Let us spend one day as deliberately as Nature, and not be thrown off the track by every nutshell and mosquito’s wing that falls on the rails. Let us rise early and fast, or break fast, gently and without perturbation; let company come and let company go, let the bells ring and the children cry- determined to make a day of it. Why should we knock under and go with the stream? Let us not be upset and overwhelmed in that terrible rapid and whirlpool called a dinner, situated in the meridian shallows. Weather this danger and you are safe, for the rest of the way is down hill. With unrelaxed nerves, with morning vigor, sail by it, looking another way, tied to the mast like Ulysses. If the engine whistles, let it whistle till it is hoarse for its pains. If the bell rings, why should we run? We will consider what kind of music they are like.
~ Henry David Thoreau, Walden
Each moment of consciousness is the ringing of a bell. Our lives are a symphony – or cacophony – of bells in whose wake we try our best to swim. It is often not easy but we try our best to learn the shapes and rhythms of its currents and tides in order to navigate those ceaselessly changing seas with some degree of grace.
Ring the Bells is coming up on its first year and it is time to shift course. Since my last communique I have regained some —thought certainly not full—consistency with my daily bell ringing. In doing so I have realized I need to change my general framing of the the ritual if I am going to keep on in in my commitment. At various times I have opened the door to others being more involved in collectively steering this ship and since no one has come forward with that interest I feel authorized to turn the wheel just a bit over this way!
Most importantly for me, I want to reframe the commitment to Ring the Bells as a way to uphold the values for justice and peace, generosity and dignity, and denounce hate and oppression, cruelty and greed — but in all their forms and by all their names. Ring the Bells can no longer be about Donald Trump. If you feel like it’s about Trump for you and it’s working, great, run with it. Keep it going. I get it. It is a good way to channel what might otherwise be very destructive energy. But for me, this man is too narrow a field, too unworthy an adversary for such a beautiful commitment. I don’t want to give him any more of my energy or attention than he is already getting. The good feeling that comes from ringing the bells need not be held back from him, but it certainly shouldn’t be defined or propelled by him. I have found this year of ringing the bells to be such a powerful commitment that its scope is well beyond him and I want to reflect that in the general orientation of the practice.
One logical result of this is also to blow Ring the Bells past the 4 years of the presidency to make it an open-ended commitment to practice in our lives for as long as we are inspired. I have been so moved by this ritual, I want to deepen it by committing to this for my life and would like to offer this possibility to all of you as well. People can do it for as long as they live or as long as they like. Stick with the 4 years if that works for you. The 4 years seemed nearly impossible for most of us when we started and many of us have seen how hard it has proven to be. By opening it up to eternity, I hope we may find the counter-intuitive possibility that it is easier to commit to, because failure to ring for weeks or months won’t ever mean we can’t come back to the ritual at any time for as long as we can. My hope is that it will actually make it more sustainable.
Finally, the pressure of the social media responsibility for this has been a challenge for me. I need to reconsider my relationship to the emails and blog and facebook and twitter and instagram feeds and see what is a way that still feels good for me to be involved in it, rather than just dread and avoid it. You may very well hear from me less often, but what I offer may be more specific to my personal experience and understanding. I had initially intended to keep the voice behind the project general enough that others could step in and take over but I have come to see that if it is to stay my own, then I should own it.
The most important thing I come back to is that Ringing the Bells always feels good. I never regret it. Every time I do it, I am happy. It reminds me of all the things I want to remind myself about and I cannot see a good reason why I would not continue to do it for all of my life with as much constancy as I can. So just ring and keep ringing. Do your best. For me Trump was becoming an obstacle — and now there is no obstacle, unless I don’t have a bell handy. But when there is no bell in my hand, I know that there is a bell in my mind. And this is the most important one to keep ringing.
in love and solidarity
Ahí está el mar? Muy bien, que pase.
la gran campana, de la raza verde
No ésa, no es, la otra, la que tiene
en la boca de bronce una ruptura,
y ahora, nada más, quiero estar solo
con el mar principal y la campana.
Quiero no hablar por una larga vez,
silencio, quiero aprender aún,
quiero saber si existo.
~Pablo Neruda, from The Sea and the Bells
Is the sea there? Tell it to come in.
the great bell, one of the green race.
Not that one, the other one, the one that has
a crack in its bronze mouth,
and now, nothing more, I want to be alone
with my essential sea and the bell.
I don’t want to speak for a long time,
silence, I still want to learn
I want to know if I exist.
We have our first newsletter, which is really an outreach campaign, up and out the door. Bells up!
Who will hear this sound
I will be ringing anyway
My bell ringing
is never at dawn
Usually not quite at dusk
But in my morning and evening
a little off time
Happy to be joining
all the same
We light the candle
ring the bell 3 times then pause
feeling peace on earth
Waking up is hard
But I have to ring my bell
Will anyone hear?
bell supports love & practice
ringing bells are rung
the singing unsings the sung
ringer is undOne