It’s been a little while since I’ve written, but today as I checked a few profiles and some friends on my socials, I found a post that was presented as a “reminder for the month,” and it inspired me to mediate, and write.
“Far deeper than the wisdom to create is the wisdom to repair.”
I breathed with this statement, this morning, meaning, as I repeated it in my mind, I let myself have thoughts, and feelings, and allowed them to flow. Simply focusing on my breath, allow them, they are me, to just be. This is the creative act of meditation, and the reparative act of consciousness to agree to sit, breath, and feel. Where the words “creative” and “repair” came up, I listened for the wisdom, hoping it would come to sit with me.
What we sit with, comes to speak, and I practice being open to that conversation with myself.
For me, wisdom comes through the heart. It is not ideological, and is more thoughtful, with components of feeling, and idea, and these are not mutually exclusive, but things that are coming together inside myself. Today my heart opened to possibility, and that was tremendous as I’ve felt very squeezed into myself with all that is happening. I have felt very limited in my ability to respond, and as I’ve engaged with social media, constantly baited to react, so when I felt openness within myself, I knew a door had opened to someplace more expansive within my own mind.
When we become locked in highly binary, polarized processes of right and wrong, good and evil, healthy and unhealthy (or toxic), we singularly define the world in terms of ourselves on a side of righteousness, whilst demonizing all else. This can be a clarifying process in certain ways when we separate what is ourselves and our own thoughts, but it other ways, especially the way that it is acted out today, it is volatile. We don’t do well living in volatility, and it is not a place where I think we want to regularly live as it drives us to a into a kind of “Élan dévastateur”, or destructive drive. This is a place where we’ve seemingly lost the drive to seek resolution, outside of the elimination of whoever or whatever we have made into an adversary.
Adversary is a keen word, it comes from the Latin word “adversarius,” which means “one who turns against.” I think there are times for that, there are times which we must turn against to affirm our lives in some way. But what happens when we enter a socially adversarial phase, driven by media that highlights our destructive drive? I think I have seen the consequence of this for many years, as we focus less on the higher force of the creative, on the truly healing, and acting from a drive to repair what is broken, and more on the brokenness, and the demands that someone else, fix it. We’ve lost the integrity of common causes, and fractured into small tribes, looking over our shoulders.
The word “integrity” derives etymologically from the Latin word “integritas,” which means “wholeness” or “completeness.” When we lack, or feel there is a lack of integrity, we lose trust, we cannot define a constancy in the people or the culture we are in. We begin to redefine it, and ourselves, and arguably it’s a healthy part of the process. While many, not all, of us live in political climates where we can address any imbalance, we are constantly at threat due to lack of participation in that collective conversation, or when people use the democratic process for their own personal ends, that are healthy for the whole of us. That’s what politics are: collective conversation and agreements, even when we don’t get what we want, because politics are agreement with the collective whole. This doesn’t always serve the individual, and so some of us live in places where we can have protected protest. We’re actually kind of lucky to live in societies where can protest, in many places you can be imprisoned, or worse, for speaking against the systems of government. Here in the united states there are very valid criticisms of our culture, of the systems of our society, that continue to need to be addressed, however that dressing is dry, and it’ desperate for the dressings creative power of repair.
When I feel that integrity has been shattered, and I’ve felt this often of late, I have to be careful not to attack the one wielding the blunt instrument. These are often words since most of what I see is on socials, and the various news and opinion programs we watch at home. I weighed many words this week. How do I exist with myself in this world at the moment with the complex horror of it all? How do I witness this without loosing the softness of my heart, or my mind becoming another blunt singular instrument, and still be present for those I know who are in distress?
My answer was like the flash of light off a the gold of a mended bowl.
The answer for me became clear, I sit, I open myself. I educate myself, I engage my mind first, not the world. I do this in order to tackle what disturbs me, and begin to pick of the pieces of what I found broken, and try to understand that brokenness in me, so that I can make it whole within myself.
Pictured is a bowl I drew from the photobank of the Canva app when I searched for Kintsugi. This is often an overused metaphor of repair, however the method emphasizes the beauty of the cracks and the imperfections, and rather than seek to remove them, make the part of the whole. So that there is beauty in the repair, and imperfection is embraced as part of the art. However this is not just pottery and art, it is a philosophy, and it becomes a metaphor for repair, holding the broken, and the potential, to better handle, and create within the circumstances of our personal and collective lives.
I think that is a great metaphor, in word, and image, as my friend said, for the month.
Repair begins where we are broken, how do we creatively address that within ourselves? When we find the inspiration, compassion, or ‘gold’ that will do it for us, what then is made that we can use to bring that to the world?
Maybe you’re not at the “bring back to the world” part, that’s okay, we’re all in different stages of growth and understanding in our lives, but we can begin somewhere in addressing our reactionary nature, and what is broken within ourselves. That’s the real work of humanity, and finding the right method, or therapy, and the right moments in our lives is essential. When we learn to sit with what we feel, and what we disagree, without shutting it out or down, we are growing not just for ourselves, but for each other. Learning to hold what is broken, and being open to the possibility, that this brokenness does not lay at the feet of any one person or group, and so part of a larger cooperative mending.
“Tikkun Olam. There is a Jewish legend behind this notion. Sometime early in the life of the world, something happened to shatter the light of the universe into countless pieces. They lodged as sparks inside every part of the creation. The highest human calling is to look for this original light from where we sit, to point to it and gather it up and in so doing to repair the world. This can sound like an idealistic and fanciful tale. But Dr. Rachel Naomi Remen, who told it to me as her Hasidic grandfather told it to her, calls it an important and empowering story for our time. It insists that each one of us, flawed and inadequate as we may feel, has exactly what’s needed to help repair the part of the world that we can see and touch.”
― Krista Tippett, Speaking of Faith
It’s a considerable effort to avoid the loud perspectives at the moment, with a phone at my constant side, but I’m gathering these thoughts as I move further and further away from the narrowly defined burning world perspectives of social media, and the technology that was originally presented a “social media” that has become a megaphone for hatred and divisiveness. I personally think it is a valuable effort, and the cultivation brings me spaciousness, and so ease, and perspective.
For me, it’s now the Witches New Year, we’ve moved into the dark, between Samhain and the Winter Solstice, and these inspirational moments are part reminder of my humanity, of the humanity that is in all of us. It is also a time for future planning, of thinking about what I want to bring to the world. It’s easy sometimes to get sucked up in the terror on social media, with the loudest, most bombastic voices sucking up the oxygen in the space, but I am reminded that it (social media) is designed to amplify that, and ultimately that is [a] perspective, but not the whole truth, or the complete vision of who I am in the world, and what I bring to the table. When I give myself space, I am allowed to think what I think, to continue to cultivate what I feel galvanized to support in the world, but without participating in the hell-scape of the media itself, which does not help us to think deeper, and does not ask us to feel more beyond what has been amplified.
My advice, and this is from work with others and conversation with those who demonstrate a willingness to talk, is to take a break from the media that is constantly drawing you in. Take that break and focus more on your body, your home, your spaces, or even the Earth where you are; not to eliminate anyone or anything, except the digital socials. Try something else that is physically engaging, or tangible to the sense. For example write, don’t type, your thoughts, and as we discussed on Patreon in October, focus on how you feel as a way to center in your body, about what is happening for you.
You can also try cultivating a little grace, which is a surprising unreligious word, which I am adopting and learning in five qualities and questions:
- Elegance: In terms of grace, elegance can mean your personal movement and behavior. How am I moving and living in my body? Is it with beauty, or horror? How does this make me feel, is this healthy for me?
- Courtesy: Grace can also refer to courtesy or good manners, but more importantly it ask if we are considerate of what we do and say. To question how these movement live in ourselves while we speak and act in certain ways. It is also a question about how those words and actions live in others, or after we have left the room (so to speak).
- Favor: Grace can also refer to favor, kindness, or compassion. These don’t mean, as some people reduce them, to be ‘nice’ but rather if we have considered how what we do lives on, and arrived at how that feels, what we can do as action to cultivate something kinder, or more compassionate.
- Ease: Grace can also refer to ease or smoothness of movement or behavior. Ease is kind of a step four, it now reapplies the previous terms and says, now that we know this, how will we move now? How have we moved through the world, do we need to repair that with anyone? Do we need to say, “I’ve been so caught up in these socials that I forgot we’re both human, I’m sorry, can you forgive me? Did I hurt you? How have I appeared to you?”
- Gratitude: Grace can also refer to gratitude or thankfulness, but relating to the whole five concepts, I like to think it asks, how are you grateful to yourself as you cultivate these qualities? Even if we just realized our actions and what we need to do to repair, that is a place of thankfulness. It says, from gratitude, what can I do?
I think these five qualities of grace are important. I feel they create questions and spaces within myself, and help me cultivate a better sense of self that is more connected to the present and myself in that present. They help me to be here, and open the potential, that golden light that can be used to bind us with to potential for wholeness, rather than focusing on the fractures which have separated us. It does not ask us to overlook anything, not at all, rather hold it all together, and be open to the possibility of it being mended.
We cannot singularly fix the world, and this is often an overloading thought for most of us who don’t have the singular capacity to affect large parts of society, governments, or nations; these are all part of the collective agreement. But because of this seeming inability, we are likely to take the internet to voice that frustration, at the horrors we see. Remember that this technology is waiting to amplify. If we can consciously focus on the place where that horror and frustration root within us, and listen to what our personal shift of healing is, we can make better out of what we feel, where were live in the world.
Where we live is where the sweet spot of change is at, and if you are like me and believe you can create to cause healthy change in the world, you and I can re-center that emotional energy into something that resembles what we’d like to see thrive, and come from a place where the actions and words are truly considered to make that possible.
Think and feel more, react less. Disconnect from the very non-social, socials, and restore connection to soul and self, through feeling, and listening. It’s a start.
Scott K Smith
Artist, Healer, Witch
Star Stone Education
Things for your consideration:
Bullet headings are hyperlinked
- Why Does Social Media Weaponize Our Reactions, with This Jungian Life, and Aaron Balick.
- Feelings Over Energy, on Patreon (paid), but also available as a chapter in my book, Reiki Spirit: A Reiki I Learning Manual of Healing Methods For Practitioners (Revised and Expanded) available on Amazon.
- Weaving the World with Magick, Christopher Penczak, at TempleOfWitchcraft.org
- Our Witchcraft 1-3 classes are filling up earlier, if you are going to register, please see the journal for sign up forms.