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or pay the piper/either way you pay

Before I get to my latest offering, I must thank all of you that have chosen a payment option in your subscription. I was in tears when the emails started coming in from Substack, informing me that so many of you think that what I offer is of enough value that you would return an offering of your own. I have been shy to bring my writing to a place where I open myself up to receiving anything for it. It seems too vulnerable, maybe. But the world has changed and our place in it is requiring more of me. I have dusted off my copy of “Sacred Economics” and read it for a second time (by Charles Eisenstein - a must read, especially for the time we find ourselves in) and I realise that there is a way to build connection through the exchange of money. I know I like to support my local economy, the artisans and small local businesses around me. As Charles says in his book, and I’m paraphrasing here, money is the token of what would be, in a community long ago, an exchange or a symbol of appreciation. That feels authentic to me. I like it. I’m going with it. Thank you, to all who chose to offer me a symbol of your appreciation and for your belief that what I share is of value. What a beautiful affirmation of my efforts. With love and gratitude, Tara ❤️

For those of you who don’t know what I’m talking about, I will include this little blurb in my next few newsletters and then, assuming all that subscribe have already seen it, I will stop. But for now: At the urging of some people that I respect and at the behest of the ever-evolving situation we find ourselves in, I’ve made the decision to open up my subscription to a paid or free option. If you have the means and the desire to support my writing, you can click on the subscription button and go for a paid option. If not, for either category, just stick with the free version. They’re both the same content, either way. Should I ever move towards adding content only available to paid subscribers, I will let you all know first and I will always make everything I offer free to anyone that needs it to be so. No questions asked. Ever.

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It was over four decades ago now that I, a young girl sitting in her history class, had a jarring realisation - our world was a construct. I went to a Catholic school where Darwin was mixed with Adam and Eve in a way that seemed pretty sensible to me. But that just made my epiphany worse. You mean we could have gone with any design and we picked this? This was intentional? The world is actually designed to be this way? I couldn’t believe it.

I remember walking home after school and imagining all of the ways that things could be different. I was certain that I was the only one who knew that we were all living version one of infinite versions. That evening, when I was playing marbles on the grassy mound under the light post, I told some other kid about my discovery. He shrugged and bet me his best jumbo for “keepsies”. I went back to the high stakes marble game and kept my revelation to myself.

But that awareness has never left me. In all the years since, I have been that kid on the outside looking in with confusion and bewilderment. Why? Why do it that way? Who says? Don’t you see this is all made up? Let’s just do it differently.

I’m subversive, I suppose. Definitely unwilling to accept decrees from on high without question. Whose experts? Why them? What do they have that gives them authority over and knowledge greater than my own when it comes to matters of me? What inside knowledge makes them better decision makers over my life? Why this system? Why this way in this system?

It’s a friction to think this way. A friction in a system that demands our prostrate underbellies every time one of their demigods is polished off. Kneel peasant, the expert is here!

But this whole thing - the shops, the system of money, contracts and insurance and mortgages, this whole damn thing is one version of countless versions that we could have settled on. More accurately, we find ourselves in a world of layered and interwoven systems of greed and corruption, deployed as the main decision making apparatus of the powers that be. Many of us, ourselves included, have figured out ways to live semi-autonomous, fulfilling lives within their overlay of influence, but that’s getting tighter.  

There was a time when decisions came at the local level. Communities and tribes, all knowing the land and their people, the frailties and strengths of each, came together to survive and thrive. Leaders had to lead with loyalty to their people. Leaders had to be leaders, an honourable, self-sacrificing position that was respected by their people. People followed norms and customs that enforced the bonds and health of their groups and the connections to the natural world. The tangible effects of their actions provided immediate, or close to it, and obvious feedback. Consequence wasn’t so easy to ignore.

Today, the town crier is broadcast over the airways. The tribal chief is a slithery thing, shapeshifting at will, condemning the disbelievers and forging his believers into obedient weapons. He divides instead of inspires. He sniffs out fears and weaknesses in his own people instead of in his enemies. He, like most of the illusions he sputters, is no leader at all. He is more of a mouthpiece for an unseen ruler that pulls his invisible strings. He screams of phantoms that cannot be seen or felt, but they are here, or there, everywhere in fact! The invisible devils, dancing in our midst. They are evil and dangerous and we, whoever that “we” may be, are in great danger. Danger. DANGER! Unsafe!

But wait, fear not! Bow to me and ye shall live in eternal salvation.

What then becomes of the unbeliever in this new religion? What happens when the little girls and boys of our world, the ones that didn’t quite work out in the little indoctrination camps we call “schools” grow up into adults that never got those questions answered? Well, if they weren’t dulled into submission they learned to live with an itch they couldn’t scratch. Most simply stop asking questions. Not because the questions aren’t there, but because experience has taught them that it is of no use to ask questions to people who have never asked those questions themselves. There are no answers there. The questions won’t be satisfied, not because they are dumb questions, but because they are not the questions they want asked.

That’s one of those transcendent, grown up moments. A right of passage, maybe. When, with a gulp of realisation, we can clearly see that our questions have merit and that nobody is coming to satisfy. Within that unfolding bloom of awareness comes more truths, one by one, opening petal after petal. Nobody is coming to save us. Nobody is going to take care of us. Answers are found in our relationship with the Divine. 

Most people don’t get to that part. They just can’t. Maybe they’re not supposed to. I don’t know. They are stuck in a vortex of powerlessness that necessitates the seeking of outside forces for security. It’s a stunted way to live, but it’s also appealing to our human inclination to walk the path of least resistance. I strive to hold love in my heart for people living under such oppression. They may be able to walk into a restaurant to eat their GMO food offerings or they may be able to keep a job or stay in school while others are refused admittance and participation, but there is no freedom there. It’s all control, no matter the illusion that plays out. One group is just getting a few more treats than the other. We’re all still in the same pen.

Soon enough, those happy little adherents at the front of the cage, the ones being tossed all the biscuits, will start noticing that their overlords aren’t coming around so much. Some of them might even detect a weird, funky taste in those cookies. Others, still, might begin to notice that their bellies ache soon after gobbling them up. And there might even be a handful of those cookie eaters that stop, look around at all of their fat, dulled fellow compadres and ask “Hey, didn’t we used to know how to feed ourselves?” The rest look over at him, uncomprehending. Saliva drips from their lips for the cookie time bell has rung and soon master will appear with their very salvation. “Maybe at one time,” says the waiting, “but we forget how and our bodies are meant for cookie eating now.” It is not much and it is not long before treats become dependencies and dependencies become survival. The cookies don’t look like much of a treat anymore, but what can be done?

The truth is that any belief system that demands the suspension of your own innate intelligence, negates your life experience, demands adherence to the appropriate formulas of questioning, and offers shallow slogans as answers is, by definition,  a cult. There are questions that shall not be asked. Gut feelings and instinct are for simpletons, take the chants and spells doled out by our expert instead. Repeat after me, “I-TRUST-THE…………..”. Fill in the blank with whatever weapon of mass delusion is applicable for the desired outcome. The fallout of questioning is a shock and horror of profound proportions. How dare thee of little faith! Heretic!

Wait, I thought we were talking about cold, hard facts. Now you’re saying that faith is required?

Questions! Questions! We told you forty years ago to stop with the blasphemous questions! You were told! YOU WERE TOLD (insert thunderous boom here)! Here, before you is the expert. He is smarter than you. She knows the answers that need to be given for the questions that need to be asked. He had a life saturated in our systems, he knows the systems, he can speak for the system. She will show you how to be right and true.

Expert? That dull, monochromatic human under your fluorescent lights, standing behind a podium made of pressboard? The one with blanched skin, wrapped in synthetic chemicals, standing before us in their weakened body? Trust them? About what? What would it be that I would trust them about and why, precisely? Their belief system over mine? Their example of how to live? Trust them because they were dutiful in their absorption and execution of ‘the plan’? I’m gonna’ need something more than that.

Sometimes I look at these people, listen to them even, and imagine sitting down and having a cup of tea with them or, better yet, going out for a little hike in the woods together. Just me and him or her, immersed in nature, walking. What would she be like? What would we talk about? What would she marvel at? What is her worldview, her understanding of all of life, of our purpose and meaning here. Can he see the wonder and magic around him? Can he still ask questions, meaningful ones that challenge and stress the foundations of his beliefs? Or is he too far gone? Does he just collapse in a heap when the puppet master pulls the hand out of his ass? 

I’m out. In hindsight, I’ve been out since I was a kid. Let them have their weird dance. I reject their version of a so-called life. I do not have to participate. It’s harder now, I know. We have all lived in a time of comfort and security and now there is more being asked of us. Since the dawn of time, our intimate union with place gave us connection to our food, our people, our traditions, our medicine and in that union were many of our answers. That’s why the answers do not come now, they can’t, they’re not theirs to give. There is something bigger waiting for us, calling us. Something that can deliver satisfaction for the niggling in our hearts. It doesn’t offer something for free. We are required to step up and step in. There is an expectation that things will be hard. So what? Don’t fall into the trap of modernity, the drilled in notion that ‘hard means wrong’. Just another layer of bullshit to keep us on our couches with a bag of Frito-Lays.

Today, I, more and more, am coming into my own power as a sovereign human being. I am connected to, and ever-seeking the bounty and brilliance of all of life. I am in love with the natural world, with my people, with a life lived absent fear. Their operating system must not be confused with our world. We must take care to make that distinction. When hopelessness finds you, be sure to take a look around. Have you slid into their systems-thinking or are you present to the wonder of your God-given life? God given, not government given. They can’t give you anything at all. It’s not theirs to give.

I think it’s important for all of us to fortify our souls with the deeper understanding of our time here. Fortification through the skimming off of conditioning and social constructs with the continuous, steadfast excavation of what is genuinely ours to learn and participate in. Use your senses to sniff out manipulation. Reject anyone or anything that justifies the use of fear and hatred as a tool of coercion. It’s a telltale sign of wickedness in your midst.

The world is bountiful. The world is a place of great mystery and mysticism. There is a story waiting for you in every breeze, in every sunbeam. The moon has fantastical tales to share with you if you stand below her in the dark and listen. The raven, too, will drop crumbs on your path if she thinks you will notice. The tree you wrap yourself around pulls all of the brilliance of the cosmos into its very tippy top, down along its trunk, into you both. A swirling hurricane of energy - into and out of and all around. Quantify that! No, I’m being ridiculous, don’t! Don’t quantify any of it. Just be there instead. A wee, little critter are you, barely visible in this vast ecosystem of life, but so vitally important to it all.

I like to remind myself of my smallness. It brings me peace. Our culture breeds narcissists as a matter of course. It’s easily done by cleaving off humans from their communities. It’s natural to think yourself of such grand importance when you are not called upon to offer or be anything meaningful to your clan. Calamities and grand injustices abound when the essential one takes precedent over the other viewpoints brought to them in authentic relationships. It’s astonishing, and quite frankly, puzzling, for me to witness what people, barely living at all, will do to extend their lives. Maybe they think that the value comes from the length because they aren’t doing much about the quality. It’s a strange way of being, one both cultivated and normalised by our corporatised systems that profit from keeping us, including our bodies and minds, in a synthetic bubble, divided from others. Plastic clothes, plastic food, plastic information, plastic interactions. Everything a facsimile. Everyone constantly hungry. But! The plastic pills will give us a longer plastic life of platic-ness. Hurray!

Sometimes I think we are just infants bumbling around in grown up bodies. 

We WILL die. How’s that? Will die and will die soon - the lot of us. So, get busy with living. And in that living, you better get busy with loving, like really loving. Love with vulnerability, not ego. And while you’re doing that, maybe a little more humility, a little more willingness to let that awe bubble up from the scarred over bits of your heart. Notice when fear is in the director’s chair of your decision making and supplant it with all that gratitude you have cultivated simply by acting out of love and receiving it back in spades.

I wholly believe that we are in a time that requires our open eyes. Awareness, yes. Hopefully, we are past the planning stages of how we will care for ourselves and our loved ones in this new world order, and well into the actionable phase. But it is folly to allow fear to direct our choices. What would the difference be, then, between being governed and being sovereign? It is either fear motivation or love creation. Can’t have both. Decide and then decide again. Then do it again. In every moment of every day until the very moment of your reckoning.

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p.s. If you made it all the way to here, I would like to offer up something a little different. I used to open up the “ask me anything” thread on my IG stories, but in my efforts to keep the momentum to moving off of that platform and building this one, I would like to open up a thread like that here. So, let’s try this: if you have any questions you would like to ask me, or any suggestions on things you would like me to write about, leave them in the comments below. I will read through them all, bundle them into themes, and then do a little audio post answering them. For topics you would like to see me write about, I will add them to my list and get to them over time. We’ll see how this goes. If there’s interest, I will do it again. Hopefully, it can get more interactive over time. ❤️ Tara