A visit to Morgantown, West Virginia in the haze of the fires a few weeks back brought my attention to the increasingly challenging task of seeing through the fog of mis/perception to be able to uncover the magic of what is going on in the world. We’ve all been there – exhausted from travel and low quality food that junks up our body – maybe we have an edge of paranoid/anxious energy from the sugar and the coffee we down to counteract the stupefying forces of fatigue. And we arrive – and we take in our world – or perhaps it feels like our world subtly grates on us – finding parking in a new city, stepping out of the car on a foreign looking street, lungs working hard in the smoke/smog to maintain a steady state. And all we see is the boarded up storefronts, the conspicuous absence of students at the end of finals leaving roving bands of street people. The boarded up theater down the street.
And perhaps that boarded up theater looms larger than it actually is. Because fatigue has a way of amplifying our fear, our cynicism, our negativity. How in the world can things ever improve for these places? But I had a little thought – businesses do move into these places, indeed they have. More businesses are opening up – and they create light where there are streets blanketed in artifacts of hard times. There were spectacular murals along the streets in Morgantown, that reach into your heart and shake you. “ Hello,” they say. “Human beings are the most creative life force that has ever existed. All of us.”
And then you get a good night sleep. Eat a decent breakfast with flecks of green in it and go meet brilliant and scrappy researchers at the WVU School of Fashion, Dress and Merchandising who seek to make textiles green and identify ways for our small family farms (98% of farms in WV) to make more money – be it wool or natural dye stuffs etc. And they do it in a building where they worry about leaving the lights on and the wifi sucks. Serious scrappiness. And you see – everything is not what it appears. Human ingenuity, human goodness runs deep. All it needs is to be seen – acknowledged through the smog, and busyness and beeping phone apps. It needs to be seen. It needs resources. But we can take heart – that it unfolds nonetheless. It unfolds as I write this. As you read this.
So how do we stay in that space of appreciating all the good unfolding around us? How do we make sure we can even see the positive things taking place – when so much else wears us down? We keep showing up- we keep doing the practices – and we trust in the magical human powered unfolding that needs only to be nurtured.
Go, fight, win.