When we wrote our memoir, something emerged from looking at the long span of time. Lo and behold, cycles surfaced, a recurring meme of focusing intently on a desired life goal, working effectively to actualize it, then finding after about seven years that we needed to do it all over again. It was always painful, and always necessary. It never meant that we’d been wrong in the beginning, only that life had moved on.
Back in 1968, we’d climbed up a notch on the academic ladder and joined the faculty of the University of Wisconsin’s School of Fine Arts, but when the extracurricular bud of Theatre X bloomed into a full-fledged performing ensemble, we had to make a choice. All our investment, monetary and emotional, had been toward the goal of a career in academic theatre, and suddenly we saw it through a different lens. Our hearts had shifted gears, and we jumped into the unstable unknown. The next years were vibrant, bonding with our new theatrical family.
When we hived off to found the Independent Eye in 1974, Theatre X went on to make its own mark, a long fertile life until its closing in 2004. Our departure had been viewed by some as a betrayal, but we all found a healing and even did some collaborative work. But nothing lasts forever, and what was painful in the demise of Theatre X was that those who had been our best friends came into divisions that turned them tooth and nail against each other. We still loved them all, and couldn’t take sides. It’s only very recently that those toxins have lost some of their punch.
In our spiritual life, we took a huge energetic leap in entering into the neo-pagan world, and found wonderful guides, friends, and lovers in the Church of All Worlds. When that organization’s central core fell apart, when partners became enemies, we couldn’t stop loving the people we’d loved, we couldn’t take sides, we could only watch it all fall apart. Once again, those who had been closest were tearing each other apart. It was painfully familiar.
It’s happening again. Our Full Moon Circle, assembled little by little over several years, has been our spiritual anchor, a collection of individuals from different traditions who all knew how to hold sacred space and could blend their work to move healing energy to great effect. We were really good at staying on point and accepting our different ways in the interest of a common good. Until we weren’t. Life outside the circle has made changes.
What the effing hell is this cycle? Sentient admirable people have bonded, done wonderful work together, and the center did not hold. Not with Theatre X, not with CAW, and now not with our worship group. As in past years, we will keep putting one foot in front of the other, finding where the new path leads, and being profoundly grateful that our own bond has always been grounded and steady. But we miss our creative brethren. Change hurts.
News today that they found five unexploded WW2 bombs in downtown Hannover. The area was evacuated and they disposed of the bombs.
Would we could be so lucky with other unexploded ordnance. Starting, obviously, with the litterbug rubble of war—the cluster bombs, land mines, radioactive ammo, the soldiers and civilians with parts shot off or junked, the shattered minds, the hospitalized, the homeless, the children growing into the tradition of their fathers. Every war, even those pre-gunpower, have left their unexploded bombs in every heart—set to ignite the next.
People have written about the costs of war for millennia, and today it’s less fashionable to glorify the enterprise. We accuse candidates of being warmongers or hawks and elect self-proclaimed peace-lovers, but somehow the circumstances dictate. The circumstances always dictate. The rhetoric of launching war is finely honed.
As a leader I would be no more virtuous. I would be persuaded, despite sleepless nights, of the necessities. And that somehow this will be the last: this will bring it all into balance. And stopping the massive industry of defense—it’d be like stopping the heart in hopes that the pancreas would agree to work overtime.
I have no proposal to make, no anchor to my feelings, no hopes other than that human incompetence might save us from doing clownish deeds. I do feel that we might start by self-examination, since that’s the only arena for which we can bear full responsibility. What separates us from our fellows? What impels us to a collision course? What self-righteous grit in our eyes blinds us?
Can we clear the unexploded ordnance, from past or current wars, that lies embedded in our heart?