I keep coming back to Danna Faulds’ poem, The Pendulum Swings:
Have patience. The pendulum
that swung too far in one
direction will swing back.
At the moment of its turning,
everything hangs in the balance.
All the momentum of past actions
is suspended in mid-air, and
those who care about what
happens next are poised with it.
There is a long and anxious
pause before the motion shifts,
and then a sense of free fall,
when the world is turned on
its head and nothing is known
or normal. Have patience then,
and do not rush to either extreme.
The way will paint its own arrows
on the trees if you can wait for clarity.
Months ago, during some of the darkest days of the Trump era and the pandemic, these words brought great comfort – a reminder that the tide would turn. Now the tide has, in many ways, turned, and I find myself leaning on these words again.
After a very dark year full of so much loss, there are ample reasons for hope: New leadership in the White House signals a national return to kindness and compassion as worthy values; Vaccines in millions of arms promise a time ahead that includes hugs, travel and smile-revealing hellos; Spring, with its color, warmth and increase of light means longer walks and more time with friends; A shocking verdict in Minneapolis heralds a momentous turn toward justice; Support for the Earth and a belief in science appear to have the upper hand for the moment…
“For the moment.” Those words ring loudly in my ears. For despite all these reasons for hope, we can all name ten reasons to doubt. The pendulum continues to swing and will continue to swing. That seems more clear now that at any other time in my life. We are a complicated nation of complex beings living in a world full of contradictions. Truth is, it has been always thus. Many of us, however, have been blissfully asleep and are just now waking up to it.
So, yes, embrace the hope and enjoy its gifts and celebrate spring, and hug your friends, and…keep practicing.
If, like many of us, you discovered yoga practice – or meditation, or dance, or prayer, or walks in nature – if you discovered a regular practice that supported your body, mind and spirit in getting through the dark and difficult days of this past year – don’t abandon it now. Keep practicing. Because the pendulum that swung “in one direction will swing back.” Another free fall is surely ahead, when the world will be turned on its head yet again. “Have patience then, and do not rush to either extreme. The way will point its own arrows on the trees if you can wait for clarity.”
May we all practice. May we practice patience; may we practice compassion; may we practice being what we want to see in the world.