I was cleaning out my drafts and came across this. I wrote it after meeting you guys for dinner in Oliver but was going to edit it before sending. I can’t be bothered to edit it now, so here it is!! 🙂
It’s funny, but not funny, that when you asked “what’s next” I defaulted to revenue. I felt like I had to defend what I’m doing. Of course, although we (the collective “we”) let money decide most of our lives, there’s so much more than this. I’m not sure where to begin, so I’m going to pick both sadness and beauty, and maybe wonder. Ya, wonder belongs in the conversation too. This will ramble, as it always does.
I had coffee with Esme a while ago when I was offering to trade my sourdough for the passions of others. She offered genuine conversation over a coffee, so we met at Beamer’s downtown and I gave her a loaf of bread. Our conversation was topical, but at one point she told me she was worried about me, that I was so sad. I’ve always claimed that I’m not sad, that I feel as much joy and happiness as others, but that it’s slightly more muted than the average experience. That much is true, but I understand now since we’ve upended our lives that I am sad. I am sad. I can’t claim that I’m more depressed than the average person because I have no idea what everyone else is enduring, but my sense is that there is a clear division in the world of how people adapt to experience. I don’t think it’s an issue of sadness or happiness or trouble or ease. Life is all of these things for everyone, and for whatever reasons each of us deals with it in a certain fashion. I feel sadness with almost everything. It underlines my experience. It isn’t a bad thing, but sadness makes even the most beautiful things particularly difficult, a different slant, an angle. I think about my last days almost everyday. Literally a walk into the woods that goes on forever. Thelma, but no Louise. I write this without reservation or shame or alarm. I’m not going to off myself, I’m just going to wander to what I find, and I have no doubt it will be beautiful and I’ll lay my head down in the fallen leaves and sleep. But that’s another day. There’s far to much beauty to experience still.
And that’s a good segue into my next, but related, point. I can honestly say that not a second goes by during which I’m not aware and stricken by the beauty of our lives and the world we live in. When I look into the forest I see trees layered one upon the other, a million needles and leaves each in their individual glory. It’s a three dimensional vision of pure collaboration and union, all of these separate parts contributing to a whole that is more whole than anything us humans could hope to build. Everything in nature is seamless! Test yourself and see, the next time you’re standing in the woods or on a river fishing, just stop and listen to the individual sounds……Not even the noise of traffic on a nearby highway is out of place. Just stand there and take it in, and figure out then what your significance is in the world. Make an effort to watch a single leaf shudder in the wind. Watch it and watch it and don’t look away. That’s beauty.
So the wonder is trying to reconcile these two states of being, but also being overwhelmed by the state of grace of the natural world. A friend once (two friends actually) recommended I read Soulcraft by a guy named Bill Plotkin. I didn’t get far into the book because I found it boring, but I was also afraid. I think in the intro he goes on about how disruptive a trip to the soul is, and I didn’t want to embrace that. From my brief reading his take is that there is spirit (above ground) and soul (below) in all of us. Most people travel merrily along getting acquainted with spirit because we’re drawn to light, and only touch a glimpse of the soul. But the underground is every bit a part of our existence as the light, so by avoiding it our culture is hamstrung and off balance.
So what I’m curious about, and what I’ve been spending this long winter thinking about, is that there are a few of us that live always in the darkness, whose bond with the soul, or underground, or darkness, is the default. Maybe some of us that visit this place of being don’t surface, so as dysfunctional as our society is with a majority that lives in the fantasy of spirit, there’s this counterpart that dwells in darkness, whose lives are inherently a challenge. Some of us bear the hurt of the rest, taking out the dead so to speak (Monte Python reference). It’s a necessary role in society, one with a silent glory, but still glory, and resoundingly silent.
And that’s what I tried to vocalize tonight about our experience moving here. It has not in the slightest been easy for me, but it has been amazing even with all the gnashing of teeth. It’s been painful and shaming and degrading and demoralizing, but because of those things it’s been an experience that would be hard to trade for anything else. It’s been strengthening and emboldening and fearlessly roaring. This trip has stripped me to the core and I’m often barely hanging on. I see this as a deep dive into the heart of myself, and it’s dark and sad and melancholic, but because of that awareness it’s equally beautiful, and wonderful, and crystalline perfection. I’m still terrified of it all.
I used to seek this battle in the mountains in the winter. I guess I’ve just moved the fighting geographically, but the battleground hasn’t changed a bit.
I’m really happy you looked us up while you’re here, and equally as happy Tricia got me out of the house to see you. I love you and Libby and wish you guys nothing short of insight, love and community.
PS – I’m getting tired of scrolling up to see this entire thing, so if it doesn’t make sense I blame it on shitty editing.