How long had it been since the bare flesh of my back touched damp, green grass? I couldn’t tell you for sure, but now I have a new time marker; I got out of bed today, put my laundry away, heated up yesterday’s coffee, and went out and laid in the grass, in the sun, shirtless. If my yard wasn’t bordered by 500 obnoxious, nosy neighbors, I would have preferred to be nude. Spiders are naked.
What would your ideal life be like? How would you know? This question occurred to me as I was putting my laundry away. I’ve been brainstorming writing prompts for an upcoming class, and I think that’s a good prompt. What would come out of teenage minds in response to that question, in 2018? I’m excited to find out.
What would come out of adult minds? To wonder about your ideal life is to explore your desires—those that are immediate, those that are hidden, and those that are manufactured. I imagine that a number of aspects of that Ideal Life would be easy to predict—wealth, luxury, leisure time. Delving into the realm of fancy and fantasy would no doubt reveal many things about people and the society in which we live.
But what if you based that answer on experiences you’ve actually had? Remove the pie in the sky, alternate universe accoutrements and dive instead into the riches of your life and memories. Jesus said the kingdom of god is within you, so what is it like? What IS it?
For me, I’m as close to my ideal life as I’ve ever gotten. I’m not selling my time to some Boss or Company for their profit. I have a fridge and cabinet full of food that I enjoy eating. I make my own schedule, I write and draw and stay up all night and host amazing parties. I make music, I read, I nap. I spend a lot of time doing nothing much at all. Which, despite what They told you, is exactly what humans are supposed to do.
So what’s missing? What would make it more ideal? The answers to that question are easy for me, because I think about it often. It comes down to one word: expansion. To be able to share this life with folks who have also achieved this freedom. “Free your ass and your spirit will follow.” Trapped in the Planetary Work Machine, finding a portal to freedom that doesn’t involve destitution and misery is a feat worthy of the mightiest gods.
It took me almost five months—five months!—to release enough anxiety to actually be able to enjoy where I’m at. How will I pay for this? I’m broke! Will this contract go through? What will I do next year? Will I make enough money? I don’t want to go back to the plantation! I can’t afford to do x, y, and z! Blah blah blah.
Two major events took place that freed me from my own internal chains. Number one, one of the school contracts I’ve been working on for months was finally approved. YES! I now have a guaranteed quantity of funds that will go into the freedom coffers. We hoisted the skull and crossbones and we’ve captured the merchant ship captain; it’s off to Tortuga for us! Number two, I got rid of a burgeoning vampire romance before it could pass the smooching phase—more importantly, this last undead adventure was so intense that I decided it was past time to confront whatever it was about myself that was leading me into relationships with these horrible manipulators.
Magician with the tools, and I put them to work; I confronted, bound, and banished the Black Djinn and blocked the Evil Eye. Sage and sigils, midnight ceremony at the crossroads, graveyard dirt and artifact sacrifice. Off to the beach, follow the middle star in Orion’s belt, and arrive at paradise beach. Malik is one of the 99 names of Allah. I have now been living more or less consistently in the kingdom of heaven for several weeks now. And yes, it’s as wonderful as you’ve heard. My life has become an autonomous zone, and I will do whatever I have to do in order to keep it that way.
My only affliction is loneliness, and the pain that comes from watching my closest friends suffer as they struggle to “earn a living” selling their lives to other people. A pirate ship needs a crew, but everyone’s rowing oars on the slave galley and they’ve got satellite lasers to blast buccaneers and corsairs right out of the water. Basically, I want people to share my freedom with.
And not just freedom from work, but also freedom from the total commodification of reality that is inherent in the technology that people have almost completely capitulated to. I have no interest in laying nude in the grass with people who are scrolling through their spacephone. I don’t want our lounging on the beach to be instagrammed. Proof that TechnoBabylon is adept at robbing meaning from anything: even people who are compelled to use terms like “internal colonization” and “decolonization” seem completely unable to perceive their own colonization by machines.
Recently I visited an old friend who I hadn’t seen in sometime. He took the pardon, as I like to say—surrendered the possibility of using his amazing skill and brilliance to achieve an exciting life of substance. Instead, he’s now worked the same “secure and stable” job for over 15 years, and will probably stay there until he retires in 20 or 30 years. He’s got a house in suburbia that looks, in structure and decor, like every other house in the suburbs—a zone of complete spiritual decay—and he is surrounded by people who offer zero challenge to his intellect. In other words, he surrendered to The Fear.
In his living room he’s got two gigantic big-screen TVs, so that when his plebeian comrades come over for their ritual worship of Babylon, they can watch multiple sporting events at once. Looking at the devices, all I could think was: you could’ve spent that money on tantric call girls and brandy. Pack a bag full of easily concealable psychedelic drugs and let’s go to Morocco! Be sure to invite me! But alas, even staying up past 11pm on a weeknight is a feat of daring too great for those who Have To Be At Work In The Morning.
It’s like this: if I know you then we’ve been to heaven together. You may not have noticed, but I promise you I did—if I didn’t reveal the secret, it’s only because I didn’t want to taint the moment with too much self-consciousness. In my imaginal realms, if nowhere else, everything is united—that time we spent on the porch, that walk we took, the dancing, the love-making, the sitting in the woods in silence.
I must confess that my heaven is haunted by melancholy, by the separation from my beloved. If only she could have accompanied me here; if only we could have found our joy together. I dearly miss her, as I’ve never missed anything or anyone. But as Gnarls Barkley put it, “I’m going on—and I’m prepared to go it alone. And I promise I’ll be waiting for you…”
East Oakland is laced with billboards—sponsored by whatever evil Xtian cult—that say (menacingly): “When you die, you WILL meet God.”
I’m like, why wait? PARADISE NOW!