We need a litany, a rosary, a sutra, a mantra


After a run of darkness (Orlando, Baton Rouge, Dallas, Minnesota, Nice), Rebecca Solnit writes an essay for The Guardian titled “Hope is an Embrace of the Unknown” on living in dark times. I’ve shared a few excerpts below.

After a rain mushrooms appear on the surface of the earth as if from nowhere. Many come from a sometimes vast underground fungus that remains invisible and largely unknown. What we call mushrooms, mycologists call the fruiting body of the larger, less visible fungus. Uprisings and revolutions are often considered to be spontaneous, but it is the less visible long-term organising and groundwork – or underground work – that often laid the foundation…

…our hope is in the dark around the edges, not the limelight of centre stage. Our hope and often our power…

What startled me about the response to disaster was not the virtue, since virtue is often the result of diligence and dutifulness, but the passionate joy that shone out from accounts by people who had barely survived. These people who had lost everything, who were living in rubble or ruins, had found agency, meaning, community, immediacy in their work together with other survivors…But people return to those selves, those ways of self-organising, as if by instinct when the situation demands it. Thus a disaster is a lot like a revolution when it comes to disruption and improvisation, to new roles and an unnerving or exhilarating sense that now anything is possible…

Together we are very powerful, and we have a seldom-told, seldom-remembered history of victories and transformations that can give us confidence that, yes, we can change the world because we have many times before. You row forward looking back, and telling this history is part of helping people navigate toward the future. We need a litany, a rosary, a sutra, a mantra, a war chant of our victories. The past is set in daylight, and it can become a torch we can carry into the night that is the future.

~ Rebecca SolnitHope is an embrace of the unknown’: Rebecca Solnit on living in dark times

Photo: Morel Mushroom by Kim Fleming



  1. I know that our ‘fruiting body’ exists, but in times like these, it’s sometimes hard to maintain one’s optimism. My heart tells me to sequester with the little knot of folks I know and trust, while my head says, ‘If there were a time to ‘reach across the aisle,’it is now…’

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Reblogged this on It Is What It Is and commented:
    TOGETHER … Please!!


  3. Your reblog button is off again… :-/


  4. Reblogged this on Bright, shiny objects! and commented:

    Liked by 1 person

  5. And even as we comment on your blog, the carnage continues.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Dear Lord…
    I’m traveling and I just woke up from a nap to more bad news.
    ; (

    Liked by 1 person

  7. We need all of that. And more.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Just what I needed to read and breed

    Liked by 1 person

  9. We do need to keep the TORCH of HOPE alive in these dark times…the HOPE becomes our LIGHT…thank you for sharing your find, David!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Christie says:

    Sawsan Obeid-Zeki, A prayer goes with you…thank you for helping these people who have been traumatized by civil unrest and have, had to flee.from their home..uncertain as all of us of “what tomorrow may bring” while keeping Faith and Holding on to Hope…and trying to believe that temporary is short lived, enduring, as one yields to the situation in their life, while seeking a stable, permanence…the future is forward and unfolding…and small individual victories will manifest & compound.. Joy Will Return and many Phoenix-ies will fly brave and strong…rising above the past…

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I am getting more and more members into the Church of Hopeful Uncertainty…

    Liked by 1 person

  12. In the past is the worst of us and the best of us. As we move forward that which we choose to leave behind will strongly affect the future we enter into.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Hi David. 🙂 “We need a litany, a rosary, a sutra, a mantra.” Do you believe in prayer? I only dare to ask because you brought it up, so to speak. If you do believe, then be assured that there are many people who say a rosary every day for the world. If you don’t, then perhaps you should reflect on the helplessness you probably feel in the face of evil. Who can help us in these times, if not God, through the loving intercession of his (and our) blessed mother Mary?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sarah, I want to believe. (I know that doesn’t answer your question) And I know that many believe. I’m not all the way there…

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’m only a recent convert so I think I know how you feel. It’s very hard for modern Westerners to believe in anything not rooted in science and modern secular thinking. I don’t know if it would work for you but what worked for me was _acting_ as if I believed. I studied the faith and prayed as though I already truly believed it. I found a depth and richness in the teachings that I hadn’t guessed at before. God wants to give us the gift of faith, we just need to show Him that we’re earnest, I think. I hope you make your way there soon and find the peace that every soul yearns for.

        Liked by 1 person

  14. http://christianagnostics.blogspot.com/2010/05/church-of-hopeful-uncertainty-message.html
    The Church of Hopeful Uncertainty…One Helpless Circle…Floundering, OK :o) The Link is to Christian Agnosticism. Most interesting.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. You totally captured the beauty of the Morel. I have friends that hunt them and are successful because they understand the growth cycle, the necessary environment…they keep the locations a secret so others cannot get to their waiting cache. Thanks for this lovely photo.

    Liked by 1 person


  1. […] via We need a litany, a rosary, a sutra, a mantra — Live & Learn […]


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