Sunday, December 18, 2016

My Shadow, Your Shadow

Humans have a responsibility to care for each other, and for every other being on Earth. I am afraid that other people don't believe that is true; I fear that they believe that there isn't enough, and will prioritize themselves and their own people at others' expense.

Fear, however, hasn't ever done anything for me. It has made me cowardly. It has kept me from fulfilling my dreams. It has haunted me, made me lose sleep, and drawn me into the darkest moments of my life. I don't want to live in fear.

People I talk to either believe that they have to hide to protect themselves, or fight to defend what they care about. Recent developments have heightened our sense that no one is looking out for us anymore, and we are reacting to the fear that engenders by preparing for violence. We don't have to look far into the past for examples of when this seemed to be the only reasonable choice. 

I make no argument against the past. I have believed in just war. In theory, I think that I would use violence to protect myself and my loved ones.

Still, I don't think this is the answer to any of our problems, now. War, oppression, racism, sexism, the collapse of the environmental status quo we have relied on for our safety and happiness, none of these will be cured with a reaction based in fear.

This is how my ego thinks I look.
Maybe, instead, we can explore how responding with love would work better. 

Here are a few ideas I'm thinking about:
  • Heal your shadow. Shadow is the manifestation of our distorted strengths. The only way to cure our global shadow is to heal our own. 
  • Be kind. When you hear the language of intolerance, respond with love. Speak the truth, but be kind. 
  • Trust the universe. Don't allow yourself to become nihilistic. 
This is how I feel when I see my shadow.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Writing for My Life

What if I am in this life to write a certain number of stories, and I won't be allowed to advance to the next level of the game until I have done it? If I die before, I just have to do it again, until I get it right? Like Groundhog Day, but with novels.

I'd like to think that my purpose in this life is to discover as much about myself as I can, through writing. I was thinking about how I never think that actors or poets or screenwriters are doing 'nothing' with their lives. Or dancers, or skateboarders. I don't deny the 'usefulness' of my favorite authors, whether they wrote 7 books or 70 (or 700). I don't give Edgar Rice Burroughs, Jane Austen, or Isaac Asimov's ghosts the side eye, as if they were a waste of oxygen.
Imperfect, Incomplete, Out of Focus

What am I saying if I think that I am only worthwhile if I am a successful author? Am I telling myself that I must make a certain amount of money, contribute to the world in a financial way, to be considered worthwhile?

If all of life is 'real' life, if dreams and journeys and conversations are just as important to the fabric as work and history and raising children, then maybe I am enough.

I am enough.