A wonderful piece of direct action from the Universe herself occurred last week which I feel demands recounting. Having consciously given up most of my possessions fairly recently I have a whole new perspective on sustainability and what I consider to be living ‘well’. The things I have kept are treasures, of great value to me. This does not mean that I grasp them, becoming attached and mourning their loss, but like any gift I treat them with care and administer all possible TLC until they truly have reached the end of their time in this particular story. In short I have taken reuse, recycle, repair deeply to heart and take great joy in repairing whatever I ‘have’ as the march of time takes its inevitable toll. So there is the preamble, lets go to the set up (really all of this is required for one to grok the communication and reward I received.)
The Set Up
One of the few items that I have kept in my possession, that I treasure, are my high definition Sennheiser headphones. Now if you are travelling and have no stereo I can assure you this item is utterly essential. 🙂 Unfortunately for me these very headphones, through normal wear and tear, developed broken and faulty wiring. Fortunately for me another positive aspect of these phones is that the minijack cable connects at both ends – giving me the additional handy possession of a minijack-to-minijack cable for all those times when one wants to engage the power of their own music collection with the almighty AUX input.
So one would think, reasonably, that such headphones could easily be repaired with a new, normally very inexpensive minijack-to-minijack cable. But sadly no. After looking for quite sometime for a replacement it seems that the input into the phones requires a rare, uncommonly thin plug. That wasn’t enough to defeat me. Oh no. I dangerously wielded a soldering iron, craft knife and bountiful supplies of glue and electrical tape and set upon more serious repairs. Repairs that, although not beautiful, were fully functional for another several months.
There was a great joy in the audio pleasure of these months and the constant reminder of my repair ‘skills’ and ethics dangling from my neck daily.
But inevitably… the end came once again.
Walking in suburban Cairns listening to my crackling sound system dancing between mono and stereo as I fidgeted constantly with the wire, I came across a large piece of litter that I recognised from the day previously. Immediately part of my being was surprised and a little perturbed that this fairly large box was still sitting in the middle of a main thoroughfare. For the second day running it crossed my path. My second thought was that, because this was my second happening upon the item I really ought to take matters into my own hands and lift it myself. In fact, more than that, it actually felt like I was ‘supposed to’… that somehow this task was not accidentally or coincidentally mine but somehow specifically mine.
The third thought. As I went to pick up the box my eye flickered across my field of vision and saw a plastic bottle, then a can, than another can, then plastic bags, cigarette butts, wrappers and on and on and on. I suddenly became aware that I was surrounded by litter. I am a touch ashamed to admit that my brain allowed me a second of entertaining the thought loudly and clearly in my head: “What’s the point Cavan? If you pick up this box are you going to stay here for half an hour and pick up all the other rubbish too? What is picking up one measly box from this dumping ground of waste products going to do but waste your time? You can’t pick up all the litter in the world.”
For a second I let that thought sit with me and fight with other forces that I have not always had, or perhaps I have not always listened to. The whole time I had this moment-out-of-time it felt inexplicably like some kind of test. Finally, loudly, strongly, definitely came my resolve. “No. That is not how I think. Every positive action matters. One less piece of rubbish matters. Taking the initiative towards the changes I want to see matters. I will not give way to apathy. My instincts and inner voice told me that the responsibility for this lies with me and I will attend to it. Gladly.” So I picked up a few of the bits and pieces that lay around and put them in a nearby bin, not everything, I balanced my responsibilities and other pressing activities with this action and found joy in the ‘little bit of good’ I was briefly engaging in.
Then I attended to the black box. I picked it up and turned it over and laughed. It was the packaging for an electrical item. Open but apparently unused I held in my hand an impressively expensive looking retractible minijack-to-minijack cable. I removed it from the box and disposed of the packaging correctly. Unlike any other cable I have before or since seen this one was of a slender weight and build that made the next action obvious.
It popped straight into my headphones and the remainder of my journey brought back to the full joy of dynamic, high definition, sennheiser audio goodness.
All of this could be coincidental, and of course, it is. In a manner of thinking. But such synchronicities are full of meaning and in the stories of our lives, can be read in a different fashion than the mundane minutia of everyday events (of course in truth nothing is actually mundane and everything has meaning). It is clear to me that there is a moral to this particular story and that the Universe, once again, has told me exactly what I needed to hear. My job is to be thankful and enjoy the twists and turns.
By making positive changes in ourselves and how we interact with our world – we change the world. Not a little. Totally and utterly. The butterfly effect is very real. A small change at one place, in a nonlinear system, can result in large differences to a later state. The simple truth of chaotic complexity.
Every little helps. Do your part. The rewards are and will be great. We can/do live in paradise.
Here is to the immanentising of the Eschaton.