Oscar Wilde sez: “The heart was made to be broken.”
My mother passed away four years ago on January 12, 2008. She was nearly 72 and had been very ill since mid-2005. On some level, one might think that maybe I had time to “come to terms” with a sense of inevitably. But despite having almost three years to prepare (sic) for that reality, I remained inconsolable for many months and I mourn to this day.
Yes, this experience is still teaching me previously inconceivable lessons about grief, sorrow, and loss because even in her death, my mother gave me one last, loving gift: My heart became broken open.
I fight it. Deny it. Defy it. I try to think it away…but the many revelations and complications I’ve lived through since January 12, 2008 keep bringing me back to accepting this: My heart is indeed broken open—and perhaps for a reason.
In such a state of accessibility, for example, I can better sense, even visualize the feelings of grief, sorrow, and loss being experienced in places directly and indirectly impacted by US policies.
“Their lives are bigger than any big idea.”
Imagine if you will, a mother in Afghanistan. She’s at the market when a predator drone levels her home. Her parents, her husband, her children: all killed by direct orders from America’s Nobel Peace Prize-winning CEO.
What about her grief, sorrow, and loss? Who weeps for her as the US continues to spend hundreds of billions of dollars on war? Why is it that we’ve come to identify more closely with those who volunteer to drop the bombs than with those suffering beneath them?
If I were to merely think about the humans living in daily fear under the drones that I help pay for, I could rationalize all sorts of reasons for it, all sorts of reasons why this can’t end right fuckin’ now…but when I get in touch with how I feel, I know better.
Milan Kundera sez: “I think, therefore I am is the statement of an intellectual who underrates toothaches. I feel, therefore I am is a truth much more universally valid, and it applies to everything that’s alive.”
We can think all day about the child laborers locked away in sweatshops so junk remains affordable (sic) in wealthier nations, the young girls subjected to ritual mutilations so some patriarchal sky-god will be appeased, or the high school kids bullied into suicide or rendered invisible simple because they choose to be themselves—their joy, their very lives stolen—but until we let ourselves feel, this abuse will continue.
We can rationalize the veal crates, the vivisections, the battery cages, the fur farms, slaughterhouses, whaling ships, dogfight rings, zoos, circuses, rodeos, and more…but until we feel the agony and alienation and the valiant struggle put forth by the victims, the barbarism ensues unchecked.
We can intellectualize the practical (sic) realities behind the exploitation of our shared ecosystem…but until we can feel the planet trembling before the relentless onslaught of clear-cutting, ocean floor trawling, fracking, tar sands extraction, and so much more, the march towards ecocide proceeds.
Bruce Lee sez: “Don’t think. Feel.”
We need a planet with fewer reasons to grieve and far more reasons to exult.
FYI: There’s a growing exultation party taking place at the corner of Empathy and Anger…so forget what you think you know, get in touch with what you feel, gather your allies, and #occupy in 2012. (It would really make my Mom happy.)
We are the 99%. Expect us. Join us…