Thinking today about what more I can do to to be a redemptive force in the world, and reduce my ecological impact, it occurred to me that while I can and could do many more things, the balance sheet at the end of the day is still tilted in my favor. All I can really do is accept the fact that I live in a constant state of grace.
The gift of life, of friends, family, nature, music; the magic of discovery and learning; of every single thing that I get to have, do, or experience; can never be repaid. From the miracle of the light I turn on, or the unbelievably fine thread that makes my clothes, to the many elements that come together to make my car run and food show up on a grocery store shelf, I cannot really balance the scales in concrete terms. No matter how organic, or plastic-free, or socially justly I try to live, I can never balance the scales. I cannot live and have no impact. This dilemma has plagued me from the beginning of memory.
That leaves only this: I am the constant recipient of gifts that I can never repay. Knowing this, I can live as lightly as possible, strive to discover how little I really do need, and learn how to receive graciously. I realize that my previous perspective – trying to balance the scales and have zero impact – is a perspective conditioned by trauma and enculturation of toxic individualism.
I’ve noticed the difficulty that I and others seem to have in receiving without guilt, fear or anxiety, perceiving it as a vulnerability. I wonder about giving up that position as flawed and hopeless, and starting to receive with joy? What if we all held the awareness of the imbalance, our impact on the earth and others as a fact of life, as a truth of being, as a precious gift that can never be repaid, that it is our birthright to be the recipients of those gifts. This way we could proceed in our ongoing inquiry and efforts to live lightly from a place of joy and gratitude, rather than from fear and despair. Just a thought.
What a surprising place to find such an neverending source of lightness of being!