"What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us." ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
Once upon a time, before the world stepped in to muddy the waters of your childhood perception, you were completely and wholly yourself.
Before the trauma.
Before the abuse.
Before the neglect.
Before any of it, there was a dream... a wish... a shooting star... a life force that was perfectly contained and eager to express itself from within the shell of your virgin soul.
Yes, I know. The path grew dark. You got hurt. Disillusioned by reality. You dealt with it the best you could, but something inside you changed.
Nevertheless, that person still exists. She may be lost somewhere beneath the calloused wounds of your troubled past, but she is there. And now that you're all grown up, your task is to find her.
No matter who is to blame for the damage that's been done in your life, the work of healing is your own responsibility now. Other people may help with the process; however, no one can do this but you.
You can do this, you know. It's not easy, but it's possible. You can enter into the chrysalis of your own suffering and emerge from it wholly transformed.
I can't tell you how it's done, only that you must do it... for your own sake, and for the sake of your children. Ultimately, you must do it for the sake of the entire world.
Here is what I know: If you will do the work that is necessary to become who you really are, you will transform not just your own path but the path of every person you will ever meet. You'll be like a pebble that is cast into the water, sending out little ripples of change that will eventually alter the entire structure of reality itself.
Yes. Believe it or not, that is the vast potential of your small life. Stop thinking so little of yourself, then. As Whitman said, you contain multitudes.
Let them be.
There are approximately 7.8 billion people in the world today. That may sound like a lot of mouths to feed, but at the same time there is more than enough food, energy, and resources to go around.
Nearly half of those people are living without the basic necessities of life. They will go to bed hungry tonight. They will wake up without a roof over their heads tomorrow. They will be wearing the same old ratty pair of shoes for at least a few more years.
As for the other 3.9 billion people -- well, they might have enough stuff set aside for the day, or a week, or maybe a couple months, or perhaps even a few years -- but this fact only changes their condition by a little.
Their lives are primarily marked by worry. They worry that something might happen to keep them from getting the things they need. They worry that they won't be able to sustain their current standard of living. They worry that no matter how much money comes in, it will never be enough.
So, they toil and spin. They sacrifice the best years of their lives and most of their creative energy to dead-end jobs and exploitative task masters. Because this at least provides them with a fleeting semblance of security.
All the while, there is more than enough to go around. For the first time in human history, we have the technology and the tools to provide for the abundance of humanity's need with a modicum of time and labor.
And yet, here we are.
Wealth inequality is skyrocketing. Benefits and pay are being cut. Inflation is mercilessly outpacing the average worker's meager cost-of-living-adjustments. Government officials are de-funding education so they can build more bombs. People are overdosing on drugs in unprecedented numbers because they see no silver lining on the dark cloud of their present reality.
But it's OK. Let's keep blaming the migrant worker for stealing our jobs while the corporations take our misery to the bank. That'll do the trick.
I don't suppose there's a purpose to this rant other than to point out a few things and invite you to think. There's a lot of beauty in the world today, and there's plenty for which to be thankful. There are puppies and sunsets and romance and art. But there's a lot of pain and darkness, too. And we should open our eyes wide to it all.
That's it. That's the moral of the story.
Open your eyes. Wide. To it all.
Imagine a world where people go to work because they love what they do and they take joy in the fact that their labor brings life-giving value to other people.
This is not the world we live in, of course, which is why our public officials in America are debating the merits of a second stimulus bill because they fear that giving people money will make them lazy and result in their not wanting to work.
I've said it before and I'll say it again: We're asking the wrong questions here.
I know we're dealing with an emergency situation, and emergency situations are not always the ideal time to start implementing structural changes to the foundation of society.
Yet again, maybe they are.
We have a tremendous opportunity -- right here, right now, in this moment of history -- to re-evaluate why and how we do things as a society. Who among us will take the initiative and seize the day?
As a tax-paying citizen of what many people allege to be the greatest country in the world, what I want to know is this: Which of my representatives will have the courage to start asking bigger questions?