I was almost there, to that place. The place I thought I was going.
Everything seemed to be falling into it. Everything was going well. All the signs were adding up. I was finally learning to flow with life. And then! Corona graced us with her presence. And everything changed.
Suddenly I’m not working. I’m not making an income. The summer I planned to have socializing in NY, doing anything I please, is dissipating as rapidly as toilet paper from shelves. All of the plans I was making for my so-called-life have suddenly come to a screeching halt. I thought about panicking, but I really just didn’t want to. This is just a personal choice, no judgment if your reaction was panic.
Instead I leaned into the new space created from the decimation of my future plans, and from there I was able to let the reality of the situation settle in. What remains is a space filled with nothing but time, which if I’m honest, I’ve secretly been wishing for. Time to do nothing, and time to do everything. Just time. I wanted it and now I have it. Were we all secretly asking for this?
Humanity is having a very intense, shared moment. This shift in consciousness is global. The vast majority of us were given no other choice than to sit indoors with our thoughts. So I’ve been doing just that — thinking. I do that plenty anyway, but now I can take an even deeper dive into my psyche, which I’m learning is one of my favorite things to do.
I’m growing quite fond of the time I share with myself in my head, which took years of work (fortunate work) to reach. It was not always so pleasant in my mind. Even still, it is not always this way. But all of the meditating, therapy, reading of the proper literature, and quitting drinking must’ve been preparing me for a time like this — a global pandemic.
It is with great privilege I say this, but this pandemic is one of my favorite happenings of my lifetime. Don’t get me wrong, I am saddened by it, too. I understand there is immense suffering and loss surrounding me. Yet I somehow believe the inner-workings of this will lead to something greater. Seeds are being planted. Corrupt and fragile systems are being disrupted. People are getting sick and dying at an alarming rate (sadly). And none of it is in our control.
Control was something I thought I had.
And now it’s been ripped away from me, which I’m sure is a familiar feeling far and wide. Then again, maybe it was never ours to begin with. Who am I to say how billions of years of evolution should behave? I’m only 32 and am just now starting to clean up my own life. It’s not easy when you exist within systems that reward us for playing along. I’ll be the first to admit I’ve drank the Kool-Aid (bought into bullshit) from time to time.
But those days are coming to an end, the living blindly and uninhibited. I get this whole life thing isn’t just about me. If only all of humanity could grasp we are not the real rulers of this world. We are mere inhabitants. We are wise, productive, resourceful inhabitants, but we have an expiration just the same. We are not special. We are not above nature — we are nature. We’re merely animals who got cocky, which has brought forth immense beauty and terror.
It is our blessing and our curse we’ve accessed the ability to manipulate our environment the way we have. Our gift; creating language which allows us to express and share ourselves. Our curse; creating language which allows us to imprison and enslave one another. Life does not come without consequence, for better or worse, in the truest sense of karma — our actions bring forth our reality. And now we must take accountability — or not. But let’s! We are quite capable of admitting when things aren’t working if we just would.
I never understood surrendering to something greater than yourself before this pandemic, but now it seems vital for me. And I don’t mean believing in God. It means believing this — this Universe/life/consciousness thing — isn’t here for just us (humans). If anything, our remains will be nothing more than a segment of a timeline in an evolution which has no guarantee of surviving. Especially not at this rate. Most of what we do is in the name of survival, yet we destroy our only habitat in the process. It’s fascinating. And it’s not all ill-intentioned either. It is just incredibly, incredibly complicated here on Earth. Or so we tell ourselves…
I believe our approach to life has grown far too selfish, and if we are not shaken to our core, I do not see how we will ever wake from this dream.
From this illusion that it was ever all about us — certainly at the individual level. Be angry, be sad, be confused during this time all you need. But there is hope in collectively losing the realities we thought to be true. There is promise in the shattering of failed systems and beliefs. There is an opportunity now to see the ways in which we’ve been operating are unsustainable; they’re hardly even workable. We are being woken up to the fact that the Earth will go on fine without us — and this is a good thing.
What if the lesson here is surrender? What if the lesson is that we don’t truly own anything? Certainly not the Earth, and certainly not other people. Everything in our world has been deduced to a value system dependent upon how much money it’s worth or how much money it can make you — and it’s ruined us.
What is sacred? What is wild? What haven’t we claimed as “ours”? Perhaps we claim things in an attempt to say — here is my control! This is mine, this is how I have power and prove I am here. Well I am here to say none of this is ours. We don’t get to keep it; even our lives are merely borrowed time in the simplest sense.
And that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t fight like hell for them. It doesn’t mean injustice is acceptable, and we should all just roll over and die. It means exactly the opposite. That if this is it, we should do our best to treat our habitat kindly, and not just for ourselves, but for the species that are to come after us. Because it was never, ever, just about us!
There is a force greater and vaster than our humanity. Some call it God. I call it the Universe. But there is no denying it brought us to life, and it can take it right back.
It’s clear to me now, that place I thought I was going — the place where everything gets good and stays good — isn’t real. There is only now, there is the illusion of control we think we have, and there is death. And if we don’t begin to consider everyone at even the most basic, fundamental level, we all run the risk of losing.
There is no winning without losing they say. Is there a world where we all can win? That depends on how you define winning. If winning to you is only about you crossing the finish line, then perhaps that world doesn’t exist in your experience. But that story is old and tired. More and more of us are waking up to the reality that we need one another, and that anyone who arrived here deserves to be here.
We can redefine winning. Winning doesn’t have to mean everyone gets a gold medal, or that everyone will lose their identity. Winning doesn’t even have to mean everything is equal, but that everyone needs to be considered. A society that wins cultivates and maintains a system who not only cares for its people and their families — their species, but the next species that doesn’t even exist yet.
We needed every form of life before us to keep fighting for its life. We’d be nothing without every single happening that occurred. We are not the first, and we are not the last in the timeline of the Universe. Let’s please, please get present to the fact that humanity, although powerful, is far from perfect and has much work to do. And everyone’s hands are needed.*
* I do not expect my words to speak to every single human’s experience on this Earth. My intention is not to tell others how to live, but to remind myself how I want to live. Thank you for reading.