I Quit

I Quit

I’ve called time.
At the tender or ripe age of 60, this is it. Enough.
I quit.
There is huge freedom in being a quitter.
I’ve given up.
I’ve let go.
I’ve surrendered.
So What?

To quit in today’s world usually has a negative connotation. That’s interesting. A quitter who gives up is often seen as a failure.

But the very word quit comes from two great concepts; freedom and silence.

It’s latin.
Middle English (in the sense ‘set free’): from Old French quiter (verb), quite (adjective), from Latin quietus, past participle of quiescere ‘be still’, from quies ‘quiet’.

It is time to unravel all that I have thought was important over the past few decades, because most of it wasn’t.
And I think as a species, we humans have been overthinking our importance and shaping the world to our own detriment. That is why I am quitting, giving up, letting go and surrendering.

Phew, it does feel a great relief.

I have been so attached to getting it all right for so long. Trying to solve every freakin’ problem with my intellect. How arrogant is that? But most of us do it. We think if we nut everything out, we can solve any problem. Well, who decided whatever it was, was a problem in the first place!

So to coin a hugely overused cliché, what is the roadmap?
Well for a start there are two very colonizing, limiting words.

We would well do without them. They have so limited our horizons, the ways we navigate. Yeah I get they were designed to make it easier to get around, and in a certain time that was probably a good idea, as to navigate rugged terrain limited our movement and access to opportunities. But at what cost? Now the road rules and negates so many other ways of navigating our world, that are usually far more harmonious with other species and the natural world. Bugger the road.

And Maps.
Maps started out to make life easier, didn’t they? But maps have way out lived their usefulness after centuries of use to dominate, separate, colonise, divide, own, rule. You get my point. And anyway, there’s GPS.

So goodbye road, goodbye map.
I don’t want a roadmap for the future.
What I do want is to quit, to find freedom, quiet and silence.

The world is already going through so much crazy change, any map or any road you might have is going to be obsolete the moment you look at it.

The massive challenges we face, environmentally and socially have been on the cards for many many years.

The thing was, when people started to talk about the future and the opportunities and risks of globalization, the use of resources and the wicked problem or enormous potential of developing the developed, developing and under developed world, it all became an ideological or intellectual debate.

Debate. Now there is another outdated concept. Oh dear, and that has been the supposed basis of democracy in the world, debate. I am really not sure whether ‘debate’ is a useful process at all. It’s an adversarial clashing of egos more than anything else, and has the world always ended up a better place in the hands of those who won a debate?

So we were all getting it wrong trying to fix everything with our heads, our logic. So arrogant.

We had taught ourselves to distrust, disown and discredit our intuition. It was witchcraft, it was ropey, soft, vague, dangerous, woolly, feminine, dangerous, unproven, hugely risky.
Well was it, is it?

My intuition told me a long long time ago that we needed to live more harmoniously with each other and with nature. I didn’t have the data, and to be honest, quantitative data has never really been my thing. But I could sense we were pushing it. Stuff was going to wear out. Surely life on this planet has always been about cause and effect. You use things and people up too much, and things will bounce back. There will be an effect, there will be an impact, and the force may well be far greater than you thought.

So here we are. Pandemics. Storms. Busted infrastructure. Stuff running out. People not happy.

My aim is to do far far less.

I quit work. I quit recreation. I quit consuming.
Undoubtedly I will do a little of all these things.
But I will DO far far less, and aim to BE far far more.
Much more meditation every day.
Teaching myself to think less and less and less.
Teaching myself to reflect more and more and more.
Teaching myself to love more and more and more.
Teaching myself to practice Festina Lente, to hasten slowly.
To be in balance with action and stillness.
That feels good.
I quit.

The Best of Both Worlds

What are the ‘both’worlds ?

When ever we say someone has the best of both worlds we would say that with awe, admiration, desire, envy, o some such.

What does it mean? Is it being clever, being lucky, being courageous?

Is it like having a bob each way, having your cake and eating it too.

In my generation, we grew up being told we could NOT have our cake and eat it too.

But having the best of both worlds was getting more than one ‘bargained’for, in Judeo-Christian traditions, one should not ask or expect too much and be humble . Again, look at the scarcity in the word, bargained. It intimates deciding we could only have so much and then got more.

Having the best of both worlds is about abundance and freeing ourselves of limiting what we think we can have.

We unconsciously limit ourselves every day. I gave up dreaming of a beach side house years ago deciding it was too expensive. So if I think of a place to live out of the city, I don’t think about the coast anymore. But I would love to live by the coast. I’ve limited a dream, having arrogantly predicted the future as it isn’t going to happen.
Now I could and now do still dream of having a place by the coast. Maybe it is in a place I’ve never thought of, maybe even a country I’ve never even thought of. Maybe I don’t really need to own it. Maybe someone might give it to me. But one thing is for sure, if I have given up on the dream, it certainly isn’t going to happen.

The best of both worlds can be about the real world what ever we have that mean, and the ideas world. Living our dreams but living our lives, work all in one. The best of both worlds is about giving up that our life, desires, inspiration, work, is either this, or that, but not both.

The limiting of ourselves, saying we can have this and not that is becoming an old 20th century paradigm, in a time of scarcity. That has not served the world. We have not dealt to world poverty, violence, inequity by acting from a place of scarcity. The limits of the western world’s economic system are manmade, and not real. But as it affects most of the globe’s wellbeing through controlling access to money, and therefore food. shelter and our basic needs, it occurs as all powerful, limited and a struggle to master. It also occurs as benefiting a few at the expense of many.

If we have what is called a social consciousness, we bitch about the rich getting richer, and the inequity of the system.

If we feel powerless we bitch about the government taking taxes and controlling our lives, even delving into conspiracy theories.

If we are aspiring to climb the ladder to wealth, we see the world as about hard work and striving, but bitch and moan about how unattainable it is.

Most of us operate from one of the above.

And does it serve us?

I would say no, resoundingly. We end up blaming, not taking any responsibility for our state of being. It is someone else’s fault, it will always be the same, and we are powerless to do anything about it.

Well this is an invented reality, and the irony is; it is an idea of the world that we have made up.

This morning I sat in my kitchen contemplating my day, looking out at my scruffy back yard, with kikuyu overgrowing everything, lawn unkempt, a chaotic mess. But I saw our old lemon tree and it triggered a whole different set of thoughts. This lemon tree is one tough survivor. It has rotted to a stump at least twice, and grown back to a tree, budding and producing beautiful tangy lemons. Its current trunk, straight as an arrow, was a shoot from a rotting stump. 18 months ago a tornado whipped around our house and snapped the lemon tree half way down its trunk. It looked pitiful for a month or two and not for the first time I was sure it would die. But now as summer fades, it is covered in branches, leaves, buds and lemons. It fruits and always has all year round so there is always one or two lemons on it. The lemons have made hot drinks for us when we are sick, wedges for tequila shots, wedges for gin and tonics, zest for icing, salads, salad dressings marinades, a versatile fruit.

So? I have it that this lemon tree, without an uttered thought, a brain, a soul has made the best of all worlds and we have benefited from it. And will continue to do so. And then one day, it will die as all things do, and we will all move on. I like limes too.