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  • Rev. Alba Onofrio

Steadying Spirit in Uncertainty: We can't wait for 2020 to get any better.


Equinox each year reminds me of balance, a reminder I need over and over again. It's a call that I need especially this year when everything feels very extreme, very urgent, and so uncertain.

I'm thinking about how to maintain stability in my spirit with so much uncertainty about what's to come. Part of keeping myself in balance for the long term is about creating stability and peace within my own self. And what I have learned during this pandemic time, when the world feels like it's falling apart in so many different and unexpected ways, is that I actually have no idea what is to come.

There are many educated guesses about what might happen in the future, many people who are claiming they can predict certainties of what will eventually come to pass. But so much feels like it is being tossed up in the air with probabilities we cannot truly determine. And trying to prepare for all of them makes me utterly exhausted.

I worry that the outcome of this election in the United States, regardless of who wins, could turn violent-- which is scary on many levels. I feel like the end of our democracy could be at hand. In some ways this can feel fecund with possibilities for new worlds, but the idea also feels rife with more suffering and intensified harm against our most marginalized communities, my communities.

One of the only things I know for sure is that I don't know. I don't know the perfect thing to do to be ready for what's next. I don't know what's to come, and that creates a lot of anxiety and intensity around trying to figure it out and make plans, trying to prepare for the future.

I'm learning that when I focus only on all of these questions and all of that uncertainty, I miss what's happening right now. Today. The alive things that are worth fighting for as a movement. The joy of seeing a plant bloom, or hearing a story from my child. Harvesting the last of the basil from a window box, or making sofrito or jam or preserving food for the winter. This year because of the pandemic there were blessings that I got to notice by being in one place for so many days in a row: being able to see the change of seasons, the cycles of plants, the daily rituals of home, continuous time with my child.

Right now, I am working on restoring balance in my body and spirit. Balancing plans for the semester, plans to vote early, plans for our organization and the future that I hope and wish for our community ...alongside what I need for right now, what's on this week's to do list, making food for my family, getting outside and moving my body.

So now that equinox is reminding me of balance, I'm trying to hold my anxieties about an uncertain future in check with the many things I do know for certain. Today the dishes have to get washed. I have the power to make someone I love smile. I can choose to move and care for my body. I can notice little joys and enjoy little comforts.

And in terms of the future, alongside my civic duty to vote and my ethical responsibility to continue to contribute to change and demand justice, I am orienting my spirit to listen for what I can do to be ready for what comes next. We can't all grow our own food or live off the grid, but we can each prepare in some way by living into whatever our talents and curiosities implore us to learn, and listening for where we are needed. As for myself, I'm learning more about plant medicines and teas and herbal remedies that grow in my yard. It is not the only solution, but it is one small thing that I can contribute to our collective skills and knowledge.

And also, I am continually in prayer for our planet, for our leaders, for our families and the well-being of our young ones and older ones, and for the healing and power of our communities.

Every day we take those prayers and manifest them in small and large ways through our actions toward a reality where every life is full of dignity, justice, kindness, safety, possibility, and love.

This is how I hold fast to hope for our future. Even when I can't control everything (or sometimes anything), I commit to finding a balance for myself that keeps me spiritually grounded in our struggle-- regardless of what's next.

Rev. Alba Onofrio is Soulforce's Spiritual Strategist, and serves as our Co-Executive Director. You can read more of their writing on the blog: https://www.soulforce.org/blog/author/Rev.-Alba-Onofrio.

Soulforce works to end the political and religious oppression of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex people through relentless nonviolent resistance.

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