By Robert Shields
People who come through the long night of personal loss or severe injury can tell you, the positive take on any experience you live through is you come back stronger. The encouragement to make radical and qualitative changes is also an opportunity presented along-side loss and if you are lucky enough to live you are smart enough to grow. We need to see the events playing out on the frontline of the paper and on the evening news as an opportunity to make some changes, learn some new skills, and break some old habits. We must rise to the occasion of becoming the best of who we are or risk falling into darkness and despair.
We begin the year with a shutdown of the Federal government. State coffers, like the savings of many American’s, have evaporated like the morning dew on hot desert sand. On the debt owed there is no clear plan to repay, and just to keep the most essential services in place requires adding to it. There is reason to feel despair, however, it will do no good. We must recognize the reason our pain feels so deep is that like salt in water we have allowed our suffering to consume us until there is nothing but bitterness left. The only solution to the pollution of spirit is to enlarge our perspective and allow the beauty and joy in the world to wash over us like a cool spring rain. Even something as simple as a Facebook post sharing an act of random kindness over a trip to the store for bacon can nurture the spark of hope that people are good and we might just make it through the storm. It doesn’t change in the least the pain but it does ease the suffering and creates space for healing.
The worst affront to many is the two major parties who created the mess are still getting paid to argue and accuse the other of creating the calamity. Maybe in 2018 and through the 2020 season, the nation should agree that both the Republican and Democratic political parties step back. Let the Green’s, Libertarians, Tea Party and all the other colors on the political rainbow, take a turn at democratic governance. We live in a nation founded by immigrants and it’s an affront to every adversity overcome for the children and grandchildren of those brave pioneers to fear the abuse of the very government they helped create with blood, sweat and tears.
When I look at the American flag, I don’t just see the red, white and blue. I see an entire spectrum of color swirling together to form a mosaic of laughter and sadness, of triumph and defeat. All the challenges and glory that we, as a global species, have manifested in this place, we stand United. What it has come to represent to the world and what we have come to represent to each other. Most importantly, what we have come to know of ourselves is all reflections of where we invest our time, energy and money. Changing the world is not complicated and it’s not hard to accomplish. The trick is the tenacity to keep showing up, keep letting your voice be heard, and hold true to the principles that make this state, this country, this world, the beautiful place it is.
A plausible solution, permaculture. Permaculture is thought of as a new age concept but the reality of the design is scientific, based on the oldest natural principles of ecological systems. Ancient wisdom passed down through generations of indigenous cultures who lived in in harmony with the Great Mother. To me, one of the most memorable moments of attending the Women’s March in Fairbanks was passing the Native drum players. Even after one woman broke her stick she kept on playing, and that resonated with me. Perseverance in the face of adversity is the triumph of the human spirit. It is the hallmark of every Alaskan and in the scope and scale of the march, it represented the kind of tenacity which has historically proven to provide the groundswell that manifest substantial and qualitative change for the better.
While it may not be apparent in the political climate, humanity is ready to move forward. For that matter, we are ready to take a great Leap forward. Ready to, from the top down and bottom up, honestly evaluate our circumstances and imagine for ourselves, a future legacy of prosperity, people seven generations from now can enjoy. Engage 2018!
Permaculture the development of agricultural ecosystems intended to be sustainable and self-sufficient. Online dictionary