Alice Walker says, "This is the best time to be alive because there is so much work to do - so many poor to house and feed, so much opportunity for self-realization, the earth itself to be saved." She is interviewed in Shambhala Sun this month by David Swick.
She says, "Pain is a great teacher. You can work through pain and come to a place of peace when you accept that you will need to work as hard as you can. If you can be at rest with the fact that you will do your utmost under all circumstances, what else is there but peace?"
She says to believe in doing rather than trying.
"If you just try to do something, you're not really accomplishing anything. But if you resolve to do it, you accept that it is there for you to do and that you're perfectly capable of whatever it is. And of course there's no point in trying to do something you're incapable of. Then you use every conceivable atom, sinew, and instinct available to move whatever it is you're trying to move. There's a world of difference between that and simply trying to do something.
That is basically how I work. I think if I had started out simply with the idea that I was going to just try to make the life that I have made for myself - and the work that I have made for myself, and for my community and the world - it's very possible that I would not have accomplished very much. Instead, I simply set out to do it. And to do it incrementally, so that I could do just that amount that I was able to do each day.
It reminds me of what Ernest Hemingway used to tell people when they asked him how it is possible to write a novel. He would tell them that it's a matter of "across the river and into the trees." You resolve to get to the river, which is like the end of a chapter, and then, maybe in your dreams, you cross the river at night. Then, the next day, it's on into the trees. You do it in stages, rather than saying, "I'm going to just try to write the whole thing." You simply do what you can do today, and that's fine."
She uses heaven as a verb and pain to transform. Random House, her regular publisher, didn't know what to do with a political book infused with spirituality. Her latest book, We Are the Ones We Have Been Waiting For," is a companion for these times.