My biggest fears have always been the existential kind. My suffering is in my head, mostly after dinner, in a warm safe home with a cup of tea. It’s hard not to feel like an asshole. My basic needs have never gone unmet. I read the news and I feel guilty. I am ashamed my biggest challenge is coping with the fact I exist.
I’m editing a novel I wrote about a road trip. It’s hard to sit quietly and map out an itinerary for imaginary people when in two clicks I can leave my Word doc. and enter a world of real people screaming inhumanities. This world is not fiction. It’s the one we live in and I can’t make this stuff up. It makes me feel so small, over here just moving words around in a fake world. It doesn’t feel like enough. I worry people don’t read books anymore. I worry my worries are too petty. I swallow Cheryl Strayed’s words like pain pills: “Art isn’t anecdote. It’s the consciousness we bring to bear in our lives.”
I always turn to art. I’ve never known where else to go. I think I have written a good book. It’s about a chick cheating on her boyfriend. Life is always happening, on all levels.
I watched an episode of Planet Earth II the other day. I am still thinking about the penguins smashing themselves to death against a massive cliff in attempts to get back to feed their families. Nature is harsh. Nature has an order beyond our understanding. She is relentless and while she gives and gives, she also takes. There is an undeniable beauty in the pain of it. I feel guilty because of how much I’ve been thinking of these penguins. Of all the cruelties we’re witnessing, I chose the penguins.
Again, life is happening on all levels. I remind myself all life is important. I keep looking for answers, even though I know better. Why is this happening? How did this happen? How do we accept this is happening? How do we keep doing what we’re doing? How do we change everything? Why is anything anything? Questions become a dark void. I’ve learnt the only answers we ever get are the ones we create for ourselves.
I think about consciousness and resistance and karma and humanity and awareness and calling all those phone numbers. I get excited and then I get exhausted. I think about my own life. In the face of all of it, my own cliff jump seems trivial. It’s taken me so long to land and so I’ve been quiet. My silence makes me feel selfish. I think about growth, about being expansive enough to hold all of it - the anxiety and the art and the penguins and the politics. From what I’ve learnt about expansion, we have to keep breaking open in order to grow.
Our world is breaking open.
I recently set an intention to leave behind the separation between my art and my life, and my life and my art. I imagined this beautiful blurred space between the way I create in the real world and the way I live in the worlds I create. It turns out my heart has never known the difference. It aches for things seen and unseen, it yearns and screams and desires and loves relentlessly. And this right here is what we all have in common. This is where the breaking and the expanding and the creating happens. On nights like this one I close my eyes and I hear billions and billions of hearts beating. In this meditation there are no questions about how to keep going or what it is to exist. I listen to a world of breaking hearts whispering into the night, we do we do we do we do.