our future together

Imagine a society that values, above all, your willingness to be yourself. After much research and observation, this society has proven that the biggest boon to society as a whole comes when individuals get happy. So society pays you to realize your deepest dreams. And keeps paying you to dream again.

You go online and notice that your monthly payment from society has increased because of your breakthroughs last month in getting to know yourself. Nothing concretely measurable may come from your new comfort in your own skin, but society knows that you’re now even more of an asset to the collective and it wants to reward you.

When you came of age, you automatically began receiving a monthly payment from society that was enough to live on. As you’ve found your way, following clues about your interests and hints about your passions, weaving them into a life you truly love, your income has continued to go up. Incomes in this society never go down. Only up.

Today, you wake up with an idea that has you grabbing for paper, then you keep writing onto a second page as one idea leads to another. While eating breakfast in the back garden, you alternate talking with your family, watching the bees, and musing on your new idea, which is so exciting it makes your pulse race.

In your work room (which you don’t have any problem calling a work room, because in this society work is associated with happiness), you get busy researching elements of your idea online, then you call your best friend to talk it over. Now your friend is excited, too, and as you talk the idea forms wings and changes shape into something even better. Synergy and multiplication and amplification begin to take hold.

More colleagues and friends and supporters are drawn into the discussion. Happy technicians get googly spiral eyes when told about the idea and immediately lapse into heated discussions packed with jargon. You leave them to do their thing, waving into your computer’s camera before closing it, knowing they’ll turn up brilliant ways to help bring the idea into the world.

Meanwhile, you take a break and bike with your son to the farmer’s market. While you talk with the wrinkled man at the mushroom stand about the weather and mushrooms and bees, he says something that makes you see your new project sideways. From this new perspective, you notice a major flaw. Intrigued by his way of looking at the world, you ask him what he’s doing this afternoon. Would he be willing to stop by your place for a conference call with some technicians? He laughs and shrugs. Sure, why not?

You turn around and find that your son has gone on to his internship, so keen to get there he forgot to say goodbye. In town, you stop at the art store, the office supply store, and the bakery. On your way home, you notice a bunch of bikes in the driveway of your mom’s friend’s house and remember that she recently got back from a trip. You decide to drop off some mushrooms as a welcome home gift.

You walk in the back door to find your mom’s friend and several others in earnest discussion. They’ve been trying to reach you and now here you are! They’ve got a favour to ask: Would you be willing to use your expertise to help someone they know who’s having a challenging time today? Of course you would. Their friend needs exactly what you have, and you’re known throughout the region to be the best at it.

After a couple of hours with their friend, the problem is on its way to being over, lessons learned, and you’re all sitting at a table under a spreading tree, sunlight flickering down through the leaves. Lunch is being provided by your friend’s mom and her friends, who’ve cooked up such a spectacular thank-you feast you may not need any dinner.

By the time you leave, your face hurts from laughing so much at the stories shared. The new friend you’ve helped manages a smile and squeezes your hand in gratitude, which makes your day.

As you head home, biking past little stores and familiar houses and gardens, you don’t see any billboards or ads, but every now and then you see a poster put up by society which shows the big face of someone who looks both totally normal and really happy. The poster consists of only that face and three words: What is me? Society wants to remind you to ask yourself this question. Society depends on you being as “me” as you can be.

The face on the poster changes every week and is never anyone you know. Sometimes the face is pale, sometimes dark, older, younger, hairy, scarred, and everything else. But every face is absolutely beautiful.

What is me?, you think as you ride along, steering your bike into gentle swerves.

Who am I when I’m most myself?

Leaf shadows and sunlight flicker patterns onto your arms. Birds chatter and sing. That excellent lunch feeds its nourishment through your body. As you catch the first glimpse of home through the trees, you suddenly have a great idea …

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[This tale is offered as a meditation, a touchstone for a feeling that leads to a being.]

 “Better keep yourself clean and bright;
you are the window through which you must see the world.”
George Bernard Shaw

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This is me. Oh. This, too.

We evolve. Naturally. So you may notice this website breathing over time, organically shifting through tweaks and experiments. They’re signs of me getting more comfortable in my own skin. Please let me know if you ever miss something you can’t find here anymore.

A Guest Post on MariaShriver.com

Maria Shriver’s website recently published this guest post by me: “Free to Be Our True, Fumbling Selves.”

 

7 comments to our future together

  • Jenny Rock

    What I am sitting here enjoying is the thought that those list of things making a perfect day shows us that the appreciations and beauty is not a linear feed…. they are mutually influencing… summative perhaps (but probably more complicated than that): the gorgeous sensation of the dappling leaves on bare arms cycling home would not have felt so good if you had not given of yourself and had it well received earlier. It would have been lovely, but the headiness came from spontaneity and effort and selflessness, and caring and big view/holistic egalitarian putting yourself out there and being met by a receptive society…. it came from work and risk and love rewarded. 😉
    So to get the good things in life we have to care to give and risk spontaneously.
    It is obvious, we know it, but your “list of a perfect day’s events that wasn’t a list” is a nice reminder. x

    • Holy, Jen, your comment is a direct message from that perfect day. This expands my awareness and joy that a life well lived is naturally holistic. You’ve pegged it for me: the interweavings and mutual tunings of a supportive society that values individuals as themselves deepen and inform each other in such a way as to be complexly beneficial as ideas (and life) are generated and as they’re received, and back around again, ad infinitum. Cool. Thank you so much for these thoughts. (Please pat a sheep for me when you get around to it.)

  • Love this! And I think more and more people are coming around to the idea as well. Thanks for painting such a beautiful image.

    • I’m glad you like it, Chad. I find it comforting to know this picture of a way things could be (really? yes!) resonates with others.

      Your website intrigues.

      Thanks for commenting.

  • How did you crawl into my head and see every aspect of my Ideal Day? “My face hurts from laughing so much”…I know what that feels like. It feels like home.

    • Actually, as I lapsed into this imaginary future while writing it, it was obvious to me that you’d be the first person I’d call all excited about my idea. How neat that reading this made you laugh. I love that.