‘Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned’
It’s been a strange, almost unhinged couple of months; ecological and political collapse accelerating, and like other friends not knowing where to stand exactly in relation to it; who and what to align ourselves with. I’ve been very grateful to be able to draw on both the buddhist and psychoanalytic frameworks of making sense of what’s going on, and trying to find the most creative way through it, with the help of friends and colleagues from both of those worlds. One quite new buddhist friend talked the other day of the importance for him of what he called ‘circles of protection’ – of friends he could trust and felt a natural connection with, knowing that at times of need ‘we could call on each other’. Yes to the importance of that.
The search for a new communal home context is beginning to feel more urgent in the circumstances, and is progressing most encouragingly, in several directions. I took the Quaker Eco-village-group to my buddhist friend’s forest garden in Devon last weekend, with interesting effects for all of us I think, of our attempts to focus a bit more on our inner visions, our right brains, and on the question of where our common ground lay and whether there was enough of it. I’m still not quite sure; the ambitious complexity and scope of their vision scares me a bit – I’m more inclined to start really small and simple with a little hut in a forest field, and then slowly spiral outwards organically, taking one small step at a time. So I’m also in conversation with a couple of friends feeling similarly, keeping things open and allowing them to unfold as they will. All aspects of my life seem more fluid lately, with things simply falling into place around me, rather than my making any rational decisions or great efforts – that’s been interesting, and much preferable! Work has certainly felt like that – my next step will be to keep it more and more local and coherent, reducing and simplifying my contexts. Doing more and more of less and less, basically.
Not much else to say just now – I want to stay here, and deepen my connection to this beautiful land and all that lives and breathes in it. To learn to sea-kayak, and ride a horse. To move slowly and gently through the approaching darkness, with friends all around me. To face whatever is to come with courage and care, and offer what I can to help. Despite my general agreement and sympathies, I’m not going to the October XR rebellion because I think system collapse is happening quite fast enough already. I don’t want to help shut down Parliament during the very time when there could just be a glimmer of a chance of the few politicians with still some remnants of sanity and integrity managing to put the breaks on Brexit and rethink our dire national situation here … I don’t think we have nearly enough in place in terms of citizens assemblies etc to be able to deal with ‘mere anarchy loosed upon the world’ just yet. The truth is I’m too scared to quite let go of all hope in the old order just yet, I still want to say: ‘Please stop and come to your senses’. When really I know that Roger Hallam is probably right – it’s far too late for that, and we should no longer try to prop up a house of cards that needs to completely, irrevocably fall down, before something radically new and different can arise. But I can’t quite face that reality head-on yet.
A beautiful dawn is breaking over St. Michael’s Mount as I write this. It’s the eve of my birthday and just over a year that I moved down here. I’m going to meditate for six days now, with a small band of buddhist friends all trying to practice the homeless wanderer aspect of the path in various ways – to accept and embrace our existential loneliness rather than fight it or cover it up with false comforts and illusions of safety where there is none. Not an easy option – but I’m finding that there’s exquisite beauty to be found as a treasure along that road – not least that of deep, genuine friendships, lightly and freely held.