In Tyson Yunkaporta’s book, Sand Talk, he suggests that “the war between good and evil is, in reality, an imposition of stupidity and simplicity over wisdom and complexity” … I don’t love the word ‘stupidity’, as many who think in binary ways are not lacking intelligence, they’re/we’re lacking systemic education, community, and guidance from elders and peers.
The majority of us have been taught and encouraged to look at everything in silos. Rather than as a thread within a web of interconnected beings and happenings that we are a part of.
So we get stuck in these cycles, locked in the binaries of destruction and healing, good and evil, right and wrong. Narratives which often lead to separatism rather than unity. But then again, that comparison is yet another binary, so I’m not exempt from getting caught up in that pattern.
The other day I went about trying to heal an ill plant last weekend. Its roots had started to rot, and I feared it was too sick to save. It was possible it might have poisoned the soil around it and the whole kit and caboodle would have to be destroyed so as not to spread disease.
Unsure whether to give up, I searched the vast swaths of the internet for more wisdom and found that sometimes, even with some rotten roots, parts of the healthy bits will be salvageable. And you can bring the plant back to good health by removing the rot and replanting it in healthy soil.
Based on the year we just had, it seemed like a perfect metaphor. 2020 taught us all unenjoyable lessons as the veil of our so-called society was lifted, and each rotten root slithered up from where it had been hiding to reveal itself.
In most cases, these slithering rotters were too far gone to save. But there were a few instances where we – either individually or collectively – caught the rot early enough to destroy the rot and salvage what could be saved … leaving things better for the care given and the growth that care created.
In 2020, almost every organisation I associated myself with, and invested my time in, I, or others, found rot. In one instance, I was so bedazzled by the plant’s bloom I completely missed the signs. Or maybe I wasn’t truly looking beyond the facade.
For the other, I invested almost the entirety of my energy in trying to make it less hierarchical. Only to find they were stuck in a cycle of ego, set on climbing for power, rather than weaving a web of systemic change.
In both cases, I got lost. One, through not digging deep enough to see the root of the rot, in the other, thinking I could help heal it. I don’t know if I regret either effort, it is always worth trying, but what I do regret is all the time and energy spent on organisations rather than on the beings in my community.
For 2021, I don’t feel motivated to make any other goals than to get through it, and help others do the same. I think this year is going to continue to reveal rot, and that we will need each other more than ever.
I hope we as a collective (and myself as an individual) can move away from narratives and weave a new pattern. I have faith that we can learn to dig down and fuse what healthy roots we have left so we might share our energy, nutrients and wisdom as trees do. Creating a community of grounded beings who are unshakable.