I'm writing this from a magical spot -- a deck overlooking LA, the home of my aunt and uncle. This is the functional side of my family. Not because life has been perfect for them, but because they have faced it well. And now, everything around them has become a testament to their victories.
Their children, their grandchildren, their home, their friends, their health.
I visit them almost every time I come out here because I love them and enjoy their company, but also because they are a touchstone of sorts. A reminder that where we come from does not dictate where we can go. That what has happened to us does not limit what we can create.
Within the constellation of my family, this west coast branch has always been somewhat mythical. A shining beacon of light when we needed to believe that something different was possible. But sometimes, a source of envy, too.
How dare they leave. How dare they break these patterns we feel stuck with. Who do they think they are, to go to the land of eternal sun while we tend to the mess?
No one says it out loud. No one has to. We can all hear it without giving it a voice.
From my perch this morning, overlooking the mountains and valleys, I see how this pattern in my small family is playing out everywhere. How it is underlying our political divisions, our cultural struggles, our relationship with technology, with the earth, all of it.
I also see, if I may get philosophical for a moment, that we are just a blink in the timeline of evolution. This tussle between us is nothing more (or less) than the growing pains of a species playing out in the slow motion of our lives.
I share this view with you because it gives me great comfort, and I hope it does to you, too.
We are both necessary and insignificant. We matter and we don't. We are capable of great change, and we can also stay still and calm and let the world do its thing without us.
We can play out our lives from any position, or from every position. We can take turns being the one who forges ahead, who creates the future, who heals the past, who tends to the mess.
Every single choice we make, every experience we have, every lesson we learn, becomes part of the fabric of the collective intelligence of our species. If you can strip away whatever attachments, judgments, and self-absorption you might be clinging to, you can see that it's all perfect, exactly as it is.
That said, I also choose not to stay up in this perch all the time. It's merely a touchstone -- like my aunt and uncle themselves. Most of the time, I join in the fray. I make and clean up messes. I push myself and others forward. I get my hands dirty.
And I invite you to as well. It's what there is to do while we are here. Play your part and play it well.
But every once in a while, climb up on a perch, take a deep breath into the great expanse, and acknowledge your own perfection, and that of everything and everyone else around you.