On January 14, 2018, millions of people in Hawai’i received emergency alerts on their phones that said an ballistic missile was inbound, and it was not a drill. I was in my cabin on Big Island. I’ve worked so much of my life toward increased human understanding and nonviolence. This moment was like no other.
Between the “not a drill, seek immediate shelter” and the news that it was a “shift change error at civil defense”… my partner and I just held each other, and called the kids on the mainland. We took in the songbirds, the luminescence, this beauty. What’s the word for the fierce love and sorrow that arises when confronted with the imminent possibility that all the perfection around you, the life of those you love and your own life, will be immolated in the next few minutes? When school kids are climbing into sewers?
I mean the big missile is coming, so to speak, for all of us. I’m comfortable with death and when the time comes, I expect to walk toward it, grateful and full.
But that the death of millions is in the hands of deluded narcissists with weapons, that I’m not walking toward. All that we are building and creating exists subject to the whims of the madmen and the culture of violence.
As the days progressed, this kept coming up for me: How can anyone be a man or a woman in full when we are essentially serfs to capitalism and violence?
There are of course, coping mechanisms: You might assert that your personality-layer ‘selfhood’ as a fiction, and dwell in the space that reminds you that are actually unending soul matter, where death and poverty and repression don’t count much.
Or maybe you can define boundaries that you allow into your consideration, articulating a situation in which you ignore these outside forces and pretend to be in control (such as a family or a community or a business), and focus your energy and attention there.
Yet, if you truly feel into the extent to which your sovereignty as a being, your very life itself is limited by systems that dole out domination and violence…if you were to feel into how you can’t protect your children from these forces, how you can’t keep them safe… well, that could really lead one to feel completely helpless and resigned. To depression. To anger. To hopelessness.
Because it’s so big. The systems are so fucking big and entrenched.
But I know this: that the small daily acts of many add up to the wave. If we choose love and connection and experiment with new economies, with generosity and tolerance. If we do our own inner work, if we join with others in real ways, the wave will build. Our values and mindset will shift, and #lovewillwin. #LoveWins is a moment by moment choice in each interaction. A choice made from strength and suppleness, a choice made from grace.
I support political action to unwind the violent state, but stopping there is a pier… it drops us into the middle of the water. The bridge is made when we also actively create the new state, in our own hearts and in each relationship choice and in the communities we make. Take your money out of that system. Cultivate peace and love in your own being and pass it on to each person who is in separation. If you love this life, please engage.