Chatting to a friend recently they told me how everyone at their workplace was working at capacity and yet it still seemed not to be enough to meet the expectations of those in charge (who are no doubt also made to feel like what they are doing is not enough...and so it goes on).
You've got to earn it
There is a perception that we can rest and live the life we desire – one in deep relationship with nature – once we have earned it. Once what we have done enough, then we ‘deserve’ a ‘break’ – to go for that walk, to paint the leaf, to identify the fungi by its scent, to investigate the wild bank of the river, to learn the birdsong.
What a great trick colonial, patriarchal capitalism plays on us! When will we actually, ever meet those expectations? When will we ever have done ‘enough’? The answer is never. We will always be left feeling like we haven’t done quite enough to belong, to be worthy of being a full human being with desires of our own.
Perspective is your friend
When I get stuck in the trap of feeling like I am not worthy of the life I desire – or am even living – I give myself perspective. I think about the end of my life and question “will I look back and think I wish I’d spent more hours tied to my desk or screen or caring for everyone else’s needs rather than pausing for a moment each day and allowing the birdsong to enter my being?”
I think you know the answer to that one.
Of course in the society we live in we need to work to make money to not just survive but to thrive, caring for others is a beautiful thing too and yet I think we need to re-examine the perceived importance and prioritisation of this work when it comes at a cost to the way we desire to feel alive and full of wonder and awe and, yes, sadness and grief, and beauty and joy.
Because this is it, folks. This is life, precious and fragile, right now.
I sometimes imagine what would happen if all our technological infrastructure went down – no petrol, electricity, gas, internet. Which skills would be needed then? We would need to know how to forage for food, find fresh water, sail, create shelter, fire, catch fish, hunt, predict the weather from the clouds, which plants and fungi can heal...and which harm.
In this alternative world, the life we desire – one in deep relationship with nature – is a matter of survival. It isn’t a luxury or a lovely add on.
All life on earth
And do you know what’s even more beautiful about this life we desire? It doesn’t center the survival of humans above all else (and even then, let’s be honest, a particular type of human) - it would be about the survival of all life on earth. We would understand that if we use up all the plants that heal us, that wouldn’t be good for us. Our interrelatedness would be abundantly clear.
The life you desire isn’t a luxury, it is fundamental to the survival and ultimately the thriving of all life on earth, including you.
Beautiful human, what is it you desire to be doing in your life right now? Can you make 10 minutes space to honour that desire? Go out and feel the sun on your face, watch the insect crawl into the flower, listen to the birdsong.