The Enthusiastic Life

 

It is a beautiful, snowy Saturday morning here in Central BC. 

 

One of those not-too-cold days with lovely fluffy flakes swirling about, perfect for a ski later today. As I reminisce about the warmth and beauty of Bali (looking through photos like the one above) I am struck by how much I adore both that world and this, and how lucky I am to be able to experience such fantastic extremes. 

I take a certain amount of pride (sinful as it is, they tell me) on being a very enthusiastic person, and on my ability to encourage this enthusiasm in both children and adults. I honor that this enthusiasm comes not from 'me' as an individual, however, but from my ability to maintain connection to source, and from an ever-increasing desire to merge with and fully understand the world around me. 

I am, in fact, in total awe of the world every day, and use the practice of seeking awesome things about life (about my body, aspects of the galaxy, or the baffling visual spectacle of flowers opening in slow motion..) to shift days when things seem considerably less awe-inspiring. This practice and the deliberate practice of gratitude keeps my mind where I want it to be, and my heart and spirit aligned with the tao, the force. 

I have found, however, an increasing loss of awe, curiosity, wonder and enthusiasm in the children that I work with in schools, and it confuses and greatly saddens me. Laying awake at night, thinking on what it is that is causing our kids to lose interest in this phenomenal world, I come up with several plausible yet not entirely causal explanations: the internet, video games, the very obvious decline of our world, and the 'normalization of boredom', amongst them. 

But is this really enough to kill the human spirit? Have video games and Facebook--layered on the relatively unquestioned neocapitalist agenda, of course--succeeded in numbing us entirely to our beauty and that of the world around us? 

Of course we all see this and feel this loss of enthusiasm in ourselves, consumed, as Jason Silva says, by the 'banality of life' in adulthood, but when did kids stop thinking things were amazing? How did we as a culture get here, so far away from what I remember as a child, in such a short time? 

...and can we come back from it? 

I have been reading a lot of Huxley, having consumed 'A Brave New World' while traveling and then continuing investigations on his perspectives regarding human nature and the future of our civilization when I returned home. I will write further on a specific quote that has been echoing through the depths of me soon, but for now to just offer this: 

Huxley believed that the downfall of our species and the loss of human potential will not be commanded upon us or brought about through violence or war, but will be slowly and willingly accepted in a fairly insidious manner as we gradually, over years or decades, become adjusted to our prisons. And he suggested this in 1935. 

And here we stand, so many years later, with our environment in shambles, our financial system an insane and illegal sham that goes unquestioned, our government continually found to be corrupt and bought, our school systems failing, our privacies lost (all due to the so-called 'threat of terrorism'), our food system depleted and laden with toxins, our children numbed and medicated, and our overall mental and emotional states in crises....and yet we still continue on. We still act like this is okay. 

I am no revolutionary, but perhaps that is just something I have been saying to myself for this long so as to excuse myself from doing something as well. But when do we say enough?