A Place to Stand
In February of 2021, I wrote a blog post called Walking the Line where I examined the lines that divide and separate us.
In that exploration, I discovered that the closer I got to the lines that divide us, by crossing a line within myself, the more angry and self-righteous I became.
The line I had to cross in myself was the place where I am separate from the people on the other side of the line, entrenched in my strategy for surviving exile, scarcity and impending doom.
A little more than a year later, and I can see how much more entrenched we have become. When we are close to the lines that divide, we can see that they are front lines, and the people entrenched there are ready for war.
In fact, the people seem hungry for war. There is a bloodlust, a boiling rage, a seething contempt, and it is spreading. It is spreading through families, through communities, catching like a contagion.
When I have lost myself to the war-hunger, which I have, I notice that it feels good. It feels galvanizing. Powerful. Energizing. It feels like I have a cause, a purpose, a place to go to work with all of this anger. It feels better than despair and hoplesness. Anger, rage, and seething contempt feel better than grief and impotence.
But who is the enemy? Who are we preparing to destroy? Who is the Sauron of our age? The President Snow? The Big Brother? Who is the leader of Gilead? Who sponsors the slave trade? Who is forcing sterilization, and forcing birth?
Fingers pointing everywhere.
Shadows moving in the night.
YouTube prophets with all of the answers.
Phantoms slithering through the fortified tunnels, fortified by concentrated wealth and ancestral oaths in the death-cults of this world.
But we can't see them. Don't know them. Can't find them. So we rage at each other. We clench our fists and our jaw muscles bulge and we are ready to destroy our children, our parents, our neighbors, thinking we see the flicking tongue of the phantoms on their faces.
The world-destroying sickness, planted by the phantoms, now deeply embedded and eroding our world.
When I catch myself in the fever of destruction, which I regularly do, and I can find myself again, I notice that it is a very similar sensation to what I feel when my dog is chewing my favorite shoes. For one instant, my sweet beloved puppy is my enemy, bent on destruction and I need to regain control. Once he returns to the sweet furry jellyfish that I love, shoe removed from his jaws, I feel remorse. Why was I so rough with him? Why did I yell so loudly? What came over me?
This belief that we can and should use force, destructive and overpowering force, is the lie of the strongman that lives at the heart of the patriarchy. It is the phantom sickness that was implanted in all of us through colonization. Intact cultures understood that mastering this urge within themselves was the measure of maturity.
The feeling of wanting to MAKE someone comply, to forcibly take away what is precious to them, to physically manipulate, emotionally manipulate and impose our will, is a mark of immaturity. It is weakness masquerading as strength. And the phantoms of this world live on this weakness.
They forcibly take. They use their physical strength and military might to impose their will. And our desire to destroy one another, feeds their beasts. The machine of war, which turns the turbines in their economy of death, is fueled by the internalized lie that hatred, division, destruction, and use of force are the ways to change the world. The vehicles for peace.
The way we do anything is the way we do everything.
I think there is another place to stand. We can decide, deep within ourselves, that we do no consent to this worldview. That we do not particpate in the "take and destroy" blueprint of the death-cults of this world. We do not consent to the use of brute force as a method for peace. We do not embody the bloodlust of this machine of death as we resist its contagion. Instead, we will embody the values that we claim to be fighting for. And in this way, maybe we can step away from the lines drawn through families, through neighborhoods, and instead confront the line within ourselves where the contagion breeds. The line that exiles us from this world, and convinces us that there are enemies lurking everywhere waiting to take all that we hold dear. The lie that has convinced us to pledge our fealty to the strongman who promises to protect us from the pillaging hoardes lurking everywhere. This lie has been spreading its tendrils through so many generations that we've forgotten there is another way to live, another way to see the world.
I stand with the grandmothers. Those who know how to repair what is broken. Those who remember what really keeps this world turning. Those who remember what true power looks like. The ones whose fire holds a lantern to see by, and cooks the fish to feed the village, and warms the bones of the young and old. The ones who tend fevers and sew seeds and make offerings to keep the wheel of life turning. I will sing their songs, learn their stories, and sit at their feet.
I am leaving the machine of death, to stand with the Grandmothers of Life. They exist everywhere, just waiting for us to turn to them and apprentice to the truth of this world. May we find them, may we heed them, and may we become them.
I finally know where I stand.