I wrote this in 2012, on the eve of that year’s presidential election. Different time, different context, different issues, different writer. I could (and probably will) make points more trenchant and relevant to today’s particular flavor of chaos. Nonetheless … much of it still feels true.
The world is unraveling. This is not news. Of course it isn’t. It’s only recently entered my understanding in a more visceral way that it’s undeniable now, but it never wasn’t the truth. The election is futile. No matter what happens tomorrow, we’re still headed toward decline. Obama may slow the decline, Romney will accelerate it, but either way, nothing will be fixed or solved with either of them in office. Nor will it be fixed or solved by us recycling or paying attention to the weather patterns or cutting fossil fuels. It’s too late. We’re being ripped apart at the seams. For so long we’ve felt the tug. Now it’s starting to rip.
It’s okay, there’s nothing we could have done. This is the direction of our evolution. It’s an inevitability of an ever-expanding universe. Nothing we do or don’t do, or have or haven’t done, would or could ever stop it. If you close your eyes and sense your insides – the mini-universe that resides in you – you can feel the pulling there too. The audible rip; the sensation of dynamic polarization. The expansion and near-explosion. It’s hard to bear. Tearing hurts. Disintegration is uncomfortable … we spend our energy and our dollars and our lives trying to prevent that very thing in its every form. We destroy ourselves trying to prevent destruction.
But here we are: a society and a world encroaching on not existing as we always have. The ways we’ve done things and are still trying to do them just don’t hold up in the world that it is. The world is changing, and so many of us are frantically grabbing at the frayed edges of what once was, pulling with all their might and attempting in vein to lash the shreds together, hoping they’ll hold. They won’t hold. We need to let them go.
But we can’t because if we do, we’re surrendering ourselves to the unknown. To pain and chaos and strife and possible death. To definite lack of control. Having let go, our only recourse is to sit and watch it all fall down. Those of us who hide and ignore and distract won’t be able to. We all have to be here for it, and we don’t know what it is. We have to trust. We don’t know how to trust. We can’t let go. So we fight.
Our fighting takes every imaginable shape. We fight injustice, we fight diseases, we fight wars—both in them and against them. We fight with each other, we fight ourselves. Oh, so hard we fight ourselves. We fight against feeling pain, intimacy, pleasure, anger, hopelessness, fear. We hold our bodies so tightly against these things that they ache and distort and crumple and decay far more quickly than they’d otherwise need to. And then we fight the failing and when we can’t we go back to pushing it—and anything that reminds us of it—out of our consciousness.
And we go with all our might at the things we think we can fix. We perceive a problem and we villianize whomever we’ve decided was its perpetrator. We lash outwardly with blame for our inner hurt. We turn such a blind eye to our own incompleteness and raise pitchfork mobs out of others with similar pains, and go after the village ghost monster bent on making him pay. We don’t recognize that we’re each of us wading through our own worlds of hurt and just heaving it on to one another: here, you carry this for me. It’s all your fault anyway. You bear the burden.
But this isn’t a wrong way to be; it’s how we are. It hasn’t caused the unravel. The unravel was coming. The unravel is us moving from Capricorn to Aquarius. It’s the game board changing, and life and the universe requiring something far different from us than most of us know how to live. So we man our old battle stations and prepare to ward off something that has no way of being destroyed. It’s merely a shifting world, and our only choice is to shift with it … or not.
So how, I now wonder, do those who are willing to let go facilitate the letting go of everyone else? Ha. We don’t. We don’t because that would be interfering with a process we understand to be inevitable and natural and that will have its own relationship with each being it encounters. We can’t meddle – it’s counter to the spirit of what’s going on. It would be just another attempt to hold something together. To “save” something, be it order or justice or the fabric of society or values or each other. There is no saving to do. There is only letting go. In joy, in joy, and with open hearts. There is only release.
There can be celebration, I imagine: celebration for the astoundingly magical unfolding of existence. Laughter at the absurdity of it all. The comedy, the brilliance. Comfort in the fact—the only real truth we have to go on—of the unstoppable expansion of the universe and the changing nature of all things. I’ll raise a glass to that.
But whatever happens tomorrow has already happened. IS already happening. We surely can’t stop short, throw up our hands and say forget the whole thing. For our own understanding of survival we need to keep going. It’s just that I can see now that our actions are empty, but we have no others at the moment. We’re in the throes of an enormous universal limbo. We’ve let go of one trapeze and can’t yet glimpse another one to grab. We’re hanging in mid-air, and there’s no evidence of a net to catch us. So we’re feverishly attempting to weave our own out of what we’ve always used: fear and hope and words and thoughts and things things things. We drive toward a solution and our efforts dissipate into the blackness so we redouble and try harder. It hurts, it makes us tight and tense and yet we know no other way.