There's a lot of press about the end of the world bearing down on us. Whether it comes on the 21st of May or sometime in 2012, it appears that we may be on the cusp of destruction.
I have a friend who channels a Native American wise woman and this wise woman once said, "Yes, the world is headed for a cataclysm, but remember, just because everything as you know it will be destroyed doesn't mean that the outcome will be bad. What springs from the destruction may be more wonderful than anything you can currently imagine."
As I've gone through several personal cataclysms over the last decade, I've tried to embrace this wisdom; I've tried to hold onto this hope in the midst of my dark nights of the soul.
But my dark nights keep getting darker. And that makes it harder to hold onto the hope.
Since I've returned I've been mired in depression. The depression is the flavor of a depression I've been battling on and off for the last several years, but now it seems bigger and more unwieldy. I think it's made me sadder, darker, bleaker, than before because I'd hoped India had vanquished it and it is extra dispiriting to find that it was waiting very patiently for me to return. But that also makes sense because much of my sadness and grief springs from my feelings about Seattle.
I've debated writing too much on this topic because, unlike in India where most of what and who I wrote about would be unknown to my friends reading the blog, writing about Seattle means writing about a place that so many of you know and love, and that makes sharing my feelings about it trickier. I certainly don't want to offend anyone and I certainly don't think anyone else should share my warped feelings.
Here's the thing: I love Seattle and I loathe Seattle. There, I said it. Whew.
Seattle, for me, is like the boyfriend everyone says is perfect for you, but who ultimately makes you feel bored with your life and then makes you feel bad for wanting more from your life. Seattle is like the boy next door who is handsome and strong, but lacks curiosity and passion. Seattle is so temperate that I wonder if it even cares about or wants for anything. And don't get me started on the passive aggression. As I like to say, Seattle is sooooo passive aggressive that the weather follows suit.....it never thunders or lightnings or even really RAINS....it just bathes you in a constant whining drizzle......
So, what keeps me here. Seattle is beautiful. It's outwardly perfect. It's surrounded by snow capped mountains, but nestles itself next to big water. It's green and lush and filled with beauty. I have a gorgeous house to call my very own. I have friends, most of whom came from somewhere else, who are passionate and curious, seekers who were drawn, like me, to the calm beauty of this place. And I'm part of a theater community filled with talented and joyous souls that I adore working with and watching work.
I don't know. I don't know why that isn't enough. Seattle makes me crazy because it is so wonderful and yet it doesn't thrill me. I feel like it should thrill me. It did, once upon a time when I was 25 and needed a place where no one pushed me or expected anything of me or needed me to do anything special. Seattle, which lacks the mania of New York, the ambition of LA, and the aggression of Chicago, gave me all the room in the world to figure out who I am, to explore the dark spaces of myself while basking in the incredible natural scenery of the Pacific Northwest.
Unlike in India where I had to accept that privacy was in short supply, here in Seattle I retreated from much of the world and holed up in my house for the better part of two years and no one really seemed to notice. I've made huge messy public mistakes and had a few small successes which most of my friends never knew about, because of the isolation and the inward focus that Seattle engenders in so many of us. Or maybe Seattle just enables my own innate tendency towards reclusiveness....Or maybe I'm just prone to depression and isolation which engenders further depression.
What does this have to do, you might ask with the impending end of the world? I was reading today a personal manifesto written by a guy I really dig named D.K. Brainard. He's an astrologer and all around advocate for personal and planetary change, he's doing his darndest to inspire people to wake up and take responsibility for not only their own energetic and spiritual health and happiness, but also for the well-being of the planet and all the creatures that call it home. He's trying to rouse us to be conscious participants in the global sea-change which is threatening to destroy much of the old way of doing business and which holds the possibility of bringing in a a new, healthy, vibrant, ethical and empathetic way of co-existence. You can read his manifesto, entitled "Who are you and what do you want?" here.
Like the Native American woman that my friend channels, D.K. and many spiritually inclined folk believe that we are not so much headed for a literal doomsday, but a series of potentially violent and dark events which will threaten the health and well-being of many, if not all, of us who dwell on the Earth. And, judging by oil-spills, tornadoes, rising flood waters, it may well be that the planet itself is gearing up to join the fight.
If you don't want to read all of D.K.'s post, let me tell you this, he writes that because of the escalating darkness, the schisms between countries and factions within borders, not only do the stars say that "We are in the throes of a global identity crisis," but that he can feel it intuitively. He talks about "the inner disconnect between our soul longings, our aspirations and the culturally programmed assumptions of who or how we should be in the world." He says that many healers he knows have noticed that business is dropping off because so many people don't want to wake up, don't want to do the work of asking who they really are. People are frightened of taking steps to break free from a life they don't want because it's such a giant leap of faith to trust that the life they dream of might actually materialize...that last part is my very personal interpretation of what D.K is saying.
Though I haven't been going out and drowning my anxiety in fast food, like D.K. alludes to in his post, I have been trying my best to check out with tv and comfort food. When the sadness became almost unbearable last week I went to the pound and adopted a little dog I've named Maisie. She needed someone to call her own, and I needed something to love, something to wake up to, something to make me care about my day. We are both pretty lucky, I feel.
Though Maisie gives me a reason to get out of bed, if only to let her out to pee, the depression is still sitting comfily in my house and in my soul. It makes me feel heavy, unmotivated, and extremely disconnected. I've become numb.
But reading D.K.'s post has given me a shot of hope. According to him, I'm not a pathetic 41 year old woman shut up in her house with only a little dog to love, but I'm a soul that's clued into a global phenomenon; life is supposed to be throwing this darkness at me so that I can figure out how to choose to fight for my life, to become a warrior in a global revolution....
What we’re being asked to do now is find out what we really want. The start of finding out what you want is to stop lying to yourself. If you hate your meaningless job, have the heart to speak that truth. That doesn’t mean you’ll be able to quit it today (maybe you will), but telling yourself the truth does start you on the path towards freedom....it’s time to decide which side you’re on....If you don’t have the balls to fight, then go ahead and eat your McDonald’s and watch your TV and surf your Internet or whatever else you do to shut yourself away from reality and pretend the world isn’t going to hell around you.....If you are on our side, though, it’s time to make your own declaration of independence.....it’s time for us to get to work.
So, what do you want out of your life?
Here's the thing....Seattle is breathtaking. But it may no longer be the right fit for me. That's my truth. Not because my material needs aren't being met, or because I don't have a community that I adore and that I want very much to learn and to grow and to work with, but because something in my soul dreams for more, not because Seattle is "less", but because the kind of work I'm supposed to do can't be found here. I'm talking about Soul Work here....not necessarily actual paying job work. Though, who knows, maybe they are one in the same.
I don't know. And I don't know what the work is. And I don't know where I'd go if I left Seattle. And ultimately I don't really know why I'd leave.....except for thunderstorms.
I've been saying for years to anyone who would listen that I miss thunderstorms. I tell people that I dream of moving away if only to experience thunderstorms on a regular basis. I'm pretty sure most of those people I told thought I was joking, or at least that I wasn't really serious. I mean who leaves such a beautiful, temperate place for a more extreme existence? But I mean it. Thunderstorms make me happy. Blissfully happy. And I think in them lies a clue to my broader happiness.
I'm not interested in being temperate myself anymore, of being only safe, tucked into my cozy, perfectly fine life where I want for very little and where I am not needed very strongly by much of anyone except Maisie. I'm interested in joining the revolution that D.K. speaks of, the revolution where we allow ourselves to feel more, to connect more, to express more of our true, authentic, unique and crazy selves so that when the world as we know it does come to an end, there are enough of us left standing to create a new world built not on fear and exclusion but on love and inclusion, a world where we look out for each other and our planet. And even though that kind of revolution is fought peacefully, it requires thunder and lightening and passion and going out into the world to figure out where I can be of use, to figure out where I'm needed.
In India it was very easy to see where and when I could be and was of use. They are a culture that thrives on interdependence. But America is a culture that applauds autonomy and independence. It's scary to ask for help here, and it's often considered condescending to offer help by those who need it most. Or, maybe I'm just wired to believe those things....But I want to be of use and I think there must be someplace in America that I could thrive and help other people thrive as well.....
As we approach the end of the world as we know it, I want to put my oar in, I want to sign my recruitment papers, I want to enlist in the army of souls who are volunteering to wake up and figure out how we steer this planet towards the light. I guess it means I'm going to have to endure a bit more of the darkness as I wend my way towards my own truth, my soul's truth. And I may just learn that my soul is telling me it's time to start thinking about letting Seattle go. I just pray that I don't have to set off in darkness, that if and when it is time to leave I am drawn to the next place with a clear, resounding, and joyous call.