We Stand with Ancestors for Descendants Yet to Be

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That which has taken 4,000 years to manifest will not give way in an instant. Our current state of affairs is an archaeological site, with each success standing on the shoulders of other discoveries, and each failure a compounded fracture from times past and never healed. While it is the conceit of each generation to believe that something entirely new may be built in an instant, that is only true with things. For humanity to live differently, for peace to be waged, requires an evolutionary turn.

Fern photo originally by Tanouye Tenshin Rotaishi of fern fronds against rocks, digitally treated to appear blurred

For peace to be transformative in ways that it is a critical mass continuing to radiate outwards and to feed within, the peacemakers themselves need to have the spirit and the wherewithal to transcend time and space. To not only stand at the midpoint of the arc of seven generations in the past and seven generations in the future, to become the arc itself. There was a time in the distant past in which it was common for this sense and way... more distant in time for those who can no longer call themselves indigenous but even so among these peoples. A mutually nourishing, conflict resolving world in whichAll Under Heaven Intact is an essential gear in the universe’s mechanism requires a remembering of the mechanism of seven generations past, seven generations to come.

In this time-place there can be no greater calling to declare and then live into, to say

we stand with ancestors for descendants yet to be.

Ancestors are those who came before us, not only our kin. Descendants are those that will follow, whether of our blood or not.

While this is a deeply emotional commitment for which our rationality must be interrupted and indeed shattered, the reality we are preparing for goes much deeper. We are entering the practice ways of narrating the future as if it were a contemporary story, enthusiastically setting forth strategy that will continue its implementation after we become actual ancestors, and pivoting each day in ways that we know, really know will interrupt inertia and commit to the course of the wide, wide turn.

While there are more peacemakers than may be counted, we are scattered like chaff across the plains. And so our labors will feel lonely at times, impossible at moments, Quixotic to those who see us from the other side of the matrix. All we need to do is to find two others who may practice and labor with us, laugh with us, eat with us.

We are the kipuka — the unexplained outcropping of life on the barren volcanic landscape — that will make it possible for other peacemakers to find their way.

There is internal work and there is world work. Both consequential. Each connected with the other for which there is no starting or ending point. Whether in or out or in the space-time in-between, it is best to go big. The small and middling take as much effort-time as the big. Only in the big may we begin to experience our true possibility beyond the doubts and fears, until those experiences show us that there is much more within and between us and tomorrow’s “big” may be even more so. This is the practice way as we stand in our kuleana — our sacred responsibility.

Some may find kuleana, even methodically so. And for some kuleana will find you. How do you know? If you are asking, then it is not (yet) so. While some may step into kuleana with reluctance, the felt sense of kuleana is never ambivalent. Kuleana is a philosophical and operational purpose that also guides your choices of where to put effort, and where to support, and where to stand aside. Best to choose into. While there is a sense of destiny, it is magic only when it is not fate.

Oh the work of kuleana, how may we sing your song? We are the haku mele, the weavers of songs, narrating into the unfolding as it is happening that people may see and understand and join. We are long storytellers, who tell the story that has not yet taken place in a time far away with vivid detail and compelling bloom that many may know what it is that must be done between now and then. We are strategists who climb the slopes of mountains for the purpose of sharing their strength and dignity, high enough to see way beyond the immediate terrain to plot the various courses that there may always be ways and means, no matter what. We are farmers who grow food and grow people, unafraid to weed, nurturing the strong to become stronger and placing the fragile beings in natural shelters from the elements, saving seed for the next planting, and the next. Name any societal role and stretch the fabric of it beyond the limiting frame of current time-place, each a steward in relationship to other stewards, redefining the imperative of now in the perspective of the long, long arc.

As we cast forward toward the horizon of our descendants, and cast back to the storied and troubled past, we cannot and should not ignore the work of repair for this is what re-membering requires. Sacred responsibility must include the ability to respond which includes accounting, repair, reconciling, mourning, growing anew, and finding the ways forward in the mutual thriving that have and continue to elude us. Institutions will be tasked to take this on as a chosen leadership responsibility, but anything that depends on a broken political system will fall short of that which may be truly needed.
And so much of this work will and must be undertaken in the rebuilding of the commons among peoples and in places where spirit lives.

Such is the fertile work beckoning our collective generation, one among many, standing with ancestors for descendants yet to be.

We stand with ancestors for descendants yet to be.

A writing for the Art of Waging Peace Across Generations In Collective Acceleration, an intensive.

Written in February 2021. Held by One Leaf.

Art Credits:

Seven generations graphic art, by Adriana Contreras

Photo of Fern, special effects upon the original photo by Tanouye Tenshin Rotaishi

See related artwork:

English: "We stand with ancestors for descendants yet to be"

Spanish: "Caminando con Ancestres"

Hawaiian: "Lōkahi kākou me nā kūpuna no nā mamo o hope mai"

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