by Stephanie Ross
A sentinel to the Sleeping Giant, its old red bricks define the rigid rectangular building dominating the marina. Each imposing brick laid a hundred years ago striving to represent higher values; elevated symbols of justice. Each brick falling flat in societal need for change.
It stood as an old courthouse with incipient foolishness winding up the ivy on its shady side.
I crouched at the bottom of this hill the morning after a white police officer was convicted of murdering a young man of colour. The dew on the morning grass soaked through my hiking shoes as I remembered feeling a visceral sense of relief at the verdict. That court ruling was not in ‘my country’ nor from the system I saw towering before me on the hill. It didn’t matter. It was our shared humanity with governing wisdom gone awry somewhere in time. The words “my” and “country” could disperse but my feelings would not. This brick building that had failed to serve its surrounding indigenous peoples evoked the same feeling as those historical circumstances to the south allowing power filled violence to prevail without justice for so long.
Sadness that this system reigning over us has a history of ongoing abuse.
Sadness that we have a world requiring an imposed external system at all.
My heart longs for a world in which humanity has a restored heart. Hearts in each of us so filled with love, respect, and humility that this kind of hurt could not happen. Human hearts embracing life in such a way that hurting living creatures of any kind could never be possible. Humanity living in a state of real connectedness; such a pure embracing of each other that we would be a true civilization.
This seems a steep hill to climb from where we are now.
Yet, this is the ascent I choose each morning – waking to take one more step. On the edge of new creation, this path climbs higher into the clouds than the one I view now. Its peak surpasses my perception of unity. Its wyrd trajectory climbs into a world I long to see; a destined movement into truth if one chooses. As I wake each day and connect with my heart, I move one step higher. Each moment I remember to stay in self-awareness, each time I catch myself in moments of patterns I wish to change, and each time I am willing to examine the parts of my existence that could use a little more uplifting, I hold out my hands to embrace something greater than the physical forms we build here.
I walked back up the hill to the red building that had recently surrendered. What was once a place of judgement and punishment had become a hotel, a place of rest. Surrender – a word so often tied to war yet carrying so much more potential. Couldn’t we surrender to the goodness within us without the war? Couldn’t we view this as an active ongoing commitment and not a hopeless resignation? Both allowing and creating the restoration of what has always been within us – waking what was forgotten in the quest to make ourselves better than others, instead of just better.
Can we honour the deep longing within each of us to move toward a higher self; a higher standard within ourselves?
Perhaps each day we can choose an expanded view. Perhaps each hour we can choose to be a little more entrenched in love. In this way, in each moment, we disperse the divisiveness deluding us. May we all find time to rest in our hearts’ softness and examine the multitude of perspectives available to us.
It is time.
Stephanie Ross is a pilot, sailor, and home-educating mom. Her writing explores living from the inside out as the adventure of a lifetime. You can find her feet on the ground on Vancouver Island practising Yuan Qigong, walking in the forest, and sharing her approach to cultivating life.