"Setbacks are a normal, healthy part of any personal change process," are Parsons' first words on the topic. These words motivate me not only to return to my Lenten project, but to keep coming back to my program, even when it seems all is lost.
I felt like I took many steps back over the last weeks. So much so that I wondered if I had not completely left my clearing space and found myself in old jungle, from my childhood.
Damn if I didn't think that I was going to do the perfect Lenten practice, if I just kept writing forward, diligently following the elegant prose of Sarah Parsons. I also think that by staying with her, I would make this my most peaceful, disciplined Spring, since I first found myself in the desolate ground of Psychiatry 22 years ago.
A lot of expectations placed, unwittingly, on a Lenten practice!
Instead, my setback made the work more real, and put me on track to more deeply understand that I need people as well as my HP. My setback helps me see how much I really do need friends in my community that understand me, and also need to practice self-forgiveness. These both will help my Lenten roots establish themselves into the rest of my year, and into my new community.
I have learned through this cultivation that "Nature bats last." Thanks, Jon Tester, for that concept. I can think my work goes forwards in tidy linear fashion, and perhaps Monsanto thinks the same thing: if only us pesky skeptics and Nature herself didn't interact with their "experiment" in the enormous clearing space created by agriculture.
Personally, it takes enormous faith for me to believe that any structured discipline I attempt, will actually progress without obstacles. I know my own inner nature is towards spontaneity, fits and starts, and reflection rather than concerted action. So maybe I kind of envy Monsanto for its self-promoting focus, that never ends. Aw but they have a lot more people working towards multiple goals!
As one person, I can only do small things with great love. Mother Theresa's words.
And I will find my small things need constant revision and tweaking to get "true" to myself. Such positive vision has merits, according to Parsons, for it gives me hope and motivation to stay on the path I have set. Despite setbacks.
Setbacks give an opportunity for re-evaluation and re-commitment.
I learned through my recent experience, that when I see an obstacle in the larger world, I sometimes give up on my self. I drop whatever discipline I am attempting to incorporate into my life, saying "what the use?" Monsanto is taking over my ability to choose what I eat, so I might as well give up on trying to eat and live healthily. Or worse, I think, what is the point of my little practice, when so much is wrong in the world? How dare I have happiness at all?
I know intrinsically, that changing my focus to "fix" the world, and give up my Lenten work, also makes no good sense. I have lost something there too, if I give up my inner work to go into battle with something much too large and ubiquitous like a multinational that has grown its mycelium into our legislative and judicial branches.
I will need to learn how to keep my garden free of its impact, without losing my focus, nor poisoning my own cleared land, to keep it from sprouting there too.
I want so much to participate in a discipline shared by others! Perhaps from my personal setbacks, I will see my way to find new opportunities to connect the changes I want to see in the world, with the one I have begun with my Lenten practice.
I think my Lenten practice has morphed into one that allows co-existence; and that trusts that letting dysfunctional people and organizations be themselves, so they can be transparent and actually admit it when they make mistakes.
OK, Monsanto, Dow, Archer Daniels Midland.. are YOU ready to live in the light? Where we can see you? Guess you are or you would not have put your interests into the Continuing Resolution Bill. 933 was not an anonymous rider, after all.
But instead of trusting the legislative process, you chose to subvert it. Pretty transparent action, in its own way. Maybe.