This year the dark season is one of the busiest ever. In addition to honoring the dark, to snuggling into warm sweaters, to worrying about unseasonable warmth, and appreciating sharp cold, I add the Occupy opportunity. In my three main towns, Hyannis, Boston and New York, there are inspiring and challenging opportunities to be involved, to engage and to stand up for the world I want and begin to recreate the systems that are forfeit around us.
Now recreation is not reaction, nor is it protest. The turn towards something more just, more honest, more people and environment centered, is driven by heart. It is more a cry for something better than a criticism of what is. There is both anger and sadness, but beneath that is a hopeful and vulnerable pleading for myself and for everyone else, for our common humanity and a future of possibility beyond greed. As 96-year-old activist Grace Lee Boggs points out,beyond the work of identifying the wrongs, we need to be about reinventing our institutions, our work, our education and our culture.
At the first of my winter solstice rituals, we were asked to dive deep, into the bowl of our bellies, into the cave of our lungs and heart and into the cradle of our minds. We listened in the depths and darkness to find our inner sparks of light. After solitary explorations, we joined and spontaneously sang songs of stars, of bright glimmers of hope and collective possibilities.
Occupy Hyannis is stretching towards new possibilities by staging a solstice night encampment (legally permitted) to focus attention on homelessness and foreclosures. Earlier this month, their activism lead the local Bank of America branch to close early, to avoid receiving their letter. Their outreach into the community brought up the stories of recent and pending foreclosures on people's homes. Clearly some reinvention is needed.
Occupy Boston is moving indoors, into spaces offered by social justice allies including prominent churches. Diverse outreach efforts are underway, and a spirit of creativity and community prevail.
Occupy Wall Street continues with actions and organizing.
For me, it is primarily about my heart, my values and my life. My fully human life, opening into realizing the global impacts of my choices, and the possibilities for creative collective action at home, with powerful ripple effects. Some of the alternatives are simple, such as switching savings to non-profit credit unions that will invest in the local community. Other changes will require more effort.
I recently explored slaveryfootprint.org and learned that my lifestyle, which is low on consumption for America, about on the European level, is dependent on dozens of people enslaved to make my consumer goods. They are enslaved, so I can enjoy electronics and cashmere. I do not want a bargain at the expense of others' freedom or basic rights.
And I do want a creative life, with new thinking (the mind) about social space, about democratic processes, and our common good, with new connections and community (the heart) and new sources of nourishment from standing together, including housing (the belly).
The seeds of the New Year are sown in the dark. May these seeds that are occupying my heart grow with the returning light. May all our hearts open to new possibilities. Blessed be the dark, blessed be the returning light and blessed be the Occupy movement.