Friday, August 31, 2012

If We Build It…….

As I have made my way through a hot, humid, congested summer on our little island, I have had many occasions to reflect on my energetic responses to the crowds, the sluggish traffic, the aggressive attitudes of consumers determined to have the dream vacation, the carelessness of cyclists and moped riders about personal safety (theirs and mine), and the end-of-season weariness of so many year-round islanders.

The summer season is both curse and blessing.  The livelihood of the island depends upon the influx of strangers into our living space for 10-12 weeks every summer – and so we welcome the blessing each stranger brings.  The greater human diversity that comes with July and August keeps us all from becoming too parochial.  Through the eyes of strangers we appreciate the beauty of our island home more consciously.  We learn a more gracious hospitality as we share our beaches and walking trails with people who only get to enjoy them for a couple of weeks each year.  We make new friends – if only for the brief length of a conversation while watching the sun set over the waters at the far end of the island. Summer can be an astounding time of connection. These are the blessings.

The down side is that our serenity is disrupted.  The courtesy islanders normally extend to one another on the roads is marred by too many cars trying to get to the same place in the shortest amount of time.  We all have to allow an additional 20 minutes to our routine travel time for running to the post-office or for getting to a doctor’s appointment on time.  Long lines at restaurants make having a relaxing meal  at a restaurant a rigorous challenge and it isn’t so easy to find a spot to put down our beach towels at the water’s edge, never mind finding a place to park the car.  Crime rates go up and the quality of life goes down.  The noise is assaultive. Stress increases.

In my annual quest for grounding and a calm, hospitable approach to the rigors of summer on the island, I came across a book titled Healing the Future –Personal Recovery from Societal Wounding by Dennis Linn, Sheila Fabricant Linn and Matthew Linn.  A footnote in the introduction captured my imagination: Quantum physics reveals that despite the apparent solidity of matter including the matter of our bodies, there is nothing other than energy.  That means we are energy beings interacting with everything in the entire energy fieldwe are entangled in an unfathomable number of energy vibrations and we are connected to all of them. (Bruce Lipton, “How your Beliefs Control Your Biology, July3, 2008).  Lipton, a cellular biologist, also remarks that “If you only focus on the person, you miss the energy of the field” – referring to the environment which is ultimately nonvisible and energetic. He also cites Einstein’s observation that “the field is the sole governing agency of the particle.”  

I do not pretend to understand quantum physics – but the metaphorical language helped me shift in my consciousness from a state of anxiety and resentment in response to the disruptions that the summer season represents to a broader reflection on how I may be related to the energy field – and how do I contribute to it for better or worse.

I am choosing, yet again, to affirm that I have power to transform and transmute and affect the field in which I live and move and have my being.  A simple thing like shifting from an adversarial stance in the long line at the post office to one of friendship and compassion for all the other “energy particles” who are also enduring the inconvenience “changes the field.”  Dare we believe, as human energy particles, that the slightest – even random – act of kindness can shift the energy field in which we are entangled as this globe spins? 

The Linns focus on “our social environment and how, despite its toxic aspects, we can stay healthy and open rather than being overwhelmed by fear and despair, so that we are helping create the world of our dreams for ourselves and for our children.”

The “field” in which humankind moves often feels dominated by competition, punishment, and revenge.  In my reflections I wonder if we are getting any closer to the moment when our weariness with it will awaken us to our power to shift the energy field into one of compassion and kindness and generosity and hospitality.

In some ways, it seems so simple.  A smile -  a wry comment – a more sincere and less perfunctory inquiry about the other person’s well-being  - - anything that recognizes the connection  that exists in the “field” - - and allows us to know that we are all in it together.

The line from “Field of Dreams” has become almost cliché in our American idiom – but maybe it really does point us in the right direction - - “If you build it, they will come.” 
With every act of kindness and compassion, with every exertion of energy in the service of justice, with every nonviolent resistance to competition and revenge,  with every intentional shift from hostility to hospitality, there is the possibility of morphing the “field” - - of building humanity’s “Field of Dreams.” 

The season is almost over.  The crowds are beginning to leave.  The island begins its great exhalation and a kind of wistful peacefulness returns.  The rhythm is, itself, a metaphor.  The island “recovers” during the off-season.  We human energy particles do the same.  Always, there is the hope that we will have learned something from our summer labors about how to be more human – less mechanical – perhaps more energetic in the way we relate to the field that is life.   The off-season gives us a glimpse of our “Field of Dreams” – but perhaps we need the summer months to challenge us to the greater energetic work of building and sustaining that field.  In doing so, we create a place where thousands may also catch a glimpse.  We create a possibility for our many summer guests.  Who knows?  They may go home inspired to enhance their own local energy fields to the benefit of all who enter there – and the vast energy field of the planet might become less toxic.

Ahhhhh!  A field of dreams!

Vicky Hanjian

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