Category Archives: mother earth

dying and living and sleeping and waking

i feel as if my soul is dying a slow painful death and taking my body down with it. or vice versa. either way, i’m dying a slow painful death, or at least it feels that way monday through friday, from approximately 8am to 430pm.

i remember about a year ago, i was so happy to have gotten this position with my current employer. this current position started out paying more than what i earned at the last library i worked at, plus i thought it would build on the foundation i had created at the other job.  and truthfully, in some ways it has. i have learned a lot at this job, especially in areas of web development, and the intricacies of interlibrary loan and copyright law. this knowledge is something i may be able to take with me wherever i go next. (and i am going, somewhere, but that will be the subject of another post.)

and yet, today my work consisted of comparing a printed out list with the contents of a database. basically, this is bullshit work, as far as i’m concerned. much of the work i do in this position is bullshit work. i spend most of my days moving bytes of ‘info’ from one computer to another, in an ‘industry’ i’m feeling less and less respect for with each day that goes by.

there is so much real work to be done in the world, and i’m feeling as though my soul and mind are wasting away. just today i finished reading derrick jensen’s dreams, which is an amazing, amazing book,  and has made one hell of an impression on my psyche. one thing this book has inadvertently done is made glaringly obvious to me all the ways in which my job, and current way of life, are 1. bullshit,  2. pointless, and 3. evil. yes, evil. the building i work in is located next to, and affiliated with, a vivisection lab. plus, there’s this whole morality, or lack of, in the medical-pharmaceutical industry, a morality that revolves around little more than making money. it seems the purpose of the medical-pharmaceutical industry is not to get people healthy, but to keep them sick yet somewhat functional, and dependent on the industry. sadly, the work i do in an academic medical library supports this paradigm.

meanwhile, this country is literally on the verge of financial collapse, and this planet is on the verge of a far worse collapse. if it isn’t too late, i want to do something about the latter, at least in my little corner of the world, but am not doing a damn thing, other than going to and from my little cubicle every day like a good little serf. other than the plants in my cubicle, the closest i am to nature most work days is the contact made with all the paper i waste (although we do recycle – what good little stewards of the planet we are), paper that used to be in a forest somewhere. as of now, i’m still contributing to the problem (if you could call the planet dying simply a ‘problem’), and i want to do something different from that. i want something where i’m giving back instead of calling myself environmentally conscious while working a job that is in conflict with my soul, just so i don’t have to worry so much about keeping a roof over my head and sallie mae off my back. dreams has touched off an awakening in me where i want to work towards what is important and real. and these are all things i’ve thought about before, but jensen’s book about intangibles has shown me what is real and necessary and urgent. i won’t go into all that now because i do plan to write a fitting review of dreams sometime in the next couple of weeks. for now,  i’ll just say that this book is something of a catalyst for me and the upcoming changes i’m planning to make in my life. yes, i’ve known all along that collapse is imminent, and even if it isn’t ‘imminent’, it is going to happen probably in my lifetime (which i guess would make it somewhat imminent), and sooner would be better than later. it’s helped me to realize that maybe now is the time for me to extricate myself from this system, which i am in the slow process of doing. (also, more thoughts on this extrication in future posts.)

are you happy with the work you do (whether it’s paid or unpaid)? are you contributing to the demise of this planet or to the demise of civilization? (those ideas are opposites, believe it or not.) whom do you serve, Life or Death?

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mississippi goddam

thinking about the post earlier this afternoon about making love with life has got me to thinking about this love affair i’ve had with life over the past few weeks. yeah, i’ve had my moments, such as today’s headache or being irritated by coworkers or being worried about loved ones, but overall, life and i have been on cozy terms.

part of this experience of course has been my recent trip to new orleans. about three weeks ago, at the beginning of that trip, we drove through and spent the night in mississippi. i lived in mississippi in the mid-80s, and as a result of that time, i swore that i would never spend another night there again, unless i had to stop there on the way to new orleans. well, um, that came to pass, and i was actually a bit worried about it. i’ve been to and through the state a few times since i lived there, but had not spent the night in many years. i had friends (who, by the way, have never been to mississippi) express concern for this portion of the trip, and even express derision about my going through the state. however, my concern was not so much for my personal safety per se (although, as a black woman with dreadlocks traveling through the south with a lesbian and an old hippie, maybe it should have been), it was more of a wondering how things had changed since i lived there and if i would find it recongnizable.

we spent that night just north of jackson, and honestly, it was familiar, but only in that way that any interstate exit in any part of the country is familiar. driving through jackson, my main thought was that, wow, i didn’t remember jackson’s skyline being this, um, nonexistent. however, it was as we were traveling south of jackson, on a four-lane highway headed toward the gulf coast, where the beauty of mississippi (and of this world) hit me in a way i never expected.

as we were driving through this forest, i had the overwhelming urge to jump out of the car, and hug each and every tree in it. it was as though the trees and i recognized one another, and i figured out what they knew all along: that we are all made of the same ‘stuff’. (thankfully, my travel mates were unaware of this epiphany.) however, the most interesting thing i found was i felt the pain that the earth felt along with all the trees that had to have been cut down in order to make that very road we were on. i felt the loss of all the individual trees and the life forms that were dependent upon those trees. i felt the pain each tree must have felt, as well as the pain of the earth as a whole, in having those trees removed. i also thought about the toll of human pain in this area of the country, the pain involved with slavery, of the people being treated as less than, much as the trees of the forest were and are treated as less than. yet, in the midst of this pain, i still felt an overwhelming love, a connection to the earth and to the people supported by this earth. i renewed my commitment to help people, one person at a time, see that the earth is as much a living being as we as individuals are, and that we need to learn to treat her with respect and honor (as well continue to learn to treat each other with respect).

mississippi goddam is an awesome song by nina simone, and i can definitely relate to the sentiments she expresses in it. however, i have been blessed my travels through this maligned state. i have no desire to live here ever again, but i am open to learning where i can get it, and i learned a little more about myself and this world because of this experience.