Creativity, Culture & Consciousness
In response to the seismic shifts in our political landscape, Elizabeth invited the community of Center teachers to share inspirational writing. We’re trying to hold each other up so we can, in turn, hold all of you up. We want to make sure the Center remains committed to establishing for aspiring writers the conditions necessary for creativity to flourish. Now more than ever we need that, yes? This piece was written by Tawni Waters, who teaches Writing the Wave and Writing to Reclaim Your Sacred Self.
I won’t lie. The events of the past few weeks on a personal level, a
communal level, a national level, and a global level, have shaken me to my core. I am ashamed to say that I have seriously, seriously toyed with the idea of giving up, of going gentle into that good night, of lying down and letting whatever is going to happen just go ahead and happen. Because sometimes fighting for light feels like banging your head against a brick wall, and you wonder if your head will ever be strong enough to bring bricks down, so what’s the point? Many of the good men and women I have spoken to recently have felt this temptation to give into hopelessness and apathy.
But after a period of grieving and agonizing wrestling with my darkest self, I have realized I can’t. I can’t let hatred and lies and cowardice and abuse and prejudice and manipulation rule the day. What does that say about me, about my precious, one and only soul, if I let it go dead that way, if I give up when the world, and the ones I love, need light from me the most? All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.
I don’t often talk about my spirituality, or at least the specifics of it,
because it is precious and sacred to me. I keep these pieces of my most personal self close to my heart, in order to keep them unsullied. I don’t think spirituality is something you can ever tell someone else how to do. I think there are as many true religions in the world as there are people (but not all of us are listening to the priests and wise women that live within.) I don’t want my attempts at “conversion” to be anything more than pointing others to the doors of their hearts and saying, “Look in there. That’s where truth lives.” But I will say I have a beautiful and intimate relationship with the sacred that is the core of who I am.
Years ago, I knelt in a garden and told God all I wanted from this life was to make sure that when I walked out of this world, I’d be leaving a Tawni-shaped hole in the darkness for light to flow into the earth. I said I didn’t care what was needed from me for that to happen–if it would make me loved or reviled or rich or homeless or famous or completely invisible–as long as light was the end result.
Something, someone, heard me. My life has been lovingly and clearly guided and marked by beauty and magic since that time. Not that it’s always easy (sometimes it’s agonizing), but I am never alone. And every time I am guided to jump off a metaphorical cliff, an invisible net opens beneath me and bears me forward to the next miracle, and the next, and the next. And my path has taught me that there is something better than this reality we have created together. I have seen it in my dreams. I have lived it at times. Heaven is possible. And I also know that there is something worse than this reality we have created together. Hell is possible. I have also seen it in my dreams. I have lived it at times as well.
We are the ones who decide the direction our hearts, and in so doing, this world, head now. We choose by loving or hating, believing or losing faith, fighting for light or lying down and sleeping in the darkness, speaking out or shutting up.
I made a promise to something bigger than me, and I meant it. I promised it my life, the miraculous seconds and minutes and hours and days and weeks and months and years I spend on planet earth, as long as they are given to me, belong to the light. And I won’t turn back from that promise now. I can’t.
I will be light in the darkness, not part of the darkness. I will combat
hate with love. I will combat lies with truth. I will keep believing in a
vision of a world where love and truth and compassion reign. I will keep passionately loving the ones I love, even if they are far away, even if I have to love them from the other side of the world.
Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness. Only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hatred. Only love can do that.” In the face of this reckless, horrifying, seemingly unstoppable hatred, let us all be love. Love is the only thing with the power to save us now. But then, love was always the only thing with the power to save us. And it is inside us. Be. Love.