Let it Die

An annual sow thistle “volunteered” to grow in one of my pots and I let it. I nurtured the pseudo-dandelion and it was thriving for a while. The bright yellow flowers blossomed in abundance. Green leaves unfurled and stretched toward the sun. And then the plant started to die, for whatever reason. I’ve deadheaded the blossoms, removed the brown leaves, and continued to water it according to the guidance of my plant app. But the plant is still dying.

Some people would say, “It’s a weed. Why even bother? Just let it die,” but I have trouble with that. As I’ve written about before, it’s hard for me to let things go. Here’s a perfect example. For years, plural, I conducted a group meditation where oftentimes I was the only attendee. I made a salad, packed up plates and utensils, and walked 20 minutes up a hill to a yoga studio hoping someone else would show up. Sometimes they did but many times they didn’t. On the times they didn’t, instead of turning around and heading home, I continued singing, chanting, and meditating as usual.

dying leaf

Death also has its place. Photo by davide ragusa on Unsplash

I kept trying new things, new ways of encouragement, new schedules, and even launching a Meetup group, but they all failed. Whereas some people have the story, “I meditated alone for six months, and then people started turning up,” my story is, “I meditated alone for three years, and then Covid happened and I tried meditating in the park and online with local people before giving up and doing that with people who live far away instead.”

In other words, even the first year of the pandemic didn’t deter me and frankly, it was only the allure of meditating with 20 people, albeit online, that was appealing enough that I was willing to give up trying to make a local group meditation happen. One of my life’s lessons isn’t perseverance, it’s knowing when to quit.

These days, I’m learning to quit old ways of thinking and being. The ground beneath me feels shaky as if I’m walking on the beach and the sand is shifting beneath my feet. I don’t know what the heck is going on and I’d like to go back to the way things were. I want to keep watering my metaphorical sow thistle and revive it but the message I’m getting is, “Let it die.”

Leaving behind the familiar is extremely difficult, especially when it used to work. A part of me says, “Wait, I don’t understand! It was working! Why can’t it work again??” but just like with the sow thistle, sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes you do everything right, you haven’t changed your behavior at all, but the circumstances have. The outside world is different and that means you have to change too.

My spiritual teacher says, “Here in the universe, nothing is stationary, nothing is fixed. Everything moves; that’s why this universe is called jagat. Movement is its dharma; movement is its innate characteristic.”

I wish the universe didn’t keep moving, but it does, and that means I have to move with it. That means I have to let things die even when I really, really don’t want to.

I dream of a world where we understand nothing is static, stationary, or stale. A world where we understand this universe of ours is constantly moving and that means we must move too. A world where we recognize as painful as it may be, it’s important for us to let things die.

Another world is not only possible, it’s probable.

I’m currently in Washington, D.C. visiting friends and it feels surreal. I went to university here and am visiting my old stomping grounds. I half expect to run into my younger self on the street because the memories are so visceral. The ghost of young me is present in a way she hasn’t been on previous trips. Maybe it’s because my college friends and I are approaching 20 years of friendship, or because they all have kids of their own and I’m recognizing how much things have changed. Whatever it is, I’m acutely aware of something my spiritual teacher says.

“A 5-year-old child is transformed in due course into a 15-year-old boy,” he said. “In 10 years, the child becomes the boy. Thereafter, you will never be able to find the body of the 5-year-old child. So the child’s body has certainly died.” He then mentions the boy growing into a man, then hitting middle age, then old age, until he finally dies and says, “The rest of the changes we do not call death; but in fact, all the changes qualify as death.”

string of photos

We have snapshots of our past selves but nothing more. Photo by Raj Rana on Unsplash

We don’t recognize them as such but all the changes we go through are a sort of death. We can’t find the people we used to be except in memory and that’s what I’m getting in touch with on this trip. I’m not the person I was and neither are my friends, but we all remember each other when we were 18. We tell stories about our past selves, the shenanigans we got up to, how we met, who dated whom, and what happened when.

It’s fun to reminisce but it truly feels like we’re talking about people that are dead, just like my spiritual teacher says. None of us are the same as we were. A part of me wants to go back in time to those college days when my friends lived within walking distance. I want to travel in a pack to coffee shops and restaurants, where we took over large tables and other patrons gave us the side eye for being so animated. These days my friends don’t all live within walking distance. And when we travel in a pack it’s because there are multiple children in tow, not because we’re a group of 10 going out for dinner.

To quote my spiritual teacher again, “This expressed universe is nothing but a collection of temporary entities which are undergoing constant metamorphosis according to the sweet will of nature.” We are all temporary entities and we are all constantly changing. Nothing stays the same. Nothing. I have some sadness about that and at the same time as I wind down this trip, I’m enjoying my stay, remembering who I was and how I felt. I’m appreciating that I do have 20 years of friendship under my belt and for a short time at least, I can say hello to 18-year-old Rebekah.   

I dream of a world where we recognize we are all temporary entities undergoing constant change. A world where we understand that as we age, our past selves no longer exist. A world where we remember who we used to be and take the time to grieve for those small deaths while also appreciating who we are now.

Another world is not only possible, it’s probable.

I learned or relearned something recently about mothers and grandmothers. All the eggs a woman will ever carry form in her ovaries when she’s a four-month-old fetus, which means we spend approximately five months in our grandmother’s womb. It also means our grandmother was formed in the womb of her grandmother.

As Layne Redmond says, “We vibrate to the rhythms of our mother’s blood before she herself is born. And this pulse is the thread of blood that runs all the way back through the grandmothers to the first mother.”

That’s pretty cool when you think about it. Because of how eggs are formed, there’s a chain that stretches far, far back, and connects us to our ancestors in a very real way. We have shared DNA and inherit traits such as eye color and height but we are also connected through the act of being there with them in the womb.

Mother and child

Our grandmothers carried us and now we carry them. Photo by Anton Luzhkovsky on Unsplash

As someone who didn’t know either of her grandmothers very well, this brings me comfort. I may not be able to tell a story about baking cookies with my maternal grandmother or her surprising me with a locket when I graduated from high school, but I am still connected to her. I am linked to her as I was in her womb receiving imprints, vibrations, and memories from the very beginning of my life. That may sound strange. How can an egg receive imprints and memories? But that’s exactly what epigenetics is.

Epigenetics is the study of how behaviors and an environment can change how genes work. Epigenetics change how your body reads a DNA sequence. For instance, rat studies demonstrated that exposure to THC (the active compound in cannabis) during adolescence can prime future offspring to display signs of predisposition to heroin addiction. In a human example, studies of humans whose ancestors survived periods of starvation in Sweden and the Netherlands suggest the effects of famine on epigenetics and health can pass through at least three generations. Nutrient deprivation in a recent ancestor seems to prime the body for diabetes and cardiovascular problems.

We like to pretend we live in a vacuum and are solely responsible for our lives or go to the other extreme and say everything is genetic. Neither is true – we are responsible for our lives and the choices we make affect our genes and the genes of our descendants, for better or worse. No one is perfect and I’m not interested in shaming anyone. Instead, on this Mother’s Day, I’m honoring not only my own mother but her mother and her mother and her mother and so on all the way back. I am connected to them and they are connected to me.

I am grateful for my ancestors, for the traits and skills they passed down, and as a descendant, I’m saying, “Thank you. I see you. I appreciate you. You’re not forgotten even if I don’t know your name. I carry you with me just as you carried me.” May we all be able to say that about our ancestors and our descendants, if we have any. And may we be able to say “Happy Mother’s Day” to someone in our family even if it’s not to our own mother directly.

I dream of a world where we understand just how connected we are. A world where we remember that we were with our grandmothers from the very beginning of life just as they were with theirs. A world where we understand there is a chain linking us all the way back to the first mother.

Another world is not only possible, it’s probable.

We are Wonders

I keep thinking about all the circumstances and events that led to me being here, right now. How my ancestors had to have XYZ happen to them. How my parents had to meet. All of that and many more things. It’s a wonder. So often I feel blasé about being alive because when there are nearly 8 billion people in the world, is it really such a miracle to be in human form? Is it really so precious? According to many spiritual teachers, including mine, yes.

Take this story from a Buddhist text. The Buddha spoke to a group of monks and said, “Monks, suppose that this great Earth was totally covered with water and a man were to toss a yoke with a single hole into the water. A wind from the west would push it east; a wind from the east would push it west; a wind from the north would push it south; a wind from the south would push it north. And suppose a blind sea turtle was there. It would come to the surface only once every 100 years.

sea turtle

What an analogy! Photo by Debal Das on Unsplash

“Now, what do you suppose the chances would be that a blind turtle, coming once to the surface every 100 years, would stick its neck into the yoke with a single hole?” The monks answered, “It would be very unusual, sir, that a blind turtle coming to the surface once every 100 years would stick its neck into the yoke.” The Buddha replied, “And just so, it is very, very rare that one attains the human state.”

What a statement! What odds! It’s hard to square that with our current population, but that’s a human-centered perspective. Think about all the plants, animals, insects, bacteria even. There are probably 8 billion bacteria on my pinky finger alone. So in that context, wow, yes, human life is a wonder. That’s even more true when you take into account infertility. I know many, many people who have struggled to get pregnant. They had to get IVF or a sperm donor or a surrogate. They’ve suffered miscarriages. They’ve tried for years. It’s not so easy to get pregnant.

Being a person is like winning the lottery but it’s easy to forget that in the humdrum of daily life. When you’re struggling to pay your bills or the roof leaks or you’re irritated with your neighbor, being alive doesn’t feel like a wonder. But it is. We often search outside ourselves for wonder. We want to be wowed by a beautiful sunset or a spectacular show. We want to string together a life with one memorable experience after another by swimming with dolphins and climbing a volcano. But what I’m learning is that just to be alive is awe-inspiring. To take a breath. To pump blood through our bodies.

My rabbi, Michael Lerner, often says if you want to feel more awe, go outside every night for a month, look at the stars, and say, “Wow! Fantastic! Amazing!” I think you can do the same thing with yourself. You can look in the mirror, notice your chest rising and falling, and say, “Wow! Fantastic! Amazing!” Because it is.

I dream of a world where we recognize the wonder of being in human form. A world where we understand how rare and precious it is to be alive on this planet at this time. A world where we remember taking a breath every day is a miracle to behold.

Another world is not only possible, it’s probable.

This is a repost from Earth Day 2018. While many things have changed or progressed, others have not. In other words, this post is still relevant. Enjoy.

I watched a chilling Walmart commercial the other day. The premise: A child keeps spitting out a pacifier, which the family’s dog then slobbers all over. The kid also drops a sippy cup in the mud. The mother decides to reorder pacifier after pacifier and cup after cup instead of sterilizing the originals. The commercial ends with the dog surrounded by pacifiers and the mom patting the dog with a “What can you do?” sort of smile on her face. In the background, singers croon, “I just can’t get enough, I just can’t get enough.”

The commercial, and the message behind it, horrifies me. Particularly considering all our environmental problems. A friend shared a post on Facebook recently depicting the state of our world’s beaches in Bali, the Philippines, and Hawaii. Gone are pristine sandy shores. In their place we have cups and cutlery, we have bottles and bags. In the comments, many people said, “Pick up after yourselves! Throw stuff away!” I agree, throw stuff away, but that doesn’t address the whole problem.

plastic bottle floating in the ocean

There’s no reason to have a single-use plastic water bottle. Photo by Brian Yurasits on Unsplash

According to Greenpeace, even when plastic waste is collected, it can blow away and end up in rivers or oceans. Major rivers around the world carry an estimated 1.15 million to 2.41 million tons of plastic into the sea every year – the equivalent of 100,000 garbage trucks. Not all of that comes from plastic blowing away, obviously it also comes from littering, but I’d like to point out the trash still goes somewhere.

We think once the garbage truck picks up trash the problem is solved, but it’s not. Commercials like Walmart’s divorce us from the consequences of our actions. Reordering one pacifier after another because the dog drooled all over it and throwing perfectly good pacifiers away contributes to waste. I read somewhere that the most important part of the mantra “reduce, reuse, and recycle” is “reduce,” but that doesn’t contribute to economic growth so we don’t focus on it as much.

In yogic philosophy, there is a tenet called aparigraha. It means non-indulgence. Specifically, not indulging in the amenities and comforts of life that are superfluous for the preservation of physical existence. People usually have a hard time with that one. “Does that mean I can’t buy the latest iPhone? What about a new computer? Am I supposed to live in the woods off rainwater and tree bark?” Yes! Just kidding. We can’t all live in the woods. Also, what is essential for our survival changes with time, place, and person. Perhaps 15 years ago it wasn’t crucial for everyone to have internet, but these days it’s another utility like gas and electricity.

What I never grasped until watching the Walmart commercial is aparigraha isn’t about deprivation. It’s not being a martyr. It’s about Earth. It’s about paying respect to Mother Nature and realizing that my actions contribute to the destruction of the environment and destroying the environment means more pollutants and poorer health. It means wiping out certain species. It means natural disasters like the ones we’re currently experiencing. If the environment we reside in becomes a toxic wasteland, where are we supposed to go?

I could end this post here and proclaim the planet is doomed and we’re all screwed, but I won’t. I want to again go back to one of my favorite quotes from my spiritual teacher who said, “Difficulties can never be greater than your capacity to solve them.” Did you know scientists recently created an enzyme that eats plastic? It turns plastic back into a more usable form. Discoveries like that are taking place every day, but mindfulness is required on our part. We must break our addiction to consumerism. We need to change our way of thinking to create a world we all want to live in.

I dream of a world where we reduce our consumption. A world where we think twice before casually throwing something away. A world where we understand non-indulgence helps the environment and ultimately helps us. A world where we practice a new way of thinking to save planet Earth.

Another world is not only possible, it’s probable.

Even though Passover is long over, I keep thinking about a story I heard. There’s a perception that during the exodus when God parted the Red Sea the Jews walked up to the water and tada! The water parted. However, Jewish teachings state that’s not what happened. The Jews waded into the water up to their knees and nothing. They kept going up to their waists and still nothing. Their chests, no change. The water came all the way up to their noses, meaning they could no longer breathe, and then the water parted.

So often when it comes to miracles, I want them to happen immediately, before I feel any pain. I want the Disney-fied version of events where there’s minimal struggle and I’m plodding along and everything is easy peasy. Sometimes life is like that, but oftentimes it’s not. Oftentimes, higher power waits until the last possible second to deliver a miracle. What to do? Keep moving with faith.

I’ll be honest, if I was escaping Egypt and kept wading into the water without being able to swim and not having a flotation device, I probably would have turned back. I don’t think I would have kept going. I would have acted from a place of fear and not experienced a miracle. I would have done the opposite of what Rumi advises which is, “Move, but don’t move the way fear makes you move.”

Moving in a subway station

Even when it’s blurry, keep moving. Photo by Martin Adams on Unsplash

I often move the way fear makes me move, especially when it comes to money. Bank balance running low? Better apply for a million jobs even if I’m not really interested! No new clients? Start contacting everyone and their mother! But that doesn’t work for me. Desperation rarely does.

The question then, is how can I move with faith? What sort of decisions do I make when I believe things will work out? What if I truly believed the universe has my back, even if I don’t see any evidence until the last possible second?

From that place, I’m calmer, curious, and open. From that place, I remember the magic and the mystery of the universe. When I’m in faith, beautiful things can come out of the blue. I receive a random email or telephone call from someone looking for my ghostwriting or content writing services. I find a random object I’m looking for, such as Play-Doh, on the side of the street for free.

Tosha Silver writes in her book Outrageous Openness if you think of the Divine as your ultimate protection and your Source for everything, “Then the Universe can use anything it wishes to meet your needs. You’re no longer limited to what your conditioned mind thinks is possible.” She has countless stories of this happening in her life and in the lives of others. For instance, she found an apartment through a hairdresser and someone else found a literary agent by bowling them over in a yoga class. Fear leads us to believe we must force things; we have to make them happen. Trust and faith show us we can relax and be shown the next steps on our path. In other words, faith causes us to move differently.

I dream of a world where we soothe our fearful parts when they’re freaking out. A world where we understand what’s ours is ours and will show up at the perfect time in the perfect way. A world where instead of moving from a place of fear, we move from a place of faith.

Another world is not only possible, it’s probable.

I’ve told this story to a few people this week so perhaps it’s also worth sharing here. During the Holocaust, my maternal grandmother bribed a farmer to hide her in his potato cellar. When the money ran out, he evicted her. She wandered through the woods half-starved and came across a young boy. Scared he would alert others to her presence, she threatened him but she wasn’t all that intimidating as she looked bedraggled and emaciated.

After the incident, she slid into hopelessness and no longer cared whether she lived or died. She’d already suffered so much and couldn’t take anymore. She spotted an encampment and decided to walk into it whether it was the Nazis or not.

It wasn’t the Nazis, it was the Russians so she was saved. Growing up when I heard that story, I marveled at the “happy accident,” of my grandmother’s “luck.” But recently I started to reframe what happened. What if it wasn’t an accident? What if it was intentional? What if my grandma was led to safety by guardian angels or water spirits or her intuition or some other benevolent force?


Seen and unseen forces walk beside us. Photo by Jad Limcaco on Unsplash

My spiritual teacher says, “There is no such thing such as an accident – everything is an incident. When an action is materialized within a very short time, or when the root cause of the action is not known to us, we are just seeing the reaction, the incident. When the cause, the causal side of the incident is not known to us, or when the causal side is translated into action in a very short time, we say it is an accident. But actually, nothing is accidental, everything is incidental.”

What about car accidents? And stubbing your toe? The cause could be very simple – someone ran a red light. Or you weren’t looking where you were going. But also sometimes, the cause is deeper and more meaningful than that (I think). I’d like to believe my grandmother walked into a Russian camp because she was meant to live. It wasn’t her time to die yet, so no, it wasn’t an accident.

The reframe is asking me to consider the same about my own life. What if I’m also not alone and instead being led to safety in its myriad forms? It’s clear that I pay attention to divine guidance. I notice when bumblebees land on my window or doves perch on my railing. I listen to the inner stirrings of my gut. Paying attention to divine guidance is what this Passover is about for me, a holiday I’m currently celebrating.

Passover is about the escape from Egypt and as a modern-day Jew, I’m escaping from a metaphorical Egypt. The Hebrew word for Egypt is Mitzrayim, which also means tight spaces or narrow consciousness. This year the narrow consciousness I’m escaping from is the notion I’m wandering around all alone, lost in the woods. That help is out of reach and unavailable.

I’m recognizing I’m not all alone and neither was my grandmother, nor my great-grandmother, nor my great-great-grandmother all the way back to the time of Moses. I, too, am being led from a metaphorical Egypt to a safer, freer, promised land. Even if you’re not Jewish, maybe the same is true for you.

I dream of a world where we remember there are no coincidences, that instead there is always a cause for everything, even if we’re unaware of it. A world where we recognize we aren’t alone. A world where we remember benevolent beings are walking with us, guiding us where we need to go.

Another world is not only possible, it’s probable.

If you’re a business owner, you know there can be a real ebb and flow to income. Some months money is rushing in and you can’t believe your good fortune. And then other months you’re barely covering all your expenses and cursing your fate. I can’t speak for everyone but when I’m in an ebb time, it’s difficult to believe my circumstances will change. Even though I’ve seen it happen over and over again, I still think this time will be different. I fall into a quagmire and count every penny, worrying I won’t be able to pay for things I need. Keep in mind I have plenty of evidence to suggest all my needs are always met, sometimes in amazing ways. Yet, despite the history, a part of me perpetually thinks this time is the exception.

In periods like this, I remember choosing to think my life will improve is exactly what it means to have faith. The literal definition of faith is belief without proof but as I’m learning sometimes even when you have proof you can still struggle with faith. When you’re staring at an uncertain future, the past doesn’t matter all that much, does it? That means faith is not an easy byproduct that just happens. It’s a conscious choice.

sunlit cave

Sometimes you need to turn toward the sunshine. Photo by Bruno van der Kraan on Unsplash

For my business, I am choosing to put my trust in the universe that things will get better for me. It means I am fighting against pessimism and holding fast to something else. That something else is spirituality.

A Sanskrit phrase for meditation is Iishvara prańidhána, or seeking shelter in the Supreme. My spiritual teacher says, “Iishvara prańidhána also implies implicit faith in [the divine] irrespective of whether one lives in momentary happiness or sorrow, prosperity or adversity.”

Easier said than done my friends. Easier said than done. I don’t live in implicit faith, obviously, but the alternative isn’t working for me. Living in a state of fear, worry, and catastrophe is draining, just in case you were unaware. I want to be in the opposite headspace which means choosing to believe the right clients will enter my life at exactly the right time. As I typed that a bee landed on my window, which isn’t a common occurrence.

In shamanism, bumblebees represent the honey or sweetness of life. They tell us, “Remember, life is joyful, it’s sweet. Keep going in this direction. Remember good things and keep in mind positive outcomes are just as likely as negative ones.”

What a perfect message about choosing faith over fear. My positive outcome is more money flowing into my life. For you, choosing to keep the faith could be about getting a new job, finding a romantic partner, becoming a parent, or moving into a house. Whatever it is, the bee and I are here to remind you good things are coming. It may seem unlikely or extremely far out of reach but that’s why faith is a choice, not a foregone conclusion.

I dream of a world where we choose faith even when it feels hard. A world where we believe good things are coming. A world where we put our trust in something greater than ourselves. A world where we understand faith isn’t a passive thing but instead something active and conscious.

Another world is not only possible, it’s probable.

I’m recycling this post from February 2019. The message about not needing to know everything all the time is still a valid one. Enjoy.

My therapist said something to me this week that I’d heard before but this time I really heard. He told me, “There are some things you don’t need to know.” I’m a curious person and want to know everything! Curiosity is a key component of being a journalist; it’s my job to find out as much as possible about a story. However, truly, there are some things I don’t need to know.

I understand this concept better when I think of children. Children are not served by hearing the full details of scary or complex things. We don’t tell them graphic details of war or rape. We may paint with broad brushstrokes or present information in a way they understand, but children don’t need to know everything.

In many spiritual traditions, God/higher power/the divine is parentified. We are usually called divine children of God or a variation of that, and so it follows that higher power treats us the same way a parent would, meaning, the universe shields us from certain information. I’ve said before if I knew all the things the universe had in store for me, I would get overwhelmed. That continues to be true. After contemplating I don’t need to know everything about the future, I feel more at ease. I feel more at peace. I trust that while in my professional life it’s my job to gather as much information as possible, the same doesn’t apply to my personal one.

in the dark

Sometimes it’s OK to be in the dark. Photo by Molly Blackbird on Unsplash

We have the saying, “Ignorance is bliss.” I usually think about that expression with wistfulness, wishing I could go back in time and remain ignorant of bad news. Or I utter it with envy, wishing I could be like someone else who doesn’t know what I know. However, maybe I can continue to experience bliss in the form of ignorance by remembering I don’t have to answer every question; I don’t have to know what will happen next. Maybe it’s OK for me to be in the dark sometimes and trust it’s for a good reason. Perhaps I can relax into the knowledge I am still a child and there is still a parent taking care of me. Not my birth parents, although them too, but also an unseen parent, a mystical parent.

My spiritual teacher says Cosmic Consciousness must look after us, the divine children. He also said this Cosmic Consciousness does whatever is best for us, and that this divine energy better knows our needs and necessities.

“A child of two months does not know what she requires; her mother knows,” he wrote. “She is solely dependent upon her mother. Similarly, devotees are solely dependent on the Cosmic Father, and for that reason, the Cosmic Father has a special responsibility.”

For today anyway, I’m feeling into that more, letting myself be a child. I’m letting myself swim in ignorance, recognizing the bliss that comes with it. I’m remembering I don’t need to know everything. That sometimes there’s value in staying in the dark.

I dream of a world where we realize sometimes it’s OK to not know. A world where we understand that sometimes being in the dark is what’s best. A world where we realize we are like children and there is a force greater than us in the world. A world where we remember that force is here, acting as our parent.

Another world is not only possible, it’s probable.

I keep thinking about the swiftness with which Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) collapsed. In the span of 48 hours, it went bust because as interest rates rose, VC capital to SVB’s portfolio companies decreased. That required the companies to start withdrawing deposits from SVB to fund day-to-day business operations but those deposits sat in bonds that were losing value by the day. The need for cash forced the bank to sell their illiquid bonds at a loss, and boom, financial panic.

Whenever I hear stories like these, I strangely have a surge of hope that it portends the fall of capitalism. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t wish financial hardship on anyone. I don’t relish the idea workers won’t get paid or that their retirement accounts will vanish. But I do very much wish corporate capitalism will fall. Big corporations running the show are destroying, well, everything. There’s a place for small-scale capitalism in the form of local shops and restaurants, but these huge conglomerates exacerbating wealth inequality are choking the life out of us.


This picture will make more sense later. Photo by Tzvi Kilov on Unsplash

I had a visceral experience with wealth inequality this week when I went to San Francisco for an appointment. Every 10 feet I either spotted an unhoused person or was solicited by one. It’s overwhelming to be somewhere people are shouting, “Excuse me! Excuse me!” every few feet, and not because they’re hawking goods but because they are in desperate need of something as basic as food.

I cried multiple times when I came home because it’s heartbreaking to witness the evils of capitalism in your face like that and also to know things could be different. The U.S. is the beating heart of capitalism and materialism and visiting Australia reminded me of that. I was abroad for Valentine’s Day and I barely remembered the holiday was occurring because there weren’t hearts displayed in every storefront. There weren’t exhortations to stock up on chocolate and teddy bears whereas here, every holiday is an opportunity to sell something, and the pressure to buy more, more, more is always there.

Is it any wonder SVB execs did what they did? I’m not absolving them of wrongdoing but I am saying we live in a culture where this sort of behavior is encouraged. And yet, SVB did fail and in that collapse, I take heart remembering my spiritual teacher said capitalism will explode like a firecracker, and furthermore, no one will know it’s about to happen even 15 minutes before.

The time element is likely hyperbole but the strong grip capitalism has on our society is not interminable. It can change and it will change because capitalism will collapse under the weight of its own greed. I don’t know what that turning point will be. I don’t know what event will finally cause capitalism to explode like a firecracker, but I know it’s coming. And I also know I welcome that world because I experienced a small taste of it when I was in Australia, which yes, is a capitalist country, but not nearly as materialistic as the good ole U.S. of A.

I dream of a world where capitalism is a faded memory. A world where compassion, kindness, and care for others are valued over greed and amassing as much wealth as possible. A world where in the moments we wonder if that future exists, we remind ourselves it does because as SVB shows us, capitalism will explode like a firecracker and it may happen fast.

Another world is not only possible, it’s probable.

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