I was made to be inside
and free from it, too.
You have a body. A life forms around it. Consciously or obliviously, you experience yourself in structures held in place by myths your active presence here creates.
In the context of a room, a neighborhood, a city block, the spinning planet, a galaxy uncharted: you seem quite small and inconsequential in your fleshy vehicle.
This is the deception you’ve agreed to — a willful forgetting keeps you safely tucked into a pocket of existence your brain can functionally fathom.
Souls are big.
What do you imagine when I say big?
A soul’s much more than that.
Poets speak of mansions; mystics speak of infinite space between the lines of a good poem. I’m saying: it’s not that, either. A soul can house a planet. And the giant star round which it orbits. The spiraling tendrils of our Milky Way, tacky with enormous stars and icy comets burning through: a single soul can hold that, too.
It’s misleading to offer adjectives for tangible sizes and shapes, but we have to start somewhere. To go beyond everything you’ve ever known, we have to take a step in language, where you feel easy and confident and trusting.
I’ve seen you measured in your body; inches and feet on one continent, centimeters on another. Oceans of emotion lapping within shores of persona, dreams, identities, desires, strands of DNA, skin — eyes that open and close. The soul, bigger than your best guess, can funnel in and drive a single cell with as much enthusiasm as it drives the entire universe.
And here, still, I’m misleading you.
The naked noun is wicked misdirection. To imply there’s this thing we can distinguish from others like it —a “soul”— yours, mine, his—the soul of humanity, soul of the land—the very suggestion is just wrong.
One “soul” expresses itself through many personalities, timelines, projects and life experiences simultaneously. Physicists are right to say time’s not linear but spherical, happening all at once. For real: past plus present plus possible future = now.
There is no subtraction, only adding to a state of being, one infinite moment at a time.
A single soul may be simultaneously acting out the life a lost child in 1728, a 1950s has-been, a farmer in 2029, Wall Street thug in ’81, a continental pillager in 1221, Sumerian astronomer in BC 3019 and, well, of course: You.
If you could trespass souls the way I do, the cascading truth of what you are would catastrophically undo the fabric of assumptions holding you together.
Your brain’s not wired to process infinity.
A surge of timeless perception destroys the texture of this world so immediately, you won’t even have a chance to ride the thrill of perceiving the cosmic, orgasmic, bliss-tastic value each pulse of your vessels contributes to this grand scheme-less scheme. You’ll simply be ripped from the dream, destroyed in my wake.
And so I sneak through your seams in intimate silence — and when we meet in The LOOK, you never remember it. This is my kindness: you will instantly and irrevocably forget my hushed invasion of your soul.
* * *
As far as I know, I’m the only one with The LOOK—an ability that self-activated when a Dutch assassin snapped my bleak and meaningless life in two — because that’s exactly what I unknowingly hired him to do.
Seven years ago, when I was 27-going-on-nothing, he dragged me from the frozen grave I was digging, and crushed me painfully, then passionately, in the isolated elegance of dark Icelandic winter.
What happened that night pushed me through a door within a door and I said yes to what I became when I reemerged, unnamed, profoundly new.
I never look back, only forward.
Which is as it should be: once broken open, don’t endeavor to climb back inside the shell you were. Infants scream themselves awake because the womb is over.
That winter in Iceland was irrevocable rebellion. I changed my name on the flight home, filed the papers when I landed. Today, when we meet, you’ll call me Amie, as in mon amie, French for friend. We meet in mystery. We are huge beyond measure. And I belong to none of you.
Paying writers by the word is equivalent to
Architects by the bolt
Chefs by the ounce of ingredient
Haircutters by the snip
Directors by the frame
Musicians by the note
Night skies by the stars you can see with the naked eye….
Outside opinions. Prevailing energies. Generation gaps. Awkward rebellions and synergistic home comings.
Tucked secretly in a subway seat speeding through life’s dark tunnels, the guy beside you pulls out a purple onion and a knife.
First slice is messy and pungent. The next comes clean.
He hands it to you innocently: a single disk of concentric circles with artistically imperfect symmetry. Each ring inside the other, thin containers of the connections you two are making, separately together. Train car lurches – a woman stumbles closer, catches sight of the slice in your hand. Not sure if you’re being tedious or generous, you offer it to her a bit too emphatically. She refuses. Who can blame her?
Are you a child or a grown-up? A banker or a grocer? Are you traveling for work or for pleasure? What color are
your eyes? How authentic is your stamp? What matters most is that you in this moment realize, the story is something that you hold. It has layers and options, symbols and trajectories. Every single day, the details keep arriving because You are here.
If he had offered you a peach, would you be happier?
If the woman traded places with you, would you have preferred it? Press up through the center of the slice: a stack of separated circles expands into new dimensions.
Daily we wake and feel our way onto the ride, climb stairs, enter the stream, stake our claim on the scenery.
Choose circles of love, even if they’re poignant.
Choose rings of adventure and passion, even if they’re odd and imperfect. Choose pungency, then add your sweetness. Fill the space you’re in with gifts and choose to be one, too.
He’s receiving me. Immediately. On all frequencies. Without judgment. Without cluttering the conversation to ask for more. With no impediment, an affirmation of unconditional presence. Here for me. With me. Undoing the laces on my corset [of self-annihilation].
Fresh, hot tears. He has penetrated the surface of my stupor and reawakened tender, feral emotion. Impaled upon a precipice of wholeness, I am once again a mess.
“Thank you,” is my closing reply before I turn the phone off.
I love the world for allowing a man like [him] to exist. I love the soul he comes from for making it possible for him to walk away from his mother’s cliff, unharmed. I loathe myself for not being more worthy of this gift.
Now, what’s stirring in this murky sea of complexity and foolishness is an almost suffocating need to breathe fresh history. The proximity of forgiveness — knowing they can be accessed with one glance through a living, breathing woman with a known address — I could just ask. I could trade a lifetime of penance for the balls to say I’m sorry. Just that much.
excerpt from The LOOK
“no sabe el rio que se llama rio…”
The river, says Pablo Neruda, doesn’t know it’s called “a river.”
Considering Neruda’s river as a metaphor for the potential of a single human life, I’ve found two messages in his poem that tug against each other; both feel true.
One is that the river becomes itself simply by being itself. We are here to become what we’re here to be. Stress diminishes in proportion to how well we’re able to get out of our own way. Rocks in the landscape may pose challenges, but as long as we remain true to the core nature of “self” we will re-create the landscape and become part of it in beautiful, lasting ways.
The second message is equally potent. We are not rivers. We are not unconscious, conscience-less matter winding through a landscape. We have both mind and soul and we are aware of how we tread upon the land, our choices and each other. It’s not enough to mindlessly create or shape our surroundings; we have to know what we’re doing, or at least recognize context and potential. A river can do terrible things and beautiful things at the same time. Somehow, as humans, we have to embody both concepts if we want to reach our highest potential.
We have to be mindful of how we’re shaping matter, consciousness and each other.
And we have to move forward in a state of wild, raw mystery – allowing the truth of who/what we are to predominate – trusting the truth to manifest in our own best interest as we allow it to become something others may be swept into or nourished by.
The plants in the stone
stiffen their spikes against it,
the hostile soil twists it,
gives it the shape of an arrow or a horseshoe,
narrows it almost to invisibility,
but it resists and goes on,
crossing the rusty threshold
of the volcanic night,
drilling, wearing away,
emerging hard and whole as a sword,
turning into a star against the quartz,
eventually slower, open to freshness,
a river at last, steady and abundant.
Most people mistake Yang and Yin as opposites. Hot and cold; night and day; hard and receptive. Each sounds like the opposite end of a spectrum. But it’s more accurate to speak of Yin and Yang as complements. One doesn’t make sense without the other; they complete the spectrum and provide meaningful context for all of the in-betweens.
Yang is action. Yin is substance. In the beginning, when nothing else existed, Yang was the impulse to make something out of nothing and Yin was the something that longed to be made. Two halves of one whole, each lurking within the other. Activity without substance is pointless. Substance without activity is worthless. So the two existed within the one, which was the thought that brought them together.
Thinking makes it so.
The thought of activity within substance brings that substance to life. The thought of substance within action brings that action into context. Thought is the beginning and the end of everything that results.
How you think – the way your mind is wired – defines the story of your life. Not a little bit, but completely. Information flows in from outside your mind, but all of it is acted upon by your mind before you accept or reject it. Which is a roundabout way of saying that there is no actual outside influence on who you are or what you make of yourself in this life.
You collect the data; you reject the data; you interpret the data; you invent, seek out or refine the data. You tune it out; you dial it up. You are the source of all thinking that choreographs the way Yin and Yang transform into your experience.
This is true whether you’re consciously engaged or not. If you’re stressed out, suffering, apathetic, bored, frustrated or overwhelmed, you’re not yielding enlightened thought to your destiny. If you’re turned on, congruent, empowered or, at the very least, interested, then you’re consciously creating something worthwhile. You are the Big Bang.
There are so many jails: The jail of tedium and routine. The jail of a cubicle or teleconference or to-do-list. The jail of what they did to you seven years ago (it was truly awful). The jail of a big, relentless dream anchored to a painfully distant tomorrow. The jail of an alarm clock, punch clock, traffic cop. The jail of your body not collaborating with the lithe truth of your spirit. The jail of diets and therapy and resumes and your parents’ opinions on just about anything…READ ON, then set yourself free…
Laurie Perez for Rebelle Society
Every action is a choice and there are only three types of actions to choose from:
Things you want to do.
Things you want to have done.
Things you don’t want to do.
You want to have done the laundry (clean clothes are delicious).
You want to have paid the bills (clean slates are liberating).
You want to have completed that assignment (fulfilled promises are your gain).
You don’t want to bark at your kids or co-workers (grouchiness isn’t sexy).
You don’t want to skip breakfast (running on fumes wears you down).
You don’t want to argue for your limitations (you know you’re capable of greatness).
You want to live a jazzy, very cool life.
You want to summon inspiration and encouragement from all available resources.
You want to be true to yourself, no matter what.
Keep clarifying what you want.
Be picky, in favor of delight.
What you want
What you want is
newness that fits like a broken-in skin of golden potential, funded by the universe.
What you want is
to be a million bucks, hatching sunrise in a sky made of levity.
What you want is
realistic; even if you haven’t built a net flexible enough to catch that lighter-than-air truth as it lights on the unseen orchid, it belongs to you.
What you want is
to laugh more
to mean more
to have less to tend to
while you go about creating the substance of a most deserved uplift….
What you want
wants you back.