Nothing 


“If you don’t have good intentions, please just leave me alone. I’m tired.”

Right on. My gut reacted that way to these adorned, bordered words on my morning Facebook scroll. At second blush, however, this sounded grumpy. It’s the “leave me alone” part. A command that demands aloneness inevitably appears angry, sad, just a bad decision. I mean, who besides me would want to be alone? Well, many more might be better off if they were. They might not only be okay with it, but crave it after a while.

The world is always too much with us whether we live in the bush on the African plains or in New York city’s heart. We toil. We care. We think about how, what or if we feel from the moment our eyes open upon awakening to their closing in sleep. 

We think of doing. We do. Our minds embalm themselves in constant “voice,” mostly noise. Our sensations form perceptions and the senses are always on, no matter how much we try to shut them down, tune them out or mute them with volume reducers (drugs, alcohol, love, food…). 

We are lost in a thrumming hum of sensate being. How can we ever be alone? There is no alone, no solitude, except for sleep or death, and those only by outside appearance. Who knows who or what accompanies us in either? Our minds are constantly populated with people, thoughts, memories and plans with, about or in avoidance of those we carry. 

We are never alone.

No wonder we’re tired.

So the demand to be alone is necessary. It seems nearly impossible to accomplish without intolerably long, hard dedication to removing thoughts–all of them–in practiced meditation.

And those–people or thoughts–with bad intentions whether direct or indirect, conscious or unconscious, it’s all too much. Each of us is on overload merely in the pace of one moment to the next–the bombardment of living with others, even among nature only. Nature is not benevolent. It too harbors malignancies, intended or not. 

But those who move bent on destruction (think of the fearful-angry vibrations they emit and hit us with like sonar) overburden us beyond our sitting, resting, active capacities and raise our hackles, elevating our hormones with alarm bells. We, poised in self-preservation, fight or flight, consume and are consumed by nothing but the bad intent, defense in crush or aggression, certainly guardedness. Where does that lead? 

Not to equanimity, nor to conditions amenable to hearing the silence, being with solitude, clearing the mind. We become filled with the chatter-ful greed, jealousy, deceit, mischief or envy of another. We endure gossip, lies and other violence. Our skin tingles and tightens with breath, tremor and howl.

We may suffer with our lives momentarily or forever.

It is not an unreasonable request–to hold out a stiff, unbending arm that impedes the onslaught of another–whether that takes the form of someone bumping into us, screaming hate or fear at our eyes, or onrushing our bodies to steal or otherwise injure.

We can act. We can will it, say it: “Leave. Don’t come near. Let me remove you from my mind. I can do it with or without your consent.”

In the end, it–all of it–is in our heads. Nothing. Everything.

So, usher in aloneness. Yes. I’m willing. 

Under Your Gaze: Poem 11


I live under your gaze
 
in a box
 
by the bus bench
 
in the bushes.
 
Though our eyes
 
never meet,
 
not a glance my way,
 
I feel your shame.
 
Don’t.
 
Judge my story.
 
You’ll find it in my eyes.

Love, don’t hold my hand


Standing in line, wondering if it’s my time, if I’m next.

Horror dominates the mood of this meet-market place. 

How many times have I walked hand in hand with her

strolling in the night along busy streets, on the beach,

arm and arm, not a care what the world around us was?

She once asked me if I were afraid. “Of what?” I asked

then genuinely confused at the context of her asking.

She knew because she was no Johnny Cum Lately like

she found me, days when I thought we were so free to

love anyone, our choice, our lives, nobody’s business.

That was then, before the killing, so now I understand

her hesitance, reticent PDA despite her overwhelming 

urgency to touch me, keep me close and hold my hand.

Now I know how much I never knew what it was like to

clasp your hand to the back of your neck to smother it,

 the burning, piercing glances and hateful lookaways 

and disgust, unknown to me, a judging by appearance, 

though I never hid my femme, wore it loudly just like I 

wear that tremor of hateful contempt-tossed-at-me-

cringe once someone knows my tribe, the most stead-

fastly, longest-standing hated people in all the world.

But since I did not reveal it in my skin nor my love life,

I was freer than those targets who had no choice but to

be who they were, but to love who they loved and to be

fluid bodies delighting, sensating and breathing light

by which we all create our mad comedies and tragedies 

called our civilized, social, contractual, consensual lives. 

Believing I was anyone’s everyone, I was simply wrong. 

I’m noone’s; I’m in between everyone–not any where,

watching the others duck and dodge bigots and bullets. 

 

Published on #RebelleSociety: Learning How to Shift Our Anger Out of Overdrive and Into Freedom

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Please visit RebelleSociety.com and read the complete version of an essay I sketched on the blog a few days ago: Read it here.

Blogging has been a fruitful enterprise for me creatively speaking, and I am happy to have maintained my initial pursuit and purpose for it as a sort of notebook of ideas and writings, both complete and incomplete, wholly raw or somewhat polished.

When I find myself in mid-spasm of angry spume, I calm myself with a gratitude checklist, one item being the opportunity to write. This blog has facilitated that.

Thank you all for reading.  Here is a treat:

 

 

All Roads Lead to Anger

  
I am an asshole on the road. 

While I have never engaged in road rage, I rage plenty on the road in seething insults and strings of profanity that I cannot help but recognize as an inheritance from my father.

I always believed I was most like my mother: cheerful, determined, optimistic and rational. But that’s because my father was never around, working round the clock as he did. Come to find out after he moved in a few years ago, I am much like him.

I not only inherited my dad’s long, skinny legs and dark eyes, but also his temper. 

My Dad could be nasty. My memories soak in pools of chiding, my mother wagging her finger at her husband after yet another profanity blasted from his lips. His pet names for his wife included colorful epithets that would curdle any feminist’s blood–really any civil human being’s blood.   

My father’s vulgarity fully bloomed in a car. I drive like him: impatiently, erratically, and aggressively. All the curses I ever heard growing up fly freely from my mouth in explosions of hateful disdain on the road. I transform from human to monster. 

I know habit has a large part to do with it, but I am nevertheless surprised at the ferocity of my anger the moment I encounter a perceived slight on the road: it rises in a flash hotter and more suddenly than those that plagued me for years before menopause. It feels like a siege, as if I have no control over an acid-spewing alien cocooning inside me that bursts from my guts and spews terror. 

And when I have just spit aloud from clenched teeth the words: “You f#@*ing asshole!” with venom, I immediately catch myself, just as automatically as the words that flew out of my mouth, “What is wrong with you?!!” 

Therein lies part of the problem: not the knee-jerk flying foul language and anger triggered by insignificant, impersonal lane encroachments but the counter reaction of self-berating. It does nothing to change the reactive fury. 

Not that I condone the behavior, the lack of control in the face of something so irrational and trivial. Like any bad habit–smoking, nail biting, leg shaking (all of which I have had to beat)–the behavior masks some other neglected need, some other unattended emotion, unhealed wound, stewing conflict or ongoing unresolved problem.  

Most often, however, we seethe in separation, having polarized ourselves in opposition to those who would thwart our efforts, not only on our immediate but our larger destination–at least that is our perception.

When we lash out at the unknown ‘other’ out there in the world, someone we have reduced to a concept, a negative speed bump in our lives, whether that be the generic bad driver (or merely inattentive driver), not to mention the total road blocks–“the racist cop”, “the black thug”– or the more specifically named and reviled “woman” or “Asian” or whichever derogatorily denoted driver, we do so because we are isolated–and not just in the safety of our cars. We are closed up inside of ourselves, removed from our innate artist’s eye able to see the details of others. I know this because no one except the seriously ill or wounded cannot memorize the lines in his mother’s face as she sits paralyzed placid in her wheel chair or the dimples in her babies’ knees.  

The mind can see if allowed to.
 
The distance between us is self-imposed, learned, unconscious and/or conscious. It derives from the dis-remembrance of our primal past as cave-dwelling groups of protective survival and the ever-unfolding illusion of separateness, the change in us since those days.

Change comes from active awareness of our material being. If the scientists’ and spiritualists’ postulations resonate truth, we are all part and particle of the same star bursts, the same matter that existed eons before us, made us. Our DNA that shapes us is shaped similarly to that of the earth’s flora and fauna. Whether our individual components–genetic or nurtured–make us tall, short, dark or light skinned, good drivers or bad drivers, even-tempered or hot-tempered, we are all respiring sentient beings that matter, are matter, both divine and profane.
 
When we forget that, we other-ize, sense the loneliness of that disconnection, and get angry. And that’s okay. Eventually, we shift sight, change gears to lower breathing rpm’s, and recognize ourselves as the free-way, the one leading us all to the same exit and on ramps.

 
Photo credit:  wakeup-world.com