Is there anything more beautiful than the dancing leaves of a birch tree fluttering in a warm breeze; aside from the long hairs of a willow swaying rhythmically, that is?
Do not ask yourself how this can happen. It happened because we do not require enough from ourselves when it comes to things that actually matter.
There are not enough people willing to be a voice for the voiceless. Hate has been simmering just beneath the surface, lurking in the shadows, and we have been content to sit on the sidelines, hoping others will fix it for us. A large portion of the population has kept evil tucked neatly in their back pocket and today they find comfort sitting in it.
But do not ask yourself how this could have happened. We’ve blessed bigots with our patience. Hate is learned and fear is contagious. We teach each other to be afraid of anything different from ourselves, and we are far more willing to be afraid than to understand that it is easy to like someone because they are similar to us, it takes courage to love someone because of their differences.
We celebrate ambition over compassion and have a warped sense of success. We teach our children that square-footage matters more in a house than the joy found within its walls. We teach them to value fame, and as a result, an entire generation is basing its self-worth on “likes” and views. Teach them instead, that you value the boldness it takes to speak up against injustice and cruelty; that putting yourself out there is hard. Facing criticism and ridicule for standing up for what is right takes courage and ought to be celebrated.
But we don’t really value bravery, do we? We value being right at any cost. We value money, and things, and quick-fixes and building walls. We listen to angrily spewed “facts” without contesting the validity of what is being said. Instead, we sit silently and watch a country elect a bully at a time when victims of bullying are taking their lives in record numbers.
No, we don’t value bravery.
We underestimate the inequality of the sexes that still exists. We’re more willing to watch make-up tutorials on YouTube, and judge appearances, than stand behind women who have spent their entire lives fighting for the basic rights of human beings. We pretend to be champions for women, as we primp for countless selfies to be evaluated by complete strangers. We are okay with women posting half-naked pictures of themselves, but censor intelligent thought and debate.
We should be screaming from the mountains, but instead we sit in silence.
Do not ask yourself how this could have happened. We are so far removed from things that actually matter.
The very essence of being a part of humankind means that you enter into a kind of social contract, which dictates several significant features, the most important of which centres around the idea that we are all equal.
This contract dictates that you ought to believe that you are no more valuable a person that anyone else; that every single person has the right to pure food and clean water, free of chemicals and contamination; that every being on this planet has the right to basic healthcare, regardless of economic status, colour or belief.
It means you recognize climate change and environmental threat as being not only legitimate, but the single most pressing issue of our time; that every living organism on this planet matters, and is integral and necessary to our survival.
Being a member of humanity means you ought to believe that every single person, male or female, has the right to education, and not one in which history has been rewritten, but one which is inclusive and balanced, and based in indisputable fact.
It means that people are free to believe in, or not believe in, whatever they’d like, so long as those beliefs and non-beliefs are not harmful to fellow humans. Just the same, people are free to love whomever they choose to love, regardless of your personal beliefs.
It means that women, just as men, have ultimate control of their own body and health; and that we all have the right to feel safe in our home, our workplace, or walking alone at night.
Being a part of humankind means we ought to believe that everyone has a right to vote; that people, not money, produce happiness; and that borders do not really exist, rather function to keep people divided and separate.
It is our duty as members of the human race, to stand up to injustice and bigotry, bullying and hatred. We ought to hold tight to the belief that despite what is being shoved down your throat, most people are indeed good, and the world is worthy of being a wonderful place.
These beliefs I hold true, as a member of humankind.
And just like that I’ll pick up exactly where I left off – motivated equally by envy and need – sensing the crushing boundaries of time
So, I breathe in the eternity of now, write it down; make it permanent.
I’ve spent at least the last decade trying to mold the real world into the one inside my head and have spent a good part of it wondering if I’ve dedicated myself to a false reality. It’s silly, really. I am a professional at making things reality by assuming they are such. It has served me well. I write, so I am a writer. I travel, so I am a traveller, I instigate, therefore I am an instigator. There’s nothing false about it.
I’ve more words in my head than I know what to do with; emotions that don’t always lend themselves to translation. And in raw moments of reflection, I know for certain I am capable of more.
There are others out there like me. We, who wallow in damp silence. We, who can shake rooms with our rage; we, who reject oppressive schedules . We, who understand that proximity to fear is both pain and pleasure. We, who indulge in embarrassing moments of bravery.
We, who make impossible things lovely.
We, who know we are not reconciled to chains.
We are all learning through the tension of uncertainty, and are all a little removed from okay.
Tonight, instead of sitting in expectation of more, I’ll assume it is such, and make it so.
A wise woman once told me to never love material things.
“Never love anything that can’t love you back.,” she said as though she was singing, like the Irish often sound.
The truth is, when I think about all of the most incredible and beautiful moments in my life, I don’t think much about the fancy hotels we stayed in or how big my house was, or all the gadgets and toys we were lucky enough to have.
No, I remember the moments of pure beauty.
These past two years, without even meaning to, I’ve kind of made a habit of making my own dreams reality. And it’s not even until weeks after I’ve done something, that I reflect upon it and think ‘Hey! I always wanted to do that! and I just did it!’
It takes me a bit to realize the enormity of that.
Every time I see something that takes my breath away, I think it must be the most extraordinary place in the world, until I see something else that takes my breath away. And this cycle continues over and over until I’m able to string together enough remarkable moments that I can collapse under the weight of Gratitude.
Whatever your beliefs or non-beliefs, there’s something very spiritual, and infinitely bigger than yourself, about the experience of truly being in the moment outside of anything man-made.
And when you immerse yourself in it, it all comes back; the sounds, the smells. A sense that you were made to do this.
You don’t have to go to the Himalayas or climb K2 to experience adventure. We live in Nature’s playground. It’s right in our backyard.
It’s one magnificently beautiful view surpassing the next. The only struggle is which scene to capture and how to describe it in words.
If you let go of all you’ve learned to forget, you’ll remember it’s exactly where you were intended to be.
The world will love you back if you get out there and allow it.