With many of my colleagues and friends, one thread of conversation these days is best named as “cumulative.” It’s cumulative fatigue of being online. It’s cumulative missing of not using spaces designed to hold community in face to face ways. It’s cumulative fear for an uncertainty that grows in this season — in regions like the one I live, in the northern hemisphere, for the oncoming winter and a season of flu and colds, CoVid or not. In the USA there is uncertainty of election results in upcoming November federal voting. That’s cumulative too, though I’m not sure what to call it. Cumulative aggression? Cumulative schoolyard bickering? Cumulative adolescence? A part of me knows that this election matters. And, a part of me also feels we are just too far along. If American democracy and sense-making is running out of gas in the middle of the desert, what difference does it make whether 500 miles or 490 miles from relief?
Cumulative. And here we are, in October.
I believe it is important to witness these cumulative things with one another. There is little value in hiding truth or masquerading it as something that it isn’t. There is pain and suffering in the world. There always has been. There are unique expressions of it in these times. And again, cumulative. I’m glad to be involved in some of these efforts with groups — to create containers for thoughtful and honest speaking, for attentive and kind listening of what is cumulatively troubling.
I believe that witnessing points to something else that is, or can be, cumulative. It is our wholeness. It is our intimacy with one another. It is love. It is kindness. I believe it is also important to cultivate such things together. To cultivate welcome. To cultivate beauty. To cultivate creativity. I’m not talking surface layers here. But rather, appealing to deeper sourcing that is already in people and actually wanting to be witnessed. I’m also glad to be involved in some of these efforts with groups — creating containers for honest speaking of joy, for what lives well beyond false and shiny promises.
The human spirit may experience despair. I have learned that it is important to be honest with this. However, it is also true that the human spirit can’t help but be imaginative, seeking union with other expressions of life. For some of us, this day may not look that different than others, a mere cumulation of pattern. Beware the ruts that groove to cumulative fatigue. But here’s to also embraceing the things that are also true. People care and crave deep connection together, deep honesty, deep path of wonder, deep commitment to being alive with what is real.
With many friends and colleagues. Or neighbors. Or family. Or self.