I've orbited the Sun thirty-nine times as of today. This feat wouldn't be possible without this amazing planet I'm riding around on with all of you. Think about the fact that we are on a planet in a very narrow orbital zone that allows water to exist as solid, liquid and gas with a size and gravity that is just right and a disturbingly shallow atmosphere that offers us just enough protection from solar radiation and meteorites. A Planet that sustains life in a seemingly precarious balance in an otherwise inconsequential arm of one of trillions of galaxies each containing trillions of stars. As Sagan pointed out stars died in order for us to exist. We are made up of starstuff and we are contemplating the stars. We've got something special going on here.
This ride is made wonderful because of all of you, and I don't just mean my loved ones and those close to me. My life is made wonderful by a guy in a factory somewhere putting graphite into pencils allowing me to put my thoughts into symbols and language, by a poor man in a Chinese factory making parts for my iPhone, and by the guy who invented the yoke for cattle allowing my ancestors the ability to obtain less expensive food and not have to toil all day just to feed themselves. To think about the way we are all connected to each other on this planet boggles ones mind. I want this ride called humanity to keep going.
There is a disease, a cancer, that is capable of destroying this ride and my birthday wish is that this disease is cured. This disease is within your individual power to cure because it resides in you, it is a mind virus, a meme and it is subject to your will. Like heroine addiction this mind virus causes you to take actions that sooth an immediate ache within your heart but in the long run cause destruction and chaos. This virus turns us into zombies that unthinkingly and reflexively consume and destroy all that is life affirming in the world; the environment, our relationships, our children, and each other.
If I had to put a name to this mind virus I would call it fear of our own individual greatness. I agree with Marianne Williamson who said, "Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us."* I remember reading that the most difficult things for average people to do in psychologist Nathaniel Brandens workshop on self-esteem is to say out loud with believable conviction to a group of fellow participants that they are worthy of living and are worthy of happiness. Wrap your head around that.
We are not born with this virus, it is transmitted to us as children by the infected. Religion teaches us that we are wretches in need of salvation (I cringe every time I hear Amazing Grace). Parents teach us that power is the source of virtue..."Do as I say or there will be consequences." Schools teach us that our preferences don't matter and prepare us to be docile citizens engaged in our own enslavement. I'm convinced that this is mostly an unconscious reinforcing feedback loop like any cycle of abuse.
The original source of this mind virus is speculative although Lloyd Demause (http://www.psychohistory.com/) has some compelling research and theories on the matter. The result of this mind virus is devasting. We either cower and whine to those who hold power over us or we crave that power ourselves. Anytime we have social anxiety we beg those with power to alleviate our anxiety by using force against 'the other'. We argue and fight with our fellow slaves about the best way to manage the plantation while simultaneously ignoring the shackles that bind us. We consume ever increasing amounts of our chosen opiate to try and sooth the anxiety in us, like zombies mindlessly trying to satisfy insatiable hunger. We are lions walking around thinking we are lambs.
What would happen if we didn't fear our own worthiness? I posit that we would recognize that we no longer need to ask for permission to be ourselves, to be free. I posit that we would no longer try to control, or rule others to try and sooth our anxiety or make us feel worthy. We would recognize others that are deeply infected by the words of collectivism dripping from their mouths as they speak to adoring crowds who willingly cast votes and destroy their own individuality to experience a moment of ecstacy. We would take full accountability for our actions and expect the same in our fellow humans. We would recognize that initiating force, or asking a politician to do it on your behalf, is not only destructive to that person but to ourselves and ultimately to this planet.
The cure for this may sound hippie dippie but it is not. The cure is love. Real love. Not hollywood love. Not romantic love. But real love for your self. Stand up tall. Own the space you're in and repeat after me, "I am fucking worthy! I'm worthy of being me, I'm worthy of happiness. I am not a lamb to be ruled or sacrificed for anothers ego. I don't need permission to be free. I was infected and couldn't see straight but now I see... I am a fucking LION!!"
No more will you accept anything less than love for your true self in your relationships. No longer will you allow zombies and vampires to suck the life out of you and eat your brains. No longer will you play small so that another can feel big. You are now capable of giving and recieving true love because you see your true self and accept your worthiness. You are now capable of true intimacy...the kind that comes from knowing yourself. You are now capable of seeing the infected and triaging them. You are now incapable of fighting wars for power hungry old men who would use you as pawns. You are now able to experience true anxiety, the kind that comes from knowing that the zombie hoards are trying to infect you and eat your brain or put another way by the mass of sheople who want you to diminish yourself and not think to hard.**
The survival of our offsrping and our planet is directly connected with you ability to love yourself and therefore your ability to embrace non-aggression as a pre-requisite to life affirmation. As an aggregate of people learn to overcome this mind-virus of unworthiness the forces of destruction will fall away and the world will begin to heal itself. Governments and rulers will disappear and be replaced by a more organic, dynamic and life affirming order - anarchy. Individuals who excel at meeting the life affirming needs of others will thrive and individuals who would use force to suck the life blood of others will not be tolerated and will either be rehabilitated and cured or they will perish.
My birthday wish is for you to look in the mirror and see a worthy individual so that my childrens children can live in a thriving world of peace.
Here's to many more rides around the sun ;)
* The full quote is worth reading - "Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."
** As an aside I've often wondered if the surge of Zombie movies this past decade has anything to do with the growing number of people who feel uneasy about the throngs of mindless people around them constantly trying to make them conform.