We've been going about this all wrong. Nature is the key.
The existential dread we feel is largely fueled by unfair societal and cultural norms. This much is true. If we were liberated from those constraints and free to live with purpose and passion, we may not wonder if anything we do really matters because our worth and value would not be limited to currency or transactions. The truth is, we're not merely living to die working our fingers to the bone, we're living to find meaning in life. Figuring out how to not just exist but thrive within the constructs that confine us is our one true limitation. Because of that, I'm beginning to realize that happiness and fulfillment are a meticulously choreographed tango between our potential and the expectations or obligations that we tend to. Notice I didn't say burdened by. If we want to feel like we aren't just here to run a rat race, we have to transform how we think and harness what power we do have to challenge ourselves to live with purpose and intentionality. That is, taking control. We severely undervalue our importance and impact on one another, but especially to ourselves and in doing so, we miss the point entirely. The much needed increase of attention on mental health and self-care are part of this broader conversation. Dealing with our emotions and our experiences as part of our human experience ans condition is the validation we need to recognize and normalize healing. I point out in other posts and through Outside In's mission the healing power of nature but it is worth reiterating. I believe there are lessons we are doomed to repeat until we can understand and adopt a new way to live and co exist. In many ways this new way is rebllious and disruptive. In that discomfort is our growth. In the end, both in the literal and non literal sense, it is absolutely necessary to create radical change. We can learn so much about resiliency through nature as it has its own sordid history and relationships to us. One could even say our relationship to nature over time and how it has changed to be primarily transactional is directly related to our human conditioning and the social norms we are working so hard to combat.
We've all seen and heard about the push to save the bees. Science once again prevails as we finally realize their importance and have found a sense of urgency to save ourselves in saving them. What seems as simple as letting food sources for the bees flourish so that they in turn will continue to exist and pollinate our food sources is actually anything but. One of those sources that is becoming scarce are those troublesome yellow lawn invaders, dandelions. Have you ever had the "weed" (not cannabis) conversation with a neighbor or HOA? It can get ugly rather quickly. I'm likely preaching to the choir but this is beyond the weed war, so hear me out. What I am really getting at is the demonization and thus the killing of valid living things. Somewhere in our timeline it was deemed by the wealthy that grass was the gold standard for lawns and a symbol status (quo). Meaning, some rando decided that certain species of flower or other naturally occurring plants in our landscape were to be deemed as invasive, creeping, or weeds if not worthy of prize or possession. That included many medicinal herbs and flowers that our ancestors used for survival. It is with that same disregard and contempt that colonialism created a hierarchy amongst people deemed as savages. Thus starting a vicious cycle of what it means to be successful, how status and success are measured, and what sacrifices we must make to acquire said success. Maddening, I know. What if I told you we could learn from nature how to combat those ideals? What if we could become the so-called weeds to disrupt and become more resilient ourselves?
War, what is it good for?!
If you've ever found yourself trying to eliminate a wayward garden dweller, whether animal or plant, then you know it is basically like declaring war. Likely you or someone you've found through a how to search has resorted to some rather drastic means. While no one is ever happy with things munching on the fruits of their labor or taking over a manicured garden bed, does anyone ever stop to question why? If the above is true for you than you already know that nature can be pretty clever! We are often out matched and out whitted given Mother nature's bevy of skills. Afterall, nature has learned to co exist with us for centuries. It is typically only through man-made tactics that we are even remotely able to control them. Concrete, fences, natural barriers, and yes, even chemicals never end with total success. Goodbye money! Their resiliency is an act of defiance. They will always prevail because their purpose is to live and thrive regardless of what we deem as their appropriate existence in relation to us. They understand their purpose and our titles and constraints have no bearing on their need and will to exist. However, we've managed to become the number one predator because of our greed. As outlined in my last blog, that only changes if systemic racism is dismantled at its core, but I digress.
Power to the People
Whether it's food related disruption like food sovereignty, community gardens, Co-ops, and CSA's or its disruption through challenging our ideals on purpose and community, we have much to learn and also much to gain. The ecosystem we are part of acts as it's own community. Plants have important relationships to one another that are a delicate balance of life and even death. The harmony that nature survives within is fascinating. Though we live within structures that have created barriers, or would have us feel as though our only purpose is to suffer in service and solitude, our true calling is in our relationship to each other. The lesson taught by colonialism and emperialism is that only predators and the strong survive, but even nature knows that's a bunch of bull. The example of bees, for instance, and their reliance on dandelions as a first food source or even further, our perceived dominance and conversely the harsh reality that we rely heavily on a nature who we've largely declared subservient to us. We are so hell bent as a species to prove our worth in all the ways that mean nothing so much so that we may very well cause our own demise. The only conceivable answer to our problems is, surprisingly enough, ourselves. We (you) get to rewrite the narrative in your existence. Our purpose is just that. How we view what power we hold, how we question and challenge the status quo, and how we see ourselves as part of a community or an ecosystem, if you will, is how we begin to take back our lives.