“…your solitude will be a support and a home for you, even in the midst of very unfamiliar circumstances, and from it you will find all your paths.”
There's a point, around the age of twenty, when you have to choose whether to be like everybody else the rest of your life, or to make a virtue of your peculiarities.
Ursula K. Le Guin
Ursula K. Le Guin said that we don't just naturally know how to create our destinies. It takes research and hard work. "All of us have to learn how to invent our lives, make them up, imagine them," she wrote. "We need to be taught these skills; we need guides to show us how. If we don't, our lives get made up for us by other people."
"There is a need to re-conceptualize and re-experience our place in time and space, our relationship with the environment. The environment has become a resource rather than a Source, and a resource that we have exploited far beyond the limits of sustainability. We are driven by our constant anxiety and distraction to consume, to accelerate, and rarely have we the capacity to experience our relationship with Nature--with the elements, with other species--in a truly living, vivid manner. So cosmology has to do with re-visioning our interrelationships, overcoming the boundary of our false consciousness of separateness.
Can you imagine how different our experience would be if, rather than opaque skin, we were born with transparent skin? …It would no longer seem that we are separate. We would feel ourselves to be a vortex, a whirlpool within the matter of the Earth, drawing in substance, orchestrating it, configuring it organically, and then substance is released, returns to the environment. We are a vortex in the oceanic experience of the planet.
Experiencing this directly completely reframes our sense of identity and our awareness of the life around us… We have resorted to this very unfortunate word, "inanimate," and we imply to ourselves that stones, clouds, the ocean are inanimate, without anima, without soul, but it's all soul."
Much of what happens to us in life is nameless because our vocabulary is too poor. Most stories get told out loud because the storyteller hopes that the telling of the story can transform a nameless event into a familiar or or intimate one. We tend to associate intimacy with closeness and closeness with a certain sum of shared experiences. Yet every day total strangers, who will never say a single word to one another, can share an intimacy. An intimacy contained in the exchange of a glance, a nod of the head, a smile, a shrug of a shoulder. A closeness which lasts for a second or for the duration of a song being sung and listened to together. An agreement about life. An agreement without clauses.
∆ John Berger, from Some Notes About Song (for Yasmin Hamdan), Confabulations
i was put on earth for a few things:
• to love my friends & family & partner.
• to introduce friends to each other.
• to create things that resonate with myself & with others.
• to dig deeper and see the patterns — to make sense of them, and to subvert them.
• to love and connect with animals.
• to spend time in nature & love the earth.
• to connect with my ancestors.
• to explore innerworlds.
• to grow, change, fail, to die again and again.
• to travel the outer world and the mind.
• to expand my consciousness.
• to help others when i have bandwidth to.
• to find ways of being in my body that feel right.
• to find beauty and presence.
I am listening now with all of my senses, as if the whole universe might exist just to teach me more about love. I listen to strangers, I listen to random invitations, I listen to criticisms, I listen to my body, I listen to my creativity and to the artists who inspire me, I listen to elders, I listen to my dreams and the books I am reading. I notice that the more I pay attention, the more I see order, clear messages, patterns, and invitations in the small or seemingly random things that happen in my life. In all these ways, I meditate on love.
⚘ adrienne maree brown
Your body is an ancestor. Your body is an altar to your ancestors. Every one of your cells holds an ancient and anarchic love story. Around 2.7 billion years ago free-living prokaryotes melted into one another to form the mitochondria and organelles of the cells that build our bodies today. All you need to do to honor your ancestors is to roll up like a pill bug, into the innate shape of safety: the fetal position. The curl of your body, then, is an altar not just to the womb that grew you, but to the retroviruses that, 200 million years ago taught mammals how to develop the protein syncytin that creates the synctrophoblast layer of the placenta. Breathe in, slowly, knowing that your breath loops you into the biome of your ecosystem. Every seven to ten years your cells will have turned over, rearticulated by your inhales and exhales, your appetites and proclivity for certain flavors. If you live in a valley, chances are the ancient glacial moraine, the fossils crushed underfoot, the spores from grandmotherly honey fungi, have all entered into and rebuilt the very molecular make up of your bones, your lungs, and even your eyes. Even your lungfuls of exhaust churn you into an ancestor altar for Mesozoic ferns pressurized into the fossil fuels. You are threaded through with fossils. Your microbiome is an ode to bacterial legacies you would not be able to trace with birth certificates and blood lineages. You are the ongoing-ness of the dead. The alembic where they are given breath again. Every decision, every idea, every poem you breathe and live is a resurrection of elements that date back to the birth of this universe itself.
Today I realize that due to the miracle of metabolic recycling, it is even possible that my body, somehow, holds the cells of my great-great grandmother. Or your great-great grandmother. Or that I am built from carbon that once intimately orchestrated the flight of a hummingbird or a pterodactyl. Your body is an ecosystem of ancestors. An outcome born not of a single human thread, but a web of relations that ripples outwards into the intimate ocean of deep time.
∆ Your Body is an Ancestor, Sophie Strand
I refuse to be one thing. I’m two things, three things, a hundred things at once, and I’ll be a hundred different things tomorrow. I don’t want the convenience of being collapsed, defined, optimized for legibility. I want to be aerated, blobby, and porous. I want to be the sea around an archipelago, a society of islands harboring uncountable species. I want to be a distributed self, an assembly that assembles with others, that refuses — or more appropriately, exceeds — hyper-rational, neocolonial frameworks, hierarchies, and ways of seeing.