Tuesday, November 25, 2014

A Favour (believe it)

I'm not sure anyone understands just how special this is.

This planet of abundant, replicating, now conscious Life moving around freely in three dimensions spinning almost carelessly, slightly off-kilter, around a not-so-big but somehow oh-so-special star-miasma perpetual motion heat emitter.

Or another way, this cooling rock at a random point in all of Isness, the tiniest spec of nothing where lives all known consciousness...but again. Too foo foo. Too abstract despite the absolute concreteness of fact.

That Earth exists, that my consciousness experiences this life, at all, seems unlikely beyond credulity.

This is fucking special.

What's going on here, on this planet, is special. Not just the life - though life is something else! But the consciousness. Awareness at a capability level that can build skyscrapers and housing for everyone. Conscious life with the power and versatility to harness itself towards long-term, large-scale, deliberate strategic activities. Build cities out of materials found only here, on this planet. Build tiny electronics that allow long-distance communication. It's amazing.

The achievement of Earth goes down in Universal History, the Guinness Book of Universal Feats. It rivals much larger nebulas.

My fellow humans, we're so close I can taste it - we are closing in on a general, universal understanding that Life Is Special. That every single life, human and animal, tree and blade of grass, river and mosquito, beats together. That this is the only place in the universe to experience this kind of physical consciousness. That this short time in this fallible body is all the experience any one of us gets.

Where are Humanity's parents? We've been raising ourselves on this island alone, with only our most visible minds to guide us. We're a teenaged species left alone at the house with the car keys, a full liquor cabinet and all the peer pressure of insecurity. But just because we've always acted this way doesn't mean we are not capable of growing, changing, deciding to grow up.

While it's absolutely clear from the evidence of human achievement that this species is capable of assembling itself to good purpose, living in peace and tolerance, with a sense of fair treatment for all, Humanity still receives a failing grade.

Believing we can't change, that the systems of governance will always be increasingly corrupt, that the situation of the common person will always be of no true importance, that work will always require subservience and women will always be judged first by their sex and race differences will always result in bigotry - these beliefs negate any desire to try for something more. They are the whiney, self-absorbed beliefs of a fourteen year old who hates his parents for saying he has to take some responsibility. Holding those beliefs is a betrayal to what is special about life.

So many people deciding that it has to be this way is the reason that it is this way.

I can't look away from the specialness. I can't stop seeing how every single atom of this place rings with absolute uniqueness in the universe. I can't stop wanting to honour life - to take the time to let honour of life seep into the pores of everything I do, every day, all day.

But that time isn't accounted for in how we've set the systems up. The competition game, the game of being first and right and the expert and impressive sets us up to run from the gate and keep a steady pace, like every day is a marathon. The money required to maintain the edge of a middle-class-looking life, at the pay offered, requires a high proportion of our time. The productivity we've decided is needed, to speed the concentration of the wealth at the highest power levels, squeezes the honour out of life. It squeezes the life out of us.

Here's a dream: a society, established and set up to sustainably provide for the dignity of all citizens, honouring each life's talents and contributions in the systems of governance and commerce. Does it sound like a pipedream? You are brainwashed. It didn't always ring like the clanging of a crazy ranter. The idea of setting up society for people, rather than adapting people to a minority's view of society, was once and often thought to be the very role of government and citizen alike. Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. Wow.

When did we stop believing that humans could be decent and power could be harnessed through just systems?

Can you do me a favour? Can you try to believe it, even just for a few minutes, every day? Believe that humans can be decent, and power can be harnessed through just systems to allow for peaceful co-existence and dignity for all.

I know it sounds grandiose, from the slave-mind they've programmed into us, but I beg you this favour and I rarely ask for much. Try to believe in a future where life is honoured. Even for one minute every day, if that's all you can manage. Suspend your disbelief, or wrestle it to the ground. Do what you must, but please, for a moment each day, believe. Give it 50 years, or 100, or 250, or a thousand, however long you think it could take. And then Believe it's possible for humanity to achieve peace.

Because if we don't believe it, we won't turn the ship at all.

Your Favourite Colour

Monday, November 24, 2014

It hurts to notice (or, The Narrow View)

It hurts to notice.

Jian Ghomeshi. Bill Cosby. Gamergate. I had a longer list in mind but I don't want to name it all. My brain rebels.

It's in the air, out there. All the slights ignored, all the ways it wasn't fair glossed over, all the expectations heaped, all the inclinations stifled, all the costumes donned, all the date rapes accepted, all the harassment tolerated, all the messages mixed for everyone conspiring to silence inconvenient conversations.

We wanted to think we had this problem licked because we all said the right words and outlawed the wrong ones. We wanted to think that wishing made it so. My cohort grew up assured by all around us that equality was our birthright, and that we had it, damn it, even if it didn't feel that way. Look how far we've come, baby. The world is your oyster. You are free and equal.

All the time, our heroes and friends and selves were shoving the dirt under the carpet like bad housewives avoiding judgement.

It's a time for truth to pop the corks. It's a time in society when all the hurt pours out and all the things we didn't notice accidentally on purpose, habitually, suddenly start screaming for attention.

All the betrayal people feel, left and right, up and down, heroes and villains corrupted by power into domination and the messy frustration of dichotomies clashing. All this pain and the only way out is through, for all the people who hold it.

These intertwining threads course through the air we breathe and the streams we watch. They wind themselves around our hearts and tangle up our minds.

I want to hole up in my cave home, look out my narrow window at the forest and pretend there are no houses on either side, that the woods go on forever. I want to stand perfectly still and feel the love in this place. I want to believe this is the world. I want to believe this is how the world could be.

The Narrow View

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Uphill (or, Bad Habits)

Old Habits
(Alban, Ontario, 2014)

Each habit born of need
Enacted thoughtlessly a thousand times needed
a thousand times met
building bridges fortified by each step
drawing pathways in latticework of eventually Me
while other parts overgrow, atrophy

Each habit serves me in its way
Tangle-tied with all the"Good" or "Bad" my brain
believes and desperately tries to relay.
But body has no reason to listen.
She knows the way from there to here.

She knows the way.

How can Good and Bad hold sway in face of Need?
she asks
and my answers sound more like pleading than persuasion
although I know we honour different definitions
of all three words.

Need requires service or expulsion
Or maybe gentle pathways to a new life
A new way of needing
A new way of serving.

Sounds nice.

But in truth, it's uphill all the way.

Monday, November 17, 2014


Dear Universe,

I'm tired. You placed me here on this planet among these creatures, and I have honoured that in my confusion, as they doused my original flame. I've settled for, settled in, settled down in this place and made my peace with obscurity. I've chosen love for what it's worth, and given my heart, body and mind to family.

But I wither. You know I do. My creative spark just an ember, my passions no longer outpouring but dribbling forth when I can squeeze drops from my wrung-dry soul. I long for rest. The work before me lies deep and daunting, demanding and tedious, with few warm comforts glinting amid piles of work and more work in time and less time. The ways I am trained to earn leave me cold - no, worse, they attract me with familiarity, then repulse me with their smell when I try to cuddle up. My time and attention forced one way while my spirit turns her nose in the opposite direction, and my body cries for rest, pushed and pulled, health a carrot dangled but never quite assured.

Who am I to complain from near-perfection? The demands on me are not so much, not like my sisters, tortured and controlled in countries where their personhood is demeaned and denied. Not like my far-flung brothers, forced to brave elements and violence by men with guns and power. Not like my children in the future, inheriting a dying world of chaos and want, impossible problems my parents' generation codified and my generation ignored. Not like those dying from sickness, neglect or violence; not like those imprisoned and humiliated. Not like those who suffer true want, pain and despair.

I am a princess, crying for cake. My suffering is nothing. My fears, my insecurity, my slow-death spirit march is heaven on earth compared with the lives I could have.

Does this not only increase my debt?

I dare whine at you? I dare complain because my "purpose" is demeaned by labour? Because my "creativity" is smothered by drudge? Because my "gifts" lie dormant and frustrated while my body is clothed and fed in shelter and safety and daily embraces of love?

I could be dragged by mobs through the streets. I could be nailed to a cross and left to die (I imagine no miraculous three day revival). I could be tortured, raped and abandoned. I could suffer unspeakable loss that closes my very heart. Do I dare complain? I am ashamed to even want to complain.

And so I say, dear Universe, only that I am tired. And I expect no answer.

With love,
Potential Withered on the Vine

P.S. Though unexpected, an answer wells - what relief from venting a little self-pity.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Honour the depths

Honour the depth
Honouring the depths
May require
Acceptance of things slimy, lumpy and brown
Textures not expected
Colours not embraced
As truth reflects reflection
Not always in best taste.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014


Armoured Alien Observes 
I was once a tougher creature
My thick skin crafted carefully
from discarded carcasses grope-gathered in the dark
sewn by bloody fingers with sinews
torn from my heart

Robes so heavy my shoulders bent
under weight while I groaned straight
then danced to obfuscate my muscles' shaking strain
my locked smile feigning comfort
I could never feel

This rotten, useless armour, worn daily away
Until today I stand raw and naked
ashamed and proud to find my own skin thin,
but adequate
to hold my insides in.