Posted by: Banta | January 1, 2016

All souls on deck


So the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing. ~ T.S. Eliot

This first day of the new year dawned sunny and cold. After a balmy December, the chill feels good. Hungry chickadees, titmice and finches swarm the feeders. They know the reprieve is over. Real winter will soon make her mark.

In the garden, we picked kale, arugula and lettuce, secured the cold frame, and spread floating row covers over the remaining beds of greens. The survivors will fill our salad bowls for a few weeks more. And while winter nestles into these mountains, I’ll sow microgreens under grow lights in the basement, and spring veggies to transplant after the last frost. Seeds of hope and new life.

Planting seeds in the dark of winter is an act of unbridled optimism. In the bleak midwinter, when our newsfeeds swell with raging political winds and cold acts of violence, it’s easy to lose heart. When polar ice melts in January, and tides of evil rise, it’s hard to keep one’s head above water.

I need help. Perhaps you do, too. In these turbulent times, we can become lifelines for one another, a community of mutual support. If we pool our resources, we can flood social media with hope and optimism. We can agree to focus on what is going right in the world, rather than on what is wrong.

In his book Blessed Unrest (Viking, 2007), author and environmentalist Paul Hawken draws attention to the more than a million grassroots efforts already underway—from neighborhood groups to well-funded international organizations—mobilizing to confront environmental and social justice issues.

They share no orthodoxy or unifying ideology; they follow no single charismatic leader; they remain supple enough to coalesce easily into larger networks to achieve their goals. While they are largely unrecognized by politicians and the media, they are bringing about what may one day be judged the single most profound transformation of human society.

I want to be part of that transformation, don’t you? I want to be a force for good and positive change in the world around me, don’t you?

But where do we start? I invite us all to start by sharing the good news that rarely makes the headlines in mainstream media. Share stories from your neighborhood, your workplace, your community—of people stepping up to effect change in positive ways. All souls on deck. Tell us what’s working, what brings you hope, what lights your path.

With gratitude to Clarissa Pinkola Estes, I share her words of encouragement with you:

Ours is not the task of fixing the entire world all at once, but of stretching out to mend the part of the world that is within our reach. Any small, calm thing that one soul can do to help another soul, to assist some portion of this poor suffering world, will help immensely. It is not given to us to know which acts or by whom, will cause the critical mass to tip toward an enduring good. What is needed for dramatic change is an accumulation of acts, adding, adding to, adding more, continuing. We know that it does not take everyone on Earth to bring justice and peace, but only a small, determined group who will not give up during the first, second, or hundredth gale.

One of the most calming and powerful actions you can do to intervene in a stormy world is to stand up and show your soul. Soul on deck shines like gold in dark times. The light of the soul throws sparks, can send up flares, builds signal fires, causes proper matters to catch fire. To display the lantern of soul in shadowy times like these — to be fierce and to show mercy toward others; both are acts of immense bravery and greatest necessity. Struggling souls catch light from other souls who are fully lit and willing to show it. If you would help to calm the tumult, this is one of the strongest things you can do.  ~ Clarissa Pinkola Estes



  1. Beautifully written. I’ll join you in this transformation and spread the good news, one person and day at a time! Thanks!!

  2. Lovely and challenging!

  3. Thank you, Banta, for lovely and constructive guidance!

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