More, please

Image: Ali Lananga, Stocksy

Image: Ali Lananga, Stocksy

dedicated to those who’ve lost their lives as a result of fear

Life ain’t too shabby. I live in Venice, California, six blocks from the beach. I walk to yoga, I surf, I always buy organic, and I start each day with a let loose dance to the happy beats of Pharrell, shine my soul with Jerry Garcia and let Chance the Rapper’s “Blessings” fall in my lap.

Sunshine or rain, mint chocolate chip is my answer for everything. And I don’t believe it matters how full the glass is, as long as there’s always a pitcher nearby to fill it with lemonade. I’ve never liked the news, in fact I refuse to watch. If the price of being informed is a lifelong prescription of Zoloft - no thank you!

On the morning of June 12, John read me the news. 49 dead. The other day, I overheard two women in a coffee shop – Alton SterlingPhilando Castile, and a peace march turned riot in Dallas, Texas. 

Life is so incredibly delicate. Living behind my rose colored glasses and ignoring the suffering because it hurts too much? This can no longer be my solution.

I cannot sit idly by as my earth is being scorched by those who were entrusted to care for her; watch from the palm of my hand as communities are torn apart by terrorists and police brutality; witness our bodies, including my own, become personal war zones, crumbling under the strain of stress; and my heart can no longer bear the crushing blow every time I venture beyond my front door into the reality of the inequality spreading wider and growing deeper with each homeless family who now calls their car, “Home.”

And yet, the world is beautiful.

The doves are cooing, the flowers of the Los Angeles jacaranda trees are turning the grey, hard sidewalks into beautiful purple carpets, and hummingbirds float effortlessly outside my window, spreading the nectar of life, pollinating the future. 

This is MORE. The dark. The light. The expansion. The contraction. More. In Life there is Death. In Fear, Love. From Sickness to Health. From Joy to Sadness and back to Joy. In the contradictions and the juxtapositions. All of it. More.

I’ve been searching for “More” my entire life. In shoes and jobs and more shoes. I’ve traveled to far away places, smoked out with Dave Matthews, and dedicatedly worked into the wee hours of the night for a taste of the good life. The more I've searched, the more I've experienced, the more I've learned. I’ve grown beyond the thrill of the seeking, defining myself with stuff, driving and striving for achievement, and vying for attention. 

And yet, I can’t help it. I want “More”.

So, what is More, really?

What does it mean to want more? Where does more come from? How does it start? Why are some of us so driven by it and others so afraid? What is the relationship between more and less? What is the difference between enough and plenty? Does the seeking ever end, or is there always more? And why the heck am I so fucking obsessed with this? 

I often feel like I’m standing beneath a 30 foot waterfall, looking up, as these questions rain down, drenching every cell of my existence. It would be so easy to give up, to step aside, let someone else care, let someone else decide.

But as with most waterfalls, every once in a while, the sunlight catches the mist at just the right time, and suddenly these questions become rainbows of insights illuminated in technicolor. Simple droplets transformed into something that feels more like blessings, than answers. 

I live for these blessings. If only life were always this beautiful, this easy. 

I will not give up, give in, give out. I cannot quit. Far beyond any fear of failure, I’m a believer. In this planet, in the human race, in myself. I now realize “More” is not an outside conquest. It was never something I could make happen. More is an inside job. An energy I must radiate.

______

Despair. She is an all too familiar face. I have known her since the day the coroner came to our door. Hikers discovered my father’s body behind a rock in Boulder Canyon. A self inflicted gun shot to the head. I was five. Since then I’ve called over 50 different apartments and townhouses, my home. I know what it’s like to be the new girl. “Different” cuts deep. My soul aches for peace.

And sitting squarely at the center of this despair… 

Scarcity.

Despite the beauty that surrounds me, the chains of the less, lack and limits imposed by the outdated fears – of our parents, our governments, our companies, our religions – they constrict.I will not take it anymore. I’m sick and tired of drowning in all this “not enough-ness” – not doing enough, not having enough, not living enough, not being enough. 

Wild postings of “You Are Enough”, plastered on the walls of Facebook, make me want to vomit. I know they are well intentioned. But enough will never be enough for me. Especially when it comes to peace.

As many try and convince themselves “enough” will heal their troubled lives, others are praying at the alter of “abundance consciousness”. Fuck that shit! Yes, we live in an abundant world, America one of the most lucky. And for that I am grateful. I am even grateful for the shitty stuff. But abundance doesn’t create peace, it’s merely the result of peace.

Peace?

This is a tricky one. The resolution is not hidden in the economics, not the politics, not the aesthetics, the demographics, the academics, science, psycho-babble, or even the theology. 

I believe our greatest obstacle to world peace is scarcity.

And our greatest opportunity to resolve all this crazy “not-enoughness”? 

Connection. 

We need one mother-fucking Kumbaya!

We need each other. Peace does not result from me being an exact replica of you - your looks, your beliefs, your desires, your god. Peace is a result of me connecting to ME connecting WITH YOU. Linked arm in arm, our collective power is in our individuality. Standing witness, admiring, celebrating each other’s awesome-aciousness. 

Oklahoma City. Virginia Tech. Columbine. Fort Hood. Aurora Colorado. Sandy Hook. Paris. Syria. 9/11. Orlando. Dallas, Texas. 

These times, they are begging us for more.

I can no longer stare into the mirror and pray for peace, wish for change, yearn for compassion, hope to make a difference. Mint chocolate chip just ain’t gonna cut it anymore. 

It is time to do something.

It’s time to be something.

It’s time to BE More.

Open the kimono. Get full monty. Go full out. Express yo’ self. 

Not just a little. A LOT!  How much are you willing to risk? How much are you willing to give? 

Me? I am ready to give you more, give you everything I’ve got. I don’t want to hold a single thing back.

I’m asking you to join me.

Because I need you. We need you. To rise up. To be your most amazing self. To be a model. To set an example. For each other.

Change is not easy. This will take courage. Man o’ man ‘o man will this take courage. To step outside from behind the shadows, to break formation, to let our freaky flags fly. Encouraging each other’s courage to love and accept ourselves, so we may do the same for another. 

Let’s be our greatest selves. Let’s admire our individuality, love our awkwardness and our own sweet quirkiness. Let’s give our differences the power to add to, rather than take away from.

Because it is then we become abundant. It is then we are plenty. It is then we feel whole, complete…One. It is then we fly free. And, it is then we become what we’ve always wanted to be. More. 

With MORE:love,

Melissa

For your listening pleasure and to feel the passion from which this piece was written, listen on SoundCloud