Insanity

(What I really want to call this post is ‘Insanity – everybody’s doing it.’ But I seem to have this thing about one-word titles right now, so I’ll leave it at 'Insanity.')

Seems as though everywhere I look, everyone is living out that oft-repeated definition of insanity: doing the same thing over & over, & expecting different results.

Me too, me too, let me hasten to add!!

I dunno about anybody else, but to me, all the signs point to gigantic cock-ups of every possible description here on Planet Earth. Lots of stuff is happening already, of course, & plenty more seems likely to land in anytime soon. Can massive collapse (maybe even chaos) be avoided?? Doesn’t seem terribly likely to me.

When I look around me at the world (this still very, very beautiful & abundant world, btw!!) & give it some thought, seems to me as though (most of us) live in a world that is essentially a house of cards, built on shifting sand. The sand is shifting wildly; the cards can’t help but fall down!

That’s the way she looks to me! Could be wrong about this; sure hope so!!

The particular insanity in which I am still engaged is environmental activism. Year after year after year. The whole idea was/is to help “save” the world. Inform people, & people would change.

Oops!! Turns out human nature is a good deal more stubborn than that. Most people I know pretty clearly haven’t the slightest intention of changing. Apparently they love their comfy consume-consume lifestyles perfectly fine, thank you very much. This has recently been brought home to me very graphically indeed. I feel almost as though someone whacked me with a 2 x 4, lest the point had not yet sunk in deeply enough.

Of course, I love my life of activism, & my fellow activists – I guess that’s why I keep doing this insane thing of doing the same darn stuff over & over again & … well, if not expecting different results, hoping for them, at least.

***

Feels to me as though I’m at some sort of change point, though. Yesterday the thought came to me, “I think I am too attached.”

I’m not sure what it is I’m too attached to.

Maybe everything? Life. Friendships. Where I live. Relationships. Activism. A comfortable life. The Earth?

I don’t know. I guess I’ll have to keep musing on this.

Some of the folks I know who consider themselves very “spiritual’ seem quite un-attached to the Earth. Things like climate change & possible economic collapse &, say, potential food shortages, don’t seem to faze them a bit. Me, I feel pretty darn earth-bound, & am definitely a little fazed.

Well. I often seem to find that the things going on “in the world” are pretty closely paralleled in my own little life. As I say, feels to me like a change point.

***

A book I bought a couple of years ago called Being with Dying – Cultivating Compassion and Fearlessness in the Presence of Death (by Joan Halifax) seems to have sort of jumped off my bookshelf at me again recently. (At the time I bought the book, I was hanging out with someone who had terminal cancer, & it was very helpful.)

Even the book’s introduction is proving helpful. Ms. Halifax emphasizes, over & over again, that remaining present is key. Our feelings may be very unsettled, & unsettling.

My feelings are unsettled right now. (I am even, I have to admit, a little fractious at the moment.)

But it’s OK.

“Notice, relax, and let go – three key aspects of mindfulness.”

& later, “…the radically optimistic caregiver bears witness and gives no fear.”

I am unsettled. Things seem pretty insane.

Notice, relax, & let go.

Give no fear.

Darn good thing relief is always as close as one’s own breath, hmm? Yet how routinely I/we forget this…

Janet

p.s. on a recent trip to Arizona, while walking across wet rocks kind of high up, in crappy running shoes with no tread left on them, I came up with this helpful little phrase: "Stay on the path. Don’t look down." Somehow, these simple words help...

Quote of the day with this post: “A spiritual life is not about being self-conscious, or wearing a button that says ‘I’m a bodhisattva!’ It is about doing what you have to do with no attachment to outcome.” – Joan Halifax in Being with Dying – Cultivating Compassion and Fearlessness in the Presence of Death