"I am absolutely astounded that in the ONLY, known, habited planet in the Universe, we cannot prioritise our ecosystem, our biodiversity and our humanity. I think that one of the biggest lies we have told ourselves is the lie that humans are superior creatures, and that some humans are more superior than others."
If you read the last blog, you'll know I'm reading Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari and the most amazing things that I've discovered in the book is the power of the collective story. Our human story is built upon hundreds of thousands of years of trying to make sense of our place in the world, which then affects our behaviour and as a result builds societies. Harari discusses things like money, democracy and religion as "imagined orders" that helped growing numbers of humans to cooperate with each other in the absence of biological evolution. Yet we never question these stories.
In Australia, many of us are feeling despondent about the recent Federal election results - with a continued attack on our freedoms, the environment and common-sense in a time where it appears the rich keep getting richer and the rest of us need to stay in our place. I got sucked into the nonsense that was the election and the fallout and to be honest I am still gobsmacked at the short-sightedness of my fellow citizens to vote for the status quo. Ultimately though, I am absolutely astounded that in the ONLY, known, habited planet in the Universe, we cannot prioritise our ecosystem, our biodiversity and our humanity. I think that one of the biggest lies we have told ourselves is that humans are superior creatures to all other life, and that some humans are more superior than others. In his book, Harari talks about how through the power of collective stories that humans feel some sense of belonging to their tribe. Scrolling through social media today it seems that instead of moving into higher states of evolution, where we value intellectual dialogue and science-based evidence, we are reverting back to the tribal behaviours of our ancestors in an attempt to belong to something.
Perhaps this indicates some level of disconnection we have with the Earth and all living things that we are seeking a sense of belonging OUTSIDE of ourselves in a collective group. But that's for another blog.
I love stories. I love writing them, I love the moment I get ideas for them and I love reading them. But this human behaviour where - instead of uniting under a collective story of protecting our habitat - we are becoming more and more fractured; more and more divided on the issues that matter for our survival as a species.
In this despair, I found that I needed to find some new stories, a new narrative on a world that could be. My friend Shely also sent a timely message: "Look for the good news. It's out there. You get what you focus on..." And I've started. But also I'm asking myself more deeply "What can I do? How can I make my own impact on creating the world I want to live in rather than fighting against what I don't want?" It's a tough balance, but like she said: "Stop reading the stuff that upsets you...you can only do the bit in your own world that cleans that up...Spend more time with stuff that uplifts you." And she's completely right. Everytime we tell a story, we are manifesting it through our intention, through our actions and through our fear and perhaps that's just a story I am telling myself to help me cope with the apathy in the world today.
The world I want to live in is in harmony with all of life, is intelligent and kind. And while that might be a Utopian vision, I know there are others out there who feel the same way. So, today I will make a concerted effort to focus on the stories that I DO want to share with future generations so we can see a way out of the current narratives that are no longer working for us. And I will take responsibility for the only person I have any control over - me - and start to live in harmony with all of life, value and nurture intelligence in myself and others and always be kind. And maybe that love will spread to others and together we can create a world where we can feel some hope.
©Alyssa Curtayne 2019
"What do you DO in your everyday is what makes a life, not what house you happen to inhabit? A home is a place to come back to when you've been away, it's a place to invite your tribe in, it's a place of solitude and of rest and it's certainly more than bricks and mortar isn't it?"
If you've been following my Facebook or Instagram, you'll know that I had a fabulous time in Germany and Austria over the past few weeks but one thing that became very clear was a sense of 'home'. It's a theme that comes up regularly in my life, see here. I became aware of being somewhere quite literally foreign to my sense of belonging and yet, I felt completely at home on the road on my own. Which made me wonder, what is home? Is it a place or a feeling? Is it a connection to a community or a physical building? What is it which gives us such a strong emotional attachment to 'home'?
I accidently referred to my birthplace (Tasmania) as 'home' during my trip away and it got me thinking about what it means to me. I'm currently reading Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari and it really puts into focus our place as human beings in the world. Traditional societies lived where food was plentiful or could be harvested but today why do we choose to live where we do? Why do we feel the need to move from one place to another? Why do some people never leave the place they were born? And is 'home' simply a contrived place in our species' active imaginations?
I'm constantly fascinated by those television programmes which show wealthy Baby Boomers moving to the countryside or another country and being obsessed with the house that they buy, but isn't a home more than the structure that you live in? What do you DO in your everyday is what makes a life, not what house you happen to inhabit? A home is a place to come back to when you've been away, it's a place to invite your tribe in, it's a place of solitude and of rest and it's certainly more than bricks and mortar isn't it?
I've spent my entire life looking for a place to call home and for a brief time in 2008-2014, I had it - I had a safe home to live in, a lovely community, close to family and all the services I could possibly need - and I let it go. Whatever it is within me that drives me to keep moving to new places, to new adventures, to a life full of variety rather than stability may be that primitive hunting and gathering instinct that humans stopped (in most humans) following with the Agricultural Revolution 10,000 years ago. It could be a behaviour learned from moving away from my "tribe" at 4 years old and be residual trauma from that time, but it might also be a sense of not feeling at home within myself, within my life.
When I was away, without thought of ties to my everyday life to my kids, my partner, my job, my life - the things that seem to define me at the moment - I felt more like myself than I have in a long time, I felt at home with me, I felt aligned with the Universe, or whatever you want to call it, and I felt a sense of purpose in just being me in the moment. Travelling does more than create great images and memories, we can live in a way that is not contrived in a work-eat-sleep-repeat social slavery routine, there's a real sense of freedom with being on the road and being disconnected from societal expectations and lives - we get to define it ourselves. And in that space, while I was a long way away from my physical house that I live in, I felt, for just a brief time, at home within myself. So now, I have the excitement (or challenge) of finding that sense of home in my daily life, so my whole life feels like an adventure safely in the home that is me.
©Alyssa Curtayne 2019