No. 47 – We're Still A-Livin'
So everything's okay
Welcome to the latest issue of Feed the Monster, a monthly art practice journal for people who miss getting letters in the mail.
HELLO and Happy New Year. It felt weird at first to be exchanging “Happy New Year” greetings with people… kind of like we were all kidding ourselves. But thinking that way is a fool’s game. There are moments to cherish, people to love, small pockets of joy to be found. No-one’s had an easy time of it, but we must move forward as best we can. What else can we do? I’m endeavoring to stay as engaged and “in the moment” as I can… trying to remember to be gentle with myself and those around me. Okay, I don’t always succeed, but I’m trying.
One moment at a time.
Take a listen:
Everything’s Okay was recorded by Hank Williams in 1954 under the pseudonym “Luke the Drifter”, which he used to record spoken word and moralistic talking blues. It feels fitting here because further to what I wrote above, it seems the only way to survive right now is to expect and accept more mayhem, and carry on.
We’re still a-livin’, so everything’s okay.
Don’t get me wrong. I’ve had my moments—change that to months. Most recently, during autumn until just before Christmas I was in the grip of a persistent fear, experiencing a level of anxiety I’ve never known. I happened to hear a certain news story about climate change in August, and it sparked an ongoing apprehension that I couldn’t seem to shake. A fear of the future that was keen and sharp and relentless—a chronic and unsustainable fight or flight response.
I suspected the only thing that might help was BodyTalk with Susan Stenson, which for me takes place over the phone since Susan moved to Duncan pre-pandemic. BodyTalk is a somatic therapy, and don’t ask me to explain it because I can’t. I only know that it helps me more than anything else ever has. I decided to see Susan over 10 years ago when a friend told me she’d been and that her chronic eczema had cleared up two days later. I was intrigued, to say the least.
I went. I laid on Susan’s table, and she held my wrist while examining a mysterious chart on the wall beside the table. The first thing she said was, “So from a young age, your father was absent from the family?” I looked at her in astonishment and said, “What—you’re psychic as well?” She replied in all sincerity, “Nope—just going by the chart”. We both laughed like hell when I reminded her of this a couple years back.
No, I can’t explain any of it.
During my phone session with Susan mid-December, she pointed out (in so many words) that I couldn’t manage the world with my mind. I can’t control climate change—it’s not my personal responsibility. She said it was like I had all ten fingers and all ten toes in holes in the dam like The Little Dutch Boy. This in effect was paralyzing me, because I was stuck there taking care of the world. Of course, this was one small part of an hour-long phone session, but it stands out because she hit the nail on the head. It made sense to me… I knew it to be true. Since then, when I find myself resisting reality or getting wound up about something I can’t control, I picture releasing my fingers and toes from those holes in the dam and… letting go.
Let the water flow.
You can’t stop it anyway.
And by that I don’t mean that nothing you do will make a difference when it comes to climate change. I just mean, you can’t control it with your mind.
Or was that just me…?
Here’s a newsletter mentioned in the Globe and Mail this weekend: Minimum Viable Planet written by Sarah Lazarovic. Admittedly, I haven’t read any of it yet, but I’ve already subscribed. According to the article, “Ms. Lazarovic describes her illustrated newsletter as an attempt to help people fight climate change in simple, ‘undepressing’ ways.” Sounds like something we could all use.
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