“Each week, with the first glimmer of returning strength after the days of vomiting, I discovered that, for me, joy could be measured in negative terms: of what I didn’t have, which was pain and weakness. My greatest happiness wasn’t acquired through effort but was something I already had, deep and sonorous inside of me, found through a process of removing the walls of pain around it. I knew the walls were inside of me, and I saw that most people, never having experienced deep physical discomfort on a regular basis, didn’t, couldn’t, know this.
I viewed other people both critically and sympathetically. Why couldn’t they just stop complaining so much, just let go and see how good they actually had it? Everyone seemed to be waiting for something to happen that would allow them to move forward, waiting for some shadowy future moment to begin their lives in earnest. Everybody, from my mother to the characters I read about in books (who were as actual and important as real people to me), was always looking at someone else’s life and envying it, wishing to occupy it. I wanted them to stop, to see how much they had already, how they had their health and their strength. I imagined how my life would be if I had half their fortune. Then I would catch myself, guilty of exactly the thing I was accusing others of. As clear-headed as I was, sometimes I felt that the only reason for this clarity was to see how hypocritically I lived my own life.”
–from Autobiography of a Face by Lucy Grealy
“There’s no habeas corpus in natural law. You either do or you don’t. If you don’t, you pay. It’s quite simple. So what we have to do is get our leaders to change, and if our leaders don’t do it, we’ve got to get better leaders, newer leaders. Raise your own leaders. Get them up there. It’s your responsibility to raise good leaders. Get them up there where they can be effective and change the direction of the way things are headed.”
–Chief Oren Lyons, faithkeeper of the Turtle Clan of the Onondaga Nation.
What gets someone to act? It’s so much easier to put things off. I started this blog intending for it to be a daily thing. Instead, I keep punting the ball towards tomorrow, but with such conviction that somehow (later on, when everything conspires to make it happen) it will get done. The best way to cure this frittering away of time and resources is to START NOW. I’ve got to get my butt in the chair every day, even if no one is reading any of this.
When the Showtime series “Years of Living Dangerously” premiered, there was an article in the NY Times that claimed the program on the climate change crisis was sounding the alarm too shrilly. Americans were going to watch it and then get turned off because they would get the feeling that there was nothing they could do to save the environment. I don’t think the “doomsday approach” is the problem. I think that we are all waiting around, milling about, unable to find direction and stuck in the stuff that makes up our lives.
We’re aware, we’re worried, and we’re waiting for the magic moment. (After dinner, maybe?)
I pledge to start now.