Now’s the Time
It starts with forgiving yourself, then you can do anything.
Here’s a funny lifehack the plants and spirits taught me at Woke Academy: since we experience everything through our consciousness, and there’s no way to step outside of our own experience of ourselves experiencing, that means from one moment to the next you can literally change everything. You don’t have to wait for years to master a new skill, or go to thousands of hours of therapy. You don’t need anyone’s permission or the embossed certification stamp of some supposed guru. You are your own guru. You can change. Right now.
But how? If it was really that simple, wouldn’t we all be doing this? Well, as other courses at Woke Academy teach us, the current (crumbling, yet still massive) fear-based power structure has a vested interest in keeping us meek and afraid. Because of the relentless programming we’ve received every day, even when we’re still in the womb, we’re made to believe that we’re powerless and must sacrifice ourselves on the cold altar of capitalism in order to be granted just a little peace and security. Its ingrained within us that only by working hard — so hard that our health suffers and we have little time for anything else — will we finally get our piece (peace) of the pie. And once (if) we do get it, we have to fight like crazy to keep it, fearing all the time that someone “bad” (i.e., different from us) will kill us to steal it. Or, that someone younger, smarter, thinner and therefore BETTER than us will be allowed to snatch the plate we waited in line so long to receive. The former fear fits the narrative of our fear-based fantasies seeded by a lifetime of Hollywood movies and “reality” TV. The latter one is even more insidious and difficult to shake, because within the current paradigm everyone is a replaceable cog in the machine. In order to get out of bed in the morning, we like to pretend that our carefully accrued skills and innate intelligence make us indispensable, but the truth is if most of us keeled over in our cubicle today there would be a new (younger, smarter, thinner) person installed there tomorrow, and the machine would run along without a single hitch.
So how do we take control and break free of this relentless, suffocating, destructive programming? How can we obtain the magic to create our own reality? I’ve learned that it starts with forgiving yourself, then you can do anything. You can literally program your own consciousness. But you have to take that first big step. I was able to forgive the people who hurt me the most long before I could forgive myself, but once I finally did, everything changed in that I realized “I can author a new story for myself.” This self-forgiveness is not a matter of just seeing the light or retreating into some hippy dippy reality in which “it’s all good”. It’s about fully realizing that this world is a hell and you never asked to be a part of it. None of us did. Even those of us living a life luxurious enough to be writing a blog post in an air conditioned apartment still feels the pain of this sick and twisted culture.
But we don’t have to be afraid. We don’t have to let our anger and self-hatred eat us alive. Because it will. One way or another. It was a big moment when I realized that sinking feeling I had in my chest for so many years was literally my heart aching. I don’t mean some metaphorical cardboard cut-out of a pop song lyric that I wear on the center of my chest. I mean the actual physical organ beating in my body. The heart that feels emotional pain is the same heart that beats to keep us alive. My heart is my life force, my ability to run up stairs (or not). Which is one and the same with my capacity for love.
The heart is your heart is your heart. Protect it. That pain is real. Try to let it go before it smashes all your organs.
Sleep, heal, eat healthy, whole foods…be good to yourself when you can but don’t get too hung up when you can’t. It’s ok.
I’ve lived long enough to see people become the very person they feared. The one who hurt them the most. The one they said they’d never, ever be like, not in a million years.
I watched their journey. I’ve had my own. I’ve done things I’ll have to live with because I was running away from something terrible. I never asked for those things to happen to me, but I’m still responsible for what I did as a result of them.
But I forgive myself. I love myself. And in doing so I’ve broken the chain of violence. It ends with me. And you can to the same thing. Today. Now.
This world is a hell, after all, and we need all the love we can get.
Sit with what happened. Go over it and remember as much as you can and let whatever emotions come up, no matter how how dark or difficult it’s ok. It makes sense to feel anger and even hate. But it doesn’t make sense to hold on to them and let them fester. I try to imagine that the feelings are water, washing over me and through me. I feel them and then let them go.
Look at a picture of yourself as a baby — you are still that person. Your heart only wants to love and be loved. Tell that person you are sorry, and that you forgive them the way you would forgive a child for doing something they didn’t know was wrong.
Soon after you will realize that everyone was and still is the baby they once were. Even the most sick and awful among us only ever wanted love. Even mass murderers. Even Trump.
To feel the truth of this, which goes beyond what the mind can put into words, is the revelation that breaks the code of this broken, twisted operating system. It’s a bright and illuminating moment in an otherwise dark setting, like a phone screen suddenly turning back on after a long reboot.