My last post was about the transition that I’ve made during the past 18 months into natural building, permaculture, farming, plant medicine, and community living — and the ways that it has shifted my relationship to money, medicine and the environment. I shared that the old me is (mostly) discarded and the new me has (mostly) emerged.
There are still a few areas of growth that are stretching me and pushing me further out of the comfortable cocoon of habitual patterns and pre-conceived notions. The best indication of these growth opportunities is the discomfort that I feel when I bump up against them. Cognitive dissonance. Emotional resistance. Physical tension. I think these are natural symptoms of paradigm shifting. Shedding the old. Creating the new. Finding the balance in between.
What are the current challenges, Gabby? You may ask.
Well, I’d love to tell you, thanks for asking.
TIME. my relationship to time is caught between Industrial Time (time is money, time is running out, don’t waste time, etc.) and Circadian Time (time to rise, time to rest, everything in due time, etc.). Industrial Time makes me anxious. It demands productivity and busyness. It inhibits presence and mindfulness. It disconnects me from the seasonal rhythms and celestial cycles. Circadian Time makes me uneasy in a different way. It demands slowing down, which often puts me out-of-synch with the pace of society. It encourages a laissez-fair approach to projects, which fuels inefficiencies and incomplete endeavors. No matter which kind of time I embody, I have FOMO. Not keeping up with my peers and ambitions vs missing the richness and depth of the present moment.
One of my friends suggested scheduling the day with blocks of productivity and blocks of non-doing — which seems like a good approach, but doesn’t quite satisfy my desire to commit to a ‘way of being’ that celebrates rewilding and regeneration. Maybe there is an emergent approach to time which will integrate the best of both approaches? Maybe as society shifts and evolves, more people will embrace a version of time that supports our holistic wellbeing? Maybe as I move further along in my journey, I will see less polarity and discover more harmony in my relationship with the ever-changing nature of experience?
BELONGING. my feelings about where I ‘fit-in’ mirror my feelings about time. I’m floating between tribes, traditions, and contradictions. I am both a capitalist entrepreneur and a socialist citizen. I am both a professional academic and a nonconformist hippie. I believe in growth AND sustainability, competing AND cooperating, private AND communal. I want to be free but I want to put down roots. I want to spend most of my time outside, but I invest in the digital evolution of the web. Who are my peers? Who are my allies? Who is embracing the same complexity and paradox that I am?
In my graduate program at CIIS, I learned that being open to the ambiguity of the situation rather than having a foregone conclusion or solution is what makes creativity possible. Our genius is enhanced by our willingness to embrace uncertainty and be open to anything. I honor this wisdom and at the same time, I crave the comfort of clarity, certainty, and cohesion. I want to know my place in the world. I want to know where I belong. I want to be surrounded by people that are aligned with my values and ideals, even when those values and ideals are seemingly contradictory.
MAKING PLANS. With perpetual migration and ongoing transformation, it’s pretty challenging to make plans. Being ‘in-between’ paradigms and places means that it’s hard to know what my future-self wants. Everything from the clothes that I wear to the foods that I eat have evolved so much in such a short time. There was a sweet simplicity to days of the past where I could make a vision board and meditate on it until it manifested (mostly selfish acquisitions of course). But now I’ve glimpsed such surreal possibilities for the future– from green deserts to decentralized governance — that my visions are psychedelic and my consciousness is scrambling to keep up.
I want to design a meaningful future, not just for myself but for everyone that I care about. The blueprint for that future still eludes me. There are so many directions that I could take — so many paths that radiate out in front of me. Which plan makes the most sense? And will the universe cheer or laugh when I tell her my plans? Does she already have plans for me? Should I focus less on intentions and more on surrender?
Such is the space between stories, between worlds, between where I am and where I’m going.
An empty space that can be filled with any possibility — even a world more healed and more beautiful than we ever dared believe to be possible.