Down the rabbit hole…
Feeling out of my element, but on the learning curve… “Down the rabbit hole, with everyone else.” I said to Caitlin today when asked over lunch how I was doing.
Certain substantive dialogues are suggesting large numbers of people will not be returning to work until Christmas of this year, and possibly later…
As people stay home, mortgages go unpaid, small businesses reorganize or fold altogether, children remain removed from our traditional educational context, and more, and longer, it dawns on me that any efforts to put Humpty Dumpty back together again are going to find there are many missing parts to that particular puzzle.
As I entered this particular turn of our events already in distinctly uncertain circumstances of my own, I’m running on a particularly odd brand fuel these days.
For most of Q1 this year I had a bifurcated focus, on one hand attempting to determine if there was a way to generate an income of enough velocity to meet my outflows for care, on the other assessing the path forward were that effort to fail. That failure seemed the most likely outcome and in late February I was looking at the potential of moving to a nursing home.
I mentioned the other day that I was on a call with a woman reporting in tears of her work at a nursing home where 20 patients had already died from the virus, while seven more coworkers had fallen ill to the same. Sitting still in my home, I couldn’t help but to notice the feeling of having dodged a bit of a bullet.
Without the pandemic, March would’ve been spent touring these long-term care facilities and entertain guests as I moved through the process of asset disposition. Instead, we have all landed in this strange limbo, I just have a certain spice in the soup giving the whole surreal experience a little extra zest.
I’ve spent most of the last 35 years wondering what, if anything, could be done about the way we humans have gone about organizing our business on planet Earth. It never did sit quite right with me the way things were which leaves me curious today about the value, nature, and possible outcomes of this massive momentum of ours having been brought to a kind of “stop.”
Already unsettled, the lurch never quite managed to disturb my footing. Down the rabbit hole, with everyone else, and truly, patiently, waiting, eyes wide, to see where we come out the other side.
I have no ideas about a job to go back to, about some ordinary life to which I could return, so my focus is not distracted by such fantasies. Instead, with everything in the air, I’m feeling an enormous stillness around me that allows me to focus on those things that might in my view matter the most for the widest number should they find traction going forward.
In recent years, that early wonder – could anything be done – has turned to a more concentrated attention on practically envisioning what it would take to make such a difference on our global scale. I’m happy to report that these attentions have yielded numerous constructs which now live with me as I move through life. For now, they still live and evolve only on my interior, embryonic whispers of possibility.
As human beings we train our young as generative members of our existing social and cultural structures. Having dropped out of high school in search of alternate structures, I never got the lessons about how to formally “add value” in a way that would be easily recognized, supported, and create tangible collaborations.
For the last 30 years I’ve been mostly engaged in determining my own metrics of worldly and collective value and fancifully bringing those things to life. Today is a special moment. The world is in dire need of value not constructed of its previous frameworks, yet not so foreign or aspirational as to require a full and voluntary departure from those familiar forms regardless of their possibly obvious state of disrepair.
If I am to rise to this moment, I will have to do so by translating those values that have evolved through my experience, into practical actions that can be done recognizably by myself and the mainstream of others, right here in River City.
I have enjoyed the privilege for decades of living outside those formal channels, whether by an ascetic move into spiritual pursuits, or by violent ejection into the world of catastrophic injury, or by the grace of an economic cushion for a period of time. Meeting the kind folks of River City with an offering that they will recognize and value takes me enough out of my element to return quite near to square one.
I have certainly been out beyond the folds, collecting treasure for the community, it is the journey home that is unfamiliar to me. Thanks to guides I have met along the way, I have a few magic stones to help me learn the path.
We are all down the rabbit hole together now. I for one am not entirely unfamiliar with these dark passages. Success is by no means guaranteed, but I am growing more comfortable with groping my way towards the light.
The monthly medical costs of living with a spinal cord injury regularly approach $15,000, if you are moved to, please feel free to help out here.
God gets to know things, we just get to ask questions…