A Time Such As This

Below is the speech I gave on June 3, 2020 at the TCG Virtual Conference... a convening that scrapped all its in-person, planned curation to address the volatile changes in the world and in our field caused by COVID-19 and the outrage surrounding the police murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor (to name a few). Also during this talk were Artistic Director of True Colors, Jamil Jude and actress,

poet, director, translator, storyteller, acting instructor Monique "MoMo" Holt. You can find the whole thing on YouTube.

What a time this is.

A epically injurious time yes.

What an uncertain time, absolutely.

But also

What an opportune time.

I don’t mean opportune in the opportunistic way.

In a, “Let’s buy up all the property and stocks while the price is low,” way

In a the kick a person while they’re down, exploit them because they are desperate way

But I do mean what a particularly favorable and appropriate time this is.

Every time is a time for something…every condition lends itself to certain activities more than others

Ask women who have given natural birth - there is a time to breathe and a time to push

There is a time for everything under the sun.

Some of these times are the products of our applied force

But some of these times are natural.  

They’re built in to the life cycle of every living thing.  

We call these times break down.  Fall apart.  Break through.   Some call them ebb.  Some call them winter.  Some call them death.  

I think 

I believe

such a time is this

And, in that regard, 

at this time when I feel my industry crumbling around me, 

my society crumbling around me, 

my nation even, coming undone it seems…

Violently 

I’m choosing to be excited

Yes, I’m full of anxiety, and rage and exhaustion, and fear but I am also excited because 

Every tornado has an eye

And we all know from that movie with Helen Hunt

that the middle of that eye is still

It’s a pause

I’m excited for this pause

Because in it, we can look up and see everything whirling around us

We can see a bigger picture

We can do some assessments

some recalibration

some strategic planning

We can take a universal long view

And that

perhaps strangely

comforts me 

From this wide view I can can get out of my “me” narrative and see

that the dis-ease is something we are all experiencing 

and it is, well appropriate

Just like anger is an appropriate byproduct of perceived injustice

Destruction is an appropriate outcome

an inevitable outcome

a reliable outcome

when you’re out of alignment with the Truth of Nature. 

See, human beings create societal systems that reflect how we see the world 

In the western world

once, we thought the world was flat

Linear

Hierarchical 

And what did we create?

The food chain

The chain of command

Caste systems

Ladders of success

Over the hundreds of years of believing our perception was reality

we’ve finally, in relatively recent times, come to learn that the world is round

that life is cyclical

that nature is ordered, but not ranked

that lions are as important as bees

that there is no linear chain

instead we have seen that all things are connected, inextricably

if you move one rock in Montana

you make a wave on the coasts of Indonesia

We’ve come to know these things 

These things that indigenous cultures across the globe already knew beyond the shadow of a doubt

The western world used its scientific method

the method it trusts above all else

to finally come to know these things are True with a capital ’T’

But what systems do we continue to create?

We extolled the virtues of checks and balances, but all our systems have always only manifested the hierarchy.

We are out of alignment with the Truth

And 

whenever any living thing is out of alignment with the Truth of nature

Therein lies the emergence of disease

Dis-ease.

Dis-ease… signaled by not by pain -

Pain is natural, physical

teething is pain

Birth is pain… 

growth is pain

injury is pain

mistakes are pain.

This is dis-ease signaled by suffering.

Suffering is unnecessary

Suffering is the condition of remaining out of alignment, despite opportunities for restoration

I think it's safe to say, there is a lot of suffering in our world

Suffering that, at the root, comes from this dis-alignment

Suffering that comes from living a perpetual lie.


Scarcity is a lie

There is enough for every human being on the planet to have everything they need to thrive in life

We’ve created systems that do not allow that Truth to manifest

But just because we’ve insisted on the experience of scarcity

doesn’t change the Truth of Nature’s abundance

Just because the clouds cover the sky 

doesn’t mean the sun stops shining

Ability is a lie — we all have different abilities

we've just created a world that is catered to some abilities and not others

Race is a lie

Our skin has different colors and shades, that’s true

but what we’ve made the skin colors mean, that’s a lie

Systems that value some people more or less than others

that is a lie

The gender binary is a lie

our genitalia may be different, this is true

but what we’ve made this genitalia mean, that’s a lie

These lies cause suffering, ‘cause that’s what lies do.

Think about the lies you’ve lived

Think about the times you’ve been lied to

And the times you’ve lied

You suffered, unnecessarily

You’ve caused unnecessary suffering

You know this is true

You know this is true

These lies, this dis-ease and this suffering permeate every aspect of the Western world.

Perhaps every aspect of every world.

Our field is not excluded because it is well intentioned

because it is a 501(c)3 charitable endeavor

Our field is

in actuality

also built on these lies

Of scarcity of hierarchy of normalcy

Every season

the systems we have created

the systems we continue to honor and uphold and work within

affirm year after year 

that there is not enough to go around

that some people are more valuable than others

that some things are normal while others are not

Just as we as a nation

in practice

year after year

continue to affirm

with the systems that we build and maintain

that all people are not created equal

All persons ARE created equal

but we do not believe it

for if we believed it, it would be apparent in our manifested outcomes

So what do we collectively believe?

We believe there aren’t enough resources

We believe money and power will make us impervious to harm

We believe that the control and dominance of our spheres of influence are the most honorable endeavors

We believe in hazing

We believe in "get more, pay less"

We believe we believe in being rich, even if we have to exploit to get it

We believe inclusion is earned through dominance in competition

We believe in the survival of the fittest human being and that weakness is deserving of death

We believe poverty is a moral failing

We believe the victor gets to tell the story

We believe that white people are the center of the world’s progress… are the only contributors of the world’s progress

We believe the ends justify the means

How do I know this is what we believe?

Look at what we’ve created.

These beliefs are rooted in lies.

But I'm allowing knowing this to bring me joy 

because inherent in the awareness of the suffering

is the potential for the suffering to stop

for balance and alignment with truth to be restored

if we let it

It is not a transgression to be out of alignment with what is true

it happens

It is a transgression to remain out of alignment when you become aware that you are, when you see the suffering and do not change

It was not a ridiculous thing to believe that the world was flat

that’s all we could see

but when it became evident that we wouldn’t fall off the planet at the horizon

that the horizon is perpetual

it also became clear that the line is a lie… 

there is no line

it’s a circle

it’s a sphere

never ending

Everything is connected

Why don't our systems reflect that truth?

Another cool thing about the Truth of Nature is that it cannot be defied

Nature will not be mocked

As long as we are out of alignment, we will continue to be nudged to change by our suffering

We can numb ourselves temporarily

Create new policies

Distract ourselves periodically

but Nature will offer no reprieve to our suffering until we change

Nature's law is absolute

As long as we continue to live a lie

We will continue to suffer

Suffer until we destroy ourselves even

Nature does not care

She will just take our carcasses and decompose them and make rich soil from all our crap

for something new to be created

something new and healthy and in alignment with the Truth

Life goes on

The difference between human beings and most things in nature

to our knowledge

is that we don’t have to wait for evolution

We can opt into the necessary change

we can actively participate in and direct, to an extent, our own evolution