Distilling Dowd | by Holly Hudley

During the Michael Dowd lectures, someone issued me a challenge: Distill Michael Dowd into 3 take aways for your next blog post. (Probably a joke, but I’m one to dive straight in to a challenge, so I accept!)

Big Idea #1: What is reality? Or What is God?

(Really, Holly. You’re going to start with that one? Yup!)

The interplay between God-us-reality is an ever turning loop, or spiral. 

  • Reality/God is not separate, or “out there.” If Reality is the natural world around us supported by undeniable facts, it is our source, sustenance, and end. Our participation in this reality in a life-giving, pro-future way matters.

  • Reality/God is in the star and in the stardust, and the stardust is in us. The gifts of death are the atoms of stardust in our bodies.

  • Reality is that which when you stop believing in it, does not go away. 

Big Idea #2: What does it mean to be Pro-Future?

“We are nature becoming aware of itself...The earth was once molten rock, and now it sings opera.” -Brian Thomas Swimme

  • I kept thinking of a video of starlings taking flight in Rome I recently saw. They fly in intricately coordinated, swooping patterns called a murmuration. Did you know that each starling takes on the care of 7 starlings to its left and 7 starlings to its right? In this way, all starlings in a flock are accounted for and all are engaged in a mutually protective dance. I related this to Dowd talking about 7 generations forward and back. We look to our ancestors and ask for wisdom and guidance. We live in the now with a mind toward our descendants, in wonderment of what they’d like us to give. I loved his analogy of the Trinity as the interconnection of the Past, Present, and Future. The entire past is present here as is the entire future. It is here. Now. It is not Other than this. 

  • We don’t end and we don’t begin. We evolve. The stuff we are made of is the same stuff of the first star, of the dinosaurs, of Jesus. We breathe the molecules of their air. That same stuff will become part of other matter - soil, plants, stars in a distant galaxy, and even more up close: our children and our children’s children.

  • How we live is a mirror of how we treat ourselves, others, and all that we view as sacred. To understand this truth in a deep way leads us to live on behalf of LIFE. 

Big Idea #3: What do we do? (My own musings included...)

We sing. 

We sing at the top of our lungs or in a still small voice about the large and small realities we are part of. From the microbiome of our own being to the vastness of the cosmos we offer up our songs. 

We do one small thing on behalf of life starting today. Starting right now. Maybe you’ve never recycled. Time to start. Or maybe you watch a monarch caterpillar munching away at milkweed. You can hear it if you get close enough. Or maybe you consider your investments and whether any of them could have a deeper impact on the environment or economic equity. The little things add up. The little things become easy and they amount to more little things and suddenly you are living a transformed life.

Suddenly you are living on a transformed planet. 

I do believe this is possible. We haven’t hit the tipping point...not yet. We reside in the in between. We have choices to make and songs to sing and great great great grandchildren to consider. What is it, small ones, you would have us do to hand you a life that is full?