“I’m beside myself”. That’s how I was going to start this essay. A little introduction, this right here, and then onto something else. But I fell into those words, “I’m beside myself” and decided to stay there for awhile instead.
Beside myself, yes, that’s exactly right. I have spent the last few days hand wringing and worrying at the turn of events in our country. From feeling so much despair to feeling such renewed hope and union to now back at the despair bit. I am not myself, I am here, beside myself, looking for my in.
This essay was supposed to be my way back in. My memories, my experiences, the grounding truths of the natural world, remembering moments of connection in my true and loving place with all of Creation. Writing as antidote to madness. Sometimes, like this time, it’s a struggle to wipe away the ugliness that masquerades as our reality, as facts, and reason. It takes a lot of fortitude. A mountain of conviction.
No matter what they tell us, or show us, or permit us to see or condemn us to ignore, we must hold tight to the everlasting truth of our existence - we are sacred beings, each one, living a sacred, precious, infinitesimally small existence for a fragment of time on this planet. They can try to direct our eyes and our ears, fill us with desperation from lives separate from our Mother and our Father, but they can only do this with our cooperation.
I am beside myself with deep anguish and fury and disgust. I am squeezed under the controls of the power-hungry gone mad. I am shown what their version of life, of love, of health, of success is and I am left cold. I am of the disenfranchised clan, A wanderer that got tired of hanging out on the fringes of the village so built her own. And now, they are here, too, taking my firewood, shouting with their pitchforks at the ready.
I am here fully, now, no longer beside myself, but in my life. I notice the blue veins running up my husband’s hand, the hand that sits so casually on my thigh as I write. I hear my dog’s deep breath as he sleeps at my feet. Out the window, the sky is turning from black to blue, a blue that only spring gets to play with. She’s showing her cards, soon she will be here, too.
Feel it all, yes, but do feel it all. Don’t be swept up in their stories of division and scarcity. Protect the governance of your sovereign life. Protect the sacred truth of your being on this beautiful planet. Birth follows death. Growth follows destruction. It is painful and it is stretching us all, but as any good farmer knows, the most wondrous things grow from the decay. We can participate and wonder, witness the unfathomable brilliance in the natural world, but we do not make these things happen. It happens without your participation or your consent. It just is. This is the realm of humility, of God, of union with self and all of life. It is happening now, right now, all of this life is happening despite the follies of the feeble and the efforts of the egos. Participate in that reality. This is the very “in” we seek. We must remember that - despite the volume of the facsimile peddlers.
Reject the interpretation that the sound of the growing drumbeat you hear is doom approaching. You can decide its meaning. In every moment of your life, you have the power to change your perspective. That drumbeat might just be the pileated woodpecker calling us into the forest. Or maybe it’s an invitation for us to create something beautiful and meaningful as remedy to what ails us. This is no small thing, no glossing of a pig. This is connection to the Creator, to the resonance that holds our life. It is not trivial to resist the tide of division and hatred and stand for love and beauty. That is the very stuff of our lives.
We are life. We are life. All of us part of life and creation. What we are and what we hold and what we exude feeds into the consciousness of every living things. Just look at a joyful room of people and plunk in a miserable, cynical person. What changes? That’s us, too. The very garden of our souls. Our heartache is not fixed by false positivity and denial. It is not fixed at all. It is felt, we feel it, all of the pain and the sadness and we allow it to move through us. Why would we not weep for what is happening? Weep for fuck’s sake! Weep and find your centre again. Then rally. Bring your pain and frustration back into the current of life. We need you. We need your stories, your witness. We need your ideas and your actions. We need to fortify one another with kindness and authentic connection in a world where division and fury hold the lost. We are not individuals having an isolated life experience. We are all and we are here together. Feed your life and you feed us all.
I was going to start this essay off with all of these thoughts and then move onto the part where I do just what I’m speaking of, where I go on to share with you a love story of sorts, a love story about making butter. But, I think this is good as it is. I’m going to leave this here and come back to the butter. For now, I am going to stop writing and just sit with my husband for a time.
Right now, only now, I have this. My great love, my man, in this place for now. I may look down at my thigh one day and try to remember the weight and warmth of his hand there. Or he may one day try to remember my skin below his. That day could be today. No promises for even ten minutes from now.
Silence. Slowness. Stillness. Awareness of the sublime in the incalculable. In us, not beside. The key we all hold is in our clenched fists. Just open them up and see.