There’s a fine line between being a revolutionary and being crazy. I kind of toe it.
I have not been writing here because the last month has been full of personal and complex things that I am discovering are in need of being healed from my own perspective before I can begin to discuss them with others.
With issues like these, the kinds of occurrences in life that make me feel so many ways at once—completely unfeeling, consumed by fear one moment and calm as a fuckin cucumber because life just keeps getting weirder and at this point I’m just along for the ride the next, I tend to withdrawal.
These are delicate and complex issues, issues with no immediate cultural story or language, issues that are new to my understanding. Have you ever realized you are in a lifestyle you’ve heard of before but never though would be yours?
I am not the person I thought I was.
Have you been there?
These are issues that are so emotionally different than the cultural context or stories have managed to convey, that I am gifted a rare opportunity to access a pure moment of curiosity.
What is this?
It’s a bit of a grin and bear it type warrior mentality. Get stronger and persevere. Do not turn back. No one you know has answers for this. This is your experience. Don’t taint it with bullshit.
I listen to A Forest, The Cure. “Into the trees.”
In the subconscious, and in many mythologies of ancient Greece, Rome, Eastern and Western Europe, and even Japan, the forest is the place in which we test our mettle against the elements, a test of ourselves, our abilities. In the forest it is you against the elements and your own mind.
In Japan it is the suicide forest. In Romania, Transylvania where we meet Dracula, the vampire, a cold lifeless being who relies on the life force of others to sustain himself. In this way, Dracula represents the person who has not undergone the process of achieving identity and individuation. In European fables it is Little Red Riding Hood, Robin Hood. In America, perhaps it’s the hood. People laugh when I say things like this. They sound so naive coming from me.
But spend a day in this brain.
The forest is a place where we go to understand ourselves as beings outside the confines of culture. Because I quite dislike the culture of global capitalism and being complicit in it, I’m actively seeking a self outside this culture and have found it difficult to reconcile the self with the modus operandi of our people.
It is what it is. We have done what we have done. I am here.
I believe we are culturally partaking in genocide of the individual and self-actualization in order to continue to fuel the industrial complex. This is a personal opinion based on the general view of the public of the unquestionable empiricism of rationality and science OVER intuition. I think this landscape is shifting. In the midst of this crisis we must stay home and that edge, that desire to get out and be, is painful when repressed. People feel the absence of themselves and are practicing active presence. In the forest, one must use both logic and intuition, knowledge and curiosity. In life, one must use both.
Culturally, we are on the edge of the boundaries of human experience. We are in the forest.
What if wholeness is simply a state of contentment? And what if this whole industrial complex is built on a promise of contentment that is an illusion? And what if we created it just to come full circle and realize it was necessary but is now unnecessary? What if we created this illusion simply to understand ourselves? What do you do with that information? Where do you go from there?
Stranger in the Woods is a book about a man who lived in the woods for twenty years. He was arrested eventually for breaking into the cabins that were slowly erected around him throughout the years for tourists and summer camps. It’s a fascinating view of the evolution of our people away from ourselves as living, feeling, intuitive beings into beings who rely upon knowledge and technology for validation of our being.
What if the most effective form of rebellion is developing intuition using modern knowledge to educate one’s self beyond the boundaries of fear, want, and lack so that we no longer need the industrial complex? What if intuition is the ultimate human knowledge? What if it is precisely developing our intuitions that will allow us to feel content enough as a species that we don’t need to keep being vampires of on our earth and reaching for things to make us feel whole?
Can you sit with yourself for ten minutes?
Could you traverse the forest of your psyche for an hour? A day? A week? How much do you really know about yourself? Who do you become when shit gets real? What do you attach the boundaries of yourself to? What in your life could you not let go of? Who are you when those things go away?
We only know when we are in those circumstances that bring us beyond the edges of our confined identities.
This is why I began practicing minimalism.
If you are an unhappy person who never followed your dreams, for instance, you rely on the realized dreams of others and are, thus, a vampire. You were taken by the forest. The same goes for emotional cripples—people who refuse to feel or to understand and learn from their feelings. To not know one’s feelings is to be a slave to them.
I have been this person. I only know anything because I have been some things. We cycle through these characters in our psyches depending on the changing circumstances of our lives. They are called archetypes, developed by the Swiss psychoanalyst Carl Jung.
There is currently a docuseries on Netflix called Myths & Monsters that I highly recommend that features an episode about forests. The forest is my favorite element. Both physically and in the psyche, the forest is where I feel most alive, most challenged.
One of my favorite modern tales of man vs. nature is The Grey, featuring Liam Neeson. The wolves.
Dogs or wolves represent divine masculinity and rationality in my dream book. I often dreamt of a dog behind a chain link fence, chained to a pole, of black and white dogs. A contained mind. A caged mind tethered by black and white, binary thinking. Overly rational and analytical.
I always wanted to learn things as quickly as possible. To me, the ability to grasp and understand a concept quickly was an achievement, a success, a measure of my intellect and worth.
To understand a rational concept quickly may be a measure of skill, but to understand an emotional concept is a measure of depth. It always takes longer to get to the bottom of a deep pool than a shallow one. I know both kinds of pools.
After I tamed the dog in my dreams, my dog Anya joined me in real life. I started to dream about water again. Emotions. My emotions have controlled me for a long time. I didn’t know how jaded I’d become.
I am learning self-love. Self-worth. I am remembering bits and pieces of the raw materials that built me, gears and cogs that once fit into a finely functioning machine.
But I’m no machine.
I’m a human being, and an emotional one at that.
I’ve had 3 cars flood and two houses. This means my emotions are controlling my life. Water represents emotion. More on this later.
In Jungian dream analysis, a car is you and how you move through life. Mine often have cracked windows, chipped paint, a little worn, but they’re white. Honest. Truth.
A house represents where you are at in your development or what stage of your development you are working on. Lessons you are learning.
The basement, for instance, is safety, or the deep dark of your fears which must be faced in the psyche in order to be realized.
Fear has a tendency to mutate perception. Perfectly normal beings become menacing apparitions. When we exhaust our capacity for fear in the dream world (through, for example, recurring nightmares) we finally face the apparition only to find perhaps that the werewolves were merely beagles. Fear is enormously convincing and must not be believed.
What do you fear?
The same is true for the waking dream. Your enemies, the things and people you hate, the qualities about others that bug you the most—those are yours. Those are you. Your perceptions. They are what you fear to become.
This is how hatred is born in fear. In hating, you become fear. In becoming fear, you align yourself with experiences that will constantly ask you to challenge that fear and you can choose to face it and conquer it and see the beagle your fear turned into a werewolf or continue to sit with the fear.
We cannot rid ourselves of all fears. Fear is necessary. It is one of the ways, too, in which we draw the boundaries of our beliefs and personalities. Humans are not meant to be perfect. We grow and change and encounter all manner of creatures and illusions and personal shortcomings and virtues in the forests of our experiences.
My dog came to me to help me through the forest of my emotions. She mirrors them. She shows me how I’m feeling and I need the reminders because I’m so often in my head I am not grounded in my body. We go on walks and if she’s tense I know I need to breathe and maybe we need a run or a long walk today. She reminds me to feed her and it’s a reminder to feed myself. She gets a wild hair up her ass to be a goof and reminds me to play. She wants to be close to me when I’m sad and reminds me to reach out to those close to me instead of isolating. Dogs are amazing.
The roof, in the house of the dream world, is creativity. Think of the dream world house as a reflection of the chakra system. Essentially, the roof is the seventh chakra, the attic the sixth. Roofs provide shelter, a boundary, a container.
I don’t have roofs in my dreams anymore. I shattered glass ceilings and flew through space and time and found the threads of the edge of the construction of our universe. That’s the shit I dream about now. It’s awesome. It’s a mirage as surely as the others. It’s temporary. I’m revisiting this draft now and I’ve been dreaming of dogs and glass ceilings and communist nations in weird industrial lighting since I wrote this.
Anyways, a flood means an overflow of emotion, water representing emotion in the chakra system and in many pagan systems. The former is the same system upon which Jung drew, kundalini being a practice of clearing and aligning one’s chakras.
I’m a lucid dreamer whose been interpreting my dreams using the same dream book (based on Jungian symbolism) since I was twelve. I built a coastline in my dreams over a period of ten years. Dreams were always at the ocean or a beach or river in this coastline. Finally, I made my way off the beach by climbing a waterfall that went into space where the edges of the fabric of the universe were. I have not dreamt of a beach since. I’m now always in space or a white room. I can create the dream I’m in or change it as necessary since constantly interpreting them has allowed me to understand the language of them. I tentatively wonder about dreams and astral travel all the time.
Yoga and studying the chakras enhanced the symbolic language of my dreams to such an extent that new worlds and landscapes and creatures began to appear. It opened up a new kind of consciousness for me.
A great book for studying and using the chakra system is The Wheels of Life: A User’s Guide to The Chakra System, by Anodea Judith, P.H.D. This book was given to me by a grandmother who lived in Port Townsend when I was maybe 14. The only time I’d been to Seattle before moving here was with her. It seemed like a weird gift at the time, seeing as I didn’t practice yoga then. I looked at it like some weird voodoo, and vehemently refused to read it. Even touching it was weird. It was too out there. I think I knew the concepts in it would forever alter how I viewed and experienced reality and I’ve always feared change as much as craved it.
But these are the kinds of things that happen in my family. We are witches but they call it whatever they call it. I’m the only one who identifies as witch. The women in my family know things and pass them down. Yoga became necessary for my mental health when I turned sixteen.
A flooded car and house is a wake up call that I am allowing my emotions to rule me to such an extent it is affecting my safety and my ability to get through life.
Roof=safety, shelter, the boundaries of consciousness.
Car=you and how you get through life.
Guess what it was speaking to?
I know I know. Asceticism isn’t the answer.
But alcohol was what I used to drown my emotions. And it’s fucking bad for anyone in excess and yes I loved it in excess.
Alcohol means shutting one’s self down to receptivity, an inherently feminine trait and one associated with my abilities. To shut off receptivity is to shut out emotions, but it is also shut out abundance, knowledge, love, joy. I fully believe one’s capacity to feel deep love is dependent also on the depth of their ability to endure pain and suffering. More on that later maybe.
Here’s what it really comes down to.
Alcohol shut me off to my intuition.
And when I lost my intuition, I started looking to things outside myself for validation and became a vampire.
One must be in touch with one’s intuition to successfully navigate the forest.
Recently, I was thinking about building my own business and started learning and taking classes. Learning and being open to new information is important and necessary for continued development as well as for the continued cultivation of humility, a trait I think is especially necessary for anyone in a leadership position, as it allows room to question, to be mistaken, to find truth even when the truth isn’t what you want it to be.
But relying on external information to make one’s decisions, from a purely rational and logical standpoint that denies the intuition, is the trap so many of us fall into when we decide to do what we’re supposed to do.
How many of you did what you were supposed to do only to find this is no guarantee for basic security let alone happiness?
Do you know what you want? Like? Fear? Love? Enjoy?
Or do you know, love, fear, enjoy, want what you have been told you should know, love, fear, enjoy, or want?
There is a big difference, but the unexamined emotional landscape is one still held by the scaffolding of one’s upbringing. And if the emotional landscape is held hostage by the childhood psyche, well you have failed to traverse the forest, to test your mettle, to become actualized.
If this question makes your guts twist or spikes a small needle of fear in your mind, there’s some digging to be done in your psyche. Someone has hijacked a part of you at some point in time by telling you some bullshit story about yourself that you believed.
Maybe you were cheated on.
Maybe your teacher gave you a bad grade because yours was the seventeenth paper she read in which there, their, they’re were spelled differently and this skewed her judgement.
There is a lot of evidence that we do not have as much conscious control over our decisions as we might hope. Studies have been done on memory, recall, time, and the role of time on perception of reality through memory.
“It’s not that our memory is a glitchy wetware version of computer flash memory; it’s that the computer metaphor just doesn’t apply. Roediger said we store only bits and pieces of what happened—a smattering of impressions we weave together into feels like a seamless narrative. When we retrieve a memory, we also rewrite it, so that the time next we go to remember it, we don’t retrieve the original memory but the last one we recollected. So, each time we tell a story, we embellish it, while remaining genuinely convinced of the veracity of our memories.”
This is an older source http://psychnet.wustl.edu/memory/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/Roediger-McDermott-1996_JEPLMC.pdf but a fascinating one nonetheless.
Research into the amazing slipperiness of our perceptions and convictions is a challenge to embrace uncertainty and traverse the forest.
I’m a radical naturalist. I disagree with most concepts and practices of modern capitalism and thus I do not function in this society very well if I am driven by what I’m supposed to be or do. I do not break laws though, or kill, though I would to hunt or to defend if necessary. I’m a pacifist, but I try to be a bit realistic. I am beginning to function well in this society only because I decided to pursue my internal compass.
This is a glimpse of the process I use to explore the boundaries of my consciousness and to expand it beyond the childhood confines into an integrated, intuitive knowledge which allows me to reconcile my biases with my actions in a culture I default to not agreeing with:
Dreams, symbolism, emotion, intuition, memory, time, reality vs. illusion.
It’s a drive to find where opposites collide as they inevitably do and to see through illusions.
All I’ve found is there is no way out of illusion because most of what we perceive is illusion on a fundamental level. The reality in which we are fixed is a narrative we tell ourselves around events perceived 13 milliseconds after they have happened, after light has bounced off an object and jettisoned itself into our retinas where it is processed upside down and of which we process only about 10-20% of the picture which, when recalled, is recalled wrongly. Since we are always recalling because the events which we perceived have already passed, we are always shaping the nature of our perception of reality through the narrative we tell of that reality.
If you are used to telling a certain narrative based on past circumstances or old “facts” or what you know is going to happen because red flags, you are going to act based on that narrative and your actions will influence reality as surely as anyone else’s influence yours.
So getting out of old patterns means telling yourself a new story which will feel fake and faint at first because your brain is adapted to a different story, your pathways are pretty well run over like neuron highways.
It’s time to take the off road.
So why does it hurt so damned much sometimes?
In taking those classes to learn about being an entrepreneur, I discovered I didn’t want to build a business. I just thought I wanted to because of what that represents: freedom, strength, independence, wealth. Symbolism is powerful. Keeping one’s mind free of advertisements is perhaps more important than many of us give it credit for.
When it comes down to it, running a business is a lot more stress and responsibility than I currently want or need. I’m happy to work as a gardener and come home and write and read and knit and relax with my man and my dog at the end of the day without checking social media and worrying about sales and paying employees and taxes and editing videos and publishing content and scheduling and insurance and licensing and fucking all the things. I don’t want that.
What’s more, I want to be left alone primarily. I don’t like noise and people are clumsy and impatient and loud and intoxicated and mean and shallow and generally they frustrate me.
I have all these judgements of people which means those things live inside me and are what I fear to become so I probably am all those things.
I am also their opposite.
This is where the ability to consciously choose for one’s self is important and why it is important to overcome the confines of one’s childhood influences and biases.
Tearing down the walls of one’s psyche and consciously rebuilding them is an exercise in choice and autonomy. It is necessary if we do not want to be brainwashed by advertising or “culture.” It is necessary if we want to consciously choose what we believe in.
Look into the neuroscience of memory, perception, belief, bias. Read scientific journals.
You know why the Dude is so cool?
Because he knows control is a bullshit illusion. He gives no fucks. He just moves through life in the flow and goes with it as it comes.
Even trying to unbrainwash yourself is an exercise in brainwashing. Rehab was essentially that. Control is bullshit and we’re all hypocrites and this makes me unbearably happy. It’s hilarious to me.
I have to be careful with those thoughts because getting too far outside the culture is where our over-socialized, rational, ABC, techno culture decides that if you don’t fit into a nice box you are not functioning like you’re supposed to and are thus defective.
I cannot respect a culture that destroys the planet and elects a sociopathic egomaniac to continue to spread hatred and destroy our natural resources as one that is allowed to determine what is effective anymore.
Revolutionaries are often called crazies. But crazy implies a lack of knowledge. Revolutionaries compile knowledge and reveal truths that challenge the culture. If the culture defines crazy or the boundaries of rationality, and this way in which we live is considered rational and not crazy, well fuck it. I’ll be crazy. To defy the culture is the definition of crazy from the perspective of that culture.
But there are plenty of cultures that don’t function like ours. And I believe ours to be extremely arrogant. We have mistakenly dismissed thousands of years of human knowledge and experience in the realm of intuitive knowledge, art, religion, philosophy, and nature to worship rationality, technology, science and math. We need both.
When I withdrawal, as I have done for a month or so recently, I clear out the influence of others and discover my autonomy. I had to because I didn’t agree with what I was being taught because I was taught some kind of fucked up things. Like it’s not okay to live a life without ambition. It totally is.
It’s quite nice sometimes.
For me all of this analysis and research was the beginning of undoing my traumas, my cultural and individual biases, and even the framework of my reality.
I’ve lost my mind a couple times in order to see how so much of what we believe is real is not. I would never condone losing your mind. It’s fucking terrifying. The forest. I’ve been lucky.
It sounds like I consciously intended to lose my mind but of course, we do not control as much as we think we do. We built this illusion of a society to feel like we can control our fates but the reality is catching up in the form of climate change.
The fears are returning to be addressed as they do in our nightmares. Sometimes the choice to not face the fear is one that has mortal consequences.
The fundamental fear that we are being taught by climate change and even this pandemic: control is an illusion.
We are not in control of nature and it’s processes. We are natural beings. To accept our naturalness is to let go of control. To let go of control can equal insanity because our culture is built on a framework of the desire to control stability which is not possible.
Unless you develop intuition.
Every time you buy something, I dare you to ask yourself what it controls in your life. What are you intuitively disconnected from?
Your looks? Other people? Your purpose?
That’s a weird way to understand the self.
To develop intuition, a trust in the self and one’s ability to continue outside of the framework of the culture is the way of the Hero.
Who is your hero?
How and when do they follow their intuition?
What do you do when you meet a scenario for which sense and reason and culture fail to satisfy your emotional experience?
These are the moments I withdrawal. Explore the boundaries of consciousness.