the freedom that arises when we consider the big picture

i didn’t write yesterday, breaking my hopeful commitment to do a blog post everyday. i didn’t realize this until i was headed to bed, questioned doing a short one, but quickly decided it wasn’t worth forcing it, holding so tightly onto an idea.

so here i am now. it’s still morning in my neck of the woods, and it’s been a peaceful one at that.

i went to sleep feeling crummy — that physical state that makes you question if you’re in the precursors to getting sick or just feeling funky.. i slept almost 10 hours, so clearly my body needed rest.

a quote by Leesa Renée Hall continues to stick in my head: I answer to history.”

this quote was ringing in my head as i reflected on the culture of busyness and rushing here in the “United States.” this constant sense of urgency, of doing as much as we can in any given moment or day. of the glorification of this, of the status that comes with it.

i thought about this as i leisurely made my morning smoothie, moving slowly, feeling the muscles in my arm pulse as i opened and closed the fridge, felt the sensation of the zipper sliding across my bag of frozen fruit.

i thought about how moving slowly, intentionally, and trying to nurture a sense of presence, totally alters the way we interact with the world. and makes it much easier for me to feel a sense of interconnectedness.

i think about how much it serves American culture to keep people doing, moving, stressed, with never enough time or resources or energy. always focused on consuming. it’s a great way to keep people disconnected — from themselves, each other, the world around them. from the damage we cause as a collective. from the harm we continue to not answer for.

the months leading up to me turning 30, i had a strong sense of insecurity and lacking. i had no societal norms to show for this turning point in my life — no nice car, committed relationship, career, etc.

all i had was myself, which in the context of society, has no measurable value beyond my labor. and so, in a conventional sense, i felt valueless.

it’s been 8 months since then, and my view of myself in relation to my value in society continues to shift and grow.

i no longer feel that aching lacking that plagued me for months. (of course it still pops up every now and then)

and now that i’ve given myself the space and time to spend a lot of time in solitude, in silence, in stillness, i recognize with much more clarity how silly it is to measure my worth by societal standards.

and Leesa’s quote helps a lot with that, because it contextualizes me not just in the here and now but in the big picture, the long story of humanity and the world. the decisions that i make are not just about answering to the demands society makes of me today but answering to what history asks of me for the future.

i recently had an interaction with an old neighbor who in a short period of time said a flurry of very offensive things that both caught me off guard and jarred me. when i tried to offer a line of questioning to challenge his way of thinking, he told me, “i don’t like change.”

how silly, i thought, to fight against the only guarantee we have in life, the inevitability of change…

when i think about answering to an imagined future of where humans might go, how we might adapt, i realize how small and inconsequential a “career” is, especially in something that doesn’t provide lasting value or quality to others’ lives. it makes my actions not measurable to present conditions but to what could be, what i would like to build towards.

and being progressive feels less reactionary to the current political climate and more so an inevitable and necessary nature through which to relate to life.

there are still, of course, ways in which i am forced to stay connected to the status quo. in my case, i still need money, a semi-consistent income, and an idea of how to sustain myself through my life.

but i have less barriers around how my life “should” look. which gives me the freedom, the creativity to imagine a way to make it through beyond the tiny, restrictive box i’ve been given. and it turns something dread-inducing into a realm of possibility.

and i can also see that things are shifting and changing. this present iteration of culture and society is currently in visible flux, and the resistance continues to bubble up from under the surface into the physical realm. what once worked is breaking down before our eyes.

as far as what comes next, i’d say our best bet is to stay open and adaptive and nurture that space that connects us all…

❤ ❤ ❤

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