Commusings: Another Street

May 24, 2024

Dear Commune Community,

I recently re-stumbled across this wonderful poem. Or perhaps it found me. Indeed, it seems to pay a visit every few years, like an expat aunt. It never loses its simple charm — and it feels like a perfect addition to our Memorial Day Lifetime Membership Sale.

I hope it encourages you – through your mindset and actions – to write the story of your life you really want to tell. That’s what Commune Membership is really all about: learning and growing, again and again, inching ever closer to our highest potential.

Here and there on the IG @jeffkrasno.

In love, include me,

• • •

Another Street

The American singer-songwriter, Portia Nelson, was attending a writers’ workshop when she was asked to compose her autobiography in five short chapters. This is what she scrawled on a quintet of notecards. Perhaps you know it.

Chapter 1
I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I fall in.
I am lost… I am helpless.
It isn’t my fault.
It takes forever to find a way out.

Chapter 2
I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend that I don’t see it.
I fall in again.
I can’t believe I am in this same place.
But, it isn’t my fault.
It still takes a long time to get out.

Chapter 3
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it is there.
I still fall in … it’s a habit … but, my eyes are open.
I know where I am.
It is my fault.
I get out immediately.

Chapter 4
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.

Chapter 5
I walk down another street.

I first heard "There’s a Hole in the Sidewalk" from Wayne Dyer. His warm tenor massaged each word, his timing impeccable. When he finished the poem, the audience laughed in a manner that reflected the universality of its simple message. While Portia composed this succinct account to describe her own life, one would be hard-pressed not to see one’s own story in hers.

You, me, us — we’ve all fallen in holes, even when we have seen them. We heave ourselves out, stare resolutely in our reflection and make grandiose proclamations, just to find ourselves back in the squalid pit of our deficiencies a week later.

Nature has once again fulfilled its promise of Spring. Despite the wars and political invective, there is an intimation of fresh beginnings in the air, a flickering candle at the end of a dark corridor beckoning us out of fear and into love. Could there be any resolution more ambitious than living from love?

What is love? The word gets thrown around like the dishrag my family shares as a napkin at dinner – an uncivilized, if ecological, pastime. Sullied through overuse, it’s thrown into the hamper with my sweatpants.

I love my Air Force 1s. I love the Chat GPT. I love the truffle fries at corner restaurant. I love my country. I love my dad. Love – we take it, break it, fake it and make it – albeit with increasingly less frequency. Is the term so protean that it means nothing? Have we chewed the flavor out of it and stuck it under the school desk to harden?

Is love merely a fleeting emotion who, invited or not, visits your house for a warm meal and absconds in the night with your favorite t-shirt? Is love, blunted by the quotidian rituals of dull care, reduced to a measly series of logistical transactions? Is love, in its extremes, just fertile ground for grief? Is the quest for love only a ceaseless search for anticipated memories?

No, I believe that true love, capital “L” Love, is more than a transitory emotion arising and subsiding in consciousness moment by moment.

If you have embarked on an exploration of your own mind, perhaps you have sat quietly alone observing your breath, witnessing thoughts, feelings, and ideas come in and out of your awareness – like automobiles or bicycles rolling past. Perhaps, in the depths of this serene solitude, the notion of self, the idea that there is a locus of consciousness crouching somewhere behind your eyes has momentarily dissolved, yielding only the world, unveiling a single all-enveloping Self of which you are merely a modification.

If you are a Christian, you might identify this epiphany as Christ consciousness. If you are Buddhist, this transcendence may be a glimpse into nirvana, a realization of the non-self. If you are Hindu, you may identify this experience as a unification with Brahman, the single binding unity behind all that exists in the universe. If you are simply an agnostic stoner, this may be proof that … dude, we’re all connected. No matter the mask, the same face is revealed.

Love is the recognition we are all connected by a power greater than us. The aloneness in which you come to this realization is a paradox. For it is in seclusion that the true meaning of love as connection emerges.

Love is an effusive state of being that emerges from an absence of need. Where there is no clinging or craving, there is only a presence that is simultaneously serene and energetic. From this condition of effervescent lightness, compassion and benevolence naturally emerge.

If it shall be our communal project to live from this higher place, then it will require a simple re-attunement, a change of stations from Megadeth to Debussy. 96% of everything we do every day happens reflexively, prior to consciousness. We breathe, speak, pee, and walk. We flip the turn signal, start the coffee maker, and tie our shoes.

We need to train ourselves such that love becomes unconscious behavior. This condition of being evolves only with practice.

Even someone diagnosed with amnesia can, day-over-day, improve their tennis game despite not remembering ever picking up a racket. Of course, I remember picking up the racket, but I never improve. Still, if we sit inside the splendor of love every day, it will slowly infuse our unconscious being such that life, without any thought, becomes an exercise in assembly.

In a time riddled by potholes of fear and uncertainty, division, and odium, I hope you will join me.

It’s time to walk down another street.

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