No Surprises

One thing that comes out in myths is that at the bottom of the abyss comes the voice of salvation” ~ Joseph Campbell


They say the body reflects the soul’s pain: you can hide the pain, the despair, the sadness from others and even yourself, but you can’t hide it for too long, the body never lies. Eventually you’ll see it, you will feel it.

The collapse is well underway. We are living the “Brown Tech” scenario as predicted by permaculturist David Holmgren in his “Future Scenarios” book and his follow up “Crash on demand”. “The political system could be described as Corporatist or Fascist “, says Holmgren…and here we are: resource/power control wars disguised as religious wars, wolves disguised as friendly lambs who speak what you want to hear, and change depending on who this “you” is, militarized police abusing people’s rights to protest (now in our own backyards, such as what’s happening in Standing Rock), people fleeing the “American Dream” as it has became a nightmare and promises to be even worse soon, families breaking down apart by ideologies and political promises that won’t deliver…

We preach compassion and understanding, but is there a limit? When do you start fleeing or fighting back? When do you say “it’s enough”? Is it realistic to use non-violent communication approaches when you are being beaten up, shot and pushed beyond your physical limits?

“It won’t happen again” said a dear friend to me when I expressed my concerns. “There is too much awareness through social media, too many watching”. But I disagree: we said the same again and again, and we see the same things coming back: nobody could have imagined a cleansing after the holocaust and yet there have been many. Nobody would imagine any responsible government would support fossil fuels expansion and exploitation after all we know about natural systems and climate change, and yet that’s exactly what we are seeing.

Videos and social media have not prevented minority groups from being targeted, forest from being raped, and entire mountains from being violated. No amount of sharing and protests have prevented corporations from patenting seeds and making changes to nature through GMOs in the name of “ending hunger” while making huge profits and not delivering what they promised. No amount of awareness and education have prevented the raise in human trafficking and child abuse or the slow dismantling of workers rights through the so called “gig economy” that benefits elites and employers most. “Jobs” and “progress” and the keeping of an unsustainable lifestyle for the elites and middle classes seem to be more important than life. A thorough misunderstanding of the predicaments and the raise of wishful and magical thinking seem to be dopminating the most educated, information and resource accessible society of them all.

I have talked to people who are already planning to flee the US before January comes. They feel unsafe and unable to continue their work there. This was unthinkable only a few months ago, when the US was considered one of the safest and “democratic” places in the world. I’ve seen this happening twice in my own life (first Argentina, then Venezuela), both for similar reasons even if the messages and the tactics from those in power were a bit different.

My question is: what would we do when there is no safe corner in the world left alone? How many people can these (for now) safe places sustain until they too become unsafe?

I’m currently reading three books I highly recommend (long public transit commutes have their benefits). One is a fictional recount of what may be coming, “The fifth sacred thing” by permaculturist and Pagan Starhawk. I’ll have the honour of being Starhawk’s teacher assistant for her Permaculture Design and Earth Activist Training Certificate next May 2017. Starhawk’s books are not an easy read but I’ve loved every single one I’ve read, so put your prejudices aside and embrace the fun.

The second book is John Michael Greer’s “Mystery Teachings from the Living Earth: an introduction to spiritual ecology” from which I plan to post a few ideas and activities/meditations. If we only managed those in power to read and understand these teachings, all would be solved! I’m seriously thinking in sending some as mysterious gifts to some of the people in power today…

But it is the third book what is helping me the most, as it gives me real tools to navigate the pain, disillusioning, frustration and many times despair and fear. I’m talking about Carolyn Baker’sNavigating the coming chaos: a handbook for inner transition”…

In difficult times, I go back to my friends, my true sisters and brothers: beyond my blood-related family, they are the ones who understand the predicaments, feel the pain and have come to understand what approaches work.

As Czech playwright and politician Vaclav Havel said:

What could change the direction of today’s civilization? It is my deep conviction that the only option is a change in in the sphere of human conscience. It’s not enough to invent new machines new regulations, new institutions. We must develop a new understanding of our true purpose of our existence on earth. Only by making such a fundamental will we be able to create new models of behavior and a new set of values for the planet.”

In difficult times, I build my internal “bunker” by being with those who know how to really live:

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free

© Wendell Berry. This poem is excerpted from “The Selected Poems of Wendell Berry”

Meanwhile, we need to learn how to deal with those who use our money (through taxes), our work, our effort and our trust to continuously betray us and those we care for…because they now, more than ever no longer speak for us. When “out of here” is no longer an option, we may need to reframe how we make “here” safe for all…


A heart that’s full up like a landfill
A job that slowly kills you
Bruises that won’t heal

You look so tired and unhappy
Bring down the government
They don’t, they don’t speak for us
I’ll take a quiet life
A handshake of carbon monoxide

No alarms and no surprises
No alarms and no surprises
No alarms and no surprises
Silent, silent

This is my final fit, my final bellyache with

No alarms and no surprises
No alarms and no surprises
No alarms and no surprises please

Such a pretty house, such a pretty garden

No alarms and no surprises (let me out of here)
No alarms and no surprises (let me out of here)
No alarms and no surprises please (let me out of here)

~ “No Surprises” by Radiohead

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