We can change, and The Mothers Of Invention
Be gentle with yourself.
Like stones smoothed in the current of a river, the world of human beings leaves no one untouched by the pain of loss and violence. As I look at the news cycle, I find myself awash with grief and disbelief often. The way we treat one another is heartbreaking; as though we can turn away from each other's pain and struggle, we busy ourselves with scrambling for more comfort and thus more complacency. There is a danger in apathy or distraction that threatens to make us coarse, and drown out the hoarse cries of those whose lives we choose not to witness. I also find deep comfort and trust in the breath that still moves in my lungs; all the air belongs to everyone on the surface of this planet. And as I wait to see a newborn baby breathe their first breath, I know that humans are stubbornly adaptable and inventive.
We may not see it now, but we are on the arc of a great journey; no simple story could capture the depth and nuance of where we have been and where will are heading. We can fret, and fight, to scrounge for scraps of the harvest we have sewn through industrialization and tearing resources from the body of this planet. Or we can turn away from the status quo.
We can put down the levers of the machinery that grinds our blood and bones to dust to maintain such a destructive pace under the banner of "productivity." We can stop imprisoning ourselves within the beliefs and ideas of generations who were never able or willing to feel the impact of their actions. We can slow down to mend the wounds that have been carried by generations asked to build wealth they would never see, and bear punishment just because of their skin color, their language, their bodies, or who they loved. We can restore the soil, forests, mountains, and waters by letting them heal themselves; like broken bones and bruised flesh repaired by nature in time. We can see ourselves as wise, creative, and worthy beings, full of trust and love, with commitment and willingness to cooperate.
What needs to happen in order for this to be so? By what miracle or Divine intervention? What must be lost for such gains? Nothing needs to be destroyed, burned, or broken. We must discover our willingness to exercise humility. Ancient people understood how to cultivate wonder, mystery, and awe for life. Their way of doing so aside, they gave us a word to describe this. The word sacrifice means to make sacred - to restore a right relationship of humans within the larger cosmic order. To make all of life sacred means to witness that every moment of life is laid bare before us, and offers us the opportunity to connect with and participate in the incomprehensible play of forces that moves everything and everyone that has or ever will exist. Everything that happens in our body, mind, and all our relationships inform us of whether we are in harmony with the cosmic order. No one else can decide for us, or inform us of that harmony. It is ours, and ours alone, to recognize. Harm destroys harmony, and therefore we will recognize that what restores and preserves harmony can never be harmful.
Here is a short list of suggestions for things to sacrifice in order to live a harmonious life:
complaints, animosities, beliefs, desires, righteousness (the belief or desire to be right), violence, greed, selfishness, willful ignorance, "the end justifies the means," blame, celebrity culture, fear mongering, xenophobia, ethnocentrism, species chauvinism...
Either we do something now, or like Frank Zappa and The Mothers of Invention said in 1966, there will be "Trouble Every Day."