You are currently browsing the monthly archive for January 2014.

I’ve been going thru the going thru as is often the case these days writing this dissertation. The challenge is not in the work of writing (most days) but in the mirror that this work holds to my face, all the many ways i am confronted with myself, where i’m at, where i’ve been, who i am and am not yet, but mainly what i have … and do not

Today, today it has been wearing on my spirit. the tears and the inner conversations, the weeping palpable, but never liberated that i hear in the silence of these walls, the grief too difficult to let reign free. I am feeling rather lonely… i have been for some time

so i did what i always do when this brand of loneliness comes down, i turned to jimmy … picked up just above my head, knowing i’d find myself on the page and know, at least, someone like me has been seen before, so perhaps i one day too might also be seen…

I am always amazed by how each time i pick up this book, how much i discover each time i come back to it. i seldom find immediately what i’m looking for … and yet in the nearly 15 years that i’ve been reading it over and again, that it never fails to bring to me something i don’t even recall existing, but i needed now, whatever now I find myself in … as i apparently had once before because it was there marked, in my own hand, and waiting for me to return. I found what I was looking for too… but I’m fearfully thankful that though I don’t remember now why I had need it, this, in this way … it found me once again, in this now when i stood deeply in need

“And I was alone, had been for a while, and might be for a while, but it no longer frightened me the way it had. I was discovering something terrifyingly simple: there was absolutely nothing I could do about it. I was discovering this in the way, I suppose, that everybody does, but having tried, endlessly, to do something about it. You attach yourself to someone, or you allow someone to attach themselves to you. This person is not for you, and you, really, are not for that person – and that’s it son. But you try, you both try. The only result of all your trying is to make absolutely real the unconquerable distance between you: to dramatize, in a million ways, the absolutely unalterable truth of this distance. Side by side, and hand in hand, your sunsets, nevertheless, are not occurring in the same universe. It is not merely that the rain falls differently on each of you, for that can be a wonder and a joy: it is that what is rain for the one is not rain for the other. Your elements will not mix, unless one agree that the elements be pulverized – and the result of that is worse than being alone…

“She looked down at me with that ancient and utterly vulnerable face, eyes as old as Egypt and as untouched as tomorrow”

“It is rare that a cry is heard, and I think we love forever those who hear the cry…”

“I was being forced to see that real love involves real perception and that perception can bring joy, or terror, or death, but it will never abandon you to the dream of happiness. Love is perceiving and perception is anguish…”

“…the strangest people in one’s life are the people one has known and loved, still known and will always love. Here, both I and the vocabulary are in trouble, for strangest, does not imply stranger. A stranger is a stranger is a stranger, simply, and you watch the stranger to anticipate his next move. but the people who elicit from you a depth of attention and wonder which we helplessly call love are perpetually making moves which cannot possibly anticipated. Eventually, you realize that is never occurred to you to anticipate their next move, not only because you couldn’t but because you didn’t have to: it was not a question of moving on the next move, but simply, of being present… For the strangest people in the world are those people recognized, beneath one’s sense, by one’s soul – the people utterly dispensable for one’s journey.”

you must detach
from the dream of the fish
the Buddhists say
if you are to be a fisher.
everything you catch
will be treasure(d).

i stand by the shore
and open my hands.

once cherished
hopes, yearnings, dreams
– and she who held them –
bob gently in the twilight
drifting away
in the current of my tears.

i pray, for bravery.

perhaps, one day
I’ll cast another line.

and she was marked
Handle with Care

If I had to label it, it would be caretaking. That’s what 2013 has been the year of. There is, of course, the most obvious case of caring for my mother which was a central part of everything I did this year. But not only that… the calls and requests were myriad as 2013 crawled on. The nature of those requests for help and care will remain between me and the callers on the other end of the line. More times than not I was able to fill the need, offer the attention or time or money or tenderness required … though at times not without having to gain some humility and make requests of others in kind. For all of that, I am grateful.

The problem with caretaking, however, is that when there’s a sacrifice or compromise to be made for the requested care to be given, the caretaker is usually the one who pays the toll. The problem is not the particular sacrifice made – there’s something … not honorable, but perhaps profound, about learning and being willing to relinquish for another’s sake. The danger in caretaking isn’t the actual thing sacrificed – time, money, space, desires – but rather the mindset it can create. When the work of caring for others’ needs & prioritizing others’ care becomes common place, it is all too easy to forget that the needs of the caretaker could ALSO be made a priority. It’s easy to forget that when there’s a choice to be made of who should be sacrificed for and poured into, the caretaker’s name could also be an option on the list. That possibility can be forgotten not only by those who’ve become accustomed to receiving care, but by the caretaker herself.

In 2014 I choose me. Be clear, I regret not a single moment I spent caring for others in 2013, nor will I regret any care I may offer in 2014. But from this point forward, I choose me.

I choose me because she needs to know that she CAN be chosen. That she can be taken as the priority, the one whose time or presence isn’t negotiable, the one whose desires or needs won’t be deferred. She needs to know that there is someone willing to sacrifice & make space & do work for her. She needs to know there’s someone out there whose eyes when they fall on her, see more than strength & capability & self-sufficiency – though all that may be there – but also see the tender places, the support required, the needs unmet. She needs to know there’s someone who looking upon her thinks – my, what a treasure… she should be protected and cherished and valued. She needs to know that there’s someone out there who sees her and decides SHE is worth the work, the sacrifice, the time, the effort … SHE is worth it. She needs to know that there is someone who when standing at the crossroads faced with a decision will choose her.

This year, I choose me, because she doesn’t know.

But I do…