This week and next week I want to remind you of one very, very important thing.
I want to remind you of the FACT that your life is YOURS.
That you are not here to give your life away, to offer your story, to prove your worth or to become something that you can show the world.
You're not here to support others, fix others, show others what can be done via living through example.
You're here for your experience.
Yes, that experience is going to have an effect on those around you - and maybe the world at large.
But that's not the POINT of your life.
Our culture tells us we're all supposed to have this great purpose, that we're all meant to discover some magic about ourselves and that from there we're supposed to be inspiring others.
That's great - if that's something you actually want to do.
If not - please know there's nothing at ALL wrong with you.
Your life is for YOU to learn. To grow. To expand. To be. To experience.
Everything else from there is gravy.
Let's spend the next two weeks breaking up with the idea that you owe your life to the world, so you can ground back into the reality of you walking your path for yourself.
You're worthy. Of your life. No matter how it looks.
You're Under NO Obligation:
You’re under no obligation to make something great of your life, according to anyone’s standards of what great is.
You’re under no obligation to make your suffering something into something that ‘helps’ the rest of the world.
You’re not here to prove to anyone that healing is possible, that life is worth living, that because you could do it they can do it.
You don’t have to have a positive attitude about your life circumstances or look for the silver lining in everything/anything.
You don’t owe us a transformation story, something positive, or proof that you’re worthwhile because you can inspire or support others.
If you FEEL like you want to do the above things - go for it.
For some of us, finding the purpose and meaning in our suffering IS how we manage the pain of it.
For some of us, looking for that hope, knowing that we can inspire others with our stories, knowing that if we can do it we can help others do it and turning our pain into something beautiful IS deeply important to us.
For some, looking for the bigger picture and what we can take from our suffering IS the path that works the best.
If this is you, please, keep walking. Keep doing it. Keep sharing. Keep showing up. I’m right here with you, and this is what feels good to ME to.
At the same time, I feel like it’s incredibly important to acknowledge that for some of us, this is simply WAY too much pressure. The idea that we ALWAYS/EVER need to be in a state of positivity, looking for the silver lining, looking for the bigger purpose or message or otherwise feeling like we HAVE to be ‘making something’ of our lives that we can show the world, just feels like an extra burden on top of what’s already a life/phase of life that’s harder than most will ever understand.
Our culture is constantly feeding us the message that our lives are not our own.
That we owe the system something in order to justify our existence.
We’re constantly being told that what we do, what we produce, what we ‘offer’ the world is something to be measured, weighed and questioned for its ‘worth’ and that in exchange for this we will or won’t get what we need in order to survive.
I believe this is rooted in the fact that for a LONG time we DID have to earn our way to survive. We did have to work with/against the patterns of nature to try to carve out food, shelter, water and everything else we wanted and needed to live. We did have to struggle to survive. We did have to earn our place in community because if we didn’t, EVERYONE suffered. There was a long stretch in our history where survival wasn’t in any way assumed - it was earned. Coming through this, we’ve continued to work with the model that ways we have to earn our place in order to be worthy of that which we need to survive and thrive - even though we now have the understanding, technology, resources and capacity to distribute that would allow us to shift from this way of being to something more love based.
We’ve created a system where we’re telling ourselves that production and consumption are the things to be valued, and it is human life that must offer itself to the system in order to be worthy of what’s produced.
We used this mindset to get where we are. To get to this place where we've worked ourselves out of the food chain and created true ABUNDANCE and EXCESS for ourselves. We learned how to harvest and store. How to protect ourselves from nature. How to overcome the limits of nature. We've used this idea that we have to work for the system as a tool to motivate ourselves to push PAST what we needed for momentary survival through to the way of life we now have where scarcity is something we are CHOOSING to project onto some people, while others have so much more than they will ever need. This idea that we aren't inherently worthy and must earn our place has turned into a tool to justify the exploitation of the land and large portions of the population in exchange for rapid growth in creation and technology as well as wealth accumulation for a small portion of our society.
What started as a natural reaction to our lack of awareness and technology slowly morphed into justification for overworking, over producing, disconnecting from our humanity and feeling like it's reasonable to have humans sacrifice their existence in exchange for the promise of a better existence...
Again it makes sense how we got here - this is how it was for a long time, nature rewarded those who played the game/those who were genetically more suited to survival.
But the thing is, we don’t HAVE to live like this anymore.
We have the ability to start working from COMPASSION vs. working from brute force and will, because we’ve created so much technology that’s taken us out of the food chain and out of our vulnerabilities in SO many ways.
The system we currently have runs on the premise that production and consumption are the things that have value, and that it is the responsibility of every human life to ‘earn’ what’s needed for survival by offering what we can offer to the system.
This is part of what keeps those who are at the top of our system at the top, and everyone else who is struggling to survive feeling like it’s their fault that they are where they are.
The fact that we all still think this old model of earning our place is appropriate for where we’ve evolved to IS the problem.
We all feel, to some degree, that we have to be as productive, impactful, helpful, successful, busy and valuable as possible so that we don’t get left behind. The system at its core is all about human life serving its proliferation, not about the system serving the support of life. We’re still buying into the idea that human life is valued on a hierarchy and that those who feed the system best are the most valuable.
This is messed up.
We've Got Our Value Systems Totally Mixed Up:
We have it totally backwards - we're all raised to believe that it’s us that have to prove our worth to the system, instead of seeing that it should be the system that’s judged for its ability to provide for the greatest number of people possible.
This is where we COULD be at if we realized our connection to one another, and if we could heal our trauma of ‘not enough’ being the thing that drives most of us to feel like we constantly need to be doing/accumulating more in order to be safe. Again it makes sense why we have this hoarding based, competition based culture - we’re a traumatized species who had to fight for our survival forever. But now, things are different, and we need to be different too. Otherwise we’re going to over produce and consume our way into extinction.
We keep holding onto this model because we’re too afraid to shift to something more equitable - because this would mean a total re-arranging of society as we know it. A equitable world mean less for those at the top - and less possibility of extreme excess for those who are fighting their way to the top. It would mean a cap on how much any individual can have, so that we can distribute to more. It would mean that some DO work harder than others based on their capacity without being rewarded with extreme extravagance. It would mean we have less centralized ownership of things that lead to a few individuals having enormous amounts of power. It would mean giving up our ability to exploit so that we can manufacture excesses. It would mean letting go of our narrative that those at the top ‘deserve’ to be there and that if you work hard enough and are good enough you too can get there - so that we can see that in reality those at the top had advantages others didn’t have and exploited in order to get there, and that their place in society DEMANDS that there are people below them who never have as much as they need and will never actually have a chance at climbing the ladder.
It would mean a whole shifting of what we VALUE - less value on things and more value on people.
It would mean a lot.
Now, if regular culture wasn’t driving home the message of having to earn our worth hard enough, we can add to it all the New Age/spiritual/personal growth messaging around ‘finding our purpose’ and ‘living our fullest lives’ - and how this is still (for the most part) tied into the economy and what we can show the world that we DO/what we OFFER to others.
Many of us have been fooled into believing that if we are REALLY living our ‘purpose’ that abundance, success, happiness, peace and safety are logical and inevitable outcomes - and if we’re suffering on any level this is a sign that we’re simply not working hard enough/in the right ways.
The myth that if we’re doing our spiritual and self development path correctly that this will automatically mean success in our system is a total lie - but it’s being sold to us every day.
The idea that those who are suffering with illness or other chronic impediments to a ‘full life’ are somehow CHOOSING these outcomes or could be taking more responsibility for themselves is often totally oversimplified and missing so much complexity and nuance as to be essentially purely wrong.
The reality is, our system has very specific values. It rewards very specific people for very specific reasons. It’s a total fiction that anyone and everyone who is connecting with their authentic nature is going to have success in our extremely rigid, narrow and rigged-for-certain-people system. It’s not a reality that society will value what every person has to offer, or that every person has something to offer if they just dig inside, and it’s very clear that we don’t assign true economic value to that which is ACTUALLY important.
Our teachers live on food stamps, our garbage collectors and janitors make less than minimum wage, and the C.E.O’s of companies who artificially jack up the prices of necessary medicines to appease their shareholders buy fourth and fifth homes.
We are a culture that values the quick, shiny, distracting, fluffy and fake - for the most part.
It’s simply unreasonable to think that every person on this planet could find something that’s valued by the system that is also in alignment with their true self.
Heck, I’d even go so far as to say that those who are having success in our system are having success due to the fact that they are DENYING their humanity.
They are working more than is healthy, sacrificing family, friends, time in nature, running companies that destroy the earth and rely upon exploitive labor practices - the reality is our system doesn’t reward humans finding their true connection to self. It rewards those willing to sacrifice the most for their own gain in material wealth.
Let's take a pause here for now, and we will come back to this next week!