Editor’s Notebook: October 2008

To reconcile dichotomies sometimes means learning to live with them
by Greta Belanger deJong Sometimes I feel of two minds while preparing CATALYST. This is particularly curious because the word "holistic" means integrated; those two minds, ideally, would reconcile their differences and work as one. That we do not always do this sometimes troubles me. But, as Kim Duffy writes of Oaxacan culture regarding Day of the Dead ceremonies (p. 16), sometimes the dichoto_mies are refreshing.

That’s certainly a refreshing take on an incongruency that bothers me. In the front pages of the magazine, we usually rail against inequities. We defend. We protect. We take stands. We are often fierce. (And witty, too, of course.)

Toward the back, we talk about karma. Compassion. And the Law of Attraction.

Somewhere in the middle, they mix-sometimes like oil and water, sometimes seamlessly. More and more seamlessly, as time goes on.

I thought about this in greater depth a few days ago while talking on the phone with Terri Martin, a longtime committed environmental activist, who years ago traded confrontation for mediation, and who is currently involved in the Women Protecting Wilderness photo, story and quilt project (see p. 10). It reminded me of the early years of CATALYST when environmentalists and anyone smacking of New Age were disdainful foes. Putting together a magazine like this in those days was an interesting game of t’ai chi.

Twenty-plus years later, I’m still working it out for myself. I’m trusting that my own growth in these areas mirrors yours. In_sights dawn (again and again). Connections are made. The residue of something resembling wisdom accumulates. The CATALYST staff personifies the spectrum: Some of us are learning, slowly, to love our inner George Bush-and learning that understandings like that are crucial to outer transformation: the old "what you resist, persists" lesson. Some of us… well, not so much. Not yet.

In the meantime I’m prepared to appreciate the spice each lends to the other-the depth of flavor that comes from various perspectives, the nuances of light.

I’m interested in hearing your thoughts on this subject. Drop me a line if you’d like to share.

Greta Belanger deJong is editor and publisher of CATALYST. greta@catalystmagazine.net.