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.
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.
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…
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 strategic planning
We can take a universal long view
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
And what did we create?
The food chain
The chain of command
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
whenever any living thing is out of alignment with the Truth of nature
Therein lies the emergence of disease
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
also built on these lies
Of scarcity of hierarchy of normalcy
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
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 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
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