Quake of change

The Japanese quake has shifted everyone’s consciousness in different ways to a certain extent. My personal shift took place a couple of weeks before the quake, but it served to emphasize and magnify my shift. I, personally (please assume every word in this entry is my personal p.o.v from this moment onwards), don’t think we have seen the last of it. Something in my gut tells me we’re in the midst of a major transition on Earth.

A lot has happened in the past year. Apart from the Japanese quake, there was Christchurch, the Brisbane floods, Haiti, *that* oil spill, fish dying everywhere, etc. Even Singapore, the typically organized nation with well-equipped infrastructure were not spared flooding, which was an almost non-event compared to what was happening to the rest of the world. But it was a sign to me nonetheless.

My generation has not witnessed such a frequency of major events. It is not all doom and gloom though, as we are witnessing positive events such as the Middle-eastern uprisings. The astrologers and other ‘new-age’ people have anticipated these for years.

What we have been accustomed to for the past decades is not sustainable in the long-term. The ecologists, scientists, researchers know. It is a fact that our resources *are* going to run out soon, it is a matter of time. To put in crudely, even if there were no natural disasters, we’re on the pathway to self-destruction.

But we’re all in denial about it. Our lives carry on as though we live in another dimension. We indulge in ego-boosting pursuits, meaningless power stuggles. I am in no illusion about my personal well-being even though I live in a country free from natural disasters. I am very clear that anything can happen at any point in time, that is why I have made it a personal goal to be more mindful of my choices.

But it still took me almost 30 years of my lifetime to truly realise what it means to lead a purposeful life. There is no point knowing or understanding these concepts intellectually, it is another issue altogether to apply these concepts to my daily life. To be more aware, to have proper priorities, to know what truly matters. I have to gradually wipe away years of conditioning, I don’t even think I am 10% done. Yet I am still blessed, because I don’t have to be near-death for myself to wake up.

I have no idea what is going to happen in the next one-two years. I don’t believe that the world is literally going to end, but I do think there is significant transition that is already taking place now, and we’re all going to witness the effects in the next two years. I am not afraid nor worried, I have begun to accept the inevitability of natural cycles. I just hope to be as conscious as possible while making every choice.

I believe there is a silver-lining in every dark cloud and we can now see how a disaster spurs people uniting to a common cause and delivering goodwill with no agenda. I wonder if it would be in this lifetime that I will get to witness people uniting globally and stop the senseless power struggles. We have the means globally to eradicate wars, poverty and other issues that do not have to exist. But we don’t bother except for the minority groups championing for their individual causes. We are all intricately linked and in doesn’t make logical sense at all to fight for power for the sake of power. What is the point of having people accumulating all that wealth and power when we all die at the end of it? Is it about a place in history? Nobody is going to look back at him/her fondly – wow, the richest person in the world. We don’t remember Bill Gates or Steve Jobs because they’re one of the richest people in existence. We remember them because they made significant contributions to mankind. Mother Theresa was not wealthy. How about Martin Luther King?

I no longer wish to be all talk and no action. I no longer want to be very uncomfortable at witnessing all the disappointments of this world and yet try to be detached to it. I know I cannot be Mother Theresa. I don’t have the energy nor the patience. But I can make a difference in my own little ways. All of us can. If each and everyone of us makes a small little change, the entire collective effort can change the world. Imagine if everyone of us become more conscious of our usage of resources? Perhaps less trees will be cut down, less fish will die, less nuclear plans have to be built. I am not naive nor extreme. I don’t think the solution is to stop using resources or to be vegan. But actually to practice moderation and not to waste. Respect the food you’re eating, respect the farmers who harvested that grain of rice. Why do we have to wait for disasters to strike before we appreciate what we have?

I have personally come a long way. I was the biggest waster you would know. I would throw away food and will not bother to recycle paper. The tap would be on full blast when I wash my hands. Now, with every single clean drop I use to wash my hands, I remember the people who do not even have water to use, not to mention clean water.

Initially, I made all these changes out of love for my partner, because she hates wastage. She has been through tough times before and it makes her see resources in a vastly different light from my peers. Somehow slowly, though my own self-awareness, empathy, and a short trip in an eco resort in the Philippines, something in me just clicked. I can no longer be the waster I was. I had to use pails of conserved water in that resort. No toilet paper which was really, really difficult for me.

The next time I arrived at a place with water and toilet paper, I knew I was changed forever. Again, I am blessed, because it didn’t take a real hardship for me to make this change.

I have this inner fear that I will die young, suffer from bad health, or something will just happen to me before I get to do things I really want to do. Now, it is no longer a fear. It is an acceptance that it will be inevitable. Some day. I am not sure when. It could be when I am 80. It doesn’t matter, as I have repeated so many times on this blog, as long as on my deathbed, I can be proud of the life I have led.

Previously, I have been waiting for the day I am in a better financial position, because how the hell am I going to do things if I am struggling to survive myself right? I now quote from an article that I have read about Buckminster Fuller, who went bankrupt and took a vow of silence of two years before coming out of it and embarking on numerous amazing projects:

If one attends to the problems of humanity and commits oneself to solving them, the universe will care for that person the same way it cares for a flower or a bird. So he committed himself to working on the bigger tasks of the world on the absolute faith that the universe’s integrity will pay him back.

And it did, for him.

I have made the conscious decision to only work on projects that I truly care about, even for my commercial projects. They will need to serve a function I actually believe in, no matter how small it may be. I will also try to make a headstart on a couple of non-profit community projects that I have put off for the past 2 years, because I was too busy with surviving. I have a few other like-minded individuals with me, and the best part of it is not knowing what is going to happen.

I am still coping to survive, but synchronistically I remembered my primary school motto, “Now or Never”.