It’s still cold outside, we’ve had too much pecan pie and bad fudge, the family circus is performing, and we’re not sure what to make of this year that was pretty brutal at times, amiright? Take a long, belly deep breath. Feel your feet flat beneath you. Pull that core tall. Smile inside your mouth and feel your face soften. Put your head up, point your eyes forward. You with me? Listen … When your perceived troubles make you brood, it makes you a joy cannibal. Cut it out. We’re trying to have holiday spirit here. Maybe you’re bobbing along in the ocean of wherever you ended up. Pick a point, create a purpose, and move (ever slowly sometimes) towards it. Every day is the right day to reassess, make a map, rally the stakeholders to your own life, show up for someone else, and build capacity to be a better fucking human being. This is why love matters most. This is why you’re alive. This is why life is so painfully short and your sucky attitude is a waste of fine time. Break down the barriers you’ve built between you and the love of that god, that man, that woman, that child, and that person inside yourself you bully. Fly up to your own big picture. It’s a challenge to be honest with yourself, stop rating other people’s sins over your own, and steer your own damn boat. Change only comes with challenge. You can still be what you gave up on back when. You are in control of your own reaction in each moment and nothing else. Stand tall, breathe deep, smile softly, and forgive yourself for all that shit you won’t let go. Now is the time to put it down because it’s stupid heavy and you have a light heart. Get out of the harbor. Stop gripping the booey. Be magnanimous, even when they don’t deserve it. Because you don’t sometimes, either. We’re all recipients of everyday grace and fear of hell isn’t what gets you into heaven. I don’t even believe in hell. Does that make you mad? Why? You are worthy of love and have so much to give. We all could work our hearts swole. Don’t be scared when someone loves differently than you, when their big plan isn’t like yours, and when their drive makes you ashamed at your own dog paddling. Pick a point, start a new year, and don’t look back. Head up, eyes forward.
Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more
of everything ready-made. Be afraid
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know.
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord.
Love the world. Work for nothing.
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it.
Denounce the government and embrace
the flag. Hope to live in that free
republic for which it stands.
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers.
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.
Say that the leaves are harvested
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion – put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come.
Expect the end of the world. Laugh.
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts.
So long as women do not go cheap
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep
of a woman near to giving birth?
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie down in the shade. Rest your head
in her lap. Swear allegiance
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos
can predict the motions of your mind,
lose it. Leave it as a sign
to mark the false trail, the way
you didn’t go. Be like the fox
who makes more tracks than necessary,
some in the wrong direction.
– Wendell Berry
The priest at my church read this before his sermon recently. They sure know how to put me at home. Extrordinary poetry and art, women in robes, people of all races and classes, a predominantly hot gay boy choir, and above all, unconditional grace preached.
Could I even tell how it was,
his hip on mine against the wall, my hands
shaking, had I ever touched him that
way in some other life, was his skin
always so hot to the touch, the shirt
I shoved my hands under;
Could I even touch him how he was,
shaking, my hand against the hot wall
of his hip, had I been
his shirt in some other life, was I always
so hot to the touch like something
he would shove against;
Could I tell him to make it even,
my hip shoved against the wall
of his hands, shaking, had I always
been so hot in another life to tell
how it was, to be the skin
under his touch;
Could I even tell his hip from my hand,
shaking, had he ever
touched me in some
other life, was his shirt always a wall
against my hand, could he
shove my under
– Robyn Art
Passion is never enough; neither is skill. But try. For our sake and yours forget your name in the street; tell us what the world has been to you in the dark places and in the light. Don’t tell us what to believe, what to fear. Show us belief’s wide skirt and the stitch that unravels fear’s caul.
– Toni Morrison
Listen, suckers. There is little more disappointing than to accept that the object of your admiration is not all you thought they were. You can’t mend the poor choices of others. Their mistakes are not yours and usually have zilch to do with you. You can grieve briefly for the person you believed they could be, but you cannot make them feel remorse. You measured, found them wanting, and have to change your own story. Get angry and get on the high road. Stop looking for an apology. God, I have no idea how much time I’ve wasted waiting for an apology from the not-enoughs. Don’t expect “sorry” to do anything for you and don’t seek justice when someone couldn’t reach the bar in the first place. It’s not a fair fight. Don’t sacrifice your grace to someone who chooses to live without any. Remember, they have to wake up and be them tomorrow. Stop all this wallowing I see. You’re a live one. Some folks only want the heart-dead and head-dumb ones. You’re so much better than you know. It’s their loss. Their low, long, lonely road. – Yours, truly.
“leaving is not enough; you must / stay gone. train your heart / like a dog. change the locks / even on the house he’s never / visited. you lucky, lucky girl…” – Marty McConnell
I’m sorry for my inability to let unimportant things go.
– Jonathan Safran Foer
but they’re important to me …
I believe that imagination is stronger than knowledge. That myth is more potent than history. That dreams are more powerful than facts. That hope always triumphs over experience. That laughter is the only cure for grief. And I believe that love is stronger than death.
– Robert Fulghum