04 February 2013


I am still in MS. I continue to reach out (and in) in every direction for friendship, insight, commiseration, critique, suggestions... It is a matter of survival. I hit pay dirt last night on the telephone with this poem, read aloud to me, by a friend in Santa Cruz:

The Dakini Speaks

My friends, let's grow up.
Let's stop pretending we don't know the deal here.
Or if we truly haven't noticed, let's wake up and notice.
Look: everything that can be lost, will be lost.
It's simple-how could we have missed it for so long?
Let's grieve our losses fully, like ripe human beings,
But please, let's not be so shocked by them.
Let's not act so betrayed
As though life had broken her secret promise to us.
Impermanence is life's only promise to us,
And she keeps it with ruthless impeccability.
To a child she seems cruel, but she is only wild,
And her compassion is exquisitely precise:
Brilliantly penetrating, luminous with truth,
She strips away the unreal to show us the real.
This is the true ride-let's give ourselves to it!
Let's stop making deals for a safe passage:
There isn't one anyway, and the cost is too high.
We are not children any more.
The true human adult gives everything for what can be lost.
Let's dance the wild dance of no hope!

--Jennifer Welwood

This morning, more scavenging and excavation and harvesting yielded this response from a FB friend I've never met. A woman older than I who is a MS native: [Note: Nina Simone's "Mississippi Goddamn" has been running through my head nonstop for a few days. A few photo portraits of the woman who immortalized that song seem in order.]

Mississippi is not a nice place. It will weigh you down. You will adapt or you will leave. Make no mistake about it, every noble soul who remains adapts because the struggle is too great to not release something of value.

The natives will deny the problems, defend the divisions, and point to places outside where "it's just the same." People will die and be glorified in death. But they're still be dead and living in Mississippi will probably be the cause of their death on some level.
I like this John O'Donohue quote: "Only if there is beauty in us can we recognize beauty elsewhere: beauty knows beauty. In this way beauty can be a mirror that manifests our own beauty. This has little to do with narcissism or self-absorption. To achieve a glimpse of inner beauty strengthens our sense of dignity and grace. The glimpse ennobles us; it helps awaken and refine our reverence for the intimate eternal that dwells in us." 
I have observed that the job of racial reconciliation is an extremely difficult one --- that is, if you are sincere and want to do it correctly. Northern Ireland, South Africa, Mississippi are tough mission fields. I find that blacks are usually the ones doing the reaching for reconciliation, and whites are usually the ones readily accepting forgiveness. I think that is a flawed model. Everybody needs salvation and everybody needs forgiveness. Blacks must forgive themselves (ourselves) for having been chattel slaves; for having been impotent to stop the violence and oppression. We can do that only if we can find beauty in ourselves. For about ten years (1970-1980), we had that confidence. But it went back Hollywood. Anyway...
Think on this quote from John O'Donohue (and read him): "If you try to view yourself through the lenses that others offer you, all you will see are distortions; your own light and beauty will become blurred, awkward, and ugly. Your sense of inner beauty has to remain a very private thing."


My charmed life continues, being delivered just what I need when I need it most.

Some keys live in the awesome silence that surrounds and permeates me. Some keys live in the words of others, float and flutter and stampede into my awareness, opening doors....nudging me into wakefulness.