Awareness of the divine begins with wonder.
— Abraham Heschel
I think that every discovery of the world plunges us into jubilation, a radical amazement that tears apart the veil of triviality.
— Dorothee Soelle
For as long as I can remember, I have been a rule follower. I believed that if you wanted to change a system, you should work within it. I could give you a long story about why I was a rule follower and why I believed what I believed, but it’s just a story. Memories, maybe, although we all know that memories are basically stories that our brains put together and that what I remember might not match what one of my siblings might remember when it comes to childhood, schooling, and conditioning.
There were (still are) ways in which I put myself outside of the box, but they were always safe and came with safe explanations. Pink or purple hair, just before it became something a lot of people my age are doing. Tarot cards. That sort of thing. I love Tarot and Oracle cards, but my reasoning has been that they don’t predict the future. Instead, they help you see what is already there. They are archetypes and we can work with them in that way. Now, you might think this is a reasonable explanation. It is. It is also safe. It is within certain boundaries of “normality.” In other words, it’s okay to use myths and stories to look inside of yourself because the experts say it is okay. It’s what some of them do.
I have The Wild Unknown Archetype deck by Kim Krans. (I also have her Wild Unknown Tarot. I love her artwork.) I’ve been pulling a card every day this month, for fun and giggles one might say if one wanted to take the safe approach. Part of the truth of it is that I like mulling over the depictions/art and the descriptions. Each card, it seems to me, is a little portal that helps me look inside of myself. Some have been instrumental in helping me call myself out on my own bullshit.
The other day I pulled The Siren (the Greek mythology type of siren who lures sailors to her rocky shores). So, so interesting. In the description of this card, Ms. Krans states that The Siren is someone who throws away constraints and conventions. She eats the rules. I’m going to repeat that: She eats the rules.
“She eats the rules” has been reverberating throughout my entire system since I read it. I don’t know if I’m the kind of person who can eat the rules. Not yet. Perhaps never. There are some who eat the rules in all the wrong ways, creating chaos and wreaking havoc and believing they are above the law and order they proclaim they uphold. If I ever get to the point where I can eat the rules, it won’t be for that.
I don’t really want to write about the coming collapse or apocalypse or whatever it is that we are moving towards. Call it what you will. Things are not working out well lately. We’re getting bombarded, day after day after day, with violence, threats of fascism, the taking away of the rights of half the population, war, and more. If one were inclined in that direction, one could say things look very bleak. Perhaps they do.
The more I learn and unlearn, the more I realize that the system doesn’t work the way we were taught it works. There are many people who already knew that based on their lived experience under this system. Some of us are more privileged and it’s taken a while to see what there is to see. The system is doing what it was designed to do — support rich, often white, men — and will continue to do so because even those who work within the system, who preach that they want change, end up working to uphold and support it. The system, at least here in the U.S., is fixed so that a minority is able to force the majority to live by their rules. Some of that minority want to take us back, way back, and/or move us into something of their making.
We need to eat the rules.
But before we eat the rules, we need to decide what kind of world we wish to live in. That’s the crux of the matter, isn’t it? If you could wave your magic wand and recreate the system/world, what would be your ideal? How do you imagine we could live? I know what I would like. I would like a system and world with heart and soul, one that is based on compassion for all beings rather than on greed/money and fear. I would want us to widen our perspective, to see that we can heal and live in peace. Is it possible? I don’t know. I’m not sure if we have ever really tried.
I don’t have a magic wand to wave. I’m not even sure I’m ready to eat the rules. In fact, I have made the decision to retire from saving the world. It’s not something I can do. It’s not something any of us can do as individuals. I suspect thoughts of trying to save the world are what cause people to fear, to freeze, to not act because they just don’t know what to do. It’s too much. Too big.
What I can do — and I’ve written about this before so pardon the repeat — is take care of my own little inch of the world. Get to know my neighbors, even if it’s just to wave to them when I’m out on my walks. Continue to do the little things, the next right thing for me. Most of all, go back to looking for the beauty, the good, the love, that I know exists in this world.
The recent photos from NASA and the James Webb Space Telescope, took my breath away. Literally. I gasped and had to remind myself to breathe. The awe I feel when I look at those photos, when I realize that those tiny little dots are galaxies (whole galaxies!!!), helps put things in perspective. Look how tiny we are, in spite of thinking we’re the be-all and end-all.
Better writers than I am have described what they felt upon seeing the images. I am sure you have your own description of what the pictures made you feel and think and believe when you saw them. For me, Abraham Heschel wrote it best:
Awe enables us to perceive in the world intimations of the divine, to sense in small things the beginning of infinite significance, to sense the ultimate in the common and the simple; to feel in the rush of the passing the stillness of the eternal.
~ Abraham Heschel
Rather than work with or chew on what is wrong, I want to work with awe, with beauty, with love, “to feel in the rush of the passing the stillness of the eternal.” I want to start from there. From awe and gratitude and a perspective of heart, time, space, and the bigger picture. What is worth my time and effort? Where do I put my heart? Start with something new, something compassionate towards all, and then take the small steps needed. I doubt I’ll live long enough to see if what I do (or don’t do, for that matter) truly makes a difference. That’s okay. I am becoming more and more comfortable with the unknown and with the mystery of life, the universe and everything (with a nod to Douglas Adams).
Thank you for visiting with me today. Let’s meet out at the Point for sunset this evening. It’s scheduled for 8:26 PM. It’s quite warm and muggy (and buggy). Even the water is warm these days, but it’s still a good way to cool off if you want to go for a wade or a swim.
Please be safe, be well, and imagine. Just imagine. When the time is right, go from there.
A few of the 10,000 reasons to be happy: 2,046) The everyday miracles that happen in the garden. 2,047) The extraordinary photos from the James Webb Space Telescope. May they help us humans put things in perspective. 2,048) Metta practice. It’s helpful. 2,049) Flowers, bees, and all the buzzing that is happening right now. 2,050) Finding light during what feels like our dark night of the soul.