willing to show it. If you would help to calm the tumult, this is one of the strongest things you can do.

There will always be times when you feel discouraged. I too have felt despair many times in my life, but I do not keep a chair for it. I will not entertain it. It is not allowed to eat from my plate.

 

The reason is this: In my uttermost bones I know something, as do you. It is that there can be no despair when you remember why you came to Earth, who you serve, and who sent you here. The good words we say and the good deeds we do are not ours. They are the words and deeds of the One who brought us here. In that spirit, I hope you will write this on your wall: When a great ship is in harbor and moored, it is safe, there can be no doubt. But that is not what great ships are built for.

 

By Clarissa Pinkola Estes

American poet, post-trauma specialist and Jungian psychoanalyst, author of Women Who Run With the Wolves.

 
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