I’m busy trying to get rich and famous before the world ends.
I’m frantically trying to figure out how to make a living while countries freeze, flood or burn and species die in the hundreds of thousands.
I’m wondering what the hell is the point of art if we’re all going to die.
I’m wondering what the hell is the point of anything other than art if we’re all going to die.
I wonder what the world will look like if I manage to survive until I’m a little old lady.
I wonder where I’ll be.
I wonder who I’ll be with.
I wonder if my friend’s children will be ok.
I wonder if they’ll hate us for all that we did. Or didn’t do.
I wonder if I’ll try telling stories to disinterested youths about fish and coral and how I remember a time when the ocean wasn’t barren.
I’m hoping to get a bit more sex before the world ends.
I want adventures and connection, equanimity and joy.
I’m pleading with loved ones not to give up on hope.
I’m clinging to love and battling with despair.
I imagine the universe will still contain incredible beauty, no matter what.
I’m looking forward to there being better options for vegan cheese.
It’ll be exciting to take my first ride in a self-driving car.
Empathetic me, I’m still learning to be boundaried to prevent the scurvy of compassion fatigue.
When do I tune in to the pain of the world? At what frequency? For how long? How do I keep my heart open? Radically open? How do I listen to the screams and needs without drowning out my own?
I don’t want to close myself to protect myself. Only fearful folk build walls, only foolish folk believe in their efficacy. I need to know the difference between a boundary and a wall and I need to practice the flexibility required to navigate complexity.
When do I tune in to the pain of the world so that I am not complacent? So that my ears, nose and mouth do not fill with sand? When do I hide away, hibernate, rest and practice self-care, self-maintenance?
I’m a secular Buddhist who is uncertain that she believes in a separate self, in fact I don’t. So if I don’t believe in a separate self, how do I practice self-care? Well, I suppose the answer is simple, to care for oneself is to care for others. But too much self-care becomes self-indulgence at the cost of others. Self-involvement. Selfishness. The balance in difficult and a constant practice.
Breathe. Eat. Sleep. Hold space. Make friends with fear daily and remember that compassion is a practice that must extend both inward and outward to be effective and sustainable.
Remain radically, bravely open-hearted.
lust a desire to
as a wish for
hey queer ho
taking stock of
holding on to
ya mum calls out
“suck in that gut”
ya chum writes down
“I’m feeling a lot of concern about your interest in BDSM”
fellow feminist scowls
“you’re exploiting yourself by making porn”
your in law’s eyes roll
“get real get a real job”
your love spits hate
“you whinging piece of shit”
your art teacher titters
“I thought you would be scary”
your crazy ex neighbour stalks you
online and blogs about your
“promotion of porn
and disrespect of Jesus
to the Goyim”
writes a letter
“I love you without condition
“because of your behaviour
at that party where you fucked those
I’ve been thinking a lot about intergenerational trauma. Like how someone might be abusive because his father was abusive because HIS father had untreated PTSD from going to war as a teenager.
Then I think, as I often have, about how a privileged person might look at a population of indigenous people and wonder why they “haven’t got their act together” without taking into account what might happen to a people when they have, in recent history, the collective trauma of an entire stolen generation.
I think about how I am someone who has had a relatively stable, middle class upbringing, with access to books, family, love, a roof over their head… and how those things can give one a belief in their right to love, to education, to a voice that should be listened to. I think about someone who has been through a broken home, poverty and homelessness and how that might cause them to believe that they are unworthy of education, of security, of love.
I think about how our self-perceptions inform our decisions and how the outcomes of our decisions inform our self-perceptions. I think about poverty traps. I think about the ways in which we discuss the privileges of money, gender, race and so on… but what about the privilege of love? What about those who haven’t had love in their childhood? Isn’t love a privilege that not everyone is given?
Those who go unloved, or are badly abused or neglected when they are small, when their beautiful brains are still developing… what an incredible, long-lasting trauma that must be. What a tremendous setback at the very start of your life, like the race has begun and your legs are already tied together. How hard that must be, how brave and resilient such people are for pushing onward.
I’ve been thinking a lot about compassion and empathy. How undervalued it is. How desperately we need to cultivate more of it. How many more discussions we have to engage in about the way pain breeds more pain. How someone’s bad decisions might be the result of the only coping mechanisms they were capable of coming to when they were small and vulnerable.
I’ve been thinking a lot about how much healthier we’d all be if we funded better mental health care, if we listened to more stories of people who aren’t the same as us, if we simply sat with ourselves and practiced loving kindness directed both outwards and in.
When I see someone behaving in ways that seem stupid, baffling, or infuriating, I try to ask myself where that comes from. So often, the answer is pain. There is so much pain residing in the hearts of our species, I hope never to close to it but to remain open, to sit besides it with empathy and compassion.