I always feel awkward breaking a silence.
I’ve been writing more emails reccently, and connecting more with individuals, and connecting more in the world “out there” than I have been blogging. While I’ve been involved in a few certain circumscribed online communities, on the whole I’ve I’ve been less immersed in blogs and more sunk into the world at large. But recently I’ve started writing a bit to the author of How to Save the World. And I felt somehow that I wanted more people to read what I was sharing with him. So here’s a version. It’s mostly in response to this post.
For someone so dismayed or disheartened by dialogue and language Dave certainly wields it well, though I’ll confess as another wordsmith to having those precise fears; namely, that the more elegantly and eloquently I use these letters the more inextricably tangled I get, and the more in the way of letting my self be my Self.
Sometimes this seems blindingly obvious. Of course language is an impediment, I think. Of course these abstractions are exactly the wrong way to approach this nearly intractable problem. Of course I should just be still. Sometimes, though, I delight in the nuances of being conscious of this dilemma. There’s something beautiful about awareness, even when it’s accompanied by pain.
And though I should be still, I’ll say a few more words.
I was involved an Open Space Technology event not long ago and had to take some time during the weekend to write about how inexpressibly sad that sort of systems work inevitably makes me feel.
I can never begin to connect, fully, with a group without falling headlong into that horrifically deep felt sense of greater connection . . . of an awareness with my own connection with the earth, with our gasping biosphere, with the pain and misery of so much of humanity in the global south, with the entrapped desperation of overweight suited executives unable to believe what their little-boy-selves have become, with the confused and angry systems in my own body so dead-set on tearing into each other . . . for whatever reason, allowing myself to connect fully with any community drags me into the rest. I feel it all, so strongly, and it’s for this reason that I both adore and pull back from group work.
In that OST I offered to convene a session on sorrow and grief. I introduced the ‘topic’ with a few stumbling attempts at I just wrote. I took my paper to the back. And I was the only one there.
So I wrote. I don’t mind holding that for people – indeed, in some ways it’s an honor – but it’s still hard. When I allow myself to sink into stillness and being, when I allow myself the space to reflect on the materials that went into the building I’m perched in and the labor that went into the clothes I’m wearing and the vast networks of production and energy on which my whole environment depends, I feel so much of it in my heart and my ribcage and it feels all the world as though I’m being held underwater, or trapped somewhere, and I can’t quite get my breath. There’s no way out of this world, and it’s becoming toxic, and this interconnection, this sentence, makes me want to cry.
Oddly enough I have some gratitude for this, too; sometimes I think it’s the toxicity that helps me realize this extreme interdependence, and for whatever it’s worth, I’m glad we’re all so bound up. If there were a way off the earth, or a way to escape this . . . I don’t know. There’s something to the realization that I can never run away from myself.
I meant to take this elsewhere though. Sometimes, for me, I can just breathe. Sometimes that helps. And sometimes I can just write.