“You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves”. – Mary Oliver, Wild Geese.
Our society creates expectations to be productive. Even in a crisis situation, in lockdown, people are being expected to be productive, to put in full working days at home. Even in our spare time, there is this expectation. Since the coronavirus outbreak, I’ve seen more than a few lifestyle and self-help blogs writing about how to use this time to be more productive – to start new hobbies, learn new languages and skills, get fit, start a small business, write a book.
None of these things are bad in themselves. But what I wanted to write today is this:
It’s OK not to be productive.
If you’re feeling anxious, depressed or stressed right now that’s normal. The world is not normal and there are genuine reasons for concern. It’s a strange thing that we’re expected to sit at a computer, answer emails and carry on when we want to hide and hunker down.
I didn’t blog on Sunday precisely because my mental health was crashing and the thought of trying to form words and create meaning was too much.
Productivity is a myth, perpetuated by a capitalist society with its roots in a Protestant Christian work ethic. The myth of productivity measures human value by economic usefulness. This is seen in competitive busy-ness; how many people have conversations largely centred around proving how much more busy we are than others? This is seen in a compulsion to always be doing something, to have a side hustle, to work work work.
The myth of productivity is also of course ableist, colonialist and cisheteronormative AF. And it stands in stark contrast to the organic, animal nature of Druidry.
Human value is not measured in productivity.
Human value simply is.
As the cheesy cliche has it, we are human beings not human doings. We do not need to do everything. Right now, especially now, all we need is to be.
We all want to save the world. It’s OK if you can only save one person. And it’s OK if that one person is you.
In the midst of all of this, pause.
Go outside if you have a garden, open a window if not. Turn off your computer, step away from the news and the clickbait, anxiety inducing cycle of social media panic.
The land stands firm beneath us.
The seas flow around us.
The sky stretches out above us.
At the centre of the Three Realms, be still.