how to press PAUSE // a reimagining

there’s something about a physical leaving that is not always possible– or even necessary. that was the one thing positive about going mad, as i saw it– i started to notice everything again.

like the way that all smoke is holy smoke– whether from a bonfire on a homestead or your cup of tea. i noticed everything. the way shadows made shapes on the wall. the way candles flickered. the way the light changed as the day progressed, as i walked through the house– creaking the floorboards, like a ghost.

but is that what it takes nowadays? to not choose– to not be part of the game.. but to suddenly be forced out of it?

it’s a mystery to me
we have a greed to which we have agreed
you think you have to want more than you need
until you have it all you won’t be free
society, you’re a crazy breed
i hope you’re not lonely without me…

i’d had enough– by that winter of 2015. i was a broken being. my heart revolted from all the amalgamated pain– and hid. what i didnt realize then is that it was happening on purpose. a dormancy, so to heal. like in the winter, nothing dies– it’s dormant. life curled up tight in the buds of itself, waiting to spring forth again when it’s time.

time. 

my fingers smell like lit mugwort, a plant ally i was given in 2017 although my sister had named it for me much earlier. i am listening to the chimes outside the second floor window in my new apartment, the last faint smoke-trails rising out of my tea. 

i left the life i knew in 2015. like chris mccandless did– yes, he was the one who cut up his credit cards and burned all his money and trekked his ass to alaska, INTO THE WILD, where he realized– ‘happiness only real when shared.’ and after deciding to trek back– a series of unforeseen circumstances led to his death. and his subsequent canonization as the patron saint of wanderers in pursuit of wild truth. 

like me.

last night i stayed up late in candle flicker, rainbow christmas light and golden salt lamp glow reading a book about a one woman farm. it hasn’t ever been my exact predilection to be a ‘farmer-ess,’ but i bought it months ago without knowing why. last night it made sense.

a life in accordance within communion with, the natural cycles that already exist. honoring them by Being With them. it’s the thing In Itself. it’s what i’ve been missing.

we, in all our stubborn imperialist bent– are trying to reinvent a fucking wheel that nature has been devotedly turning since before we humans ever existed.

and this is what i mean– many of us don’t have the luxury of physical leaving. or– i won’t say luxury– because i’ve moved ten times in the past five years alone and often it is flush with deep existential agony–but how to resolutely press PAUSE when everything else is jamming your finger on the big green button that says PLAY? how to choose SLOWNESS, how to choose earth time, deep time, soul time— when everything else is RUSHING you along at breakneck pace? 

the constant frantic thrum of fear and urgency– hitting a fever pitch, an alarm bell clanging, a piercing, pervasive siren searing the background, ALL THE TIME. how do you say NO to that– without always escaping? entertaining ‘the grass is greener’? running away?

it’s in the Thing Itself. art for art’s sake, without having to click and share and then obsessively check how your likes stack up, or don’t. it’s what chris i’m sure would have brought back to his regular life if he had survived– which, in effect, he still did, by virtue of the retelling of his grand adventure– it’s presence. Presence, Nowness, Focus, a Being With what is Here. to be close to the pulse of everything. as james joyce said– near to the wild heart of life.

i haven’t been a podcast listener because i’ve been too fucking busy. i would much rather speed through and skim with my photographic reading abilities than sit, take notes if i feel called, and just– listen. but on this podcast an upcoming socrates artist shared with me, a speaker mentioned– that for the yoruban people, the act of prostration has a mythic significance. he said for instance that when the thunderous god shango approaches, you wouldn’t stand and fight him. and you also wouldn’t run away. you would go down to the ground. be still in the face of the storm. 

i have been feeling this inkling to get low, get close to the earth– and we don’t need to peel off into the woods to engage that sensation, although i do recommend returning to our forests when you can. in all my travelings and wanderings and running away, constantly claiming new ground, new homes, new men, new dangerously entwined senses of safety and self-worth, i have realized– the wilderness is always right here

and so is the truth.

the holy smoke is the same whether it’s from a fire or a teacup. and it’s up to you to decolonize yourself from the urgent fearful worldview we’ve been given. to be with this land, to be with your people. and commune instead with the world that actually HAS a view– into the simplicity, the sacredness, of what already IS. 

society, you’re a crazy breed
i hope you’re not lonely without me
society, have mercy on me
i hope you’re not angry when i disagree
society, crazy indeed
i hope you’re not lonely… without me.

— written feb 2020, italicized lyrics from eddie vedder – ‘society.’