Monday, February 14, 2005

Note from Natasha shortly after Dec. 26th....

I wanted to share something with you that I think you'd appreciate - it's pasted below. It's an excerpt from insanely talented independent musician Ember Swift. Ever listen to her?

Hope all is well, not much to share with ya - am just back in the swing of school and work - lots going on. I have five classes this term - one of them being Lesbians portrayal in the media and TV - very cool class, gotta love UofT LOL.
Take Care, talk soon
It’s 2005 and I have spent the last month off the road and burrowing next to my woodstove in this country home, safe and guarded. All the while, the world has experienced one of the largest natural disasters and human tragedies in history and I feel so far and removed. My collective consciousness gasped on Dec26th. I had this feeling that there had been a leak in the ocean of souls, a sudden vacuous hole in the seal that keeps us locked together on another plane of reality. I felt full of a sadness that had the same odd-fitting feeling of helplessness. I am safe and guarded in North America. Safe and guarded in my comparative wealth. Safe and guarded in my white skin. Safe and guarded in my swirling privilege with a purring cat kneading my lap as I type these words.

It has made me feel very reflective about life and our work here as a global people. The tsunami hit on December26th, which was just after I had spent a week in Toronto and had been swept upstream with the tide of people in the underground shopping malls during the big consume-a-thon of pre-Christmas shopping. Collectively learned rhythms of complacency could be heard everywhere. They were jiggling like Christmas bells. I’m sure I wasn’t the only one to have been struck by the huge divide that lay between Boxing Day sales and cries for Tsunami relief funds. I’m sure I wasn’t the only one to want to re-enter that consumer tide and dam the flow for just a moment screaming, “Wait! This sale is not that important! We cannot just shop this tragedy away!” Of course, I would have been removed by well-muscled security guards and been quickly identified as a “whack-job.” Forgotten. Easily erased. Dismissed.

Why is it that we can so easily dismiss each other, forget and move forward? Have we been caught in this powerful capitalist tide for so long that we’ve allowed our hope to be washed away, our humanity to be diluted until it is nearly indiscernible?

I heard today on CBC radio that there will be a huge need for support in Southeast Asia after the tragedy has left the news and it is no longer “sexy” to assist efforts, contribute aid, reach out. That tipped me off once again as to the true identity of the purveyor of awareness in our culture: the media.

It’s true that the outpouring of support has been amazing. It’s true that many have extended their money, their time, their love and their hearts toward those in need – in all parts of the world, not just Southeast Asia. I see and respect these gestures. But, if donating $20 to a relief fund helped to make us or anyone we know feel “less guilty” and “off the hook,” then I really think we need our entire global worldview to be realigned. It is not about guilt. It’s not about obligation.

To me, these tragedies are just loud reminders that we, as a western culture, need to stop, reassess and change. I think it’s about making change happen in our own worlds. It’s about living differently. It’s about opening to greater possibilities. It’s about believing in new stories about who and what we are as people and how we impact and contribute to the lives of others. It’s about extending far beyond the so-called borders that are really just constructed lines to keep us in. It’s about telling the truth. It’s about finding the shore.

Now, more than ever, we have to safeguard our collective hope.
Our hope for a better world, a safer world, a cleaner world, a happier & healthier human existence. Dream it up. Life is just far off dreams lived up close. We can build our world to be the world we dream it to be. After all, if we don’t, some corporation is going to build it for us, all the while trying to convince us that we dreamed it up ourselves and that it's worth "buying." Resistance is hope. They are one in the same. We cannot divide one from the other. We cannot allow the pelting propaganda or the flapping media mouths to quiet our dreams. I dare you to reject the indoctrination of impossibility.

I will leave you with this:

“You get what you pay for. Pay a lot and you get an expensive life. Take what’s free, and you get freedom…. off the map and beyond the borders of fear, there are other formulas… Soon it’s obvious that what you thought was flat actually has an underside, an edge, a core. That the mirrors you grew up with are as warped as the ones in the funhouse, and there’s no going back to them. There’s either giving up, or going on. One way cynicism, the other, dreams.”