It's the details that drown us. The insurance papers and the bank notes and the bills and the broken things that need fixing. The picking up, the catching up, the showing up and the following through. The scheduling, organizing, fortifying, placating, and prioritizing. Specific play-dates must be arranged and coffee is served on the go — no time for cafes. Walk fast, talk fast, buy it up and get on your way. And within it all… the endless, endless waiting.
This is the busyness of being officially here, officially living. This is clock-time, and there is simply no escaping it. Not unless you want to go live in a monastery, or on a tropical island somewhere, subsisting off of bare rations or beach mussels. Not unless you want to be one of those people.
For some, though, this is not a bad option. I always thought — when I was younger and far more of a vagabond than I am now — that if I started heading in that direction, as in, living life on the street, I would use whatever remaining funds I had to get me as far south as possible. At least that way there would be no staring down the 8-month-long gun-barrel named winter every year, with no roof over your head and accommodations lacking to say the least.
But it never came to that. Not quite, anyway. I spent months, at one point, eating every meal in a soup kitchen and I’ve slept on the street before, more than once. I did a lot of hitchhiking as well. Yet now, as an ‘adult’ with a bit more security and stuff, I often don’t pick up hitchhikers, and though I try to give what pocket money I have to those on the street, there are still many times that I don’t. There’s just too much on my mind. I’ll admit there is a pang of guilt that rises quickly, like an alarm bell, saying help, give, but before I know it the moment’s gone and I’ve passed them. Within seconds, the stream of incessant thinking sets back in and I am simply part of the urban landscape once again, another tiny blood cell sweeping through the massive labyrinth of veins in another massive, nameless city.
What happened? I want to care, I do care, I want to do something, but I’m just so busy trying to sort my own shit out all the time that there’s just, well, no time. As I’ve said before, I am no economist, and barely pay attention to politics, but I am human, and I know, just as all humans do, I think, that this is not something that should be happening. It’s a very basic sign of a very basic dysfunction that, it seems to me, we should be well past by now. The same goes for the incessant scrambling to survive, to save, to get ahead, to sock enough away to at least guarantee some security, for god’s sake.
Survival? Security? Really? Am I alone in feeling that I’ve been born into some bizarre world that is so draconian in certain aspects that it’s as if it’s all taking place in some terrible past world, and that somebody fucked up, and dropped me into the wrong reincarnation time-slot and now here I am, instead of in the world where busyness has been abolished, purpose established, love known as the highest law, and every human life treated as the miracle it is? The world where people aren’t dying — literally — to build us junk that breaks down in 6 months, just so that we have to buy more of it so that the whole thing keeps turning, and everyone has jobs that barely pay them enough, so that we have to keep scrambling to keep moving forward and keep on walking by those pesky people dying in the street, making us feel vaguely guilty for a moment?
Again, let me stress that I am no economist. I have a rudimentary understanding of why these things are happening, at best. Yet it seems fairly obvious to me that we are suffering from an extremely severe lack of love, whatever the more involved reasons may be. The people building the junk in the factories over-seas and the bum on the street are essentially in the same position we are — just trying to survive — yet unable to really make it work because we are all too caught up continuously chomping at the bit of the same old chewed up train of consequences that will probably carry all of us to the grave. And even those at the top, the infamous 1%, are obviously suffering from the same spiritual malady — even moreso, really. If their inability to use their immense wealth for anything noticeably good is not deafeningly indicative of it, I don’t know what is.
There’s a meme I’ve shared on FB a few times in the past and I think it puts the whole thing beautifully:
Think about it. We really need to get our shit together. What are we doing with our ONE. PRECIOUS. LIFE. here, on this beautiful planet rich with an expanse of incredible nature, culture and history just begging to be explored? I think about the things I would do with my time, if I had it, and they are somewhat as follows: learn everything, travel everywhere, make some music that would crack open a few dimensional doorways, write some books that would do the same, and work on humbling myself enough that I might be someone who greatly enriches the lives of not only his loved ones, but everyone he worked with and knew.
The only problem is, I’m scared. I’ve been scared my whole life. Mostly, I’m scared to show that I’m actually scared. The plastic smiles and the the perfectly posed postures and the “How are you?” “Good.” when you’re not really good at all, and all that.
And that’s the only thing any of us can do, I think — work on getting less scared. Work on being OK with being scared. Work on “Fuck it, this is me, right now, imperfect, changing, working on it”. Work on not thinking so goddamned much, because it’s the mind that’s constantly trying to find answers to questions it doesn’t even fully understand, it’s the mind that’s so goddamned fearful, and when you have even a moment of not thinking, the sun shines through, and you can see clearly again, and you can feel your breath in your body, and if there’s someone asking for CHANGE in front of you, someone struggling to survive, just like you, you’ll see them, and you’ll know what to do.