With every passing moment the time is thinning between the end of 2017 and the beginning of 2018. When my mind goes idle, flashes of experiences, accomplishments, and trials gather and attach to the rolling tide of my emotions. I watch as I habitually replace thoughts I feel good about with memories or worries that make me anxious. I do my best to pivot.
Our collective consciousness has undergone inconceivable growth throughout the 365 days we've spent together on this planet. The inherent chaos of being human was on full display in every medium and the fear mongering of modern media scarcely let us forget it. All of the adaptations and strides we've made towards living in harmony with our world were overshadowed by a strong focus on the ways human beings are a threat to nature, our future, and most notably, each other.
To hold the perspective that the Earth would be better off without us is important. It's the first step into a realm of exploration where we are able to take responsibility for the way we're impacting this planet. When I was young and first ventured into farming, I certainly held this thought dear and from that angst ridden place I was able to get the motivation necessary to try and change it. It takes an incredible adversary to spark determination and what more villainous creation do we have to face than our broken food system.
This diabolical scheme of reducing nutrients from our food and adding poisons and non-digestible material is only one branch of a tree that keeps those with power safe and those without in a constant state of vulnerability. The easiest way to keep us in this down trodden cycle is to pit us against one another. Masterfully, the forces that manipulate our resources and manifest war take our first natural instincts that "this is wrong" and "it is wrong because of humans," and transforming it into "this is wrong because of those humans over there," or worse "this is wrong because of this type of human."
If 2017 has taught me anything about living within the bounds of this incredibly complex and layered reality, it is that self love is the source of all change. It is so easy to walk the landscape totally fixated on the negative traits of our lives; the ways we wish it wouldn't go, the thoughts that keep us tied to destructive behaviors, situations, and people.
Our waking lives are a minefield of experiences that can swing our flow of energy from one extreme to the next and all of this is afloat within the endless sea of social conditioning. We are trained to want more and expect less, lose weight while eating junk food, get access to more abundance while hoarding our own resources from others; all while policing each other to follow the rules or risk being placed in an undesirable box outside the social norm.
To accept this treatment of ourselves is to allow this seemingly unstoppable, giant system to do the same to all and even encourage within our own interactions a similar dynamic. When our personal value is set at such a low bar, it is our natural inclination to hold others to these difficult and limiting standards and always below ourselves. It is from this place that we can develop a false sense of superiority over a person, race, political party, gender, or other group and it is from this place that we tie ourselves to the destruction of our planet.
To emancipate ourselves from this exploitative model is complex, but the simple solution is to nurture the self. Instead of tirelessly trying to meet the artificial standards of our modern day, we must ask ourselves, deep within, what it is that we were put here for? What is it that brings us joy?
Sometimes activism looks like speaking out against oppression or starting a campaign. Sometimes it looks like chaining yourself to an oil rig or standing in front of water cannons in North Dakota. Sometimes activism looks like forgiving your loved ones, neighbors, friends, opposing political parties, and most importantly yourself and growing community from that common experience instead of being divided by it.
As we move into the New Year I hope that we are ever aware and seeking, searching for justice and protecting each other and our planet from the threats born from the enforced stratification of our culture. I hope that we hold humanity accountable for the offenses committed and I hope we end the suffering experienced in our homes, in our bodies, on our streets, and in our river basins.
From this space of acknowledgement I hope we are able to transcend the boxes we have been trained to build and we learn to celebrate what it is to be human in 2018. From my shadow to yours I extend the opportunity to heal, to come together, and share in the beauty that humanity has brought to this world without a pointed finger in sight.
2018 is destined to be the year that we learn to love ourselves and watch as that nourishment sends our culture into full bloom.