I knew that I was planning on a long silent retreat just as I started moving forward with Ring the Bells — and that it might prove complicated — but the delicate dance between renunciation and engagement seems to have worked out. I want to offer my heartfelt thanks to my friend Claudia Horwitz for keeping an eye on the social media aspect of things while I’ve been away — it was great to know that someone was looking after it all while I was trying to be more secluded, giving me the time and mental space to commit to my practice. I was able to post a few videos and poems that I planned to post thanks to the Facebook pages app that allowed me to do so without actually having to go onto Facebook. Now that I am coming back into the swing of things, I look forward to pushing ahead with the public aspects of our ritual and seeing where it might go.
I haven’t read any news since the inauguration, and wanted to write this before I got inundated once again. One of the more meaningful experiences of ringing the bells while on retreat was that this allowed me to have my ritual be more dedicated directly toward what my heart aspires to, what I hope for the world, and the beauty of connection I feel with all of you and, of course, everybody else – rather than how upset I was about what was happening. It’s not that I’m against being against things – there is good need for that. But it was of great benefit to give my own heart a break from that and to cultivate the beautiful qualities that are in all of us. Not that indignation can’t be a beautiful quality, but you know what I mean. I do hope I can keep that sense of connection going as I re-enter the social world and once again start keeping up with the news and while your practice may not demand this kind of intense seclusion, I strongly encourage giving your own heart the protection it sometimes needs to heal in the midst of madness.
In the coming weeks and months, I am looking forward to reconnecting with you and am also going to spend some time and energy getting the word out a bit more about #rtb. Its not that I think it needs to be very grand, it’s just that I’m pretty sure there are people out there who would want to participate but just don’t know about it yet. Toward that end, I want to ask you all for a little help:
1. Write a Haiku
I read a lot of poetry on retreat of the ancient Chinese and Japanese hermits, and I think that a simple form poetry can have a lot of power and is still accessible to those many of us who do not consider ourselves poets. A haiku is a Japanese-invented poem style consisting of 3 lines: the 1st line has 5 syllables, the second has 7 syllables, and the 3rd again has 5. All more or less.
I’d love it if folks would take the time to think of a haiku about their bell-ringing (or a longer form poem, of course) which we could compile and share as inspiration. Here are a few examples I came up with:
The sound of my bell
With the traffic and sunlight
Carried by the wind
Thinking of the world
With each toll of the bell
A different feeling
Getting up is hard
But I have to ring my bell
Will anyone hear?
PLEASE! Have fun and send me a poem!
If you have any ideas of networks or groups or resources for spreading the world about Ring the Bells, please let me know! If you know of poems or songs that you feel tap into the bell-ringing message, please send them along!
3. Outreach / skills
If you actually want to help spread the word or if you have artistic or web skills that might be useful – that would be great (because I think we might benefit from a logo or something). Message us.
As always, any testimonial or short story about the impact for you would be great to help get the message out there of the value of this kind of thing. The internets love quotes.
While his message isn’t exactly on point with ours, we must give credit to LL for Rocking the Bells way back when. I’m sure he’s ringing with us each morning and evening, even if he hasn’t signed up officially. And something to ponder while you listen: Why are there no bells in the song? Maybe he and Cut Creator were going through like a Zen phase… #ringhebells#rockthebells
P.S. For the actual sound old school hip-hop bells one would need to wait another year for Run DMC’s Peter Piper:
If you are interested in integrating your bell ringing with a meditation practice of some kind, there is now a #ringthebells group on Insight Timer! If you don’t know Insight Timer, it is a great free app that helps people get going and stay committed to their meditation practice – lots of free guided instruction and great bell options. Check it out!
We love the old protest folks songs! And where are our new ones? The ones that reflect who we are now as a people, that can be learned and shared widely and easily, that we can sing together when we come from vast distances of time and place and culture? Hmmm…
For now, we can #ringthebells !
If I had a bell I’d ring it in the morning I’d ring it in the evening All over this land I’d ring out danger I’d ring out a warning I’d ring out love between My brothers and my sisters All over this land…