The world is a sad, fearful, wasteland of drugs, war, racism, and greed and we are pawns in an unchanging, ruled society by the few people who control everything.
Or is it?
By all accounts, that’s what I hear almost every day. That’s what I see on the news. That’s what I hear people talking about, and you’d think I could have become adjusted to it by now. I was adjusted. I used to watch TV after work, and look forward to the weekend to let loose, but after many years is begins to lose it’s appeal.
I spent several years of my life wanting to escape from that opening paragraph, and being successful to a degree. Problem was, I escaped from everything, my friends, my family, and most importantly, myself.
Then something happened. Something changed. I couldn’t tolerate listening to it anymore. I couldn’t stand it. I hated hearing how the world was going to hell and we had no say in it. Then, one day, I was given a gift. Not a real material gift, but a gift of understanding that I had the real power in this life. It just came to me: I was the person that got to choose what my world was, not anyone else. It was my choice.
I chose to eliminate the voice of fear and greed and hatred by turning off the news. I got rid of television. I stopped watching the news. I stopped reading the newspaper’s first section, and when people at work talked about the world, or gossip, I left or I turned away, and gently thought to myself ‘I know there is more out there’.
I knew, from somewhere deep inside, there was another world, that was kind, was full of love, and giving, and fun! This was the world I was born into. This was the world I lived in when I was a child, and I explored, and learned, and shared, and laughed.
I didn’t create this world, that seems so cold and isolating and indifferent. But, I didn’t do anything about it either. I’ve spent the last few years searching for a way out. Looking within. Examining my beliefs and my personal agreements, and I’ve decided that it’s time to get rid of my fear. It’s time to wash away my prejudices and my judgements and see things as clearly as possible. And in this light, I will hope for only one thing: to see what is.
What is can not be described by anyone because it would be coloured by their lens.
What is is not anything I can describe to you for the same reason.
When I can see what is, I will no longer fear lending my hand to a stranger. I will hold that door open no matter who you appear to be, and give you the change in my pocket.
When I see what is, I will hear you, I mean really listen to your words, and I will stop you when I hear gossip, and say “that’s not okay”.
I’ll strive to speak up, and say what I believe when my gut tells me something isn’t right. I am a unique individual, with an experience nobody else has shared, and when I have something to say, it will be meaningful and genuine and true, at that moment.
That’s the key, right? We can get caught in the struggle to always be the same person our entire lives, but we have to realize we are changing every day. With new experiences, and new learning opportunities how could we ever stay the same? I choose to embrace the multifaceted, ever changing, sensitive, and sometimes shy, and sometimes bold side of me. What I say will be what I believe, and I will have peace between what my gut is feeling and what’s on my mind.
When I can see what is, I can let go of my own insecurities and strive to love myself more. One of the things I’ve learned is that we can get lost looking for the love of our life, and still feel like something is missing. Until we can feel that love from within, our romances will continue to be as hollow as fast food: seemly filling until an hour later, leaving us craving for more, then disgusted, then swearing it off, then seeing it again and craving a taste.
When I can see what is, I can rest. I can sit with myself, with nothing but the hum of my fridge, or the sound of traffic, or the whispers of a warm breeze echoing the sound of willow wisps and crows caws. When I can sit with my self, I can really listen to you. And in listening I can really see you. Then I can then really interact with you.
What I choose to see, is something that isn’t news. It isn’t print-worthy. It’s not sellable. It is, however, more fulfilling, and satisfying that anything I will ever see on television, in a newspaper, or in an advertisement. You can’t purchase it, you can’t trade for it, and you certainly can’t lead a genuine life without it. That’s why it doesn’t matter who rules the world, when you control which world you see.
There may be people who want you to believe you are powerless, that you have no say, that you don’t matter, and they want you to keep consuming, and fearing your neighbour. They may even want you to keep doing that until you die, with your pet on your lap, in front of your TV.
So turn off the news. Take a stroll after dinner in the wind and rain. Grab a friend and go for a coffee or juice. Write a story and share it with your friends. Who knows what the future holds for you. You might even change your career for something ultimately fulfilling.
This is a life worth living. Living is for relating to others. For new experiences that challenge the way we think, and remind us that we are all real people, with real insecurities and real judgements, and prejudices, and flaws. But it doesn’t have to stay that way.
When we take a stand against the collective view of the world, and decide for ourselves what we want to believe in, the world shifts. It changes in the slightest, most magnificent of ways, just for us.
When we choose to embrace what is, and see the world like we used to see it, when we were much younger than we are today, we can see the joy again, the laughter comes to us, and that rainy day is just another excuse for gumboots and puddle jumping.
My life is about choice: my choice.
It’s your world too.