Wednesday, April 30, 2014

To see the dark side

"Being human, especially being a self-aware human, entails facing bitter truths about existence. The price one pays for self-awareness is to see the dark side - not so much to dwell there, but to penetrate, to somehow get through and actually affirm your destiny. ~ Irvin Yalom

Sunday, April 27, 2014

"Collapse," Apocalypse, Suicide Notes, Pain, Meaning

I got caught in a rabbit hole of inspiration, depression, truth, and death on Friday.

It started during the day at work when my co-worker suggested I watch the documentary, "Collapse." I watched it Friday night and then started tweeting about Michael C. Ruppert, the activist/whistle-blower/author, speaking throughout the movie.

The Twitter world told me he was dead. I searched how Michael C. Ruppert died.

The interwebs told me he shot himself only a few weeks ago (13 April 2014). He left two suicide notes. Ruppert's attorney left a comment: "He absorbed the pain of the world on a daily basis until he could not take it any longer."

I also found out Vice Media, Inc made a special series about him, "Apocalypse, Man." The first two minutes highlight the tension and the pain that Ruppert was living with. "I'm tired. I'm ready to die," said Ruppert. Right after that comment, a teary-eyed Ruppert expressed his love for this broken, dying world. Tension. Pain. Grief.

Finally, I listened to the radio show that Michael C. Ruppert recorded shortly before killing himself. Twenty-two minutes into his show, after giving shout outs to those who have been "doing the work," fighting for the world and acknowledging climate change and social collapse, Ruppert shared the song, "Calling All Angels," by Jane Siberry and KD Lang. (Listen to it, you won't be disappointed.) Such weight in the lyrics and sounds.

What hits me hardest is how worn down Ruppert must have been. I caught glimpses of his despair throughout his videos/radio show. There were scenes of him breaking down, of his hopelessness coming through. Ruppert also said that he moved to Colorado "to die or to commit suicide."

I try to imagine 35 years as an activist, whistle-blower, author and truth-seeker. I'm not even 30 yet and feel isolated and tired. In the "Apocalypse, Man" series, Ruppert commented on how he found a community of support. "I'm so not alone anymore," he said. However, we're all ultimately alone. As much as we can grieve for the state of the world in community, we wake up and fall asleep in our heads. If we can't work through our own feelings, a community won't be much help. We have to do our individual grief work to be able to process such heavy, overwhelming feelings.

Ruppert's friend, Carolyn Baker, speaks of the importance of inner work and of finding peace and love. There's no doubt in my mind that Ruppert had to have done serious inner work over his years of activism. What is heart-breaking is that it wasn't enough. Grief and despair wear you down, break you down. How can we learn to sustain ourselves in a world that is constantly compounding bad news?

How can I find meaning in my present life knowing that we're committed to global climate change, to social change, to suffering? This is the question I'm researching and writing about for my thesis. Seems so important, but it requires sitting with tremendous tension and few answers.

My thesis chair tells me to sit with the tension, to find answers in the process.

Wish me luck.

Final thought: "An entirely new level of human consciousness is needed right now, or we're all dead." Michael C. Ruppert

Monday, April 21, 2014

Four Years After BP Oil Spill... Where are we at?

Let Us Not Forget This is (Still) Happening

"There are hundreds of unresolved issues on the Gulf Coast, many of them predating the oil spill. With stories spilling in from all over the place, it’s going to be tough sussing out the true grit from the bullshit. Fortunately the good folks over at the Bridge the Gulf blog got you covered."

"I have lost five friends now who have passed on because they were not able to seek proper treatment to extract the chemicals from their bodies before the exposure killed them."

"BP's oil continues to take its toll on other areas of the Louisiana marsh, where people living in low-lying coastal communities are having to contemplate moving, hence abandoning their culture and way of life, due to the erosion of oiled marsh coupled with rising seas from climate change."

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

I was born to lose myself inside this soft world.

by Mary Oliver
I see or hear
that more or less

kills me
with delight,
that leaves me
like a needle

in the haystack
of light.
It was what I was born for —
to look, to listen,

to lose myself
inside this soft world —
to instruct myself
over and over

in joy,
and acclamation.
Nor am I talking
about the exceptional,

the fearful, the dreadful,
the very extravagant —
but of the ordinary,
the common, the very drab,

the daily presentations.
Oh, good scholar,
I say to myself,
how can you help

but grow wise
with such teachings
as these —
the untrimmable light

of the world,
the ocean's shine,
the prayers that are made
out of grass?

"Mindful" by Mary Oliver from Why I Wake Early. © Beacon Press, 2005. 

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Reconstituting the World

Adrienne Rich

My heart is moved by all I cannot save:
So much has been destroyed
I have cast my lot with those
who, age after age, perversely,
with no extraordinary power,
reconstitute the world.

Friday, April 11, 2014

How can it ever be boring, at all?

Wise words courtesy of Steve Roggenbuck:

"We are animals on a rock in space. Sometimes we forgot that, because we have jobs, school, political systems, debt, law, clothes, television stations."

"Sometimes, I wanna shake people and say, 'Are you paying attention to what is going on? It's raining. Water is falling from the sky.'"

"And I mean we have the sunrise. And I mean, we have the pink light on the bottom of the clouds during a sunrise. And there used to be dinosaurs, on our planet. Probably in the place you are now."

"I like being around people who are dancing, because it seems like the closest that people usually come to directly celebrating the fact that they're alive."

"What I really want, is that moment when somebody brings it up. When somebody refuses to let pointless filler and formalities use up our time with each other. I just want somebody to say 'Hey, right now is our life. And I'm grateful that this is the one I get. I'm grateful that you are in it. I'm grateful that we get this moment together.' I just want to say that, and sometimes I'm too nervous to say it."

"..These are the moments when I know I'm fully alive. When I'm looking for it, I can find those moments all the time."

"And even when it means being fully sad, crying alone in my apartment after leaving my girlfriend of 6 years. Crying alone on a train after touring for 9 months."

"...I just stop and try not to think anything and just be in the place that I am."

"I don't want be in haze. I don't want to coast through any of it. I don't want to regret later that I didn't pay attention now. I don't want to sit through it like I'm waiting for something better."

"Sometimes, you can forget about the moon but then one day when you're walking out of a building, there it is in the sky.... and it kind of reminds you that you are on a rock in space, too."

"This is our family photo album. We are animals on a rock in space. We are part of this gigantic, confusing, brutal and awe-inspiring world. And it’s not boring to be here. And how can it ever be boring at all."

Monday, April 7, 2014

IPCC Working Group 2

Climate change report: 

five key points

1. Food threat

2. Human security

3. Inequality

4. No-one is safe

5. Hard but not hopeless.

Skeptical of the Guardian? Check out the IPCC Working Group 2 report.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Sixth "Great" Extinction

Sixth "Great" Extinction

Before you dream of me tonight,
 you must first know that we named a geologic era after you.
 You mark time by 3's
   -Species per hour, that is.
 The metronome has clicked 24 times since my morning alarm sounded.
 I heard you got the Western Black Rhino.

The dog wags his tail.
 He doesn't know about you.
 His kin are dying.
 My kin are dead.

We build our lives in squares.
 You take lives from circles.
 Lost voices echo off concrete floors
 And invade my dreams.

You're doing this.
 We're doing this.