The Banished Immortals.

In another not-at-all-surprising yet very serendipitous move by Liz GIlbert to make me adore her and believe she's my bizzaro wonder twin, today she wrote a post about The Banished Immortals. She wrote about this concept as a backstory to describe a video she made of a song that was about her partner who is terminally ill. The post answered a question I had been asking myself for the last six months now- why is life so sad? Or rather, why do I see so much sadness in life. I don't mean my life in particular, I am just referring to LIFE in the big sense. Why is it so hard and sad sometimes? Is it supposed to be? And why am I constantly asking this question?

This isn't the first time Liz Gilbert sends a soothing message when I send out an SOS into the ether. A little over a year ago, I was feeling pretty directionless and purposeless. I thought a lot about how much knowledge I had but what usable wisdom did I really have? I know how to do a lot of things but where is my ONE thing? On a day where I was in deep introspection about who I was and why I was put here, she published a podcast where she spoke about being a hummingbird (cross pollinators) or a jackhammer (someone with one obvious and solid goal), how both are valid and good, and how you can be both or just one in your lifetime. It took some of the weight off having to be any ONE thing and just let me be okay with who and what I was doing at the moment. That podcast episode has lived in me so deeply in the last year that I knew the exact moment my hummingbird had turned into a jackhammer. I have always wanted to thank her for that moment because helping me name it made the shift feel that much more interesting.

So today, when I read about The Banished Immortals, she helped me name another strong aspect of my self. I look back a lot- probably more than I should. When I look back I more often remember the difficult instead of the easy or the happy. Maybe it's just how I'm wired. Lately I've been focusing a lot on those difficulties and wondering, "Why is life so sad?" In the darker moments, a deep longing swells up inside me and I find myself saying, "I want to go home." Except I'm not sure where that is. And I don't quite remember it. But I feel there is something, in some other place that makes more sense than here.

From her post:

"Banished Immortals (a concept in Chinese mythology)  were thought to be divine beings who had been cast out of a celestial paradise, in order to live out one human incarnation here on earth. Because they have a memory of what heaven was like, Banished Immortals are never really at home here on our planet, where there is so much suffering and difficulty. As a result, they always feel alien and out of place, and they often become addicts, or artists, or healers — or all three. Banished Immortals just keep trying to find, or create, or disappear into, a sense of heaven here on earth — because they remember what existence is supposed to feel like, and they know it isn't supposed to hurt this much."

I look back and think about my life and its hurts... the relationships that didn't work, the babies I didn't birth, the times I did not- could not- believe in myself, the times I feel desperately alone, the assaults and violations towards me because I am a woman, those dear people that have left Earth, the times I didn't know my elbow from my ass, the utter confusion and loss of control that has come with parenthood, the longing for forgotten rituals and ceremonies of old that help us feel more of ourselves, the people I have hurt. It all feels crushing.

Luckily, there will always be a some beacons of light here that will help make all of it infinitely easier. They remind me me that the light is there. It's always there and its ready to receive me when I'm ready to stop dancing with the dark goddess and be filled by it. To Liz and to all these joyful beings I offer the most heartfelt "Thank You"... especially today when it's overcast and about to storm.

Makes me wonder.

I have a girlfriend who spends her time traveling all over the world and doing things that interest her. She doesn't have a job. She enjoys her life. She never bought into societal rules- at least not as long as I have known her. She is one of the sweetest people I know and I admire her immensely. She calls the most unique and incredible people across the world her friends. She is smart, emotionally intelligent, beautiful, kind, fun as hell, and extremely interesting. I remember one time while visiting Miami (her family lives here so she lands here often), she told me about a great book she read where the people of San Francisco got fed up with how things were going on Earth that they took to the streets with pickaxes and went at the cement roads. After some time, everything turned green and life started going back to the way nature would have intended if not for us. I think about that conversation we had often because whenever I get fed up with the way things are, I'd like to go outside with a pickaxe and have at the streets of Coral Gables (not so much city beautiful but city where you are FORBIDDEN to garden on your front lawn or paint the inside of your house without a permit). I often wonder... does anyone else feel this way? And if some do, are we all just so socially conditioned that we all remain paralyzed and sit (somewhat) idly by while the well being of this world and its inhabitants continues to decline at a staggering rate?

I appreciate that most people I know work for their own brand of change. Some people work to improve themselves, some work for the hungry of the world, some work for water conservation, some work to stop fracking, some work to preserve the last pair of a rare kind of rhinoceros, and on and on and on. But is this enough?? I believe despite hard work  against the powers and status quos that be, something still has a hold on us. Some unspoken fear that keeps us from revolt in the face of so many absolute injustices. I include myself in this because as much as I would love to paint a peace sign on my face and run naked through the streets chanting "only love is real!", I don't.

It's difficult to live in this world when you have experienced the other side. To know it used to be okay to bask in the sun all day because the foods we ate were so pure and biodynamic that they were a natural sunscreen makes me question how we live today. To know we were so connected to the land that we would know what plants to eat or not, or at least have the guidance of a plant shaman to tell us which to eat, makes me question how we live today. To not be able to breastfeed my children without getting shameful looks makes me question. To be called a "nutbag" because I chose to birth my children at home away from unnecessary interventions makes me question. To be in a world of 7 billion people and feel lonely- along with so many others- makes me question. To consider the educational system of standardized tests and thoughtless content makes me wonder. To know that companies that poison us like Coca Cola and McDonalds have fat pockets yet socially responsible companies can't make a name for themselves because they lack "market appeal" makes me wonder.  To know that we as a people are so numbed we've stopped asking simple questions such as "where does the money go?" or "what are our true origins?" makes me wonder.

The truth is, most of this modern life makes me wonder.

And yet, I still haven't picked up my pickaxe. Just a bag of organic, gluten-free animal crackers.