I’m Not Dead Yet (but I did lose a week)

Yeah, it’s Friday afternoon and up til now I haven’t posted anything in a full week – and the last thing I posted may have seemed a little ominous. Good news, everyone (well, hopefully, you think it’s good news) – I am still here on Earth! I find this fact absolutely glorious.

But then…if I’m still here, why have I spent the last week so quiet? Here’s what happened: I didn’t die, but I did experience a major crisis in my political life. I will not go into the details of that crisis in this space, but let’s just say that it was very difficult, personally, to endure, and it means major changes for how me and many of those close to me will organize politically at least for the next 6-12 months.

The toll this took on me mentally, not to mention all the extra hours spent directly dealing with the crisis, meant that this week was for my personal projects a complete and utter waste. I realized very early on that everything I had intended to complete, work on, and even begin this week would be pushed out by a full week. I’m not happy about it, but I can at least say with confidence that I now know how to recognize when such adjustments are necessary and thus avoid spending days and nights beating myself up about it.

What’s really interesting is that this experience is very consistent with all of my divinatory experience. As I discussed last Friday, there were several key lines and images in that week’s I Ching reading, but the one that stood out the most was about death. The line was this: “The man dies. His work comes to an end.” You can see why I would have been more than a little nervous about this. But as soon as the crisis went down (nearly 7 days after I had initially done the reading), the meaning was very clear. This ugly experience absolutely was a political death and the end of a certain phase or paradigm of political work. It was (is) a form of death.

I myself am not dead, however, nor am I or my associates done with politics. The work we believed ourselves to be doing has ended, but our political work has not. One phase has come to a close – along with alliances, memberships, campaigns, and projects – but another phase has immediately begun. The new phase, in fact, could never have begun without the end – the death – of the old. And it’s entirely possible that the new phase could be better or higher than the old, that this death was necessary to produce growth that is fundamental for what we are trying to do.

This the meaning of the concept of “death” in both the I Ching and the Tarot. Always and without exception. Death is not a final end or permanent defeat or descent into eternal blackness or nonexistence. It’s a transformation. A rough one at times, but a transformation nonetheless. It’s a move from one phase, perhaps even one world, into another. Not only do I believe that to be a helpful concept for living our lives, given that such transformations, though they may feel catastrophic, are hardly unusual, but I believe this may say something about the nature of our actual deaths. It’s entirely possible that all death, whether actual or metaphorical, is best viewed as a transformation, an end and a beginning, as opposed to the terminal nature we tend to ascribe to it. Something light to think about heading into the weekend.

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To all my friends, comrades, and allies, I extend my love and loyalty, my appreciation of your strength and courage.

AND MAY ALL MY ENEMIES BE CRUSHED BENEATH MY FEET.

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