When you said yes

i. 

I love the moments of silence that are here, 

the trebles and the wobbles, 

the tipped toes and the high brows, 

with the skin stretched over bones, 

over years 

like a cathedral – 

one brick at a time. 

ii. 

over there in the temple of flowers,

the leaves whip by in the wind

and soar into the tipped outline of feathered wings – 

they do this every day,

somewhat cheekily as they tickle by your ears

and ask, are you my tree?

iii. 

today your otherness is meeting the dawn,

all the other ness’s too –

your highness, your lowness, your softness, your hardness –

today they’re all awash with skin, fingers, eyes and lips. 

iv. 

the world looks fiery with the light of every human being 

in every way of being

why did you said yes,

to the possibilities and the drama?

v. 

You laugh and say, exactly. 

~*~

Sand

Kaleidoscopic human being

I do believe… you and I are deserving of kindness… I am in a process of learning what it is that I really desire… your presence, is an allowance of that desire, to exist. Be bold, be brave, hold it firmly within you and shine it like a torch. You never know… what stories, a person is carrying… whether that boy… you see… riding his bike, with his earphones in, has been bullied at school? 

Judgment: another kind thought – sometimes judgement comes from someones attachment to their sense of identity and what they believe about that.  

If they cannot allow the quality they see in you, in themselves, then judgment is a self-defence mechanism. If it bothers them, to what extent is that quality yearning for expression, in some form or other, in them?

You never know… whether the woman who sits down next to you… has attempted suicide. You never know, until you take a chance to welcome someone to share their story. You just never know, what’s going on in their life. You never know, who will resonate with your story… but you can be sure, someone will… and someone will find it empowering to hear. And believe me, the telling of stories can be deeply healing.

I don’t know if that boy was bullied, but I am sure, he has a story to tell.

Here’s what I appreciate about him… that his presence invited me to ask more questions. That I hope, whatever music he was listening to… soothes him. 

Why do we sit down here and gaze at the ocean? There’s the vaguest film of salt in the air, carried by the cool breeze… and the heat of Summer, is swirling through the air. It reminds me of those strawberry cream candies with the swirl of red/pink and white. It’s about a year since I was last here. Beaches draw up images of boisterous crowds out here for the sun and the sea. 

Isn’t that why I am here? 

You watch briefly, someone else gazing at the sea and this vague sense of discomfort steals over you. Their solitude feels sacred. It’s the realisation that they are fully here and present with their thoughts. It’s the sense that they’re not, at this moment, distracted by the world behind us, rushing sounds of vehicles, in a seeming hurry to be somewhere. It’s the sense that solitude here… is quietly shared. Is that why I am here? 

There is a pigeon looking at me, wondering if I will offer food, or perhaps, if I will leave crumbs of food behind. I don’t know. Is it a clever assumption or an assumption based on routine? Or both, that the clever is in the routine? That, for this pigeon, this routine works. This routine soothes its sense of survival. I don’t think it cares to know that the breeze is ruffling feathers on its back. But the thought makes me chuckle. 

Earlier this year, seeking solitude so I could write, distill and sift my thoughts onto the page, I found myself surrounded by mountains and a stream, a little way off… and a packet of hazelnuts. I demolished them and then I noticed… this ant, making away with the skin of a hazelnut! 

How hard and tirelessly it worked… to carry that skin across the earth. What I had carelessly dropped… was its treasure. This ant… had a work ethic and I admired it. I know, it doesn’t entertain these trains of thought. It doesn’t sit at a bench and ponder its work ethic, its nature. I don’t want to say it doesn’t think… that would be insulting to the intelligence inherent about ants and their colonies.

But I sit here and think… and someone would definitely ask… if they knew the nature of my thoughts… do you think about useful things? 

As I might’ve grudgingly realised, in their parameters of that question, the answer would be no. Yet because this thought has arisen… anyway… I’m inclined to believe that I valued their thoughts… and their parameters of seeing and thinking about the world… over my own. I valued them, their thoughts, their opinions and what they had to offer… but did they value mine? 

Did they decide… yes, I value you, but only if you are this, this and this. 

Were they cognisant of this? 

Of saying… I value you… but only if you are not you. 

The two parts of that sentence… form the two parts of an equation… and they cancel each other out. There is no value here. 

But I am here… suddenly wondering about the ghosts of the past. The part of me, thinking these thoughts arising from past conditions… and the part of me… naturally and instinctively seeing and feeling and offering the impulses that arise out of being in this moment. Are they one? Am I attempting to rectify cognitive dissonance? 

The more kindly, I think about judgment and what it offers… the more I’m able to embody what it is that I do want and desire, from myself and from others. People aren’t easily categorised by adjectives… people are a kaleidoscopic array of everything that is possible. 

That is a thought that excites me. 

Believe the best of others and the best will reveal itself. Believe the best of yourself and the best of you will show itself. There’s flexibility to those statements that I enjoy immensely… because they would be equally valid if I substituted best for worst. And since… no person is one or the other… life is a hodgepodge with everything. 

The clarity of that tickles me.

It seems ironic… and because, it lends itself to the next question: Out of this hodgepodge of everything that is life, what experiences do you want to pick and choose to live? 

~*~

Sand

Human Fragility

Oceans filled with the lost, a quiet storm on the edge, raging inside, thoughts beating against the mind. desperation blew through and a yearning unfurled when the storm sank, all that remained, glittered in the dusk.

Human Fragility

November 2016

All that we perceive as fragile is not a weakness but very much a part of our shared humanness.

Sand

On lessons and Stoic philosophy

Here’s a quote from Arno Rafael Minkkiren, a photographer who wrote an essay called The Helsinki Bus Station Theory:

“… be the caretaker of your vision. Make it famous. And above all, remember, that art is risk made visible.”

Arno Rafael Minkkiren

Not a single moment of the journeys we take will ever be wasted.

Some of what I’ve learned and un-learned along the way:

  • Other people will always give you advice based on who they are, their life experiences and what worked for them.
  • Research. No experience is off limits in the name of research.
  • If you feel shit, after listening to someone give you advice, then you’re in even deeper shit if you internalise it.
  • Take your own advice. It’s best… because you’re accountable for your own life and you’re the one steering the ship.
  • When a truth is universal… it will resonate, regardless of what age and era we live in. Here’s a quote from Meditations by Marcus Aurelius, emperor of Rome in 161 AD,

“What humans experience is part of the human experience … Nothing that can happen is unusual or unnatural, and there’s no sense in complaining. Nature does not make us endure the unendurable.”

Marcus Aurelius
  • Because you’ve already endured it. You’re enduring it.
  • Re-read Victor Frankyl’s auto-biography of Auschwitz and watch Frida Kahlo for inspiration on the human spirit’s capacity to endure.

To feel affection for people even when they make mistakes is uniquely human. You can do it, if you simply recognise: that they’re human too, that they act out of ignorance, against their will, and that you’ll both be dead before long. And, above all, that they haven’t really hurt you. They haven’t diminished your ability to choose.

Marcus Aurelius
  • There’s always another way to see things. Perspective, paradox and paradigms are some ways to approach thinking.
  • Negative thoughts are the most unproductive thoughts to exist. Choose another thought.
  • Emotional alchemy is the process of transmuting your shadowy feelings into inspiration, strength, power. The key is always acceptance and presence.
  • Everything has a cycle, a rise and a fall.

Marcus Aurelius’ asceticism sometimes comes through too strong for me, then again, I am not a Stoic, but this is one of my favourite lines from Meditations,

That way you’ll see human life for what it is. Smoke. Nothing. Especially when you recall that once things alter they cease to exist through all the endless years to come.

Marcus Aurelius

I love the poetic way those words are put together… and that it’s also a reminder of death and that death is not so taboo. Rome as he knows it, is gone… but his wisdom can be quite beautiful to read.

… Earth’s offspring back to Earth but all that’s born of Heaven, to heaven returns again.

Marcus Aurelius

Sand