Yesterday was dramatic, periods of cloud followed by bright, intense sunlight. In the afternoon cloud rolled in, followed by rain, heavy at night and accompanied by thunder, then changing to light snow. The day’s high temperature was 72F, reached about three in the afternoon; by seven it was 40F. Now, snow flurries dance in a mostly sunny sky. Before this week, the record high temperature for FEBRUARY was 61F. Breaking any temperature record by more than a degree or two is unusual; this week’s events are, to the best of my knowledge, simply unprecedented.
This week was equally chaotic on the national scene, with lies and threats, new authoritarian laws, and a complete refusal to acknowledge anything akin to consensus reality. This situation is crazy-making for many of us, not least those who are already living with trauma. After all, trauma is, by definition, an event outside the framework of normal human experience. Often trauma is inflicted by those who are incapable of empathy, and who objectify others for their own amusement, pleasure of profit. As a colleague said this week, “Right now the inner world and the outer world are just too close to each other in ways that are not good.” That seems an under statement.
It also seems as good a definition of The Bardo as I can come up with. I keep waking up in the wee hours, startled out of a dream of the Bardo, or of a new Dark Age, or of the aftermath of World War Three. Many of those who come to us for aid report feeling “crazy” or “out of control”; yet when we talk with them, it is mostly the world that seems out of control, not the person. Of course, flashbacks, dissociation, and suffering abound; the world is mad! Strangely, those in charge of governance seem to take glee in the suffering of so many; as has been the case all to often lately, Tolkien’s orks seem an apt metaphor. I am also reminded of Dylan’s Talking World War Three Blues. If you don’t know it, or haven’t heard it in a while, have a listen. Anyway, you can be in my dream if I can be in yours.
Speaking of sharing, writer Andrea Stephenson shared her February Doubts, accompanied by splendid photos, and Ruth Hill wrote about being a socially engaged U.S. poet living in Canada, and sent along an apt poem, both as part of the Conversations Project. I hope you will respond to them, and maybe add your own thoughts to the conversation.