Conversations with Life, #1

Creative, It's Personal, Life, Reflection, Uncategorized, Writing

Life,

My name is M and I’m a middle-aged single woman who chose not to have children.  I have a wonderful group of friends, work I care about and am good at, access to lots of social activities, a living wage job with an ethical employer, and a safe, beautiful place to live.  As I type all those things, I wonder why the hell I’m writing you, but I’m doing it anyway because I feel trapped and dissatisfied and I need guidance.

Feeling trapped and dissatisfied, in turn, makes me feel like a bad, ungrateful person so let’s say right now, for all future conversations, I’m grateful for what I have, but I want more.  I crave more, and I’m trying to create a path that integrates gratitude and desire.

How do I do that?

Dear M,

I don’t know.  No one does.  All the big brains and hearts and voices have been trying to figure it out since you had more than one cell to rub together.  Remember, I’m only an anthropomorphic idea you decided to write to, I don’t know much beyond what you know, but I’ll offer you this image:

When I look at a person, I don’t see the physical body that you see.  What I see is a light surrounded by an infinite number of intricate layers – like those Chinese lanterns with all the patterns?  Those are all meshed together – thick, thin, lacy, solid, dark, light, permeable, fluid, rigid, and so on.  The light shines out, but it has to make its way through all those layers, through the little chinks and cracks where the gaps line up.

Every so often, everything lines up perfectly and a lot of light gets out – that’s when you get those transcendent pieces of creation or messages that endure and survive and inspire for hundreds and hundreds of years.

I’m telling you this because the desire you feel is to shine more of that light.  You crave the sensation of having more and more clear space for that inner light to expose itself, to shine on the world around you.  It’s what all humans want – it’s the reason you are here.

There is no difference in experiencing immense gratitude for the light that already shines, and desiring more of the same.  That desire is what leads you forward, and inspires you to be more fully yourself.  And that is where the magic happens.

Always,

Life

TEDx comes to prison

Change/Transformation, Corrections, Creative, Reflection, Social Justice, Uncategorized

There have been a number of TEDx events in prisons, both in the US and internationally.  Now, TEDx is coming to Oregon.  More specifically, it’s coming to Coffee Creek Correctional Facility, Oregon’s women’s prison.  I and six of my students are auditioning, I feel confident I’ll see at least two of them onstage.  Their audition pieces are stellar, and they’ve been working on them nonstop.  I did my audition early because I’m out of town next week, here’s the video.

I wrote the piece for this blog several months ago.  I wanted to do something else, but simply didn’t have time to create and polish something entirely new.  I hope it’s good enough to make it through to the end, but I’ll be even more happy if some of my students make it.  I can always audition for another TEDx event, this may be their best shot for a long time.  GO STUDENTS!!

Everyday loneliness

Creative, Uncategorized, Writing

One

The minutiae of the every day
overwhelms my being
I can’t
let
it
go.
it has no Exit
there are no signs to show it out
no words outlining its path to freedom

I am trapped by my own experience
thrashing, longing
for the simple kindness of someone
else

Two

I want to share myself with others
but there is no room
for my mistakes,
the common ugliness
anger, blame, bitterness
all part of who I am

hidden from disinterested eyes
bottled
tucked away
they get the good stuff

I live alone
with everything else

Three

There is room only for coffee shop conversations
fleeting and surface, full of humor and wit, or intensely moving stories
of suffering and beauty
no space for talk about the officemate I can’t stand,
my loneliness and self-imposed restrictions,
feeling unappreciated and overlooked, invisible

forced laughs when it gets too close to my everyday pettiness,
making sure my “attitude of gratitude” shows; that I know how good I got it.

I see the silver linings and own my feelings, not making them someone else’s responsibility
or burden

there is no place for my regularness to show itself; my not-reasonable human-ness is not-welcome.

I am caught in my own hall of mirrors, the sole reflection. My throat bulges, stretched with all the unacceptable, indigestible me

Four

“No one likes a complainer”
they say
but what they mean
is that no one wants to find out
why they complain.
the real reason
the bleakness that lies underneath

It’s too hard
to bear someone else’s daily grief
with our own so ever-present