Paradox is Life’s Organizing Principle


Not that long ago, I was in a relationship that was not good for me. It was not good for me before I left it, but I guess I had to stay for as long as I stayed to make sure that it wasn’t gonna get any better, that I wasn’t gonna regret having “given up too soon” or not “given it a chance”. Whatever, that was not the greatest idea, as I stayed through “extra” suffering…but I also believe that we are always exactly where we need to be and that the timing of Life is always precise. I think most grown women can identify with having been in such a situation at some point.

What happened is that I was expecting the other person to be different than they were. They said they wanted to be different, so I stuck around for a bit to see if that was true. It may have been true that they wanted to make a change, but the change never came. So I left.

This broke my heart in a gazillion pieces so small that my heart turned back to stardust. A slight breeze blew and scattered it all over the globe, and I thought I’d never get it back. Never is a long time and I’m happy to report that my heart is whole and full and it really didn’t take that long. I was able to not just recover fully but get to an emotional, spiritual, and physical place that was beyond where I had ever been before. I did this mostly through magic, and the loving support of a solid community.

I wanted to share that story in the context of what we’re going through socio-politically in the world at the moment. We are in relationship with a story that is not good for us. That story is the patriarchal, misogynistic, white supremacist, neoliberal capitalist system that claims Male over Female, White over every other race, Industrialized West over Global South, Straight over LGBTQ, Cisnormativity over Transgender, etc… and Money over everything else. And we do have power over changing our relationship with it.

Let me explain.

First, a reminder that paradox is the organizing principle of Life, and that powerful witches are super comfortable with this concept. Because some of what I’m gonna tell you doesn’t make sense at first read, but please hang with me. 

If we think that the current system is gonna change, we are gonna wait a long ass time for our liberation. If we understand that it is what it is, and that we need to change, we can be free right now. I changed my shitty relationship by leaving it. I wanted the other person to change, and when I realized that was not gonna be a thing, I changed by walking away and creating a whole new better situation for myself. 

That was hard as fuck. I was in love, I had already invested a long time in this relationship, I had all kinds of beautiful visions for a future together that I had to let go of. It really shredded me to pieces. But the reality was that what I wanted for my life was never gonna happen in that relationship. So it had to end.

Now…it’s not that easy to walk away from an entire society that is based in toxic, abusive, exploitative, unfair, and harmful practices and ideas and rules that really fuck up our lives. I’m not suggesting to go off the grid and grow your own food and not interact with the industrialized west at all, although more power to you if you do that.

What I am suggesting is that WE change and in turn change our relationship to the system, and force the system to change. Unlike my ex who gets to choose who they are and has their own agency, the current society we live in is in fact changeable, because WE are it. The paradox is that while we are just nodes in a network, and no matter how much we want to change the patterns of the network, we are stuck by structural constraints, the structure itself is changed by the relationships between the nodes. In other words: structural racism starts to change when the relationships between the people that uphold it start to change. This is why protesting works: the people let the powers that be know that we are no longer here for their fuckery, and put pressure on them until things start to shift, and then keep going until the change sticks (and as dismal as things are, they have changed and they can and do get better).

Another example: women have been getting abused for thousands of years, but most recently (and not for the first time), the courage and power of the #MeToo movement has started shifting things. Women changed from being silent to being able to organize and speak up. The paradox of this view is that I am not suggesting that things are shitty because “we choose” to be in a shitty situation. Hell no. We’ve ALL being brainwashed by millennia of a rotten way of thinking that really got out of control a little over 500 years ago and that by now is finally crumbling under its own weight. It’s not like women are getting harassed and abused because they’re not speaking up about it, they are getting harassed and abused because harassers and abusers are doing it. It’s the harassers and abusers fault and responsibility. But as women, it is also our responsibility, as we are ready and able, to change ourselves and speak out and organize and demand better.

So the paradox I’m inviting you to ponder is the idea that we can’t change the world, and yet we are the only thing that’s gonna change it. As you work on yourself and grow and evolve, don’t forget to think about your part in growing and evolving our society. And as you vote, organize, protest, write letters, pressure your congress people, do whatever you do to make a change for us all, don’t forget yourself. If you are not well, none of us can be fully well. If you are not healthy, none of us can be fully healthy. If you are not happy, none of us can be fully happy. Enjoying the fuck out of this life is your birthright and your political responsibility. Take it seriously and go have yourself a fabulous day.