What, I wonder, are we all waiting for? Those of us who wish for peace and a real change in these systems of living that seem so resistant to the value of the world and people as they exist unattached to monetary profit?
My own ironic answer is, I think I’ve been waiting to be in a position of financial stability, so the attached worry and burden would be lifted from my mind and thus free up space for more meditation and activism and artistry.
No wonder I pine for, and hold in such high regard, the traditional lifeways of indigenous ancestors who attached spiritual and artistic significance to the work and tasks of everyday living. Independence and security proved inseparable from the sense of fulfillment resulting from humble service.
It seems to me that the American identification with freedom and individual effort stems from early contacts with tribal peoples, and I’ve read many examples of early writers yearning for a measure of the ease and simplicity they saw on view.
Yet, the path to such a balance was misinterpreted. It wasn’t a matter of access to seemingly endless lands and natural resources, just waiting for the taking by those convinced they could somehow wrestle forth even greater levels of ease and contentment by means of grand initiative. Tribal societies enjoyed lives of occasional plenty through the work of reverent hands, consistently aware of a baseline smallness and dependence. Petitions and apologies and thanks abounded, for taking from the bounty in our need.
This is very different from the supposed freedom of doing whatever one will to the land. Such exploitation transfers very readily to animals, and then people. People who are used for a bit in the extracting of resources, or the production and peddling of disposable wares, with no nod to the needs of the soul. We are then discarded when the quest for monetary profit demands yet more sacrificing of meaningful lives.
The answer to my initial question? I think we are waiting for our very souls to convince us of our truest needs. It’s not cheap energy, or the ease of parking lots, or investment in gadgetry. We need work that is dignified, with a large component of selflessness, in service to the healing of the whole – cleaning the rivers and replanting the roots and reviving the soils of our shared home.
What if America, the place of the deep original wounds of exploitation still unhealed, committed to figuring out and implementing a better way? Person by person in the places we each now stand, in utter dependence upon the water and air that cannot keep choking much longer.
I’d be glad to surrender some false convenience, and put my hands to good use. Say, we all pledged to stagger our accustomed usages to three days spent within the confines of digitization for organizing purposes (and sharing good/artworks), and four days actually contributing to the restoration of all lives? I can’t help but think we’d be surprised and pleased by the results. I guess I think about it all the time.