In song circle, we often sing a song that says: “Every time I go into the darkness, I return with fistfuls of jewels.” We sang that song many times on November 8th, along with plenty of other songs about darkness. And we’ve been singing it a lot since then. Still, it seems like a difficult idea for many of us to believe right now—that times of darkness will result in something beautiful.
Christina here, writing from cold, cloudy NEMO. Dark times are upon us, literally and figuratively, but there are ways to bring the light.
I’ve been thinking a lot recently about what I can do to make a positive difference in the world. Probably a lot of us have. I try to believe that the little actions that I take every day count for something, but sometimes it feels like the big problems in the world are far away and insurmountable.
So this week, I’m writing about what I’ve done in the past days to try to make the world a brighter and hopefully better place—largely as a reminder to myself, so that I’ll keep doing what I can again next week.
A few of us met to organize paper recycling on Tuesday morning. One of the recycling centers we use changed its sorting rules, but the word didn’t get out to all Rabbits, so what we had in our recycling barrels would not be accepted until it was properly sorted. With around six people working for about an hour, it was a lot of work to say the least. I’m still not convinced we even sorted it the right way. (If anyone wants to explain to me what “office” paper entails or whether glossy newsprint goes in “newspaper” or “glossy,” please send me a note.) Still, I got to hang out with some really cool people for a while. Maybe everything we did was in vain, but it was nice to see other people who believe that the effort is worthwhile.
I’ve been working through a unit with the homeschool co-op on bullying. More specifically, we’re talking about what can be done to fight those who are more powerful who want to do others harm. Last week, we read a speech given by Tecumseh, a Native American leader of the past, who was trying to get the various Native American tribes to fight together against their common enemy. A big part of his message was that they couldn’t win the fight if they didn’t work together.
This week, we continued our study of Shakespeare’s play The Tempest. I’m not sure what the final takeaway for this unit will be—what this group of six- to ten-year-olds will come up with about how to fight the power. It will definitely be something about working together and having compassion and empathy, including for those you are fighting against.
In a more literal attempt to beat back the darkness, when it was my turn to set up for tri-community potluck on Tuesday, I lit a fire in the great room woodstove and set up candles. There was a pretty great turnout for a cold winter night. Looking around the candlelit circle as we sang a song together was probably the highlight of my week. A little hygge goes a long way.
Our family had two dinner dates this week. One with Alyssa, Bear, and Zane at their house, and one with Mae, Ben, Sparky, Althea, and Arthur at ours. I think that getting together with people is important right now. I guess I’m coming back to that unity message I was discussing with the kids. It was nice to have food cooked for us, to share some conversation, and to cook food for others on another day. And of course, when more than one Rabbit is in the same room, the conversation usually comes around to solutions for problems big and small.
People here have come from all over the country, and from very different backgrounds. We definitely don’t always agree on the best way to make change in the world, but we do all agree that change needs to be made, and that it’s worth fighting to make that change.
When I see all of the suffering that happens on a daily basis, I’m not always sure that my individual actions make much of a difference. But I guess what it comes down to for me is that if I’m not actively working to make the world a better place, then I am passively working to make it worse.
To me, it’s ultimately about the way I want to spend my days. Sometimes, in the middle of winter, it feels like the dark will be here forever. But slowly, the light does come back.
I feel strengthened by the work that’s being done throughout the world to fight injustice, and the ways I’ve seen different groups come together to fight a common enemy. What I’m doing might only be a drop in the bucket, but I plan to keep dripping.
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Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage is an intentional community and nonprofit outside Rutledge, in northeast Missouri, focused on demonstrating sustainable living possibilities. Find out more about us by visiting our website, reading our blog, or emailing us (dancingrabbiticorg) .