I want to get quiet now and just listen to the rhythms around me. It would be a fine day to sit by the water. There are teens in Westlake Square dressed for play–like bumblebees and mad hatters and, of course, vampires. But it’s a hard, rock candy kind of play. Petulant bravery, multicolored hair, childhood stretched thin and droopy like taffy. Or maybe I’m just remembering my own teenage years. I remember a toughness. How many of these kids come from nests made sharp and spiky by alcoholism or just general lovelessness? Our cultural polarization is perpetuated by extreme individualism–the isolation born of the breakdown of community. We come into a world that we’re told is Cruel and Harsh, El Mundo Malo, and so we carve ourselves into little glittering pieces of diamond, poised to turn our beautiful shimmer to the task of cutting glass. Poised to cut, if necessary. Justifying violence (all KINDS of violence) out of an ill-placed sense of self-defense. Perceived attacks all around.
But how SEISMIC a shift can take place when just one exchange becomes pregnant (pregnant as in on the verge of birthing) with Presence! With each light of awakening into consciousness, more lights flare up from the dim hallways of dense, dualistic thinking. The heavy footfalls of sleepwalkers turn to careful (as in full of care, full of attention) padding. Like the shaman in my friend’s dream said: “Tread lightly on the earth that trembles.” And leave some room for the intermittent joyful freedom of skipping!
And as I write this, pausing now and then in irritation at the actions of those around me (small things like cigarette smoke and loud voices and other distractions), I ask myself: AM I BEING PEACE?
What would it take to BE the change I wish to see in the world, Gandhi?
All day, I’ve come across things that people have left: a bicycle loosely propped against the 5th Avenue columns beneath the Monorail; a woman’s handbag left on the stone steps of Westlake Square; a navy blue sweatshirt carelessly trailed and eventually dropped by someone in the mall lavatory. What if we began dropping our belongings, one by one, scattering them randomly around the city, letting go of the ways our egos have gotten a precious foothold in a fixed subjectivity, a “Me Only” universe?
Be Container. Be Water.
Listening to the woven cacophony of rush hour 5th and Pine. There really is rhythm here. Loudly chattering teenagers, dogs barking, screeching of tires, hissing of airbrakes, high keening of seagulls, a constant rumble of trucks and buses. Clicking of bicycle gears, flicking of lighters, fluttering rapping and rasping of pigeonwings. A kid asking all teenage passersby if they can “spare a cigarette.” Horns honking. The wooden-sounding rolling of skateboards–makes me think of planked boardwalks and the spinning of roulette wheels. Engines gunning. Life is a stage.
I come here to write.