Hello My Love!
There's a LOT of talk in the spirituality and self help worlds today about how we need to 'take more responsibility for ourselves.' Around the idea that ANYONE can 'manifest' their own success/health/happiness via 'pulling up their boot straps,' empowering themselves and doing everything RIGHT. I want to share today why I believe this isn't true. I fully believe that we HAVE POWER - don't get me wrong. We CAN empower ourselves in lots of ways - but to think that ALL life circumstances come down to each 'taking their life in their own hands' is very limited and short sighted.
Have a read and let me know what you think 🙂
I'm Not Sovereign:
Here's the truth:
I’ve never been, nor will I EVER be a fully sovereign individual.
I always have been and always will be a part of a collective.
My success, my failure, my pain, my pleasure - while I have *some* control over these things - will always be happening within the context of the community I’m a part of, the humanity (and human structures) that are a part of my reality, the eco system I live within, the structure of this reality.
I don’t grow my own food. I didn’t build the apartment I live in. I didn’t craft the furniture I use every day. I didn’t invent the shoes that carry me around or the backpack I transport needed goods in. I didn’t invent, conceptualize, create or engineer the computer or the internet that allows me to run a business. I didn’t choose to be taught english as a first language - giving myself an edge so far as having access to resources goes. I didn’t discover how ANY of the tools that I use for health, wealth or relational success I ‘create’ for myself.
Even *IF* I were to go totally off grid, build my own sustainable home, grow all my own food, become totally and fully ‘independent’ - I STILL would have done so with the knowledge and understanding of people who came before me. I would do so using materials I didn’t build and technologies I didn’t create or understand.
My wellness, my success, my independence (relatively speaking) is LARGELY a result of the education I got, the body I was born into, the family I was born into, the societal structures that have decided to value and thus reward with goods and resources the skills I have.
I’m not interacting one to one with reality - I’m very much being supported by a LONG lineage of humans that learned how reality worked and passed that intelligence along.
I am being supported by technologies structures, resources and skills that I don’t understand, didn’t create and simply benefit from.
Therefore I understand that to claim TOTAL personal sovereignty in my health, my wealth, my levels of happiness - is fully illogical. Again I didn’t choose the body I was born into - with its genetic strengths and weaknesses. I didn’t choose what fundamental capacities I would have and whether those would be valued by society enough that I could trade my time and effort for enough resources to be comfortable.
Of Course I Have (And We All Have) Power:
OF COURSE I have POWER. I have CHOICE. I have done ‘good things’ with all the inherited benefits I was born into, and I have tried my best to ‘overcome’ the limitations placed on me by my physical reality and the reality of our systems that don’t always align with supporting me.
I’ve done the BEST I PERSONALLY COULD with my health and will continue to do so.
I will take as much responsibility for my wellness as I can.
But I realize that my health is also a result of the collective.
I will never have full control over it.
I will never have full control over the environment I live in - because we all share this earth together.
I will never have full control over the fundamental WORKINGS of my BIOLOGY - I can’t make my body something fundamentally different than what it is, nor can I alter its basic structure no matter how much I may try or want to - there are systems much larger than me, that came way before me, that I can’t influence.
I’ve done the BEST I PERSONALLY COULD as far as resourcing myself.
I’ve worked 2-3 jobs at a time to make ends meet. I’ve put myself through school.
I’ve done things for free ‘for exposure.’
I’ve prioritized helping someone out over gaining something for myself.
I’ve been responsible not to live beyond my means.
I’ve always minded what is really ‘enough’ for me - and not hungrily gobbled for more.
AND I have to acknowledge again that my aptitudes, my skills, my innate abilities, the things I was happy to work on and towards, the things I offer are valued in this society to a degree that allows me to put in my best and get out a good outcome. That’s not how it is for everyone and that’s not even ‘nature’ selecting ‘weak and strong’ - so much of it simply comes down to what HUMANITY values right now and is therefore willing to trade resources for.
I’ve witnessed in myself two things over the years - the more I am attuned to my needs, the more I am aware of what works and doesn’t work for me and the more I have curated my environment to suit those needs - the less I have needed to ‘consume’ (on all levels) in order to keep myself in a high thriving state.
I’ve witnessed that for me, over consumption of goods and resources comes through general feelings of insecurity, needing to cope with a life that was really antagonistic to me, feeling like I was unsupported and like life was constantly ‘at risk.’
The more isolated I felt in this life the more down-regulated I was in my creativity and output - the more focused I was on self preservation/hoarding and the more I was MANIPULABLE.
As I have worked to come into my ‘enough’ - Ive seen that I actually need so much LESS than I thought I did to be happy, to be healthy, to be supported.
I’ve witnessed again that when I have allowed myself to be my unique self and chosen to figure out how that unique self could ‘work’ within the context of society - the safer I made it for me to be me, and rather than fighting with the parts of me that didn’t seem to fit in, working WITH those parts to see what their strengths were - again I found a pretty good niche for myself.
Individual Success Is A Result Of The COLLECTIVE In A LOT Of Ways:
Thus I assume that if the reality is the more I was supported (by myself and by culture) in being my unique self, in no longer striving to become MORE bur rather just letting myself be what I AM - the less I consume and the more I produce naturally. The less I am motivated by fear and hoarding and the more I am secure in the idea that I have my needs met. I assume this must be for how humanity works.
That’s why I want a world of equity.
I personally recognize that nothing is done by an individual. Even the greatest of great achievements by individuals were all SUPPORTED by friends, family, colleagues, histories and technologies that enabled those people to reach their highest potential. No great person was great on their OWN. They were great within a community.
Thus, I believe in BOTH AND.
I want to see each individual celebrated and supported in their uniqueness - valued for the life that they ARE.
That our differences are absolutely recognized and encouraged - as we will never, ever be the same OR equal.
I also feel that those who are ‘stronger’ in terms of collecting and processing resources, who are supported in our current systems of value and worth actually support themselves by sharing that support with those who have a harder time.
I see this even as a selfish thing - the more humans feel supported, the less we feel competitive.
The less we hoard.
The more we switch over into our rest and digest state where we are naturally our most curious and productive.
I understand that people really believe that challenge and adversity make us better.
And that is true to a degree - but I don't think that working to create a more equitable society will ever ERASE personal challenge.
Rather I believe we will actually feel safer to take MORE risks, be MORE inventive, be MORE creative the more we know there isn’t a cliff edge if we ‘fail.’
When We Support The Collective We Support The Individual - We All Win:
We always have been and always will be a collective.
There need not be manipulation and power structures if we strive for equity - as this removes so much of what creates the apparent ‘threat’ we see in one another.
People aren’t threats - they are scared.
People aren’t lazy or unproductive - they haven’t been supported in finding their place.
No, we will never be equally productive and valued in terms of output - but I don’t think that needs to be our basis for how we decide who gets what.
I'm not sovereign.
I am very much a product of the world I live in.
I have done my best with it - I have SOME sovereignty.
But I would like to see what happens when more people have the same advantages I had.
When more people have access to creating a life that works for them because there are certain base needs that are met within culture.
I would like to see what happens when humanity isn’t so afraid - and thus consumption/production focused.
What are we capable of BEING when we have a secure foundation?
What could we journey towards when we aren’t so wrapped up in the threat of LIFE or DEATH? When we aren’t so afraid to be outcasted or othered? When we don’t have to worry about failure?
I like the idea of a supportive society where we recognize that we always have been and always will be a community of individuals. Where we stop trying to be independent or claim our sovereignty at the expense of doing what we can to support the whole. Because when we support the whole, we support ourselves. That’s how it works. We do ourselves a favor when we create a world full of resourced people. We bring out the best in everyone. We decrease the fear. We eliminate the capacity to be manipulated.
I'm deeply humbled and grateful for all the hands that have supported me in becoming what I am.
In giving me the foundations to 'create' the self that I have grown into.
To all the beings and the nature that I live in that has and will always be supporting my growth.
Again, I see the more I've been supported the MORE I've blossomed.
There was a lot of chaos and antagonism in my childhood- and I overcame and became strong in SPITE of it - but I'm not so convinced that I am who I am BECAUSE of it. As in my life now where I'm more supported and less antagonized I feel much more creative, expansive and capable. I can and do give so much more from this place. I feel I grow more. better, stronger and with less trauma and stuff I have to 'recover' from in the process. Less skewing of things through the trauma of the struggle. Simply through my experience and knowing myself - I think I would have been MORE productive, more supportive of others, more creative and inventive, more genuinely capable of living with enough - not hoarding - had I been supported earlier and more. I understand the fear of those who would 'take advantage' of community support - but I don't believe this to be the majority of the human spirit. When we are supported, I believe, we step up not down. In my experience, we are better able to grow when we have foundations to lean on. Resources available. Support.
Humans are naturally creative, curious and expansive. Wen we are basically supported we will be MORE of these things - and this benefits ALL of us.
THIS is the world I want to see, and I see it being built off of strong communities and networks of support that recognize our inequality. Individuals that understand their place in the community and who work to elevate the community so ALL can have enough and ALL can reach their potential.