Screaming For A Three-Dimensional Life

“Breathe with unconditional breath
The unconditioned air.
Shun electric wire.
Communicate slowly.
Live a three-dimensional life,
Stay away from screens.
Stay away from anything that obscures the place it is in.
There are no unsacred places,
There are only sacred places
And desecrated places.”

Wendell Berry

I’m sure you’ve heard by now of digital strain- basking in the glow of a screen, staring at blue lights, sitting under low ceilings- and how it’s becoming a problem for our physical eyes, but could it also be distorting our perception of reality.  

We are losing our appetite for skin to skin, life to life, deep to deep.

I know it’s time to take myself to therapy. I shovel my anxiety into the soil, it seems to know how to mend me without words. The smell of earth as I pull up frost bitten flowers. The sound of busy birds collecting their stash of seeds before snow comes. The way my body contorts to rake the lumpy dirt. All is well in the world again.

One of my children is collecting handfuls of worms by the fallen leaves. Two others are pretending to be unicorns, while my youngest plops herself down beside me, amidst mounds of wet soil and old, moldy corn stalks.

For once, I don’t mind. This is three-dimensional living. And it didn’t take much to enter it either.

But I had to leave the cheering crowds and the streams of glib comments tempting me to keep my head down and focused on another world.

I had to decide to become famous with the forest and hear God with the birds by my side. The silence washes my creative spirit and the poetry of life flows fast and free. There seem to be no traps out here, I become my fullest self with the wind softly brushing my face.

It’s high time we throw our heads back to find the big dipper, shaking out our flattened selves, dusting off our humanity, and engaging with the unspeakable mysteries of this breathtaking universe.

I yearn for a kind of earthy existence, where I need a shower to rinse off the dirt, instead of to relax from the stress.

I want to feel the shiver from this cold night air as I walk laps up and down my driveway, laughing because I’m alive and dying all at once. The lights from the house shine out into the yard, but I don’t want to go in just yet. There’s something out here for me. I walk to the end of the road and back again, three laps and I’m finished.   

Three times the charm, they say.

Three times might just be the key to breaking us of our addiction to two-dimensional living.  

Today, while writing out these words my one-year old daughter strikes against her usual three-o-clock nap. Twice now, I’ve tried to lay her down, but each time her eyes pop open and she’s back to screaming, and I’m doing all I know to do- offering her sips of warm milk to soothe her and whatever hurts.

I come upstairs to finish, but she still yearns for peace. I puff out the frustration, flinging myself into her room with a bit of drama. I pick her and her pink blankets out of the crib and the wailing stops immediately. The room is growing dark, but I watch her eyes closely.

I rub her face and head, memorizing the moment because these days will be over too soon. Being held is apparently good enough this time.  I wait with her until she finally gives up and rests. Her head falls back into my arms, her whole body limp, heavier now than when we started.

I thank God for this three-dimensional life, how it interrupts and engages me, frustrates and heals me.

Body, soul, spirit, I leave my daughter’s room knowing wholeness is found here- in the giving and the tending and the touching.

Don’t we see it? Three-dimensional living is what we all are screaming for, you and I, together partaking in the fullness of this human experience.

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