Richard Newman: Get Well Soon
The older you get, the more fragile you understand life to be. I think that’s good motivation for getting out of bed joyfully each day. ~ Julia Roberts
Read More Fairy Tales
I read the news with extreme caution, as anyone who regularly reads my blog knows. No point in ingesting a sh*t sandwich, unless there is a compelling reason for doing so.
So, this week, I tried to stay away from the plethora of conspiracy theories about the Malaysian 777 that seems to have disappeared from the planet. I didn’t read anything but the headlines on the article about the way that Round Up weed killer has been found in air and water samples in 75% of U. S. communities. I didn’t read about the latest coal ash spill, the latest fracking accident. I didn’t read about Fred Phelps.
Instead, I got out my dog-eared copy of Women Who Run With the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes and read Sealskin, Soulskin again. I read Joan Gould’s book, Spinning Straw Into Gold: What Fairy Tales Reveal About the Transitions in Women’s Lives, focusing in particular on the third section of the book, Crone – The Age of Spirit, which investigates Hansel and Gretel and the story of Persephone and Demeter. I revisited a book review I wrote on The Fisher King and the Handless Maiden by Robert A. Johnson. I revised a piece I wrote six years ago, called Running Toward the Roar, which derives its title from Michael Meade’s book, The World Behind the World. All of these pieces deal with the stories that form the bedrock — the foundation — of our lives. Do we have our soulskin, or have we squandered it, given it to someone else who doesn’t have our best interests at heart? Have we been abandoned in the dark woods, orphaned and hungry enough to mistake incredible danger for the nourishment of a true home? Have we gotten lost as we journey toward wholeness? Are we facing our fears, or are we running?
A Reckoning is Afoot
There’s a correlation between strip mining and dumping coal slurry into our rivers and streams and our brutal numbness to the suffering of other human beings and animals. Dumping toxins into our water supply should be setting off alarm bells. It should be, but, somehow, it isn’t.
If we can’t muster tears for the rape of the planet, how can we possibly awaken when witnessing dead seals washing ashore in California, or reports of the treatment of turkeys and chickens in our meat packing plants? It seems we’re on the operating table, put under by general anesthesia, unable to feel the scalpel that is cutting out our organs.
What Native peoples have always known — everything is connected — is lost on many in the West. The so-called ‘civilized’ countries are so busy pissing and shitting in the collective pool of life, we may well be signing our own death warrant.
I would argue that nothing gives life more purpose than the realization that every moment of consciousness is a precious and fragile gift. ~ Steven Pinker
Winter never fails to turn to Spring
And in the midst of all this mess, the Vernal Equinox. Spring returns to the Northern hemisphere. Everything barren begins to thaw. My citrus trees bloom, stinging the air with perfume. The grackles and wrens gulp water I’ve left out for them. My cats sun themselves and watch hummingbirds drink nectar from my fairy-duster. Crickets busily refurbish their digs in the eaves. Ants drill new homes wherever they find water. Wind stirs the trees. Everything shimmers with an evanescent light, air full of electricity. Atoms swing and sway, burst and fall. Nature itself shouts hosannas and hallelujahs.
Winter’s over. Spring is here.
Where is my soul taking me?
And so, I am reminded again, green buds never fail to push through the damp ground.
I am reminded that no amount of worrying will solve a single problem.
I am reminded that we have to re-envision everything.
Nothing is above reproach. It all needs to be composted into a rotten, stinking, sun-soaked mess.
We’re witnessing the oozing gash that human society has become. We cannot stab ourselves in the chest over and over, and not, first-things-first, clean up the wound.
We’re at this horrible juncture in time — where planes take off and never land, where children can’t carry a particular back-pack to school without enduring ridicule, where women can be charged with murder if they miscarry a pregnancy, where men see no irony in demanding that they control women’s bodies but don’t owe those women support once the child they revere, is born. A world where people mindlessly watch reality television from a fog of junk food overload and ennui, while completely ignoring this pulse-pounding, genuine, stunning, grinding thing called life.
Breakdown, then breakthrough
This ugly juncture is a collective crossroads.
We’re standing on the precipice of a chasm. Will we do the work necessary to leap forward?
Yes. Because we must. Only then will we have the raw materials – the fertilizer, the mulch – we need to replant our garden. To start to foster an economy and a society that values community more than competition, that nurtures collaboration and creativity, rather than fear and shame and survival of the fittest.
Spend the afternoon. You can’t take it with you. ~ Annie Dillard
This life’s a fragile thing.
At any moment, for any one of us, this ride might be over.
The only thing we can do with that knowledge — that bittersweet punch in the gut — is live. Make a contribution to life on earth. Grow a bigger heart and soul. Experience love: sticky and sweet and overwhelming as it might be. Get hurt. Get knocked down. Keep going.
Go barefoot. Watch the clouds.
Savor this precious day. This.
This, my dears, is it.
© 2014 Shavawn M. Berry All rights reserved
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