No Ordinary Love

Sometimes, to love someone best is to love them from afar.
It is not to entangle or become entangled into the mundane Mess.
Rather, it is to leave and make space for Self and The Other.
This is especially true for the most sensitive Souls,
the free Spirits and creatives,
the misfits and the misunderstood –
the ones who readily absorb external energy,
in whom the skin is relatively thin and the mind too malleable.
One can be a loner and a lover – different type of love, yes,
and equally as rich, sweet, and intense.
Love and intimacy are too big to be contained, restrained and
forced into a box, told what they are and are not.

Un-Entitled

Life is most interesting…the twists and turns of it, the places you end up literally “minding” your own business.

There really are no accidents.

I just finished watching a documentary about a well-known singer and songwriter accused of abusing many girls and women – which I came across channel surfing. It is likely the most disturbing work I have ever seen. I did not want to watch. But as the well-being and empowerment of women and girls feels to me like one of the reasons I as placed in this body and in the world at this time, I could no longer look away. In order to make any real difference, one must listen and bear witness to the vulnerability and fragility of the human spirit – far from comfortable, but obligatory.

It is now 3.30 on a Sunday morning. There is no way I will sleep without placing some thoughts and feeling elicited by that documentary on paper. Need to release that energy, those emotions I cannot quite articulate or completely feel in this Moment. Writing has always been my therapy.

Here goes:

My theme in 2019, the year I turn a half a century old, is taken from one of my favorite songs, the beautiful African-American spiritual, This Little Light of Mine. The intention is to consciously be a Light and create the space to recognize and encourage The Light from others. I believe that we are indeed in this thing called Life together and, as such, we are each other’s keeper.

So, the notion of fellow humans – children of God – out there who consciously endeavor to hurt and degrade others – especially children and the emotionally vulnerable – purely for their own gain, shakes me to my very core. Intellectually, I know such beings exist – politically dictators who have (and continue) to wreak utter havoc on the lives of millions upon millions of humans, priests behaving badly, and it goes on and on. I have seen up close with friends and family, domestic abuse and its toll.

Still, watching that documentary, hearing story upon disturbing story told by people who look like me, my sisters and friends, saddened me deeply. I am also stunned: How does a human brazenly disrupt the lives of so many young girls and women as well as their families and get away with it for so many years? Is one born that way, the way of darkness and depravity? Is it nurture – an abuser grows up immersed in the sewage and consciously decides to repeat the pattern? And then one wonders about the abused – young women who appear to be so easily “trained” to take and accept humiliation and maltreatment from a man? To be so controlled that not even the desperate plea of your own parent moves you?! Bon Dieu.

Everything is within a context, yes? This became crystal clear to me when I saw the movie, Monster with Charlize Theron years ago, and reinforced with every episode of Criminal Minds that I can sit through. The Monster is not created within a vacuum. Circumstances – often violent and sadistic early in life or some serious trauma later in life – come together to produce such a being. This is not to take the responsibility from that individual for their actions. Again, everything is a matter of context. Any one of us, placed within a particularly toxic and “uncivilized” environment, can easily (and quite abruptly) revert to a more basic, “primitive” state, descending way down to the Abyss of our consciousness – saying and doing things we could never even conceived as possible. I am remembering now as I write that this was the lesson – the warning – that the Lord of the Flies (the only book that remained with me well after high school) sought to teach. We contend that we are the “highest” of the animal species. Still, our behavior toward each other repeatedly demonstrates that the human psyche is delicate terrain. Like walking on very thin ice, it does not take much for us to crack and rapidly become undone.

I watched and heard the stories in that documentary – one after the other, incredulous. Wondering how does this happen? Yet, knowing exactly how it happens. You do not wish to place any blame on the abused – especially when they are women (members of your own sex) and where minors are concerned. Still you wonder, what wound was so glaringly infected, need so deep and vast, that the predator could smell it a mile away? We tell on ourselves, my grandmother reminded me shortly before her passing. Energy speaks so much louder than words.

And there but for the Grace? Plan? Will? of God go I. I vividly recall how innocent I was heading to College – a school chosen because I had fallen, at first sight, deeply “in love” with the sophomore who had come to my high school to pitch the University. My freshman year, every time I saw him on campus, my heart literally skipped a beat. I was so hopelessly infatuated with him – it was crazy. So, when a friend from high school asked me to be part of a group of women helping him and his line brothers with the grueling pledging process for admittance into a fraternity – the same fraternity to which “my love” belonged – hell yeah, I jumped at the opportunity! As a member of this group, I met the beautiful girl that he – my crush – was said to be dating. Still, that knowledge didn’t stop me – the smart, geeky, “good” girl raised by the quintessential strong black women – from being in his room one night, alone sitting on a mattress with his head on my lap. He, now a junior; me, a freshman and virgin in every sense of the word. I have absolutely no recollection of how I got in that room nor how I left. None. My memory has never been strong to begin with. Hence, such a gap is not unusual. I do not get the sense that anything untoward occurred. And, so I consider myself “lucky”. I was so vastly and profoundly insecure in College and – looking back, knowing what I know now – clinically depressed. Miles from my smothering, overprotective parents, family and wider community, anything could have happened to me. Anything and anyone. My emotional wounds were bleeding profusely, the perfect prey was I. There but…indeed.

So, who am I to judge?? Not all the women in the documentary who charged that singer songwriter with abuse were teenagers. Some were grown folk – as we say – women thirty years in age and older. The girls, we can better understand and sympathize, their brains are still developing. The women…a little harder to comprehend. Does not age bring wisdom with it? Not necessarily. He was much older – as they usually are. Long ago, I heard someone say that we are all school buses carrying with us all our ages. The Inner Children – along with its pain, trauma and confusion – does not simply go away. Everything is energy. According to The First Law of Thermodynamics, Energy can neither be destroyed nor created. It can only be converted from one form to another. If the negative energy of past trauma, shame, pain, and hurt are not spoken truthfully, faced head on, and transformed constructively, it festers infecting the individual from the inside out and/or enabling destruction via the hands of another just waiting for the opportunity to unleash their own unresolved anguish. It’s a dance, the human interaction.

The idealist in me would have us all first acknowledge and begin to deal with our individual issues and demons, thereby coming as “correct” as is possible to the relationship dance.

I pray for us all what I continue to pray for myself: that we re-member always who and what we really are – Light (one so strong and powerful that it can never be dimmed for long. The courageous women who shared their stories in the documentary and survived horrific abuse are shining and inspiring examples of human resilience.)

I pray that we re-member that we are truly many parts of the Same One – so what you do to the perceived other, you do to yourself.

I pray for a level of consciousness and conscientiousness toward each other, and Mother Earth as a whole, that would render us humble enough to re-consider the notion that humans are the “highest” of God’s millions (perhaps even billions) of species.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Beat of One’s Own Drums

to march to the beat of
One’s Own Drums,
to imitate no one,
to innovate 
from a place of deep faith
and confidence-
such a mandate
is not for
the faint
in Heart.

it takes courage 
to be free,
to be the You
that often only You can see,
to be unique, a bit of a mystique
in a world of followers and shamers.

we were made in God’s image,
reflections of The Divine, The Most High
one and onlys are we –
wonderfully crafted 
for a specific purpose and time.

the sake of humanity pleads:
spread your considerable wings!
march to the beat of your very own drums!
no need to compete,
there is more than enough room
for everyone.

Artwork: Walking the Line, Edwin Lester @artistedlester

LIFE (scene two)

LIFE

can seem insane.
So many of us are unable
to withstand its pain.
We do our best to live,
to contribute
to a world
constantly changing
and maddening.

Still, through it all
some of us manage not to fall.
Like a seedling
making its way up through concrete,
we spread our wings,
we plant our feet.
We’ve found our place;
we are lauded and celebrated.

But then-
in the blink of an eye,
an “apparent suicide“.

What happened?!
What went wrong?!
Does not success
bring with it sustained happiness?
What of us
for whom no one makes a fuss,
who daily squeeze into an overcrowded bus
to a job that leaves us empty and numb?
If the “extra-ordinary” so regularly succumb,
how then does the “ordinary” overcome?

“The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation…” Henry David Thoreau, Walden

Change to Save

I will need to change my life
in order to save it.

This I am feeling to my very core.
Don’t know  how much more
I can swallow.
I’m walkin’ on thin ice,
on troubled waters that are shallow.

Born an introvert, Quiet is the air I must breathe,
what sustains and maintains me.
Without adequate doses of silence,
I lose pieces,
become untethered,
cannot see a hopeful reality,
begin to question my existence
and that of all humanity.

Why all the noise –
the incessant chatter and mindless banter?

Y’all gonna make me lose my mind
up in here, up in here.
Y’all gonna make me lose control
up in here, up in here.”

I will need to change my life
in order to save it.

Deprived of silence,
I feel my blood boiling,
heart racing,
hands tremblin’,
mind slipping.
I can taste that bitter, flimsy line
between love and hate;
that soft, raw space
where even the gentlest among us
can suddenly snap
and do things we can never take back.
The Devil isn’t over there-
No, it plays in us all
bidding we follow
and fall-
fall so hard and low,
we can barely stand up.

I will need to change my life,
re-claim it
in order to save it.

Exactly how to do so
overwhelms and scares –
the tide is seemingly so high.
Got to go deep inside,
to The Core
lean only on that which is Truth and pure.

The Commute

I had plans
today.
Plans for adventure
and duty-
all
entailed
The Commute
to The City
on the weekend
when all Hell is loosed
and The Commute
becomes an Intolerable Beast,
affecting me
everywhere –
from head
down to feet!

The relentless rush,
the multitudes of people,
trains disabled.

The smell of urine
and rotten cheese
emanating from homeless humans
with limbs grotesquely diseased-
scratching, sleeping
begging, hustling.

And then
there’s The Noise
my God –
crashing
repeatedly
angrily
forcefully
into me,
engulfing me
like a seismic sea wave,
driving me crazy,
utterly insane!

I must go deep
inside
retreat,
hide-
do whatever it takes
to survive
The Commute’s 
overwhelming
and exhausting
stimuli
I so desperately hate.

I was not built for this
no, not me
the sensitive introvert
who thrives
only
in relative silence;
who loves
longs for
peace and quiet.

The older I get
the more intense
is the stress
that The Commute
elicits.

As my threshold
for tolerance
rapidly drops,
the more urgent
the need
for a fresh start-
a new, different Life,
one devoid of The Commute’s 
inherent strife.

Pearls from Tears

I remember well my fascination with oysters – rather unattractive on the outside, very rough around the edges. Yet, inside, lay a much sought-after jewel, the pearl. When later I learned that the pearl is the by-product of an irritant entering its sensitive insides, I understood why the oyster so resonated with me. This was me, my life: nothing particularly compelling on the outside – by typical standards – but inside, my heart and my mind, utterly extra-ordinary, beautiful, invaluable and unforgettable. 

To this day, I draw my sense of self-worth and place from what lies beneath my skin, that which cannot be seen or felt by most. Alas, residing in a world where the outward appearance is a major determinant of one’s currency and where the attention span continues to rapidly decrease, what place is there for the pearls that lie within? Will anyone pay attention? Does anyone care?

For us, the human oysters, the world’s daily dismissal serves as the irritant; our tears, fodder for the formation of precious pearls. They pile up, the pearls, on our delicate insides, yearning to be seen, worn, to adorn. They were not meant to be stowed away, these iridescent fruits of vulnerability, discomfort and despair. No, they are gifts to be brought to the Light and shared.

And so, with lips quivering, hands trembling and hearts pounding, we take a tentative step, and then another; we open our mouths to speak, softly at first; we pick up our pens and write, allow the pearls to flow out, and then quickly hit send.

Some of what we offer will fall on fertile hearts and minds and be valued; most will be discarded or just plain ignored. No matter. The response is not our responsibility; we are tasked only to release.

Loaded Head

where is my Heart in the Moment?
what does It wish to express?
what needs to come up
to come out,
to be said,
seen,
and lovingly released?

i feel no thing,
which can mean
numbness or peace,
cold apathy
or searing heat.

“just leave Me be!”
The Heart begs,
“focus on this Moment instead.
live outside your loaded head.”

The Companion

it is only the second day of the new year,
and i wonder why am i here?
why didn’t i just disappear?
feel so ….
invisible and disposable,
useless and directionless.

alas, been in this place many times before,
so i know well the score:
and this, too, shall pass.
the question is
how long will it last?

Another Year

Twelve months,
fifty-two weeks
three hundred sixty-five days,
eight thousand seven hundred sixty hours,
f
ive hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes

gone
over
done.

A door is closing,
another is opening.
A time for reflection,
a clean slate.
Lessons learned,
goals to re-make.

We know what was
and wonder as to what will be.
What will spill over
from last year to this?
What and who will give way,
create space
for something
new
unexpected
completely transformative?

A mystery, the New Year;
seems to come sooner and sooner
with each passing year-
little time to catch one’s breath
before it’s on to the next!
Perhaps, a good thing,
this perceived speed
with which the years roll by-
less thinking
and worrying,
more being
and accepting.

What will be, will be.
We cannot control
what is destiny.

On the cusp
of a New Year,
we set intentions
and then
humbly
release them,
surrendering all;
taking it
breath by deep breath
minute by precious minute.
Living
fully
in every moment as
hours grow into days,
days become weeks,
weeks give way to months.

And
suddenly
we begin again
and anew.