I find myself currently in a place I once was long ago. I am visiting a friend who lives in Ashland, Oregon where I also used to live off and on when I was first on my own. It was a pivotal time as it is for all of us when we first leave home to try on life on our own terms. I bonded deeply here with a few friends who have been my intimate companions through the many inconstancies of life. I look at us now, two old friends who have been through many trials and tribulations within and between ourselves and I look out the window remembering how things felt then, when we were 19 and 20.
When I walk these streets I see both what is here now and how it was then. I feel both how I am now and how I was then. It is like walking beside a ghost of myself, two dimensions overlaying each other. I can feel the feelings so clearly of what I hoped for myself and the world at that point of beginning. I had such deep passion and intense longing to right the injustices and to facilitate humans' connection to the world of Nature.
I can say from my position now, some 33 years later that nothing has changed and everything has changed. I still have the same passions and longings though the intensity has receded somewhat. In the youthful times the incredible awareness of potential and possibility lit my days in brightness stoked by an urgency to stave off the disasters that lay dormant in unsustainable choices and misused political power. Today I have more experience and a broader vision of the world, of humanity, the universe and of my own place in the spectrum. I have a much better sense of my own strengths, weaknesses and what is possible for me in this lifetime. I have been through both the light of my potential and the darkness of my fear's and have finally come to a place peace with it all.
Ironically, or perhaps incredibly, I feel like I am now come to a place very similar to where I was in those youthful days long ago filled with the magic of inspiration and passion about how beautiful this world can be. After traveling the long journey through the ills of politics, economics, environmental disaster after disaster, of lives tried and changed, loves found and loves lost, fortunes sought and re-evaluated, I have finally come out the other side where I can once again see the best in things. When I look out at these hills that once so enchanted me and see the magnificent beauty of the spring bloom of color and texture in plant, tree and flower I am once again touched by that sense of magic and possibility. I once again feel like we can't have come this far, in an evolutionary sense, only to destroy ourselves and take a good portion of the other beings with us. I believe now, as I did then, that true transformation of humanity and the planet is happening.
What I was seeking then is happening now, it just took much longer than I had expected. And I didn't end up playing the role I imagined I would play which is very likely what made it so hard to see along the way. I suppose what I see now is that is was always happening it just didn't look like what I thought it would so I didn't recognize it. That is the biggest difference between then and now, besides the fact I no longer have the body of a 19 or 20 yr old, but now I understand that things happen slowly, subtly over time, day by day. When change happens like this in such small increments it is very hard to see it. I also know now that it is the subtle changes within me that make the world around me appear differently.
Ultimately, the role I have played is not as grand or important as I had imagined it would be, at least not as measured by standard social measures. The role has shown itself to be that I follow my own conscience and my own heart. This path has led me to the learnings and changes I have made within my self and that have eventually brought me to this place where I can once again feel the existence of the magnificence of what humanity can be in its interrelationship with the living systems of the planet. As humanity slowly but surely begins to find it's place within the larger context of the living systems that nurture, support and interact with us, all that sense of passion and excitement reinvigorate me as they did in the days of my youth. So, as I walk these streets today I feel a strong presence, the ghosts of my past self, and my future self walking with me side by side. I feel humanity's past and current existence, it's possible non-existence, and it's possible transformed existence in harmony and resonance with all of life. It's like seeing in the distance something glimpsed out of the corner of your eye or listening deeply into the darkness for something beautiful you are sure you heard, something not quite grasped but deeply felt. There is a presence I know exists even if I can't quite touch it like a diaphanous vision coming into form and for the first time, in a very long time, I can feel the magic and wonder of it.
Earth, with her plants, water, dirt, trees, and creatures is truly the mother of all of us. The living beings we share this thin skin of a biosphere with are our brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins. We have no life without them, literally. Let us learn this simple fact deeply and completely. We are Nature and Nature is us. There is no out there, out there. There is no separation. We are all connected. We are all born of the same elements.
Aloha, Happy Springtime and awareness of new life to us all.