Yes yesterday was independence day – the day we proclaimed ourselves free of the tyranny of man archy (i’m just gonna leave that typo), free to apply the model of tyranny we just escaped to the peoples we found in the “new” world. i don’t blame them, really, it’s hard to employ behavior that is contrary to what we have experienced, to what has been modeled to us as the norm.
and so here we are, in our long weekend sigh of relief that we have 3 days. THREE DAYS! that we can extract ourselves from the gears of the machine that drives us somewhat relentlessly to do do do do doodoo (yes i like that typo too).
it does leave me wondering why we do it. why are we so intrigued by all this doing. even tho we say we’re not. we keep doing it. we actually know from real live science that stress kills us. and we also know that we are all going to same place, eventually. it strikes me as strange that everyone seems to be in such a hurry to get there. And that we are all so willing to be stressed out to the max on the journey to get there. what’s up with that?
Here’s my guess tho – like the founding fathers we are just employing behavior that has been modeled to us, recreating our lived experiences because that is what we know. it’s hard to employ behavior that is contrary to what we have experienced, to what has been modeled to us as the norm.
i just finished Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle and the thing is, some people have been modeled different behavior (like those people we found in the new world, for example) and it turns out, we can do something different too.
Leaving the world just a little better off than how we found it, rather than having a do over of monarchy (version 2.0) is actually quite simple. not easy, but definitely simple. A subtle shift of perspective is really all it takes. And we are close to getting it right. we can be anyway. as Kingsolver says,
“Something can happen for us, it seems, or through us, that will stop this deathly unraveling and start the clock over. Like every creature on earth, we want to make it too. we want more time. “
I want more time. i have to have more time. There’s no way i am letting this planet go to hell in a handbasket on my watch. not when there’s eyla. no way no how. and so what do we do. right? that’s the question.
and that’s where it gets simple. not easy, but definitely simple. we have a choice. we all do. a choice between acting like we are all separate beings, like my personal actions don’t matter. The other is to acknowledge that just as eyla was literally a part of me, inseparable, interdependent, so are we all. i am dependent on trees that provide my oxygen, soil that nurtures plants, plants that feed animals that i can eat.
My personal existence is built on a web of interconnected life – of my friends and family as well as all of the creatures of the natural world who support them. It’s not really a choice, because choosing to act like separate beings is actually just a denial of basic facts, of basic science. and as Kingsolver says, it amounts to child abuse. we don’t have the luxury of leaving it up to our kids to solve this planetary problem – this is a now or never kind of project.
And so now that i’m managed to stress you out even MORE than you already are, gripped in the gears of the machine, let me show you how simple it is to get it right. and then how much FUN it is to get it right.
Step 1: Instead of Independence Day, let’s make it Interdependence Day. There is actually already a thriving movement on said theme.
Step 2: Ok, but what does that look like.
Step 3: To steal a line from my 7th grade heartthrob, “I’m starting with the man in the mirror. oh ya!”
Step 4: Choosing interdependence means choosing to recognize myself. Choosing to recognize myself as connected to everyone else and to all other creatures and to see my actions as important and powerful agents of change. Which is to say, in a word, to see myself as a superhero – a Mighty Earthling to be exact. Able to affect change on a global level, simply by taking responsibility for my own experiences.
Step 5: John Lennon had it mostly right, ‘All you need is love,’ but we get confused by the word love – so to be more precise, all we need is empathy. The ability to experience our shared beingness, not only with our friends and family, but with the other life we share the planet with.
Step 6: So here’s the simple part. Choosing interdependence doesn’t mean we have to go out and start our own victory garden (tho I’m trying) or buy an electric car (I want to do that too), just start right here at home in my very own little heart. And just peer down inside my throat and send my heart some love. The brain is always trying to interrupt the heart saying, “Do this! Do that! Look better! Be richer!” while my heart toils away in the basement just beating away, keeping that damn brain that never shuts up alive.
Step 7: So enough of that, man. Let’s just sit down and close our eyes. It’s quite a miraculous thing. I dare you. I dare me! i triple dog dare us all to sit down and close our eyes and set the timer for 5 minutes. C’MON WE HAVE THREE DAYS! THREE DAYS! I can take 5 minutes. Let’s just sit there. quietly peeping at our hearts. quietly breathing their nice pretty rhythm. That’s love. That’s empathy. and weirdly enough its the very most efficient way to save the world. And celebrate interdependence day. It’s kinda like Einstein said..
There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.
I don’t know about you, but I’m going with miracles.
And with that, I’m off! Off for a little QT with my heart and my garden. Hooray!