Being in an increasingly delicate and uncertain state for the past year for multiple reasons, it’s time to reassemble the elements of one’s known and unknown universe, the pieces scattered over a troubled and troubling landscape, to rediscover–or recover–one’s place in relationship to the ones close at hand and the ones far from view. To a degree, we are each disassembling the flawed model of life on earth like a toy we have outgrown, this suddenly foreign image of a pyramid with humans at the top. Others are insisting it’s the only toy in the sandbox and we must continue to regard it as worthy of our attention as if it represents normal.
There is, frankly, no hope of re-visioning and becoming the post-sandbox human without acknowledging the mycelial model of relationship with all the more-than-human planetary life. A select few of us have dabbled beyond the confines of our sacred comfort for a long time, surely, but now COVID has redefined normal and obliterated the boundaries of the sandbox entirely. Conception has given way to material reality coming home in the most personal ways. Enacting a different view of living involving a great deal more listening and far less speaking, creating a much larger circle of care is the only defense against being thrown out of The Garden entirely.
Moreover, essential to changing the Story will be to dissolve the boundaries between subject and object, remembering reality is all subject. We are in porous connection with all that is. The notion that we are all distinct and separate souls on individual journeys is a dangerous corruption of the true journey. We are not here to be found in some homogenized mystical way. We are here to find and lose ourselves.
If you have been fortunate as I have to be offered imperturbable unconditional love at the most intimate level, consistent, unaltered humility and steadfast adherence to truth and consistent values, then you may count these blessings daily. While I crack open my own heart, awakening and encountering new veils, there is no going to sleep anymore. Allowing the armor to crack is like cleansing the windshield.
This is really the only thing worth doing now. I am drawing inward and simultaneously expanding outward, interpreting the arc of these events. I am being drawn to remember, to mourn and welcome the dying of the old world, to forgive the ways I have been corrupted, not believed in myself or tried to be someone I am not. There’s a great deal of striving and programming to address there.
The practice of remembering isn’t possible every moment of every day, or even daily, but it’s worthy of regular attention. It is a ritual of unwrapping the baggage of a day, a month, a decade, affirming somatic truth, the migration of spirit, giving just regard to the vulnerabilities and messiness at the heart of existence. It can be a return to the unobstructed primal territory of the heart, beyond individuality, beyond the stories we tell, beyond all the supposedly impermeable ideological, emotional or even biological boundaries.
The implication of remembering is that we can put ourselves back together, revise our agendas and strategies, re-evaluate what’s important. That will be different from one to another. But for me, remembering is to return to the physical, to emotion, to the currents of feeling, the sensations of relationship, to the one I left behind in the perpetual reaching for more—more information, more creativity, more awareness, more perspective, more knowledge and the urgency of purposeful action.
Planting one’s feet back on the earth in this way, one also remembers one’s place. This is the most difficult and unlikely remembering. I have been too much a nomad recently to fully relate to a place. And even now I’m not truly of this geographical place despite the family history. It was mostly others’ history, not my own. I’ve learned to take the trappings of place with me, that all places and people are essentially the same.
Except that now, having been here a year and a half now, I already have a different perspective. This is a place I left behind long ago. It did not then suit the yearnings of a youthful soul seeking a much larger view. I did find other places and felt as much, if not more, kinship with California than I did here in the east, but there is a calming and satisfying softening happening here. The pace and the density have a subtle effect. Or maybe it’s only my lifestyle. Yet it’s also here and in the letting go that the widest view of all takes shape.