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. 

Cut

I cut myself last night, a slice not deep but well-placed

like a knotted finger string, center tip of the left index

or pointer, that guiding gun dog of the hand.

It happened as I chopped and spoke, diced and

listened, as she teasingly warned, “Careful. Don’t cut yourself.”

And then, not five minutes after smug riposte, “I don’t cut myself

any more. I’ve been chopping longer than you’re alive,” the eye first,

followed a hair-pin later by stinging prick alarm, ending with

stifled exhale and reflex footing to clear water.

Quick pouring like a scalp wound, I swiftly improvised a napkin

tourniquet, then resumed my chop in plump, papered digit,

slow labor, but serviceable, hidden, blunted, wrapped

crimson seeping like shame, pride and irreverence tucked

under the skin resting on disbelieving bones.

I slipped so quickly to the sink and back, returning

to my task unfazed and fluid, so they wouldn’t see, she

who pronounced my fate and the other who witnessed.

Brushing off the slight speed bump in the banter, I turned

the absorbing wrap growing redder toward me, out of sight.

And soon they left me for work and parties, wounded, hindered

and aching to know, the pain signal, what attention needed

paying, which moment or opportunity squandered.

Today, I press it, that slit in consciousness, right thumb to

left index, cataloguing input–sensory, intuitive and cognitive–

carefully20160807_202150.jpg caressing the seconds at my fingertips.

 

 

 

 

In Our Againstness

image

It is easy to be anti.

Sew any position,

idea,

suggestion,

politics,

plan,

stance,

ideology,

life-choice,

selection,

belief,

imagination,

project,

offering,

words,

lifestyle,

body,

work,

design,

opinion,

promise,

intuition,

product,

opportunity,

advice,

action,

money,

art,

sensibility,

interest,

heart,

and/or decision;

then find the furthest pole—

the apogee to the perigee,

south to north–

and clothe yourself in it,

wear it like a challenge

and fight, live and die for the right to be it–

cloaked in against-ness.

Far easier than crafting a conscious cushion,

considerately embroidered,

seated somewhere in between,

not necessarily half-way

but somewhere along the imaginary stitching

that traces the path from me to you.

Not compromise but creation.

Cultural Appropriation or Emulation: Does it Matter?

  
Published in the Mindful Word, please enjoy an article I contributed to the ongoing conversation about Rachel Dolezal, cultural appropriation and social media. 

For those of us who grew up in a Pakistani, Sri Lankan, Bangladeshi, or Nepali household, our struggles to fit in are vastly different in magnitude, but the solidarity exists. So that’s why we are upset when someone wakes up one day and decides to exploit our turbulent identities as a disposable fashion—and by doing so be rewarded as a paragon of globalization and cultural acceptance. How dare they regard Indian fashion as effortlessly cool and chic while we make it look “fobby,” or a stubborn adherence to our culture that purports us to be “fresh off the boat.”


How dare they have a crush when we spent our entire lives trying to love.

Read more here.

Peace, 

Gaze