Less is More
I have a vision. Less pollution, more animals. Less toxins, more green energy. Less digging for oil, more birdsong. Less CO2 emissions, more solar and wind. Less earth abuse, more synergy. I envision these things daily now. I hope for them. I am creating little moments of mindful imagination when I can see these things as reality in my mind’s eye. I am creating rituals each day, spontaneously, as I know many of you are (though you may not realize it). I wish for us to use this time to envision the future we want to have, and to create impromptu rituals daily that support that new vision.
For example, it feels good to say this in my mind:
Loved ones to the north, I honor and salute you.
Loved ones to the east, I honor and salute you.
Loved ones to the south, I honor and salute you.
Loved ones to the west, I honor and salute you.
I didn’t get that from any book, or from the 90’s movie “The Craft”, I just feel that I want to say that in my mind right now (OK it’s a little bit from The Craft). I feel that I want to mark this moment with some reverence that usually isn’t there in the humdrum pace of our “normal”, unsatisfying, rat race of life.
May you create a ritual each day that helps you feel sacred in place. Whether it’s a little singing during your morning coffee routine, an extra moment staring out the window and marveling at the powerful, destructive beauty of nature, or a walk outside with your mind full of affirmations and new thoughts. Spend some time doing these things, as the inspiration strikes you. Accept these as spontaneous rituals that help you make sense of things amidst the shift we are now in. Mind the gap. These new unrehearsed mini-ceremonies will feel like you’re tapping into a whole new world. That’s because you are.
It’s as if we are in between notes in a song. We are in the middle of an interval of change. If you can turn a “regular” moment into a more salient space of breath and consciousness, then you’re doing things right. If you can hone in during your daily tasks on the interconnectedness of all beings on this planet – you’re doing it right 🙂 Let your imagination run wild. I’m not talking about banging on pots and pans I’m talking about real, spiritual, sensual moments during your days as we remain sacred in place. This can be as simple as humming to yourself as you slow down your “to-do” list.
The Aborigines believe in the power of the “Dreamtime” ~ the primordial time in earth’s history when all beings, plants, rivers, lakes, and mountains were created. Everything was created then. They believe that dreams and waking life amount to reality in its totality. They believe in worshipping the earth every day with song, dance, ritual, ceremony, and storytelling. They also believe in initiation ceremonies and transcendental mental states to achieve mastery over pain, discomfort and challenges. They have a beautiful and rich belief system and sadly its been mostly lost to the world due to Western colonization (Lawlor, Robert “Voices of the First Day“).
I believe the era we find ourselves in is the beginning of the shift that we need to reach back to a way of life much like what the Aborigines/Egyptians/Native Americans/and other ancient societies lived in. As for Aborigines, they are considered the ancestors of all humankind by many scientists. It is thought they could be the oldest human lineage on earth. Basically: they are our collective origin (Lawlor, pg. 26). I think their culture offers a way of life that our “modern” culture could benefit greatly from. Have I lost you yet? If I did – you’re already gone like a leaf blowing in the wind. If not – I’m glad you’re here with me. Lets dig deeper.
I believe in the connectedness of all of our souls and brains. I believe we can, with our collective consciousness, navigate where we go from here. Lets embrace this current world where we are all palpably, finally equal. The vulnerable equality of this situation is almost a relief. We can see it as the truth its always been. For starters, lets move beyond socio-political issues and focus on a world in greater synergy with the earth. I do not mean to suggest that there aren’t class differences, inequalities in privilege, and healthcare imbalances all over our flawed, chronically problematic world. But I am literally praying for us to envision the solution during this time. Lets create a world of absolute equality no matter your income. A world of green energy and less plastic production. Lets choose leaders who stand by those things too. Lets create a world where volcanoes are the only sort of carbon emissions. Lets combine as 100% instead of squashing the other 99%. Lets create a world with more meaning that each one of us can feel each and every day. Lets create. The Aborigines know a creative life is also a spiritual one. This was their daily practice. The two concepts are inseparable.
There is a specialness to N O W and I wrote about it yesterday and called it Sacred in Place. In it I talk about allowing yourself to fully embrace the sights and sounds around you. Simply breathe them in, and connect with your senses. The stimuli you find are sure to nourish you with all their beauty and perfect rawness.
Allow yourself to follow your creative yearnings. Listen to your pure, spiritual, and human thoughts and feelings. The loved ones around you are truly magnificent. Look at their eyes and see them sparkle. Your pet is a magical being of love and truth, look at his/her enchanting shapes and postures, so funny and efficient. The air outside is calling your name. The rawness of the earth is encoded in each breath. The trees, the animals, and sky are worthy of your idle, easy, effortless worship as you notice them coming to life right before your very eyes. For example, lately I’ve been entranced by the sway of a tree’s limbs in the breeze. How can they be so strong and sturdy, and at the same time so flexible? How brilliant they are.
In some ritual cultures, it has been said that there are many spots which can be called the center of the world. Further, this duplicity is not a contradiction (Wikipedia: Axis Mundi). What the heck does this mean? It means we can all worship the world around us, in our own sacred places, without meeting up in one spot. We are united by that separate awe. If you listen closely you will be naturally guided to the next move in your ritual of today, and each day, knowing intuitively when the ritual has ended – for the moment – and you must cut off your connection to the earth and return to your profession/duties. It does seem that the concept of money stands in the way of our non-stop worship of the planet, as much as the latter sounds like a divine way to spend each day. We need to eat, feed our dependents, and “keep the lights on”. I have wondered about this on a regular basis, even before this pandemic hit us. The Aborigines used to spend about 3-4 hours a day gathering food and hunting. The rest of the day was spent on ritual, ceremony, art and storytelling. The focus was on immediate expression of emotions, thoughts and desires so that nothing was repressed. Ecstatic dance was a way of life. In the West we seem to have inverted literally all of that. We work for most of the day, to earn money, so that we can buy food, clothes, houses, cars, toys, products, computers etc. We might have a special hour at the end of the day when we do what we “really want”. Somewhere in there our earth worship went down the drain as we relied upon agriculture and architecture – the ability to stay in one place, store grains and trade goods. It’s no wonder this current situation we are in feels so freeing to me. I’m not suggesting we return to the Aboriginal way of life with no clothes and no architecture (how exciting though:), but I do ask for us to honor the very real reality that we are all fragile beings in this moment of time. That has always been the case, both in Dec 2019 and hundreds of thousands of years ago, before this modern health situation began. Opening to this reality there is sacredness in the mundane and there is spirituality in the routine of every day. Suddenly doing the dishes, catching up with a friend on Facetime, calling an elderly family member, or making a healthy meal all have their own ritual steps and cadence. Things change when our lives are suddenly equally threatened. We are now a local and global herd in that all of us are irreversibly connected – as we’ve always been. It’s just that now we can actually feel it.
In your moment to moment spontaneous rituals today, know that any outsider looking in may see them as illogical or irrational. As you suddenly crank up the music and dance in your living room, as you stand in shock as you watch the horizon in all its beguiling lines, as you raise your glass to the setting sun, as you say an affirmation out loud without warning and a devil-may-care-who-hears-me tone of voice……all of this is making you more adaptable to the gap we are in. These small but sacred behaviors can be used to neutralize and prevent anxiety (Wikipedia: ritual) and they work wonders for your mind, body, and soul.
These types of rituals are looser in structure than say, a ritual performance, done to set choreography and music, at a particular moment in time that is preset and predetermined for a specific purpose. These are the types of “rituals” performers are used to. In those rituals the lack of variability is key….but I’m not asking you to become an automaton that never changes its daily rituals. That would be missing the point entirely. I’m encouraging you to create a daily dance with the world around you, sometimes repeating the same steps and sometimes not, in a constant reverence for the power of the nature to both nurture and destroy us. We must bow down and acknowledge this capacity and celebrate with sheer and utter joy while doing so.
Ultimately, all of my own spontaneous rituals of late are my way of adding fuel to the fires that I hope to build: more animals, more green energy, more love, more birdsong, more family time, more solar and wind power, more affection, more thoughtfulness, and more synergy between humans, animals, plants, and the earth.
We WERE already “diseased” as a global society before this. We MUST shift. This IS a beginning. Can you imagine a rainforest that is no longer threatened with logging? One where the indigenous cultures and animals that live there are left in peace and harmony? Can you imagine more meaningful time with loved ones and family spent in ritual, ceremony and dance? Can you imagine cities of electric cars and light rails, with lush greenery pouring over skyscrapers and parking lots? Can you imagine animal populations increasing, and our farming being locally sourced and produced? Can you imagine we all learn the ebbs and flows of what’s in season, what the weather is like locally and globally, and what it means when the winds change? The same way our ancient ancestors learned about which plants are edible and what season is best for hunting boar. Most of us haven’t used that part of our brain for a very long time, if EVER. We must begin the sacred task of REMEMBERING the DETAILS of the earth’s cycles. Then we must let them inspire us to create what brings us joy each and every day. What if we started looking at the world in this way, but with a global/local, and urban/rural consciousness our ancestors never imagined? This is the future I am living for.