Janna Sobel
3 min readAug 17, 2019
Image by martha sue coursey

Listen up because I know the code. Get on your bike without shoes, and ride as fast as you can on a summer night, north, under big dark trees. Wear a baseball cap even though the sun is gone. Listen to some rock and roll. Like, Automatic or Sixes and Sevens or Your Motherfucker by Mondo Cozmo. Listen to that. Chew some crunchy candy-coated mint gum. Reckon that liberty comes with realizing none of it matters — every attempt to fit or please or impress is not the way— and that most of the sadness anyone you love swims around in, comes from failed attempts at fitting, pleasing, impressing. All of that’s a trick to keep us scrambling distracted, wasting time.

Crack your spine and stretch it out after sitting down at work all day. Open your mouth to sigh or cry or sing, and accidentally swallow the moon. Drop down into the soles of your feet pressed against metal and rubber. Go fast and burn stop signs. Watch. Slow down and make way for people too blind to see angels flying in the dark. See fireflies. Remember where you come from and what you came for.

Remember the people you love who have died. Even the ones who chose to. And get it, how bad it can be. How lonely and hopeless it can feel, lost inside the rolling mass of automation-isolation-compliance-consumption. Remember that there’s no way out through those machines. Consider that every poem and song and piece of art you love is a clue to getting free. A bread crumb leading you home. An artifact of someone’s insistence on their own actual wild life, in spite of everything that tried to control and divert them. Art that makes you feel right is a boat that waits at the edge of the land for you. It is close by all the time.

Think of the day you just spent peering into a digital window, forgetting you have a body, getting work done. Get mad about it. Be finished with disappearing, in all the ways you have. Catch bugs and stars and wind in your teeth and let your head grow into a big angry animal and realize that time is running out. Not time… you. The peculiar beautiful mystery that you are given to convey, to deliver, to comprehend, is a limited commodity. Devour the sleep that tries to overcome you while you’re awake.

Ride til you remember that you live here. (You do live here.) And then stop. Touch your bare foot to the ground. Confess any clinging wish you still harbor: to fit, to impress. Any longings like this that keep you distracted: go ahead and long for them. Stand with your feet on the ground and hold them like a breath you have to either let go of or die from. Admit the biggest one. The thing you’ll burst into flames waiting for: for someone to see as much beauty in you as you see in life, to love you as much as you love the world. Confess the wish to be someone else’s wish… his sweet necessity, his home. Then let your breath go.

For that to happen, you have to exist first. You have to do the same.

Janna Sobel

Janna writes and performs, teaches and coaches. She runs the show HereChicago.org and the game IntuitiveTreasureHunter.com. Find her at jannasobel.com.