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  • Writer's pictureAutumn Star

Living in the world today...

Every part of my being is called to the outdoors. In this time when my life has been flipped on its head, the one place I feel solace is among the trees, the moss, the water. When I am not outside it is too easy to slip into the void of the coronavirus pandemic: worried about whether I will see my parents again; angry about my participation in systemic oppression that impacts who will live and die, now and always; battling anxiety and stress we are individually and collectively stricken with; and grieving the tragic loss in the human world. Most of the time I am stuck in the cloud of “what the fuck do I do in the world now, and how?”

When I go outside and sit with the earth I am drawn into a larger than human sphere. I made an altar recently in my backyard and as I listened to the wind and watched it work to blow out the candle I had lit, I slipped into the life and breath of the plants, creatures, and atoms. I was reminded of the larger ecosystem that we are a part of, and it gave me pause. What is coronavirus in this ecosystem, what are humans in this ecosystem?

The other day the thought ran through my mind that coronavirus culture is to humans what capitalist human culture currently is to the world. Maybe an extreme thought, but present day capitalist culture is wiping out other species fast and uncontrollably.

So as I sat at my altar remembering all of the life I am connected to I said hello to coronavirus. I thanked all of the energy that exists and makes this ecosystem possible, including coronavirus. I cried for the ways I as a human am making the universe grieve, and for the ways that coronavirus is making humans grieve. I sang a song that encompassed the layers of this grief, the interconnectedness of everything, and what I wanted to call into the world. It goes like this:

When you were born you cried and the world rejoiced,

live your life so that when you die the world cries and you rejoice.

~ credited as Cherokee, Navajo, or Indian proverb, and to Kabir Das

I accepted the blessing and the pain that is part of being on this earth; I honored this earth. I reached for the suffering to hold space for the pain all beings carry, as we hurt ourselves and each other, and hold ourselves and each other.

I thought about what I am learning in this time of living through a pandemic, and what it can offer humanity. I thought about how change can come from intense pain, and finding the moments of joy and opportunity within it. I thought about how much I love the world and humanity, and about how the anger, guilt, frustration, and sadness I feel about how we treat each other and the world is only because I care so deeply.

I know that the pain we are all feeling right now is catastrophic. I know this pandemic is more catastrophic for the people we systemically deem less valuable. I know that the current systems we exist in are bullshit and hurt every one of us, but only kill some. I know that for all of us to thrive we have to believe that we are all worthy of being cared for.

I believe the chaos this pandemic is creating in the human world offers a unique opportunity for us to disentangle ourselves from the systems we so easily default to relying on. We can begin to see each other as what we are: necessary for each other's survival. I do not need the systems we exist in, but I do need you. I need the collective of humanity to prosper, I need the collective of the earth to breathe.

What I am working to integrate into my being during this time of isolation is the bravery to stop buying into systems that do not support me, the people I care about, and all the human and energetic life I am connected to. I am imagining a world in which all life forms are valued and honored, and all people are justly and equitably cared for. Where basic needs of housing, food, and healthcare are covered by systems we trust and create collectively. Where money is a functional tool within a barter system, not a source for greed and destruction. I know that my scarcity mentality, fueled by capitalism, is not as strong as my ability to care for those around me. I believe in a world in which community is valued more than individuality, and we do not lock people in cages. I know we are more powerful than the systems we exist in, and that we can lovingly hold ourselves and each other accountable, so that we can build this world together. I know that my life is nothing without every other lifeform thriving alongside me.

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Iris S
Iris S
May 23, 2020

It's so interesting to read something that highlights some of the thoughts I have when I let my mind wander. The world relies on everything living in it. If people thought about this post for a little while they might change their views on the things living around them. This is very inspiring and I hope you continue posting!


Apr 28, 2020

Tragically beautiful!

I like what you wrote about connecting with the outdoors. Being in nature is so grounding.

Wash OverAutumn Star
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