Surrendering the Future for Now
In the dream I had last night, I was a member of a group of students in a foreign country. We had been abducted and brought to secluded region where we were unwilling participants in a ritual. We had been brought to a field covered in tangled vines and all about on top of the vines, randomly placed, were hundreds of empty cradles. Each exactly the same and seemed to be carved out of one piece of dark wood. Grouped at one end of the field were people in padded black armor bearing black poles topped with small circular pillows. I entered the field a feeling of dread and mystery filled my mind. I never found out what this all meant, but I had a feeling, we were there to be symbols in some ancient rite that could not possibly be explained to us. We just were expected to go through it with no idea of what it meant or what the outcome would be.
I believe my mind is trying to tell me something again. Maybe something like, “You have no idea what is going on or how it will turn out.” All I can do is pay attention enough to keep from going crazy with all the uncertainties and learn as much as I can about the way my mind is working. There may be point in which everything gets clear and I can act in a way to help myself and others. But, obviously there are no guarantees.
I am still having a lot of fear when I have to trust in anything beyond intermittent brushes with community and belonging. I am no stranger to feeling alienated from my life and this dream is not an unexpected sign of my anxiety about venturing out of isolation. It is my subconscious trying to protect my pummeled spirit and vulnerable emotional state. It is a test of my resolve to live with less fear and denial. Any separation or alienation is an illusion that I must break through by focus on mindful attention to the way the world is. That is the trial and all the grim and fearful imagery are but shadows cast by my fears. I know I have no certainties in this life no matter what my actions or how much attention I pay to clearing the mind of grim warnings. but, I can learn control the fear and suffering that comes when I experience all these possible futures before whatever is going to be is the moment I am living.
My friends, it is always true, these things.
It has already been time.
It is always true that we should move with care and intention, asking
Do you want to bump elbows instead? with everyone we meet.
It is always true that people are living with one lung, with immune systems that don’t work so well, or perhaps work too hard, fighting against themselves. It is already true that people are hoarding the things that the most vulnerable need.
It is already time that we might want to fly on airplanes less and not go to work when we are sick.
It is already time that we might want to know who in our neighborhood has cancer, who has a new baby, who is old, with children in another state, who has extra water, who has a root cellar, who is a nurse, who has a garden full of elecampane and nettles.
It is already time that temporarily non-disabled people think about people living with chronic illness and disabled folks, that young people think about old people.
It is already time to stop using synthetic fragrances to not smell like bodies, to pretend like we’re all not dying. It is already time to remember that those scents make so many of us sick.
It is already time to not take it personally when someone doesn’t want to hug you.
It is already time to slow down and feel how scared we are.
We are already afraid, we are already living in the time of fires.
By Dori Midnight from “Wash Your Hands”