With the world turned on its head and too many unknowns to take much action right now, it is time to draw inward. It is time to remember who you are outside of your finances, who you are outside of your job, who you are outside a seemingly logical world. It is time to reach inside your soul.
It is time to remember your dream. And if you believe that your dream is broken now, you need to look a little deeper. Perhaps your dream had problems, the way you conceived of it before. Perhaps it was incomplete. Perhaps it was not motivated by the right things. Maybe it required an interruption, a revision. You can’t write it off, not entirely, not yet.
Things get to such a point of strain and struggle, that you begin to suspect that things must be preparing to renew, but we’re struggling through the transition because we need to leave something behind, and embrace something new, and that’s never smooth even if it’s a good thing.
We need to know ourselves well enough to create freely–not with ulterior motives–and to express what’s inside of us because it’s worthy, and we’re here together in a shattered world now. And the world is at an undefined moment, waiting to see, to find out what direction we are going to go next.
So as the structure of our world as we knew it reveals its shortcomings, its failings, its fundamental lack of wisdom, we enter a phase of deeper work. Of presence. Of not doing the things that are only the means to the economic end but engaging in whatever it is we believe is the end itself, whether love, or creativity, or divinity, or complete surrender. That, whatever it is that makes your soul wake up and stretch and leap with joy, is the point, and we must be inside of it for things to recover and for dreams to come to fruition.
And now is the time because we have a circumstance so serious that we are finally all paying attention.
I know it feels like the only problem in the world is the coronavirus. It’s not. Every problem that was previously there is still there, only worse. Coronavirus is the backdrop of everything now, like war, like climate change, like mass extinction–except we weren’t all paying attention to those latter ones, were we? And covid-19 forces a turn of the head, requires open eyes, and demands a long, uncomfortable contact that can’t be broken quickly or easily.
We now know what it feels like to all be facing the same disaster. We need to transplant that feeling and realize that it has been like this for decades, perhaps centuries now, just subtler, less clearly urgent, less compelling. We have all been facing the same disaster all along, we just usually fail to sense it in daily life. A state of global emergency is not new–it is merely newly recognized, newly felt, newly disruptive to our daily lives.
This is the thaw, the undoing of something we falsely believed to be stable.
And now the whole human world is held together in attention. And in the meltwater of our failing ideals, it is time for us to strip off the industrial, capitalistic, conditioned layers of the manufactured self. It is time to plunge into icy water, into the dark night of the soul, and swim with the animals that have disappeared because of us, and find out who we are becoming, and who we want to become, lest we vanish too.
And now, we need to incorporate the advice Nikos Patedakis offered us, though most weren’t listening: your dreams should be limited. Your dreams should not cause icebergs to break, should not trigger extinction, should not result in a mounting landfill, or a drought-induced fire, or breaches of justice and equality, or lead to contact between animals and people that should never ever be made, which is something we don’t know much about, because we failed to listen more deeply to the earth. Because most of us don’t even know how anymore, and we failed to ask those who do.
Coronavirus is here to say, this is not how things work. You need to learn to put a limit on yourself, because nature is responding faster now, and because of the selfish way you have built your world, she cannot rebalance the scales in a gentle way anymore.
Now, it is time to heal ourselves in the world in the ways that seem useless, the ways that seem ineffectual and trivial. Art, dance, sleep, remorse, forgiveness.
Now, it is time to ask the ones who know how to tend the earth. Learn, finally, how to make a sacred law.
Now, it is time to reach into the wellspring of artistic potential and make the world feel somehow like a gorgeous symphony, so that it is revealed that the tension and terror and grief of this particular moment belong to a beautiful whole. The only way for this moment to be redeemed is for it to wake us up. Who are you, underneath the fracturing identities? What is still whole? What is unbroken throughout crisis, illness, death?
The suffering of right now cannot and will not negate the boundless beauty that has been our lives, that has been this planet, whether we noticed or not. But our unwillingness to change will. We must trust that there is untold beauty yet to come, if we can learn to dream, with boundaries that support the conditions for not just ourselves, but for all of life, to flourish.
When we made this film, we didn’t know what was coming. But we knew that trouble was already afoot. When we made this film, we didn’t know we would eventually share it in hopes of lifting so many sunken spirits, of pointing to our human potential, and of gesturing toward the shared crisis that has been with us all along and asking what are we going to do about this?
We didn’t know that we would ask you to dream a dream, a proper dream. A dream that belongs not only to us, but also to the birds and the whales and the insects and the water…a dream that belongs to the earth.
We end with a question: what are you going to do about this?