Wednesday, 24 May 2017

We Continue Because We Must ~ Some Small Thoughts on Wild Dreaming in Painful Times

(Small Tortoiseshell Pupa. Photo: Butterfly Conservation)

What painful, painful days we are journeying through. They are enough to make us shut down, give up, curl into ourselves, and there are moments when I am tempted to do that but there is something that helps me at times when the human world feels bewildering and full of what is unbeautiful. Today feels like a good day to share it. I wrote this on Facebook yesterday and it seems to have struck a chord so, rather than spending a long time trying to make it just right or attempting to say everything that I would want to say, I will leave it here just as it is and I hope  expand on it in the weeks and months to come...

There are things on this precious planet called 'imaginal cells'. These are cells that 'imagine' a butterfly into being and they have to be really determined. When a caterpillar retreats into its chrysalis there is no part of it that is anything at all like a butterfly; hard to believe really. Inside the chrysalis the caterpillar dissolves into a formless gloop and this is when the imaginal cells, which had been dormant in the caterpillar, begin their work. At first they are detected as a threat and attacked by the caterpillar's immune system but they carry on regardless, multiply, connect with one another, passing information until they reach a tipping point, and then BUTTERFLY! I wonder if these little cells even realise what they are creating but, whether they do or not, they continue because that is why they are there and because they must.

(Small Tortoiseshell. Photo: Butterfly Conservation)

And we can be the imaginal cells for the 'body' of our own species; be tenacious in imagining what could be, even in the midst of structures that seem to be dissolving, withstand a world that seems set on its own destruction and which sees those who speak of a different way as a threat, hold onto the thread of a hope that destruction and dissolution are somehow needed, connect with one another in all manner of ways, offer support, gather, tell our holy stories of better things, wait for the tipping point (and the tipping point will come). This is our work and we were born to do it. Imagine, and never stop imagining, because our imagining will make it real. It already is. I wonder if we even realise what we are creating but, whether we do or not, we continue because that is why we are here and because we must.

Postscript ~ as a small aside, I have been both heartened and surprised that this piece of writing has been shared on Facebook many times since I spontaneously wrote it yesterday in a moment of wild hope in the good, and by people as diverse as American feminist historian, author, artist, and founder of the Suppressed History Archives, Max Dashu, who is marvellous, and the Kensington Labour Party! I find this so encouraging. We may seem to be on very different paths but beneath the surface, for now at least, so many of us are doing the same work; finding connection, beginning to gather, dreaming something wonderful. Becoming imaginal cells.


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