It's All Meant To Be Shed

From "The Now V10"

Mood sample: Spotify, YouTube

Hit the play button, and get the music going before you begin the following. :) This way, this way…

Hello from March 6, 2022. I’m projecting myself back there in time, in memory, looking down through a wall of glass a few stories up. Bright daylight, a wandering bassline, tar paper rooftops.

It’s easy, and popular, to be offended by all of this. We build cities in the desert and we’re running out of sand, for chrissakes.

But. But.

Only love will save this place

I resisted the idea, for a long time, that we needed to go somewhere, that we needed to be in motion, that change and growth was a requirement of being alive. I was afraid, I think, of my reality shifting underfoot, and I had a deep suspicion of the call to More. It felt inextricable from the toxicity of endless accrual.

But. But.

Only love will save this place

I’m realizing, suddenly, that the war against nature below me (and here I refer to the light industrial buildings below, and to their air conditioners throwing heat back into the baking sun, and to the cracks in the asphalt being filled in again and again) is not separate from nature whatsoever.

It’s all meant to be shed. And how can I communicate to you the joy and freedom in that? Perhaps by giving you a more loaded phrasing, for contrast: None of it is meant to last. This second construction of the idea usually reads as a criticism, as if building to last was more noble an aim. A straw house does not last, so we learned to build with concrete and plastic, and then we learned about the trash continent in the Pacific, and the microplastics in our own bodies, because it turns out attempting permanent form is incredibly problematic. A straw house, at least, has enough sense to decompose.

Only love will save this place

But it’s not about mourning the inevitable decay, or the loss of a particular form. No part of nature is concerned with permanence, but neither is any part of nature concerned with transcendence. Each leaf on each tree has a purpose, for each season – and each day, the leaf changes, to reify the tree’s evolution day by day. The leaves fall, and the tree is not less for it. The leaves return, and the tree has not debased itself for having chosen More.

A tree is not its leaves. A tree is a process, and its leaves (and its branches and everything else) are the way the process unfolds. The Ship of Theseus has been alive the whole time.

The city around me, below me, above me, is the same. None of this is meant to last. It’s all meant to be shed. The room I’m standing in is only meant to support the idea of this hotel as it evolves, and when that idea shrugs off this form, the building will come down, and the energy of that idea will incarnate in some other way, will find something More, not for the sake of More, but because Reality is honest. The leaves fall, the leaves return.

We are a process, and a process inexorably in motion. Just by being alive, we expand into More. It’s not avarice, it’s honesty. God help us if we try to keep score, of course; how absurd it would be to measure the value of a tree by how many leaves it has on any given day, or to attempt to fix the leaves in place, or to criticize ourselves for failing to control the number of leaves next spring.

Please note: More, as a rolling (roiling?) outcome of life’s expansion, does not concern itself with retention. Once the energy of the process leaves a certain form, the form is worthless, a husk. The old forms can’t be stockpiled; this isn’t about accrual. But it might be about throughput – not how much we can hold, but how much we can channel and shape and carry. None of it lasts, none of it is meant to; none of it is ours, but as we grow, we find our shape in a moment, and we borrow the elemental particles of that shape from the universe. And, once we’ve mastered that shape, we trade them in for something new, something More.

Only love will save this place

None of this is broken, I don’t think. It’s just in process. The form of it all is real, but don’t confuse the form for what’s actually moving. Life itself is a process.

The process that is me is lucky to be writing this from a place of calm, today, on June 12, 2022; the throes of the process are a little quieter here, today. But I am a part of the greater process too, a part of life laboring to outgrow this form and inhabit the next, and I will continue to do my part. I will honestly inhabit the form that fits me, and I will step into More in its time, leaving behind what was for what is, as the process of life around me does the same.

Only love will save this place

It’s all meant to be shed.

Oh! The shedding itself is a sort of coming out, come to think of it, and perhaps that’s why I’m finding honesty as a recurring theme here. There’s no going backwards, ever. There isn’t really anything we can do about the going forwards, either; it happens in its own time, and all we can do about it is be honest about it, or not. Honest with ourselves, and then, honest with each other.

“Only love will save this place”, goes the song. But if “this place” is the process, then I don’t know that it needs saving. If “this place” is the form, then yeah, it absofuckinlutely needs to be saved. But if “this place” is the process of it, then love is the space between moments, love is the wave that carries the process forward, love is the process advancing, and nothing needs to be saved.

This place will save itself; all it needs is tomorrow, and all of us here.

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