I feel like I’ve gained some clarity in the last few months, but it has been hard to write about it. Every time I sit down to start, the task seems impossible. So let me break it down into pieces – events, insights, decisions, changes in plans.
The first evening when all of my thinking and reading actually “came together” was the evening I decided to leave my church (Unitarian Universalist). I can’t remember what came first in the process: the sudden flare of insight (this is what it all means, this is how it all hangs together), the insight that leaving the church is one of the things I need to do because of this new insight, or the very act of emailing the people in the congregation I care most about – good friends, fortunately, also outside of church – and taking the step. All I remember was the immense empowerment of seeing an insight emerge out of many strands of thought, feeling and soul-searching, and acting on it. Sadness too, that this newly emerging insight meant that I had to give up something that I cherished (and that it wouldn’t be the last thing I will need to give up). And, lastly, awesome too, because I had felt uncomfortable with this cherished “membership” for while, and now here it was: the reason why!
So, as to the reason why.
I work with a vision of our predicament all day long. All my thinking, reading and writing are related to it, and my activism, and nowadays also every act of mothering, shopping, cooking, doing laundry-you name it. I am now at a stage that I carry this vision with me at all times and nothing escapes it. It is empowering, frightening and often exhausting. It is not a comforting vision, though it does allow me or actually inspires in me, a kind of joyfulness. I call this Joyfulness Notwithstanding.
I need a place where I can keep my Joyfulness Notwithstanding alive and cultivate it. How? Not by retreating to a place where I can forget that vision for a while, but on the contrary by actively stepping into a place where I can look at it clearly.
That turns out to be a place where it’s just it and me.
And so a place where I do not have to discuss/justify the vision and where I am not confronted with circumstances that I feel are part of the problem and that automatically bring out the activist in me. Working to eliminate paper cups during coffee hours is fulfilling work for me as an activist, and as an activist, I want to keep working with the congregation on these issues. But it greatly muddles my spiritual clarity.