Sunday, May 17, 2009

05/17/09, A Poetry Reading

The only two perfect people in the history of the world are Ken and Barbie. To be perfect, you have to be plastic. No life. No personality. No choices. No choosing. Always doing what somebody else wants you to do, living the life someone else has in mind for you, perfect according to someone else's idea of perfection. Perfectly pleasing to those who know best. Perfectly dead and dying. If you want to live, you have to put perfection aside and live a gloriously imperfect—perfectly imperfect, you might say—life, laughing at the idea of life lived any other way.

Getting It Right
Getting it right means being graced by rightness. We cannot arrange rightness. We can’t plan for it. Foresee it. Predict it. Make it happen. We fall into it. Splash around in it, glorying in the wonder of having done something right for a change, looking forward to the next time it comes upon us out of nowhere for no reason when we aren’t expecting it and have no hope of it and get it right again, anyway, magically, mysteriously, wondrously. And stand there dripping wet with rightness, amazed, again, that we of all people can do something right.

A Good Start
We come self-confident and glowing out of the womb. What happens then tells all.

Here’s the Truth for You
Okay, here’s the truth for you. Not one of us thinks we deserve to die. Not one of us thinks any of the rest of us deserve to die. Some of “them” might deserve to die, but not “us.” And some of “us” think that not even any of “them” deserve to die. Not any of “them.” Not even those of “them” criminal courts would sentence to death, have sentenced to death. Yet, we are told to believe Jesus saves us from the death we deserve to die by dying in our place. Wait a minute. We don’t think we deserve to die. Somebody help me here. Anybody.

All We Need
All that we need to find what we need lies latent within, waiting for the environment required to bring it forth. All we need to find what we need is the proper environment to awaken us to the gifts that come built-in. What more can we ask than for an environment which enables us to see ourselves? What is more nourishing, nurturing, than relationships which lovingly accept us while helping us to see and be who we are, and also are? No excuses and no exclusion, no denial and no dismissal. Squaring us up with ourselves without abandoning us to ourselves. Growing us up in healthy, healing ways.

We can’t get too much encouragement. Incentive certainly doesn’t come from the results of our ef-forts. Where do we find what it takes to get up and go at it again, if not from the company we keep? If we aren’t finding it there, we better find some different company.

Our Lives Are Too Small
Carl Jung talks about the importance of “living mythically,” and says we “walk in shoes that are too small.” Our lives are too small. Too shallow. Because we are afraid to venture forth beyond the world of concrete and steel and take on the dragons that guard the treasure, that hoard life in their possession, and require us to stare down our fear if we would claim our fair portion. But the “also truth” is that the world of concrete and steel will let us down. The life it offers is a mirage that moves away as we draw close. Its promises are boxes of smoke wrapped in bright ribbons and bright paper. We live safe and empty lives, afraid of the dragons that have made off with LIFE. Jung says, “Only boldness can deliver us from fear,” but we deny our fear even as we hide from it in the game of profits and losses or the other games of pleasure and progress. Life has no stake in any of our games, and waits in the lair of dragons to be claimed and lived.

The Dragons Are Laughing
To “live mythically,” we have to have a sense of what is being asked of us by our lives. What are the intentions of soul we must protect and serve? What are the fears that hold our life captive? The things we cannot allow ourselves to do because “there be dragons” that must be faced? Is Responsibility a dragon we dare not slay? Or Duty? Or Obligation? Or Desire? Or Expectation? Or Mother? If we do not slay Mother, Mother will slay us. But, to slay Mother, we have to become our own Mother, and who is up to that task, immersed as we are in the fantasy of a trouble-free existence? Life is not trouble-free. The dragons are laughing.

Vulnerable and Alive
Always the decision about what to do, about what is being asked of us, about what is truly needed, about what must be done, with no rules to rely on, no black foot prints to go by, making up in the moment of our living how the moment is to be lived, taking another chance, hoping for the best, being vulnerable and alive in the time left for living.

No Assurances
There is no knowing what to do. No Assurances. No protection. No safety. Somebody is going to not like what we do, how we do it. Those Who Know Best will frown. Those Who Must Be Pleased will express their displeasure. And, we may be wrong. But, whose life is it? And, whose side are we on?

What Is the Nature of Our Fear?
What is the nature of our fear? Of what are we afraid? What are we afraid will happen? What keeps us from breaking free of the restrictions we place on ourselves and taking a chance on life? What is it we won’t look at? Refuse to think about, consider? What keeps us locked into the life we have always lived, safe from the intrusion of other possibilities?

We Owe It To Ourselves
We cannot allow our fear to keep us from living. We owe it to ourselves to go into our fear and see if there is anything there to be afraid of. Everything is fearsome at a distance. “There be dragons,” you know, “over there. Don’t go there!” The edge of the world is always just out of sight. "Don’t go looking or you’ll fall off!" Go look. Find the edge of the world. Jump off.

The Higher Calling
We admire those who don’t let life get them down, and wish we could become more like them, distancing ourselves, stoically or philosophically, from the events and circumstances of our lives, living with balance and sanity, wisdom and grace, compassion and humor, living out of who we are and not out of what happens to us or what we are afraid might happen, or what we want to happen. If only we could shift the focus so that we are no longer resisting or compelling or forcing or fighting or fearing the world, but are birthing ourselves, bringing ourselves to life no matter what the world does, no matter what is happening around us. If only we could remember that we have a higher calling, a larger mission than to make a nice little nest for ourselves, have our way, and be comfortable and happy during our lifetime. If we have had an easy, trouble-free existence, but never lived, what good is that?

The Welcome Mat
Recognition, realization, recollection, these are the things that grow us up, that wake us up, that reconnect us with ourselves, that restore us to the “dynamic core of our being,” that heal us and make us whole. What of us can we see in the things around us, in our lives, in our reactions and responses to the things in our lives? What of us can we see in our dreams and symptoms, our projections and phobias, our desires and disinclinations? What of us can we see, and seeing, accept, and accepting, love, and loving, heal and welcome home? We are the home we seek. We need to put out the welcome mat, and invite us in.

It isn’t about getting anything, or having anything, or making use of something, or benefiting from something. It is about living with integrity of being (of being at one with ourselves) to the point of self-sacrifice. We give it all up in being who we are for the sake of being who we are without anything in it for us, without getting anything out of it, without having anything to show for it. There is no boon in the sense of realized good fortune. The boon, the blessing, is the realization of integrity, the fullness of life, even though it leads to death. All roads do, you know. So, what do we gain by not dying? We are going to die anyway. We may as well die in the service of integrity and life, and trust the boon to be a blessing in the lives of others. Besides, we get to say we followed the white rabbit and rode the bull. That's cool.

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