I've had fifty ideas about things to write here since my last post. Everything I can create however is stuck in the theme of slowing down. I can't get past wanting people to calm their brains, take a deep breath and look all the way around them and gather a panoramic view of the whole wide world.
I have a feeling people are sick of my pleas for calm minds and peaceful language. How many times can a girl extol the virtues of compassion before people start getting riled up at ME?
But there's no way around it. Everywhere a person looks, there are signs to "Act Fast!" and "Open this before you lose even more!" The dire warnings of how one person wants to destroy me (only differently than how the other person wants to destroy me...) are wearing me down. The soundbites being hurled around as if they were solid facts, being parroted back in even smaller form by those pretending to "know" what they're talking about, are killing my soul. And it's really not ever going to end.
My children are being forced into a world I'm not entirely sure I want for them. The innovation of the technological world, combined with my culture's rather myopic view of, well, EVERYTHING, makes me wonder what their brains will look like as adults.
My sons' school district is ditching the paper workbooks in favor of iPad apps. My sons' pediatrician still gives me a piece of paper at every visit explaining how the internet and "screen time" is unequivocally bad for my children. I hate how much paper comes home every day from school and into the recycle bin where energy is required to change it into something different, but I don't relish the idea of my boys staring into an LED back lit screen for 7 hours at school either.
Traffic is wildly fast these days, with more drivers than ever on the roads. They're all in a hurry and texting or talking...messing with their XM radios and in a fury over a theoretical tax cut that may or may not have any affect whatsoever on their financial standing but conforms to what they think they believe about the world. Children can't play in the street because this lunatic on his or her way to work out, or catch a meeting with a very important worky worky client, or just to go to a massive 4 acre grocery store to buy some bit of inhumanely raised chemical infested food item, might accidentally hit them with their weapon of mass destruction. (Prius owners aside: they neither drive fast, nor have the ability to hurt anyone in their shrinky dink car.)
Despite sounding like the old curmudgeon who said the exact same things about the invention of the car, the invention of the telephone and the invention of methamphetamine, sometimes hurtling forward isn't the most prudent course of action. Sometimes gathering sticks and building a fort is the best. Sometimes blowing bubbles and watching the colors change in the sunlight is the best thing to do. Sometimes stopping to smile at a person you don't even know is the best thing you'll do all day.
If everyone "opted out" for one day a week, one day a month even, and tapped into something legitimately Human, or legitimately Spiritual (and I emphatically do NOT mean a chicken sandwich) I firmly believe that all the hysterical, frantic judging and fretting and hand wringing would slow down. In the calm we'd have at least the option to engage in something other than hardened, tunnel vision doomsday preparations.
Earlier this week, I said this: "History repeats itself. History repeats itself. History repeats itself. Now is THE MOST cataclysmic time of our entire history...which repeats itself."
What I meant in those words was that none of this is new. None of it. We fancy ourselves the great innovators and we think we're making these huge leaps and changing the very fabric of time and nature. Perhaps, in some cases we are. Landing on Mars is pretty effing cool. That's NEW. But the argument over wasting money or wisely spending money to do it is really old. Ask someone who had the same argument when the Queen sent Columbus out on ships to explore what was past the horizon. Or the critics of Lewis and Clark.
Hindsight is 20/20 because we're all too frothingly selfish in this moment to take even the smallest step towards an honest assessment of now. So my kids will stare at iPads all day, the cars will ZOOM past while I shout for the kids to stay in the fenced in yard, political ads will remind me that the other dudes are basically sending me straight into the fires of Hell, and I'll feel like a failure when I compare myself to neighbors and friends who are taking more vacations than me.
But you know? I'm not doing anything differently or feeling anything differently than my great-grandmother did. Because history repeats itself. And in the grand scheme of human civilization, I'm probably going to be just fine.
So are you.