Some days I wake up, and it’s the most beautiful day in the world. Every single encounter feels sacred. Every ray of sun that hits my face feels like a kiss from a cherished lover, and every experience I have makes my heart leap with joy.
Other days, I wake up, and the world is shattering beneath my feet.
It’s been almost two years now since I woke up to the reality of our planet and our existence. We are killing ourselves and everything we hold dear. Us — human beings. And we’re taking everything else down too.
On days like these, I feel the full force of the darkness that lurks within. All my anxieties are amplified, all my fears are heightened. I want to stay under the sheets and run away from life like a small child. But I can’t. I can’t deny what is happening, and like you, I am being called to play my part in it. It’s not easy — it is excruciatingly hard.
Every story I was ever told, or sold, that my life and existence is safe and comfortable crumbles under the weight of this knowledge: my existence is only safe and comfortable at the suffering of others.
I’ve grown up and live in the West. A place of incredible privilege. Opportunities are rife and thick like a fog on a winter’s day, so thick that I can get lost in it. And yes, these options bring me and others great joy, as do these privileges. Yet, I know now — I am borrowing from the comforts of others and future generations. Every materialistic comfort that isn’t sustainable, every decision I make that isn’t somewhat self-sacrificing is at the expense of someone or something else.
Each day I walk this line between what I feel I deserve in order to live a happy life — and what I feel I should serve and sacrifice in order for others to also live. It’s difficult, to say the least. In this privileged position where I have some sovereignty over my life, it takes great responsibility to step into taking a stand for what feels right. A responsibility that I don’t want to have, and yet I must if I am to be an active citizen in the world we are co-nurturing, co-parenting, co-creating together.
Some days it comes down to this: how do I interact with you. In each moment, there is a choice of how I want our shared culture to be, each discussion, each difficult conflict and disagreement to move through. These junctures create a ripple into the world — and yes, some days, even knowing this is too hard to bear. Somedays, I don’t want this knowledge, and yet it is there now, undeniable, calling for me.
I don’t want us to die.
I don’t even know if that means I don’t want me to die, or I don’t want us to die. Or maybe it is one and the same.
Yesterday I cycled down the street and realised I wanted to write down all the things I love about life and this world before I left. I wanted to write odes and love songs to this fragile and beautiful place that I call home. Tell my last dying thoughts to the flowers and the trees. Stroke my Lover’s cheeks one last time. Tell my parents how grateful I am that they chose to have me. No, I don’t want to die. I don’t want us to either. But in my very act of living, I am dying. And I am helping us all die.
I don’t know how to not make this sound nihilistic, but that can be the nature of the Dark Night.
The solutions to my problems appear to all be similar (and somewhat counterintuitive). For example: loving and forgiving myself instead of trying to break my addictions leads to fewer addictions. Loving and forgiving my abusers heals my traumas. Loving and forgiving my enemy makes them not my enemy.
So what if the solution to my existential crisis is just to love and forgive it too?
I realised that if I can’t find peace in what I am doing at every moment of my day, how will I ever find peace and compassion for every other person — for everyone who is trying to save us with their beautiful ignorant love.
I feel humbled. On the other side, I know a new me will once again rise, and again and again, I will stumble back into the Dark Night, then rise like a perpetual cycle. — The drive for purpose is met with a drive of despair, and so the loop continues.
Some days it's hard. Some days it's euphoric. I’m waiting patiently to wake up and truly realise this illusion we are in — of life and death. Of creation and destruction. Of our collective love and our collective trauma. But onwards we must go.
This is me, Minty — and how I’m working through our Existential Crisis one day at a time.