Near-term extinction

Nailed to the Present Moment

I’m an Aries person. Born between March 21 & April 19.

Aries people are said to be the “infants of the Zodiac.”

Infants live absolutely in the Now.

No future.

No past.

Just this moment.

Hot, cold, tired, hungry, hurting. Whatever is happening right now.

Me? I’m relatively good at living in the moment. Possibly a bit better at it than most? For this, I am grateful.

Yes, I have a few regrets. (I think most of us have a few, no??)

Stuff that’s happened – or maybe didn’t happen. Mistakes I’ve made.

I’m merely human, after all!

The future? I definitely do pay attention to what may be coming down the pike – in a global sense. What the consequences of human activity on the planet may be. I guess that’s why I chose a life of (mostly environmental) activism.

Trying to persuade humans to change our ways before our own extinction became 100% inevitable. No regrets about that choice! It’s been a challenging, interesting, very rich life indeed – though there have definitely been “unintended consequences.” Most of them unexpected. Some of them no piece of cake, to be sure.

But you know? You can’t fight Reality.

(Well, of course you can try. But #ResistanceisHell, hmmmm?)

Reality = Reality.

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Now, it seems to me, we are kind of not just flying over the cliff

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Feels to me like we’re hurtling faster & faster & faster – like the water as it speeds up going down the drain, maybe? – toward an unforgiving … well, end. (End, with a capital E.)

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Some of us have accepted this seeming inevitability – made what I think of as a “hard peace” with this very inconvenient (to us humans) truth.

But even for us “doomers” (as some call us), it seems harder & harder to deal with it all. (To quote a fellow Near-Term Extinction Facebook Support Group member: “Despite my staunch assertion of acceptance, there’s some creeping dread as the days and events pile up.” Rather well-put, I’d say.)

I saw a piece of news yesterday that really rocked me on my heels. (I will spare you.)

& right now?

I’m sitting on the GO train.

Recalling how a grandmother lady who is very deep into dementia helps nail me to the present moment when I see her for a couple hours every week.

Like an infant, R. knows no past, no future.

She is soooo Here & Now

There is no connection for her, even, between this sentence & the next.


She needs constant care.

Constant monitoring.


Oddly, for me, when I’m with her, I’m able to enter her reality.

By which I mean, exist in the world of

Just This Moment.


It’s surprisingly free-ing.

Surprisingly Zen.

Peaceful. Relaxing.


For sure I have to let go of any agenda of my own that I might have had in mind.

& surrender.


Surrender utterly to the present moment. **

***************

I know that it’s a good thing to become a master at this.

Or rather, a mistress.

Mistress of the moment.

Janet

** I know, of course, that her full-time caregivers can’t just hang around in the relaxed way I can. They have much else to do! Jobs. Meals. Laundry. Cleaning. Personal care for an individual who resists such efforts. Etc. Very different ballgame altogether for them!

p.s. truth-telling & grief kind of go together. I’ve written a # of items about grief, & some of them have some great resources - links to other musings & wisdom about our time, & grief, in them. Bunch of them listed in this ‘Collections’ posting.

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Things I know for sure. I think. Now.

<Nov. 3/18.>

So. Oprah does this thing in her magazine (or used to; I haven’t picked up one of her magazines for a donkey’s age) called “What I know for sure.”

I’m adding in the “Now” part in this posting of mine, ‘cos I think these times we’re living in are pretty extraordinary.

I expect you’ve noticed.

Some of us have been pretty sure for a while that our species is in its terminal phase. On its last legs.

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Maybe more of us are getting this lately? I suspect so.

I do know I personally surrendered to our species dying quite a long while back now – & also that, as the downward trajectory speeds up, I am struggling to handle it well.

Some days I don’t handle it too well at all! 🙁

But one of the things I do know really well – down to my bones, I guess – is that it’s best – essential, actually – to deal with life

# One.Day.At.A.Time

So that’s what I keep trying to do my best to do. One. Day. At. A. Time.

Here are a few other things I know for sure:

The phrase “balancing act” implies the difficult challenge inherent in maintaining one’s … well, balancing act. Some days are gonna be better days. Easier days. To stay on this side of the loony bin, I mean. Picture a person up on a high wire. Think of the concentration required to not go crashing off! And, hey, this life really is one heck of a balancing act. More so than ever, maybe.

Speaking of loony bins, I think the words “sane” & “crazy” are pretty relative terms.

“What sane person could live in this world and not be crazy?” – Ursula K. LeGuin

“It is not a sign of good health to be well adjusted to a sick society.” – J. Krishnamurti

“It is good to realize that falling apart is not such a bad thing. Indeed, it is as essential to evolutionary and psychological transformation as the cracking of outgrown shells.” – Joanna Macy in World as Lover, World as Self – Courage for Global Justice & Ecological Renewal


Centipede season (in my apartment) is over! For this calendar year, anyway, apparently. Now I’m sharing space with an occasional mouse visitor. S/he is smart! As of yet, traps with peanut butter are not working. [Oh dear. There have in fact been recent centipede sightings. Dang it all…]

Pretty sure I am going to go to my grave tired-tired-tired-tired-tired of all the lies/lying/liars/bullshit our lives are rife with. Argh! @(#*%_$)(&^_)$(&^)_#$(^&

“Lies are infinite in number, and the truth so small and singular.” – from The Lacuna, a fascinating novel by Barbara Kingsolver

“We tell lies when we are afraid … afraid of what we don’t know, afraid of what others will think, afraid of what will be found out about us. But every time we tell a lie, the thing that we fear grows stronger.” – Science-fiction author Tad Williams, quoted in Deep Truth – Igniting the Memory of Our Origin, History, Destiny, and Fate, by Gregg Braden

“The liar’s punishment is not in the least that he is not believed but that he cannot believe anyone else.” – George Bernard Shaw Irish dramatist & socialist (1856 - 1950)


Oh, & also fatally tired of ego. &, hmmm, okay, also greed & stupidity. Waste. Pollution. Hypocrisy.

& so bummed that we human beings are so easily duped! So easy to manipulate. Lambs to the slaughter. Fodder for the lies & hidden agendas of unscrupulous “leaders” and corporate raider/pillager/rapists. Suckers for all the advertisers / PR gimmicks / marketing ploys to which we are subject from Day 1. Argh. We swallow so damn much Kool-Aid…

And, convinced most of us are as insecure as the day is long. Yes. Even (maybe especially?) those among us who appear so self-assured. Most of us are not just like sheep (we are indeed like sheep!), we’re like ducks. On the surface? Swimming along. Underneath? Paddling like hell.

Full disclosure? The human race has disappointed me grievously. Sigh. So has the existence of so much lying, deception, manipulation, control freakism, selfishness, short-sightedness, idiocy, & even evil behaviour – among the members of our species.

“The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don’t do anything about it.” – Albert Einstein

“You assist an evil system most effectively by obeying its orders and decrees.” – Mohandas Gandhi

“All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” – Edmund Burke


On the other hand, look at the list of things that have never disappointed me. Never!

  • Activism

  • Conversation (well, some of them go badly, of course. Even quite badly. I mean conversation, in a general sense. As a phenomenon. I actually think conversation is the WDKE. Whole Darn Karmic Enchilada. More on that here.)

  • Friendship

  • Motherhood / Grandmotherhood

  • Music / singing

  • Nature

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  • Reading / Books / Learning

  • Volunteer work

  • Walking

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Finally, I do think we all need purpose in our lives. I think. I’m pretty sure. Even in the face of potentially maybe soon-to-arrive (i.e., near-term) extinction. Now is likely a pretty good time to stop & not just smell the roses, but ask ourselves, what does it make sense to do now? As most individual human beings with a terminal diagnosis will do. How shall I spend my days … now?

After all, life is, as they say, not a dress rehearsal.

&, as they also say, life is short.

Janet

p.s. One final thing here. I want to add in this tough little truth. I am heartbroken. I admit to this not in order to solicit anyone’s sympathy. I believe it is an entirely reasonable thing to be heartbroken, if not by circumstances in one’s personal life (& let’s face it, we likely all have those), then by the state of the world. We are allowed to feel heartbroken! Grief is a totally reasonable response to what we are seeing & hearing all around us. Grief is normal. Numbness? Not so much though understandable in this very odd “culture” of ours. The Collections posting has quite a few items about grief, including some very helpful resources. I think people are talking about grief more & more, now. & that’s a good thing, in my view.

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A Few Quotations

“I was stunned. I was, and I knew it, an ordinary person who long after he was grown up retained the childhood assumption that the people who largely control our lives are somehow better informed than, and have judgment superior to, the rest of us; that they are more intelligent. Not until Vietnam did I finally realize that some of the most important decisions of all time can be made by men knowing really no more than, and who are not more intelligent than, most of the rest of us. That it was even possible that my own opinions and judgment could be as good as and maybe better than a politician’s who made a decision of profound consequence. Some of that childhood awe and acceptance of authority remained, and while I was sitting … it seemed presumptuous that ordinary Simon Morley should question the judgment of this board. And of the men in Washington who agreed with it. Yet I knew I had to. And was going to.” (from the amazing novel 'Time and Again' by Jack Finney - published in 1970)

“For the great enemy of truth is very often not the lie – deliberate, contrived, and dishonest – but the myth – persistent, persuasive, and unrealistic. Too often we hold fast to the clichés of our forbears. We subject all facts to a prefabricated set of interpretations. We enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought.” – John F. Kennedy

“One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we’ve been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We’re no longer interested in finding out the truth. The bamboozle has captured us. It’s simply too painful to acknowledge, even to ourselves, that we’ve been taken. Once you give a charlatan power over you, you almost never get it back.” – Carl Sagan, The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark

** simply gobs more great (& inspiring) quotations in the Quotation Central section of the blog.

Nothing Much To Say…

So.

Although I am a writer by temperament … meaning I’m always either writing something, or wanting to write something (or 5 or 10 or 20 things; yeah…)

& although I’m still scribbling odds & ends pretty regularly, I’m posting very little, ‘cos most of what’s going on

(for me & perhaps many others?)

is a little on the dark & dismal side …you know??


The state of things on our (still-lovely, now so-badly-damaged) planet is … well ...

Pretty bloody sobering.

(Since I drafted this, Hurricane Florence happened. & other sundry scary climate stuff in various places. & a few days ago, tornadoes did major devastation outside Ottawa. Climate impacts are … well, damn sobering. Hmmmm. Did I already mention sobering??)

  • Climate change on steroids (whether or not you “believe in” it, or its being human-caused)

  • Right-wing bozo politicians (some of them as dumb as a bag of hammers, or hell, dumber) running amok at home & abroad &, well, everywhere, seemingly

  • Human lies & corruption & nonsense running at a fever pitch, pretty much, everywhere we turn – seemingly, also.

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Geez … eh??

What can I possibly say that doesn’t just add to the cacophony??

I personally have been writing about & acting to try & change the world for decades (in my earliest days of activism, to “save the planet” – though that lofty, unattainable goal bit the dust quite some years back now)

** & I’m not saying I regret any of these efforts, btw.

I don’t.

A person has gotta do what she’s gotta do … right?

It’s just that, at this stage of the game, I’m unable to remain super-passionate about all the things I used to feel so very-very passionate about.

Truth? I think our species is on its last legs.

What a funny expression! We are not centipedes, we humans, after all. & thank goddess for that!

I have almost daily encounters with these ugly brutes (for some reason they appear to be thriving in the apartment building we share with one another), & they are UGGGGGGH-ly. Well, to me, anyway.

Although come to think of it, they have NOT been responsible for over-running a perfectly beautiful & abundant planet, & trashing it to smithereens – so, there is that… 🙂



Well. I do kind of go around in circles when I try to figure out what to do (& write) in these so-challenging times.

& I always seem to come back around to this:

The times are insane.

People (many people) seem increasingly insane, off-kilter, angry, obnoxious (admittedly, I must count myself in this; I am no saint, after all; merely human, like all of us). I am breathing the same air, subject to the very same palpable, visceral ramping insanity, & like all of us, have both my good & bad moments, of course…

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So, that being the case

I must just do my best to be a friendly, helpful presence as I make my way about in the world.

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Continue to do things I believe are meaningful & worthwhile (& that seem to make sense).

& also, try to lighten up on others (& myself) as much as possible.


Un-lofty, perhaps

but reasonable

goals, I think


in these challenging, challenging, oh-so-challenging times.


Janet


p.s. & keep on making batches of soup. Ahhhh, soup…. Just made a double batch. 🙂 🙂 My best recipes are in the Collections posting!!

p.p.s. & yes, remain ever-grateful for … well … so very many things!

Gratitude is STILL magical!

p.p.p.s. & also, grief is real. These are pretty grief-y times, after all. There are quite a few postings about grief in the Collections posting.

Quote for today:

Hmmmm, well, how’s about this one? It’s an old favourite:

“I do not want to talk about what you understand about this world. I want to know what you will do about it. I do not want to know what you hope. I want to know what you will work for. I do not want your sympathy for the needs of humanity. I want your muscle.” ~ Robert Fulghum

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