For the past years I’ve laughed about living in my blissful Marin Bubble of entitled spiritualism and comforts. This is not the ‘real’ world, I told friends, I want to be part of the world again. I wanted to see what it looks like from somewhere else.
Fast forward, I’m visiting my brother in Jakarta, amidst a congested, concrete jungle of 20 million people, to many of whom social life is enacted in opulent, many-stored, air-cooled malls with more shiny objects than your heart can possibly desire and where 5+ hours a day in traffic is normal. Incredible wealth co-exists with wild poverty and bad city planning, and still, everyone’s striving for more.
No one in their right mind would holiday in such a place, and family love aside, I wonder why the heck I haven’t just escaped to Bali. But I don’t feel drawn to Bali this time. Instead, I’m feeling into this human jungle and it makes me cry.
This is how we choose to live?
Deep in the Borneo jungle, visiting a national park and orangutan rehab center, the irony doesn’t escape me: I’m between two entirely disconnected jungles.
The natural and the human jungle, maybe not that dissimilar in the riches, the monsoon floods, the beautiful and the decay and the self-enacted hierarchy of survival of the strongest. Except, the natural jungle seem to operate out of a principle of balance. A principle we have forgotten in our human world.
Reaching out, bridge the gap
With my guide Bain I went off-track to meet the wild, and we called this beauty down from the treetops. When I look at myself, I see the childlike awe and delight of meeting this wondrous animal. I so long to take her hand, like old friends, but I dare not.
As a child in Denmark, I spent a lot of time at my grandparents’ farm. A small farm where life evolved around the land and animals, the seasons and weather. The rhythm of life was attuned to mother earth, it felt natural, balanced. We fed the animals, farmed the land, ate the fruits of it all. I remember sitting with my granddad one night, welcoming little piglets into the world by cleaning them with hay and putting them to the sow’s tit. My granddad was naughty, and sometimes he brought a piglet or baby calf into the house for us to play with. Oh, the joy to hold such little creatures.
In the jungle, I so longed to hold the orangutans and feel connected again.
Now, back in the concrete jungle, I feel the disconnect deeply. Last night, it took me 3 hours of driving to get home from dinner with friends in central Jakarta, a 25 kilometer ride. In the car, I cried my eyes out.
When did this become the new normal? Why are we doing this to ourselves and our earth home?
I feel utterly powerless. And out of place.
The past years quest for truth, sovereignty and the sacred have spit me out on the other side with a lot less stuff, inside and out. So here, I’m the weird one. I can’t comprehend someone who has 25 cars, just because, or smart, delightful women who spend their days staying fit, beautiful and meeting in the malls. I have no desire for more stuff, gadgets, or online profiles. It doesn’t impress me. Or interest me.
In momentary weakness, I feel such waste of good resources and want to go back to my bubble, where I can dream my world in rose-colored light and dwell in the inner riches of my soul and convince myself the world is alright, it’s all love, it’s all good, mother earth restores her balance and my job is just shine my light.
I don’t want to face this larger truth. What I’m feeling in Jakarta is the pain of Our earth, Our pain.
So this is why I didn’t run off to the Bali bubble at first traffic jam. I needed to feel this.
What touches you so deeply, it motivates new action?
Many things outrage me in this world, such as the abuse of women, but sorrow is an equally powerful motivator. It’s the emotional fuel that’s going to propel me forth with more heart and conviction as I help bridge the disconnect for us, between the personal and the collective, between our body and the earth.
For some the first step is to connect deeply with your own body and being, while for others, it’s broadening our inner-connection to the collective and allow that to inform new choices. Either way, I see us taking our (self) responsibility to heart and make the world we WANT to live in, step by step.
Can’t it be sexy and cool...
However enlightened and activistic we are, we still want to hang in the candy store and have life and change served up on sexy, cool, trendy silver plates. This to me feels like a symptom of disconnect, and I wonder if the “real connection work” suffocates in a world of short-lived fads in which we are merely consumers, altruism is (often) an economic strategy and we speak of ROI on relationships.
And fair enough. Many are exhausted with just enough energy for another round of junk food and a night in front of TV. Besides, life is to be enjoyed and lived, we are here to create and play, and really, what difference does it make if I cried for animals, down-scaled my stuff, never bought plastic again and took public transportation when 5 billion people don’t even think about such things ???
What we dream comes true...
I don’t know exactly what difference I can make or how to make this sexy and cool, but right now I’m meeting the world alright, and in it, myself.
I care. I love life, our beautiful earth, the animals and our humanity too much to numb out or escape into my personal bliss. Rather I want to use my bliss and my sorrow to help us tap into our inner resourcefulness so that we can meet our world’s longing for a new dream – a dream of connection.
The shamans say our world is as we dream it. When we let go of the fantasies (shiny objects), and connect deeply with ourselves, our feelings, our bodies and our earth, we step into our personal power and begin to dream new dreams.
From Jakarta to Marin, each one of us matter. I don’t want to do this alone. Come burst bubbles and walk new dreams with me.
Together, we might even end up having sexy, cool fun.
From Lone’s Soapbox in Indonesia.