How Hurt and Chaos Give us our Emerge-ency
The word emergency originates from the Latin emergere, which means “to arise; to bring to light.”
A baby emerges from the womb into the light of day.
A butterfly emerges from the chrysalis.
You and I can, if we so choose, emerge from the shitstorms of life into what we might be.
We seem to be the only species on earth which chooses to bitch and complain about our natural circumstances. We are given this extraordinary experience called life, then spend one hell of a lot of time pissing and moaning about what we’re owed. How much easier it’s supposed to be.
Imagine the conversation among the blades of grass in your lawn.
“CHRIST! Here he comes again with that damned mower. What a POS. I can’t even grow a seed head here.”
Mama Nature makes it damned hard to survive. Everything eats everything else. That’s how the game is played. Like it or not, we are all food for someone else’s plate. Including us.
Don’t agree? Try stepping outside the silhouette of a Jeep on an African safari with large predators around and see how fast you become sushi.
But let’s take this another step higher. A very big step.
We allow ourselves to be “consumed” by lower forces (hate, envy, jealously, etc) which in every single way eat us alive. The anxiety, anxiousness, mental illness, cancers that are so rampant are indicative of our inner conversations.
You and I end up food for hate. We are, at this point in our development (such as it is), a veritable smorgasbord.
I see this in action every single time I spend an hour with my horse riding trainer. She spews hate in all directions. She’s in pain all the time, and she has no clue why she’s in pain. She thinks the Invisible Man in the Sky woke up this morning and chose today to piss her off. Make her life miserable. Her horse is lame. The guy at the gas station scraped the paint on her car on purpose. If a fly lands on her nose it’s the fault of somebody at work. She is by god owed a better life, and someone needs to pay.
You and I aren’t that fucking important, Skeezix. Hate to break it to ya.
Or, we can be “food” for Higher Forces: love, service, caring, compassion. Either way, we’re eaten. A life lived in service thrives. When we operate out of love, faith, trust, kindness, those aspects of ourselves serve as nutrients for a very different kind of life. Whatever happens to us, we don’t interpret as a personal affront.
Stay with me here. This is a different kind of conversation.
Creatures and plants give themselves up for our survival, just as they themselves consume creatures and plants, and become consumed by other natural creatures and plants. In some species that’s how they spread their seeds, as with birds. The dung spread by elephants becomes food for hundreds of different species which count on their crap to survive. Talk about a well-designed plan.
We can similarly be consumed and enjoy potential thrival, if we in fact choose to live a different life. As we are just beginning to find out, very belatedly, plants and trees and a whole lot of other things possess their own kind of consciousness. That our tomato plants don’t ask us who won the Series isn’t indicative of their lack of awareness. It’s entirely possible that the lilacs in my garden have a great deal to say about the visiting fawns who chew off their leaves. I just don’t speak lilac.
However I’m sure they are celebrating mightily that the fawns are now concentrating on that big block of deer food under the spruce. But again, I don’t speak lilac.
You and I owe Mama Nature a body. What animates it, the consciousness that permeates our cells, has a completely different kind of life. Potential. It too is food. Fodder for something far larger. Something that allows us to rise above our physical circumstances, no matter how difficult they are. That’s internal work, internal emergence.
The “Hell” that so many religions like to bandy around as threat for misbehavior is already inside you and me. Ask anyone who has ever suffered mental illness or anguish. All the modern-day delights of constant worry. The cost of hate, prejudice, viciousness. It’s hell all right, right inside our own minds. Eating us alive from the inside out. I am watching my trainer be consumed by hate, anger, bitterness. She wants everyone and everything to suffer along with her. She’s a real master of sharing the love that way.
Her story is the human story writ large. In that regard she is a superb teacher of what could happen to me if I go similarly insane (from the Latin, in- (not)+sanus (healthy). Precisely.
By the same token, those who have found a different way of Being, who are deeply thankful for the life they were given, give themselves and their energies up to by consumed by a wholly different kind of energy. They live a different kind of life, informed by grace, generosity and gratitude. They are no less damaged or challenged than anyone else. In fact, they are often more so. It’s how they choose to use their circumstances to evolve.
That’s what it means to emerge- to walk through the inevitable, life-conformable challenges through to the other side. Is it easier? Hell no. Ask anyone who’s survived a war. But also ask them if they’re grateful to still be alive. Those are folks who find a way to serve.
Ask anyone who has almost died, who has died for a moment, what it’s like to come back and be given more time. Ask anyone who has come very close to the precipice, stepped back and chosen life. How pain and chaos have taught them to appreciate what they’ve been given. What we have all been given.
A chance to live.
Make no bones about it, we are eaten, every single day, in the same way that huge forces in the Universe use energy, consume stars. The same way that microscopic particles consume each other. That chunk taken out of your ass by your boss has a lot to do with how much she feels eaten alive in her own life.
Again. All of life is fodder for something else.
This can be deeply uncomfortable to realize. What the hell do you mean, I’m food? However, spend any time perusing many of the articles on Medium and you’ll see what I mean.
We love, treasure and adore our negativity. We sink into great vast vats of it and wallow there. We love to blame others for our conditions in life. Being pissed off gives us temporary power. Self-righteous indignation informs so much of our chatter. (I’m owed, this shouldn’t have happened to me, I deserve better). Of course you do, Sparky, What a shit life to be limited to 3000 square feet, a two car garage, a corner lot, two RVs and a boat, three SUVs and a vacation home. Life. Fucking. SUCKS, doesn’t it? You really do deserve more (money, sex, attention, white people in your neighborhood).
All these things are eating us alive, all day, every day.
Everything suffers. Burning rainforests, animals with diseases, fish trying to live in polluted waters. They suffer because we are suffering.
As we consume, so are we consumed.
When we can’t allow ourselves a different kind of life, we rob the rest of the world of their right to their own lives.
So what does a different kind of life look like? Not exactly wandering the neighborhood in saffron robes, banging a tambourine. Please.
If you still struggle with these concepts, and most of us do, kindly consider this: most folks who end up in prison come out the other end in far worse shape. Bitter, angry, full of hate and viciousness.
Or, Nelson Mandela. A man who spent 27 years in prison for doing his best to fight apartheid. He came out a changed man, all right. He used that time to develop himself, to give himself up to Higher Forces. Changed a nation, changed the world by example.
My trainer is in prison, too, of hate, racism, self-righteousness.
Life is just life. Shit happens to every single one of us. Shit happens to animals, plans, protons and neutrons. Planets and solar systems form, evolve, disappear. You and I consume. Life consumes us.
It’s. Just. Life.
For my part, if Something is going to chew on me (and much of life feels that way already), it might as well have more positive outcomes.
Life as we know it is brief enough, albeit we’re neither Mayflies (24 hours) nor Greenland sharks (400 years). Imagine, you’re a Mayfly with barely a day to hang out, sitting around bitching about how short life is. That doesn’t leave much time for getting laid and laying eggs, does it? As for the sharks, they just found out that Trump wants to buy their island. That will sure fuck up your existence. They’ve got considerably longer to consider what we’re doing to their world.
For each of us on Earth, life is just life. Nothing guarantees us a good one. We are owed nothing. We’ve already been given the supreme gift.
You can pour salt on your self-inflicted wounds like my trainer does, or you can serve yourself up for something greater.
Either way, we’re on the menu.