>>>An edited version of this appeared in the Jan/Feb 2013 Edition of Velocity Magazine. <<<
I just unearthed this long forgotten (and unsent) letter that could be written to any number of people who are in a moment of imbalance. Many well-intentioned and big-hearted people work so damn hard in the field of activism, sustainability, organizing, and social entrepreneurism that they forget to take care of themselves and lose the ability to walk the talk in their personal lives. This is a lover’s plea for the worn out, burnt out, shook up, pissed off, and stressed out change makers caught in a moment of chaos to reclaim their balance.
Find your center, man.
Since you don’t actively seek balance, you miss out on an efficient form of productivity and relaxed ability to command yourself with your full powers of magic, intelligence and intuition. Balance brings radiance. Radiance brings bountiful blessings. Instead, you trade balance for suffering and waste, your light dims to a whisper. Lost pounds, lost money, lost resources, lost time. Hunger. Weakness. Guilt. Stress. Confusion. Missed planes and payments. Forgotten fuel.
What if you chose to spend all that wasted time on things that brought you delight instead: gardening, reading, hiking, camping, ravishing your woman, learning the mandolin, drinking malbec on the front porch, building an outdoor shower, traveling for pleasure. If you could do this, boldly and unapologetically, savoring the moments of relaxation and creation, would you not be able to think clearer, see the path forward a bit more strategically, notice opportunities and enjoy fresh perspectives in a way that finds you able to give as much as needed, more or less, to all those deserving of your attention, yourself included?
What blocks you from striving for balance? Do you not deserve happiness? Do you not deserve right relations with your intimates? Don’t your gifts and talents deserve to find success? Do you keep yourself busy so you don’t have to look inside? Do you believe your body is supposed to be in pain? Are you so used to the tailspin and whiplash that you cannot remember another way? Have you just no roadmap? No idea where to start or how?
This is where I notice your body again – tense, crooked, uneven, sunken, locked. Your spine, dear, sweet conduit for the nervous system, completely off-line. Your chest, locked tight, unmoved by your breath, even when you try. Why such armor? Where and when and how did you decide to build a fortress around your heart?
The body can heal itself and be made whole, but it requires dedicated time and attention. I worry that you will be frozen in the chaos that is caused by and a result of your locked and freaked out body. I worry you will not be able to correct course without being seriously laid up by the universe smacking you over the head with a sledgehammer. Because it cannot continue this way. This is not sustainable. You will be granted an opportunity to heal – if you are not proactive, your body will stop you (as we have seen in medium-sized ways) at the most inopportune moment.
So there you are. Experiencing what it is like to be a messy man at this moment. You abhor the mess laziness leaves. What about the mess that doing too much creates?
So I look at this, and I know it is not you. I know you intend no harm. I’ve been there, you know. This is just a moment in time that you will transition out of. But when? I am not just asking facetiously. This is an important question: Are you at a turning point right now? Are you motivated to bring yourself into better balance? Can you commit to this as a path forward?
I’ve been where you are and rejected that lifestyle quite emphatically. No thank you. Because the way into a sustainable future filled with green energy, permaculture, community, earthen houses and peace is a resounding rejection of the cultural conditioning to push push push, produce produce produce, make make make, work work work, money money money. That mentality destroys community by breaking down our ability to listen and respond to what our mental, spiritual and physical bodies need. The busyness numbs our senses, we can’t feel content or joyful, we don’t laugh from our belly, can’t cultivate our own garden, can’t even begin to contemplate what small and beautiful little thing we might do to make our lover feel special. And so the lover drifts away, the garden wilts, and the messages from the birds and soil and trees are overlooked.
Be the change you wish to see. Would you recommend others follow in your footsteps? Live your life? Do what you do day in and day out? What motivates you in your pursuit of promoting the green way? From the comments you’ve made I get that you are pissed off about all the bullshit you see and feel compelled to do something about it. Are you fighting the machine, trying to defeat him or fuck up his game a bit? The machine likes for you to assimilate, but fighting it is just another form of engagement. It prefers a struggle with it because you are still playing by its rules that way, and it knows how to get you every time, to weaken you, rendering you less effective.
Give up the fight. Be motivated by the more beautiful world your heart tells you is possible. Create the reality you wish to live in, stop giving attention to the reality that makes you sick. If you can make this internal shift in motivation, it will make all the difference. You will transform from martyr to healer and your impact for influencing positive transformation around you will be multiplied a millionfold.