ALCHEMY OF WORDS
ALCHEMY OF WORDS
Go ahead. Fall the fuck apart.
The idea that we are supposed to keep it all together every minute of every day forever and ever is what’s insane. By contrast, falling apart occasionally is normal. But then, modern society is kind of bat-shit crazy if you think about it.
There is an expectation for us to perpetually multi-task our minds out every moment, to work smart for 50, 60, or 70-hours a week, and to raise our children to be whole human beings, all while we keep our relationships healthy, maintain sustainable friendships, stay fit enough to compete with our magazine-cover ideas of ourselves, grow our own food, give back to our communities through volunteer work, and still have enough of a life for me time. Does that sound sane?
Of course not. So go ahead, unravel.
What’s in a word?
Sometimes, too much.
In the world in which we find ourselves, the word unravel sounds an awful lot like unstable, untrustworthy, unsound, undependable. But it doesn’t have to. If we can just unthink for a minute. And rewrite a little.
What about the word unwind, instead. Go ahead, try it. Unwind. Untangle. Undo. See, it isn’t as bad as it sounds. We all find ourselves too bound occasionally by the things, places, people, attachments, and other insanities of modern life. What else is there to do, then but untie the knot? Go on, let go and let yourself untwist.
And maybe unshout.
Just because you’ve gotten yourself all worked up into knots is no reason to stay that way. I’m not saying cut the rope. Although sometimes, if the knots are too tangled, that’s not a bad option.
What people will say.
Probably some will say what you think they’ll say: Oh my, look at that. He’s come undone. She’s lost her mind. They’re nuts.Because that’s how it goes. That’s how we’re programmed. Can you believe it, he fell off the hamster wheel? What a shame.
But that doesn’t mean you have to listen to those things. Much less believe them. We need to set about collectively unlearning the meaning of some words. Unusing them. And then, rewriting how we talk to each other.
Who knows? I’m willing to bet there are more than a few folks out there who will wish they’d thought of it. They’ll wish they had the courage to untie themselves. To spin out of control a little. To fall into a little yard sale of their own.
Once the untwisting is finished, and things are still, and a bit unorderly, to be sure, what’s next? Maybe just let things lay there for a while. It isn’t like falling on the ice. You don’t have to jump right back up and pretend/hope nobody saw. Stretch out. Relax. Soak up some sunshine.
It isn’t a race. And there’s no trophy waiting for you at some imaginary finish line for your supreme skill at being inhuman. What’s waiting is likely a massive coronary, a blinding stroke, panic attacks, or a room with extra padding.
Sure, eventually you’ll probably need to get back up, dust yourself off, and start again. But hopefully you won’t start right back where you left off. Hopefully you’ll try a little something different. Like more books, less screens. Less money, more time. More sandals, less suits.
Can’t I just stay?
For a while, maybe longer. I’m guessing that eventually you’ll probably want to start creating your next design. L’est you forget how to weave altogether. This time, though, try not to use so much material. Try not to make it so tight. Take a few strands, leave a few.
You can always unwind again. You can always change out colors and textures. And it’ll be easier to do, the less complicated you make it.
I know this sounds easy. I know it feels hard. I know you think these are pretty words, but it’ll never work. Well, maybe it’ll work for someone else. But not you. Not now. But why not try? If enough of us say enough, the world starts to change. If enough of us unravel, it starts to be okay. And unraveling becomes a thing that you just do.
Not that you’ve untied and untwisted. Now that you’ve shaken loose all the threads you didn’t need. It’s time for show and tell. Go on, strut your new stuff. Walk the walk, turn the turn.
Go on, tempt us. Let us all see your new colors.
There is a deeper wave than this rising in the land.
It is easy to get discouraged these days: Faceless companies with money and power to spare seem to be able to get away with endless greed, theft, and destruction, without accountability. The progress we once made towards clean water and air seems to backslide, our ideals of equal rights and opportunities wear uncomfortably thin, and our civil liberties are becoming a faint memory. The leaders on which we have probably heaped an unreasonable amount of hope seem to fall far short of our expectations in plugging the cracks in the dams.
Being a dad changes one’s world in countless ways. For one, you learn that big developmental growth is usually preceded by regression. I feel like that is where we are worldwide. The mind-boggling advances in technology and science right now have the potential to lead us into a golden age of affordable, clean energy sources and more sustainable lifestyles. All around me I see renewed interest in community-building and in taking care of those around us.
In a previous age, where overconsumption was a sign of wealth and prestige, the Gluttons would participate in eating contests in which the contestants would consume entire animals, hooves, horns and all. Of course, the prize meant little when death followed soon after due to the sharp bones lodging in a stomach or small intestine. The big banks, oil companies and insurers – the modern day patrons of the vomitorium – cannot possibly digest all they are attempting to devour from the rest of the world’s tables. Like the behemoths before them: the Mongols, Alexander’s, the Romans, and the Soviet Block, the giant multinational corporations are going to be swept away by new waves of technology, innovation, and the human spirit.
Surfers talk of the seventh wave being the strongest, the one you want to ride.
Bill Zebuhr predicts that the next generation of technology and true knowledge will be the seventh wave. Sting sings of Love as the seventh wave. I believe these are both true. I don’t know about you, but I think I’ll hang out on my board for a while, enjoy the water and wait for the big one.