Mystic, mythic news reporter Caroline Kasey reframes our trauma and suffering as “our beautiful, dangerous assignment.” I love this. It helps me to see our problems from a larger, much wiser, and more workable perspective.

Yes, there are many things that suck at this moment. We’re in a real pickle. I don’t know what it all means, nor how to best find balance for myself, my communities, my world. Thinking of this moment as a kind of advanced course in peace-work, as my beautiful, dangerous assignment, as a great adventure in the tradition of Frodo, Arya Stark, Harry Potter, and Princess Leia, as the next step of the path—really helps.

The idea that now that the USA has had a black president, and that next we’d have a women president, then a gay president, and that things would just be getting better and better all over the world because we lead the way—USA! USA!—was an illusion. And it lulled many of us to sleep. Especially white folks and others with privilege and power. The 2016 presidential election has begun to wake us up.

There is no static state of justice and peace that we can aspire to. Everything is always in motion. Freedom is a constant practice. We’re in this for the long haul.

Today is the first full day of the Trump presidency. It is also the day of an unprecedented collection of marches for justice and equality all over the world. The call for sanity is erupting throughout the human race. I’m writing this to help myself process what’s going on. Since there’s a lot to process, it’s turned into a multi-part series.

I’m finding the need for processing with myself and others to be one of the silver linings of this political catastrophe. I’m talking more with my friends, colleagues, students and strangers about what really matters. I’m asking bigger and deeper questions on an almost hourly basis. I’m recognizing that there isn’t a point at which I can stop and get off the train.

In the words of Ella Baker, quoted in Ella’s Song by Sweet Honey in the Rock, “We who believe in Freedom cannot rest. We who believe in Freedom cannot rest until it comes.” And it only really comes when all beings, everywhere, countless and infinite, are freed from all suffering.