December 19, 2013

From the notebooks >> Jun 23, 2013 : Most impossible to talk about

What seems most impossible to talk about is exactly what I must talk about. 

"Sun" - Zita Vilutyte
The writer part of me has frozen into something someone else wanted it to be. That part must die. What would it be like to be in this world again wearing the skin of a newborn? This time, not born out of ashes like a phoenix, but made anew bone by bone, blood cell by blood cell. 

I’ve been writing for other people for too long. If I must, let me write for those ones now: those from the green world out there, and their eyes full of red tenderness. 

They are reaching their arms to us. I may not know how to, but I can hold their hands. That is my lesson, my gift. 

How do I speak of all that has happened in the last few days? All too well I know of the reluctance to set it down in writing. That it sets down. What of the tender sapling growing under my eyes? What of the stars that have begun grieving with me, and through their grieving want the world to know how much they miss us. 

I wanted also to write about 'gift' and 'purpose' and being seen—thank you for seeing, ancestors. Thank you for sending someone to see. Thank you for keeping watch. 

Perhaps if I write all that I write from now on, addressed to you. But you don’t want me to write addresses only to you. Others who are lost need to find their home. 

In a dream, a blizzard, and a home. 

If this I write has meaning for you, raise your hand. 

I may doubt myself. It is time to stop doubting. I have been seen. I remember. This remembering, this certainty that I already knew what you were speaking to me through him. That I had already said much of the same: then I forgot. 

How did I forget? This remembering is so precious. If all of us were truly seen and welcomed. If all of us had someone to remind us. And we do. We have each other. We must remember for each other, and we must remind each other. This walking with the beauty of the gift remembered in our hearts— 

And in gratitude, I offer you this formless writing: 

That I could not write what I was supposed to be writing because where is the emotion in it: the skin of the earth pulled off and into the ripped earth we pour our tears. 

That I can pour my tears into ritual, pour the black gold of my heart, my eyes into ritual. 

That through the cold of my fingertips I feel no ‘you’ in me yet to invite—and yet it is inconceivable to do this alone. Even on the Muni train on which I sit and cry like the sky has ripped, the earth is there to hold the sky. You are with me. 

Your human selves are not enough. I need that which is non-human in you. That which drinks the heart of things and offers its own blood weeping to the thirsty heart. 

We are all so thirsty. We have been so thirsty. This thirst walks sleepless between us as we lay down at night, mewling silently to be seen. Have we begun to see? And the teeth of our ancestors on edge: imagine their thirst. 

Now that I have found this to say—there is nothing more impossible, and nothing else that must be said more in this vivid now. I am like a dog having found a bowlful of water, tongue hanging loose, dripping water. 

Oh ancestors and spirits! let me sing for you now. This is what your ears have been aching to hear. And the sky thunder of my heart right now can barely even form words. 

Something is still stealing words. With stolen words, I’ll build you a sleeping room, spirit room, spirit bed. I will make a hand fan out of stolen words. I will ask the bird for a song, and the shrub for a whisper, and I will sing. 

You know I will get tired. But in the story, at least, I’m never tired. Let me make that story for you then. A story that is flimsy, that is not shy but is flimsy—because she is made of weeping songs. 

Each song I pick up and hold against my breasts—each song I sing to, crooning. 

Let them sleep their ever-watchful sleep. In sleep they mutter, in sleep they see. They are our eyes, our mouths, our nourishment, our relations. All our relations. 


A door just opened and you walked in. Thank you for walking in. 


The poem above—if I may call it that—speaks to some of the emotion held in me in this now. There is a clarity, a light that has begun to shine clearly on the path—it is as if I was waiting for someone to see so that I could believe—give myself permission to believe—without any further doubts and demurrals—in myself and in the other world. 

The divination by Malidoma came as a confirmation, but it is also the sense of homecoming, opening, surrender, grief, peace, communality, lineage, and urgency that I have felt again and again in the ritual space, during the Dagara rituals, that brings me here. 

To my surprise, I have also been experiencing a different sense of accountability; rather, a very clear bidding to be relationally accountable. There is an urgency that I need to make space for whatever next needs to unfold by clearing everything that is not needed, including my own egoic defense machinations. I am also being told through dream and intuition that I need to be discerning in the choices I make, in the paths I take. What I will choose will affect not only me. I will not be choosing only on my own behalf. 

The growing relationship with ancestors and spirits demands also that I listen and surrender more. There is a sweetness, a surrender, in this surrendering. I am so grateful to the Bay area for holding me amidst such plenitude of beauty—the beauty of Spring!— as I have been walking, listening and surrendering. 

I feel a tie, a bond, an accountability to this community (if it is possible to name and identify yet this community). I had started IAST with a wound in my heart, a wound around being in community—around trust and being seen—and noticed when I came back that this wound had healed during those five days. It was not something specific that led to it; there was something about all of us there in that land in that space/time—each one of us bearing such amazing, magnificent gifts. Each of us, each medicine. We were so fortunate. 

I am still practicing being able to hold in writing the mind, the heart, the spirit of the matter in all its complexity (and simplicity). And, as I say in the poem (if I may call it that), writing itself is dangerous; rendering something in writing can be so dangerous. But some of us choose to meet these dangers because someone else also chose, and in choosing, gifted us with the possibilities of imagination, flight, and becoming, and without possibilities we were nothing, we were here but the here was so still it had grown stale, and we did not remember. 

Remembering is making anew. Initiation is remembering, and remembering is an initiation too. 

The question, once we remember, is not the impossibility of how to survive in this world that does not acknowledge the other world. It is how to continue what we came on earth to do, and what does one do with this grief that only wants to sit by the ancestors, cry, and listen.

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