Warning: naughty language ahead.
Yesterday I felt the cold ruthless fingers of fear and loneliness grip my heart and squeeze.
I wanted to die.
I wanted the pain to be over.
The pain of feeling alone, the pain of missing someone I love, the pain of not knowing anything except how fucked up things are, the pain of choosing another way without even knowing really what that other way is yet.
The pain of not having slept well in years.
The pain of knowing so intimately a thousand other people’s pain.
The pain of feeling so deeply every person who I meet’s pain.
The pain of recession and war and slavery and hate and racism and sexism and all of the madness and diagnosis and labelling and the endless judgment, the endless judgment.
Yesterday I felt all the pain at once and I was broken by it.
I did the only thing I could physically do and went to bed early and slept well for the first time in years.
I slept for 10 hours straight. I haven’t slept more than six for as long as I can remember.
And I woke up this morning and meditated and remembered what life really is:
A divine joke.
A chance to dance and sing and make love and create and nurture and grow old knowing that soon it will all be over, but that we lived well. So well.
And that we leave behind us a world indelibly marked by our sacred presence. A world that doesn’t only remember us—it is us. Because without our dancing the dance itself would not be the same.
Well, I lived well.
I was always true to myself. I was always true to the world around me, as best as I could be under the circumstances, and sometimes, oftentimes, the circumstances aren’t easy, are they?
And I have a lot more living in me. A lot more dancing to be done.
I have a song in my heart that needs to be sung. And so do you.
So do you.
So let’s sing together, with all our might, with all our fear, with all our presence.
Because it’s only together that we know ourselves.
“The foot feels the foot as it feels the ground.”
As a friend told me yesterday: the four-legged path is the fastest way to enlightenment.
Together we’re better. Not in some hypothetical way. Not as an empty spiritual aphorism.
But as a physical, practical reality.
People die sooner when they live alone.
It’s the loneliness that’s the killer.
And for millions of years we’ve been living as tribes, in communities and villages.
Who came up with the idea of the nuclear family?
Who first decided to make a city?
Who envisioned classrooms?
I’ll tell you:
It was an accident.
Human society today is a tragic accident. A catastrophe. A natural disaster.
We live our lives held and conditioned and informed and ruled by a society that we didn’t and wouldn’t choose.
Would you choose elections decided by money?
Would you choose retirement and a pension plan for your old age?
Would you choose the lottery and television and highways and concrete hospitals and fucking fracking, if you could start all over again?
If you wielded the power, would you do it like this?
But you do wield the power.
We all wield such power. We create our reality either consciously or unconsciously. We live in a matrix of our own making whether we know it or not.
So what would you choose, if you chose consciously?
I’ll tell you what I choose:
I choose a society in which children are born and raised and educated naturally.
I choose a society in which everyone has an equal voice, in which all beings are considered equally sacred, in which each person is accepted as they are.
I choose a society that delights in the new and honors the old but is always rooted in presence.
I choose a society in which there is no boundary between work and play.
I choose to live courageously and in integrity, even though sometimes this path terrifies me.
I choose to wake up from this nightmare and create the dream that I know is possible. The dream that is and always has been in my heart. That is and always has been in all of our hearts because it’s a dream that has been woven partly by our ancient ancestors and partly by our destiny and partly by the stars.
It’s a dream of simplicity and community and peace.
So I’m leaving the city.
I’m stopping doing anything that doesn’t feel deeply meaningful to me.
I’m letting go of everything that doesn’t support this process.
Most of all I’m ruthlessly stalking myself and not allowing any behaviors that aren’t in alignment with this intention.
And yesterday was hard not because I’ve made the wrong choices or for any reason really other than the fact that I’m in transition, and hadn’t yet committed myself fully to the next step.
So today I commit. Today I rise up from the ashes of the past and throw myself with abandon into the flames of creation.
Dance with me, sing with me, live with me.
Let us all stand up and be counted. Let us all have the courage to live from our hearts. Let us all have the courage, let me have the courage, to not run from what we truly desire. Let us all be the change we wish to see.
Let us all turn our backs on anything and everything that doesn’t serve our dreams.
Let us have the chance to die feeling that our last breath is the sweetest. Without regret.
Because you create this society consciously or unconsciously, intentionally or unintentionally, whether you like it or not.
And then you leave it to your children.
Author: Ben Ralston
Editor: Catherine Monkman
Photo: Author’s Own