By Jane Oliver
Guest Writer for Wake Up World
LOOK AT US… REALLY LOOK. What has become of us? We, the people, the ones with thinking minds, and hearts that beat slowly enough to allow us to stop and pause without the need to constantly feed for survival, are behaving like hummingbirds. In total disregard of cross-pollination, we rush to each new “flower” looking for the next quick fix that will keep our racing hearts thrilling and beating. Or we turn into koala bears—asleep 23 hours out of every 24, nourishing our bodily and emotional needs on highly intoxicating “eucalyptus leaves” for only one.
We indiscriminately use the social networks—”liking” garbage, ensuring it will flourish and “go viral.” We repost hate speech without thought, sparking dissension and fanning the flames of war. We think with our eyes and let our fingers do the fickle talking. We have entered the Matrix.
Rather than accommodate and acclimatize, we alienate and air-condition. We fly-screen and close critters out, instead of inviting Nature in. Rather than stick our toes deeply into the earth to delight in the feel of mud curling and grass tickling our soles, we shoe-and-sock until we can no longer step bare feet on Italian tiles or thick-pile rugs without bruising or breaking something on the smallest stone. We have become tenderfoots.
We sit in our homes, hands dug into popcorn or McDonalds/Kentucky/Wimpy or a Douglas Willis/VIP Argent wholesome meal pretender, glued to screens of white-coated, high-heeled, plastic-surgeried “doctors” expounding on today’s new miracle surgery or supplement or diet, when our hands should be placing a Band-Aid on a cut, or writing a poem.
And we burgeon and grow—sideways, frontways and backways—while our spirits, hearts and minds turn into cripples.
Dr Oz has become our health guru, where listening to our bodies and trusting our own instincts is the way we arrived at the pinnacle of the evolutionary totem pole. We used to be our own laboratories, our own scientists, experimenting with plants, grasses, creatures, microbes and bacteria. And sometimes we got sick and then healed, while some of us died. But the strongest survived and flourished. Fear now controls us and fearmongers own banks.
The constant rubbing of shoulders with our fellow man—in city streets, shop-teller queues, or dusty village roads… even our own homes… smoothed the burrs off relationships, or created skirmishes and even small battles to sort out differences. Now we turn to Oprah, or Dr Phil to clean our dirty linen in public while onscreen we sob crocodile tears to earn cash, kudos, commendation, or condemnation; and Judge Judy decides our fate and awards damages for misunderstandings and miscommunication, creating resentment and loss.
The newspaper headlines scream the medical profession’s latest “discovery” that walking slowly could be an early sign of the onset of senile dementia and we are encouraged to run, exercise, climb, swim and push our bodies to the limits (using the latest equipment, of course) to prevent natural aging and lapsing into forgetfulness, while we become brain-dead. To meander along paths beaten or un-, or stop and smell the roses, or sit and watch the grass grow, or listen to the wind whispering through leaves and agitating waves can no longer be considered “being aware” in fear of being labelled “mentally unstable.”
We turn to the canned consolation of TV, the Internet, soups and smiles; while our hearts grow icicles and the globe warms. Light illuminates the reading of all manner of trash for our eyes, and darkness descends on our souls.
From the heart our mouths shout “Power to the people!” while our hands dig into threadbare pockets to give it away. Our hold on reality is so tenuous, we clutch at bejewelled straws using them to build our houses, then scramble bewildered for shelter when the big bad wolf blows them down.
Written almost 25 years ago by a 16-year-old boy, an ancient soul, these words are even more relevant today:
I’m a soldier of fortune a hired man
taught to be led to be slaughtered like a lamb
I dance to the tune of a higher buffoon
dance to my life dance to my doom
The time has come to make my stand
to take the power in my own hand
to lead the singers to play the song
that I have heard for oh so long
To rewrite the world so it will rhyme
and make the mistakes I can call mine
Wake up world! Stop howling at the Moon. It’s time.
About the Author
Born in Canada raised in South Africa, Jane Olivier has travelled throughout Africa on business, and as a journalist, sailor, diver and always a poet. In 2006 moved her feet through SE Asia, unpacking long enough in Cambodia to build a children’s home and school. Since 2009 has been traversing the planet in an attempt to make sense of it. A writer and editor for The Mindful Word, she recently shook out the corners of her suitcase in Bangkok.