Deeply Satisfied, Never Sated
Deeply Satisfied, Never Sated
By Jesse Wolf Hardin
Satisfaction and savoring are important in a healthy life…
and so is that dissatisfaction which keeps us learning and feeling, moving and improving
The satisfaction that comes with releasing another outrageous Plant Healer Magazine is substantial. Like a bite of the wonderful fruit pie sweetly made for me today, I chew the feeling slowly, hold it my mouth against my tongue, postponing the actual swallowing lest the flavor of its completion be too soon overcome by some other entree. One of the traits that I shared most with my deceased mother is the drive to always be moving on to the next experience, need, challenge and accomplishment, though I have made an effort all my lifetime not replicate her habitual failure to give any prolonged attention or credit to the tasks she so beautifully completed, the failure to bask in the warm feeling of having done well what we set out to, a failure to savor. So savor I do, a 288 page magazine that took hundreds of hours of mine and Kiva’s time to create, looking over it as an aware and sensitized reader might, noticing the color schemes and topic themes, but also acknowledging what only the creators could know, such as the number of times the order of art and text was changed to mate one to the other, the hours given to finding illustrations for every article, and the work of making posters without certainty that the often intemperate images will inspire or entertain more than they offend. I savor the end product, the combined harmonics, the composition that is the overall rock n’ roll symphony of instruments and scores, but I also savor each individual contributing note, each author and artist, each subject, the diversity of styles, every careful phrasing and well chosen word.
So too, the Traditions In Western Herbalism Conference, quickly known for its unorthodox blend of clinical emphasis and cultural resurgence, experience and intuition. I savor the success of each year’s event, the miracle of making a grass roots event work in difficult financial times, the dissemination and cross-pollination of ideas and information, perspectives and traditions, that altogether creates a song of empowerment and healing.
In both cases, the root that such satisfaction arises from is not simply that we contribute to our effective natural healing of each other, but to the healing of our the schism between research and intuition, the healing of self doubt and imagined powerlessness, of our relationship to the natural world and the healing restoration of the earth itself. How satisfying, to raise the issues and values of deep ecology and conservation from the bed of this herbal garden, addressing the need to not only tend our illnesses and wounds but also affect our society, find our calling, and live our dreams.
No amount of income could ever persuade me to spend/expend the number of hours of finite, irreplaceable life that these two projects alone require, yet it seems like “the least that we can do” when we consider their use as vehicles of awakeness and relation, of caring and acting, of resistance to injustice, ancient tradition and responsible adaption, vital wisdom and childhood delight, aesthetics and enchantment.
Yet while well satisfied, I am not sated. There is room in me to take in more, and I have more to give. I explore how to incorporate my passion for writing fiction, by serializing the chapters of The Medicine Bear in the magazine, believing in its power and message even if we don’t always get the feedback to be certain it’s desired. I still want to publish my politically incorrect “Straight Shot” essays, with their sentiment, irreverence, attitude and humor, in order to communicate with and affect the thinking of more mainstream rural and urban readers. We have home study courses to expand and add, art paper awaits my pencils and pens, a graphic novel won’t leave my subconscious, and the essential core of my teachings – my legacy beyond my lifetime – remains to be systemized in ways that ensures it continues to be passed down through the generations, I remain without the apprenticeships that could establish a lineage of this vision, this place, this way of seeing and living that hinges so much on earthen heart, personal awareness and choice.
I truly wish for you to find and dwell in the satisfaction with who you really are, and what your real gifts are, in spite of any admitted weaknesses or perceived flaws. In your commitments and results, intentions and deeds. In the world that we are a part of it, even as messed up as it now appears to be. In every moment that the spark and breath of anima surges through you, the sounds musical and mundane that your ears are privileged to be able to hear, the lingering tactile sensation of a lovers hand or your own sleeve cloth, the bite of food mouthed long and adoringly, the slow and sensuous savoring of every improbable or miraculous sight, every second of effort or rest, all honorable accomplishments no matter how seemingly small, and every amazing life-giving breath.
At the same time, I would be remiss not to wish for you at least a degree of unshakable dissatisfaction as well, dissatisfaction with norms, relationships and careers, lifestyles and illusions that may thin, dilute, weaken, distract or dishonor you, disempower you or dissuade you from being your true whole self and living fully your most meaningful purpose. I wish you to be too antsy to stick with something, even a good something, if your truest calling and inclination and passion pulls you to another way or service. I wish for you the kind and degree of dissatisfaction required to propel you to continue trying out new ways, creating new expressions of yourselves and gifts to your world, to continue finding the sometimes discomforting means for avoiding complacency and apathy, ever new means for learning, experimenting, growing, flexing, stretching and reaching.
I am never satisfied enough with that which we do, to cease looking ahead to doing more and better, for the best of reasons and causes. Nor would it serve for any of us to be so filled up as to have no room to take any more in, too heavy to move, or so sated as to forgo the hunger to experience and excel, give and create. It is through the integrity of our being and doing that we best impact the world, but it is the hungering that propels us deeper and further.
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Categories: Jesse Wolf Hardin – Essays & Tales, Practicing Animá Lifeways