There must be more than “getting by”


Cookies. Cookies are joy.

Allow me to say a few things.
Actually, this is my blog, and my computer, so I can say whatever I want. Ha! I forgot.

I want to believe there is more than “getting by”.
I want to believe it is possible to live life to make our dreams come true.

Listen, I am very, very poor. I know that.
How poor? Well. I’ve been living my whole adult life in between half of the “poverty line” and a third. Yes, a third of the “poverty line”. Which is to say, I’ve been very, very poor.

AND I want to believe there is more than “getting by”

It’s easy to think that my beliefs about life being an exercise in “getting by” come exclusively from this existence of extreme poverty. I certainly thought so.

But the more calm I feel around my poverty, the more I realise: we are all trapped in the mentality of “getting by”.
People who “have money” are also caught up in “getting by”.

It’s not “poverty mentality”. I don’t like that term, and I don’t like that concept.
It’s not… “big enough”, and it’s definitely not “radical enough”.
I’m a radical. I love radical.

It’s like this: the mentality of “getting by” is the opposite of being in love with life.

The mentality of “getting by” is the opposite of being in love with life

It’s… going around thinking “life is hard, and that’s all there is, and all you can do is fight tooth and nail for things to not be so hard”.
“Suck it up, buttercup”.
“Life’s a beach and then you die”.

Everything has to be hard, unpleasant. And magic and wonder are… impossible.

You think the “self-help-y, spirituality world” is free from the “getting by” mentality?
Think again.

I’ll give you one clear example of the “getting by” mentality in the “self-help-y, spirituality, yoga, mindfulness based world”.

Take: “If you eat this thing, you will die and live in permanent doom”.

You see this sh!t all the time. “This habit is killing you”. “This thing is toxic”. “You need to stop doing what you are doing under threat of impending doom!!!”.

When one inhabits the state of “being in love with life”, this sh!t doesn’t cross our minds.
We look for things that give us joy, enhance our “vibrancy”, make us feel alive.
We look for things that bring us, dare I say it, “pleasure”.
Choose your cheesy metaphor.

The point is: we do not make choices from the perspective of “I need to not die”. Or “I need to make life less horrible”.

Choosing from joy

Joy, love, radiance, pleasure. They are radical.
They go to the root of all our civilization’s problems.

I have a dream. Actually, I have lots of dreams.
Seriously wonderful dreams of serious wonder.

And while it may be true that extreme poverty is a serious obstacle to turning my dreams into reality, it is also true that an inability to believe in wonder is as much of an obstacle, if not more so.

It is scary to believe in wonder.
It is scary to fall in love with life.
Brene Brown says that joy is terrifying.
And it is.

There lies our challenge.
We will not change the world or save the world, if we don’t fall in love with life first.

Photo courtesy of Markus Spiske, whose photography I am loving lately

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