"Holding the Vision: Holding the Rim"

~ Extracts from writings by Betsy Barnum

The idea of "holding the vision" keeps coming up, I think, because it gives us something to hang onto when the darkness closes in- a ray of hope, even though the facts all seem to point to the end. But even more important, and *much* more hopeful and lively and exciting, is the idea of vision as a field of influence- a focus around which energy self-organizes- and "holding a vision" as a practice.

Vision in this sense can be not just a picture of the future we want to create years from now, but a live connection between us that we warm up by holding it; that we activate and juice up by sharing it. What we hold *together* is energized by all of us- so it isn't just an image in my mind or in your mind, but something outside of us, maybe in a collective mind that exists in the apparently empty space between us. This kind of vision, felt as a *real* thing, not a figment or a hope or an impossible utopia, can be so vibrant that it pulls us toward it- that it swirls up energy and even intention, and organizes them toward its continued realization. The idea of "holding the rim," a visual image for the way people in a conversation create a container for the conversation even when they aren’t talking, is a perfect image for this.

Holding the vision is exactly like holding the rim- keeping the space open for the vision to be and to flourish, giving it attention and intention, breathing on it to keep it warm, occasionally adding detail to it or adjusting it, feeling it tingle our bones and arouse our hopes. Continuing to hold it even when we are too tired, too sad, too confused to give it energy. Just standing in our place, holding the vision. Just holding it. "And having done all, to stand." (Ephesians)

Holding the vision is in no way a passive mental exercise, as some might think, or a fantasy unconnected with the "real world." It *is* a practice, and a demanding one- requiring both inner and outer work, individual and collective. And when the darkness seems deepest, when you've considered all the facts and they are overwhelming and grief overtakes you, that's when it's most necessary to be in full practice, to transform the despair into not just hope, but active energy for change, for *life*, a holding of the vision like you've never held it before. Holding it until that vibration penetrates your grief and awakens your connection to the irrepressible, jazzy energy of the Universe again, the energy that never stops pulsing around and through us, that never ceases from finding new ways to *be* and to create.

And if we were all in "full practice"- I love that phrase- of holding a vision, what difference might it not make? How could we do that, hold a vision together, and not be deeply involved in each other, maybe deeply in love with each other? And deeply in love with all beings, with the Earth, the Universe in all its manifestations...

Back to Gatherings Homepage

Back to ICE HomePage