Our Joy Continues to Shine: More Thoughts on Empire

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Our Joy Continues to Shine - cover

How to live in late capitalism, in the midst of climate change, political upheaval, and the fading of empire?

Say fuck you.
Say bless you.
Just live.

Find joy.

***
Our joy is a glorious thing. It will not be denied.

Joy is not the same as happiness. Joy can include fierceness. Joy includes compassion. Joy reaches beyond the self and includes the world.

We can be in joy even in the midst of anger. We can rally with joy. We can dance with joy. We can weep with joy. We can shout with joy. We can build with joy.

The invocation of joy helps set us free.

***

How to live in late capitalism, in the midst of climate change, political upheaval, and the fading of empire?

Keep breathing.
You'll live longer that way.

And if there are folks who don't want you to live, and live well? If there are people who wish for you to not thrive, but die?

Keep breathing. Send your breath out into the world. Take breath in from every plant and tree and droplet and cloud.

Breath is love. Breath is defiance. Breath is strength. Breath is life. Conspire. Inspire. Conspire. Inspire. Conspire.

***

How to live in late capitalism, in the midst of climate change, political upheaval, and the fading of empire?

Gaze out the window at the fog in the trees, or the sun reflecting off of buildings. Bake a squash or eat some oatmeal: they’re cheap, warm, and nourishing.

Make something. Anything: A dozen cookies. A painting. A poem. A dance. A community. An altar. A home. A friend.
Take deep breaths.
Find ways to be useful.

Find ways to resist injustice. Find ways to rest.
Seek out joy.

Make what money you need to: because that is still a currency, even in crumbling times, and until there is basic income, or a better barter system, or a new society built from within the shell of the old...people need to eat and pay for housing.

And just as importantly...

Make choices: because that is still the currency of retaining your own soul.
Make friends or comrades: because community is the true form of our survival.
Make art: because who doesn’t need art, no matter what times they are living through?

Find ways to thrive.
Find ways to help others to thrive.

***
The enemies of our love are going to do what they’ve always done: exploit, oppress, and profit.

Bechtel Corporation will create toxic waste on one hand and clean it up with the other. Simon and Schuster will publish "diverse voices" through one imprint and give large advances to stochastic terrorists on another. Money will be made by these corporations either way.

People will die.
People will be born.

What will our priorities be?

***

How to live in late capitalism, in the midst of climate change, political upheaval, and the fading of empire?

Be in relationship with your intentions. Get as clear as you can.

A few months ago, I decided that no matter what happens in the world around me, I cannot prioritize putting out fires. There are too many conflagrations everywhere. Rather, I needed to stay the course I set myself when my family decided to uproot our lives and move to Oregon.

Therefore, my priorities needed to be:

  1. Health
  2. Writing
  3. Service

The other themes I’m working with in these times of upheaval and renewal are:
to be present and to listen.

These will all carry me through, no matter what occurs.
What guides your body, mind, heart, and soul?

What do you intend?

***

Emma Goldman once said, “I want freedom, the right to self-expression, everybody's right to beautiful, radiant things.”

I want that, too. People need bread. People need homes. People need education. Health care. Community.

People also need radiant, beautiful things.

As the earth warms, empires crumble, nation states and capitalism shift and dissolve –and white supremacy, oligarchy, and patriarchy draw in long, shuddering breaths– we must keep choosing radiance, beauty, and all the things that sustain body, mind, and soul.

We are dancing on this one particular precipice of time. Let’s take care of one another.

And let’s make this dance a gorgeous one.

***

How to live in late capitalism, in the midst of climate change, political upheaval, and the fading of empire?

You tell me.

Portland, OR

January, 2017


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4 Responses to “Our Joy Continues to Shine: More Thoughts on Empire”

  1. P. Sufenas Virius Lupus

    Oh Gods, yes…to all of what you’ve said…

    Plans are being unfolded, things are happening, and who knows what effects they may have? (And I’m not talking about the cabinet of deplorables and their Fuhrer, incidentally!)

    Also: the next time I’m in PDX (I don’t know when that will be, but anyway…!?!), perhaps I’ll give ye a buzz and see if we can have chai and a danish somewhere, eh? 😉

    Keep being amazing, and I’ll try to do the same!

  2. TribalEphemeral

    As to art, writing, defiance, service, and outreach, there is something to analog, paper, media that I think grabs attention more enduringly, at least for some. Not least, since those that don’t throw it away will probably revisit it, and also because the paper is a single object of attention (unlike my 28 open tabs (some months old), innumerable closed, app streams, bookmarks). Ideas from the postscript of my latest blog:

    “Aside from stuff like my postcard project, sidewalk chalk messages, the openness of windshield wipers to planting of messages, I’ve also learned of another mechanism
    that allows one to send to every address on a mail route (400-700 @ 17.7cents each)
    Every Door Direct Mail . Plus printing costs.. You could, in theory combine this with
    POD infiniprint options to produce 50 different messages per mailing instead of 1.
    Also some people recommend writing of messages on paper money as a spiritual practice…
    But can indiscriminate analog art or politicking make a difference? It seems a worthy
    experiment….”

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