How, in a world of accelerated suffering, do we learn to live in joy?

Or, as the author below puts it: “What does acceptance look like in my life?”

It turns out that my own list is identical to his, but for two items, “breaking the law” and “killing my credit score.” I strive to work within the law, while at the same time educating local lawmakers as to which antiquated laws need to be changed. And, since I live inside the system as well as outside it, I do appreciate a high credit score, since it allows me to get a loan easily if and when I need it to further the interests of the community regeneration in my Green Acres Neighborhood.

And I would add two more to the list.

  1.  If permaculture is relationships, then every single occasion of meeting another human being (clerk in a store, passer-by in the street, judge and jury in a courtroom, the electrician who comes to the house, the policeman who stops your car) is a golden opportunity for relationship
  2. Perhaps the most crucial virtue is patience, for the more important the task, the longer it takes to accomplish. And even then, there’s no way of controlling the outcome. And why should we? We are creatures of nature. And nature rules.13244895_10153978576412702_4761094411031472007_n-1

The Illusion of Control and Hope Meet the Reality of Acceptance

May 22, 2016

by Mike Sliwa

goodmenproject, via Bodhi Paul

Participating in a global culture of greed and oppression can make one go mad. Here’s how we can accept our realities, and still strive to be better.


Those who are paying any attention to the ongoing catastrophes of climate change, population overshoot, massive species extinction, and the gutting of the planet for fossil fuels often become severely depressed. Witnessing the massive oppression, violence and environmental degradation it requires to maintain this set of living arrangements can push anyone over the edge. Participating in such a global culture can make one go mad. I never went to that dark place of utter despair because I never had hope when it came to our global predicaments.

Many of us are control freaks. We like things to go our way and we do everything in our power to try and make that happen. When we come across enormous challenges we often become demoralized and sometimes depressed because we realize control is an illusion. Still we tend to hang on to the smallest piece of control by holding out hope for some miraculous paradigm shift or collective enlightenment that will alter our course from planetary destruction to something else, anything else.

Hope is a dead end and nothing more than a fantasy created within our deepest fears. When I challenge people to look beyond hope towards acceptance they often accuse me of being a fatalist or of giving up. What they fail to realize is that letting go of the very thing we consider to be a lifeline is the most exhilarating and liberating experience one can have. It’s not that I don’t care, it’s that I find a place for grief, sadness and despair within my life. In other words, it doesn’t consume me and become a fixation or my identity.

In the film, Fight Club, there is a scene where one character is telling the other character to let go of the steering wheel as an example of how we try to control life. We may crash and burn. That is how life works. We learn from the crashes. When we look at the global catastrophes in our lifetimes we can either hope they go away, hope for a magical solution or accept what is and act accordingly. I’m acting accordingly. What does acceptance look like in my life?

It looks like …

  • working without being employed.
  • living instead of making a living.
  • playing without paying to play.
  • living in community instead of a neighborhood.
  • learning from my elders instead of writing them off.
  • knowing the sources of my needs.
  • knowing my wants are not my needs.
  • doing what I want when I want.
  • not trying to save my species, my culture or the world.
  • speaking truth to power.
  • breaking the law.
  • killing my credit score.
  • challenging everything I’ve ever been taught.
  • peaceful living.

Acceptance of our predicament provides the strength to move beyond the dominant narrative always trying to find a solution for a predicament. It is not our fault that we were born into industrial civilization. It is not our fault that we have been domesticated, indoctrinated, subjugated, obligated, relegated, and incarcerated by a system that has no face or soul but forces us to face the fact we must continually sell our soul to maintain and perpetuate it’s existence. It is not our fault that the only tool we’ve been handed is hope.

Responsibility is a two-way street. We can clearly see that control has been nothing more than wishful thinking. However, it does not mean we lay down and continue to allow atrocities to destroy lives (human and non-human alike) without resistance. Acceptance is taking action regardless of the outcome. Acceptance is knowing nature bats last and being content with it. Acceptance is chasing a different carrot and ignoring the herd.

Let go and we will see you on the other side. The grass isn’t greener but then having a lawn is just another illusion in the culture of make believe , isn’t it?


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