I have to leave the house for stupid errands
Call when ready and we’ll see what works
Can you go buy me cigarettes
She rasps from the dark cocoon of wherever she is with her demons
On the mattress on my bedroom floor
I take my school uniform off and change into civvies
Put on some mascara so the 7/11 guy will sell to me
Come back with the goods
She’s still there
Deep in her turmoil
But also she sees me
As I bring her lighter
I was raped
She drops it
Like a bowling ball through a glass table
My feet beneath.
I feel the impact
On my childhood
On my innocence
On my place as her daughter
As she discloses
For the first time in her life
Nearly fifty years old
Her vast history of horrific sexual assault
In graphic detail
Of the violence
Of the humiliation
Of the insidious threats to silence her
A suite of stories
That I now see as almost universally thematic for so many women
But her first telling
Was my first hearing
And already I had my own
Tucked away inside so many poky corners of my soul
She draws on her dart
Exhaling putrid smoke
Into my asthmatic face
She’s feeling that relief
Of no longer carrying it alone
My feet feel the bruise of the bowling ball impact
My soul is writhing with the discomfort of being made the listener
She looks at my face
Hers switches up and she blinks
Dons the facade of adult
You’d better put your uniform on and get to school
How can the rain be without symbolism? How could it ever be that it is simply raining? How can I be calm when this water is surrounding me without relent? My heart's lament. I'm damp. Damp in all my organs. I want to whinge in protest I want to register with some authority, officially, my dissatisfaction with the appearance of mold on my timber chair Actually? Really? Truly? I'm to put up with this now as well? My heart is harbouring mildew. Black soot haunts my kidneys. My liver is beset by wet dust of the kind that causes hives in some young children Smoke it out, this ominous damp! Cleanse me of this creeping moisture... Smudge, Fire, Hot coals... I don't care. Just let me be rid of this soggy curse. I would rather that the workings of my brain crackle like dry forest twigs or a lively fire I would rather that the air in me felt light and crisp as sunshine I want to be crunchy to feel like a spark in me could easily ignite Yes! I want to be flammable or at least warm like a pocket potato or a passionate embrace... This damp suits me not. Enough rain. Enough.
I hardly feel like writing
I barely bother to read
Wanting to be fed
by the feed
Knowingly wading through
the mire that
saps my soul
Overriding self-imposed time limits
In a tacit agreement
in arriving at that nihilistic state of
I Hate Everything
I am humbled into remembering
Meditation and Exercise
are my true salvation.
The day is calling me.
Put down the phone.
I see you work hard
Controlling your surrender
The rust pays no heed
I would like to offer more from Love Letter to the Earth (2018, Parallax Press) this week.“ Citizens of the Earth
We tend to think of human beings as falling into two groups: those who are similar to us, and those who are different. We allow political boundaries to obscure our interconnectedness. What we often refer to as patriotism is actually a barrier that prevents us from seeing that we’re all children of the same mother. Every calls its nation a motherland or a fatherland. Every country tries to show how it loves its mother. But in doing so, each country is contributing to the destruction of our larger mother, our collective mother, the Earth. In focusing on our human-made boundaries, we forget that we are co-responsible for the whole planet.When we see that we are all children of the same mother, we will naturally want to cultivate and strengthen our sense of being part of one large family. When we speak of protecting our planet, we often speak of finding new technologies. But without real community, technology may be even more destructive than constructive. Real community, built with our practice of mindfulness, enables us to act together. When we can communicate with ourselves and the Earth, we can communicate with ourselves more easily.”A pause for breath here, and contemplation on how we strengthen our own practice of communicating with ourselves and the Earth, and how valuable it is to water the seeds of this practice as often as we can.A moment too, to make acknowledgement in the season of NAIDOC celebrations here in Australia, of the wisdom in Aboriginal culture of deep respect for the Earth that was practised throughout this land for many thousands of years.Thay continues: “Every one of us, regardless of nationality or religious faith, can experience a feeling of admiration and love when we see the beauty of the Earth and the beauty of the cosmos. This feeling of love and admiration has the power to unite the citizens of the Earth and remove all separation and discrimination. Caring about the environment is not an obligation, but a matter of personal and collective happiness and survival. We will survive and thrive together with our Mother Earth, or we will not survive at all.” (pp 81-83).I find it so helpful, in diluting the despair that is surrounding our collective thinking about the climate crisis, to touch deeply the word of Thay here, about how our courage and strength in staying with the practice of feeling love and admiration for the beauty of the Earth and cosmos can contribute to our survival and thriving.Staying in gratitude, when we notice the wonders of our precious planet, and making our daily choices based on what is best for our Mother Earth are powerful things that we can all do in our daily lives that make important contributions towards our happiness and wellbeing as one big human family.A bow in gratitude to you for all that you do to preserve peace and love,
Joyful Mindfulness of the HeartA Ghandi-Mandela Peace Prize – Inaugural recipient, guess who?
I’m sick of people referring to their kids as little terrors or monsters. Of expecting their 6 month old babies to self soothe. Of asking for advice on how to be able to get their kids used to less human connection.
I’m sick of seeing babies in prams with screens in front of them. I’m sick of hearing parents use power-over and fear tactics with their children. I’m sick of crappy gender stereotyping through clothes and toys.
I’m sick of parents asking on parenting groups about what “stuff” to buy for their kids.
I’m sick of the chilling impact on the early years of human life that capitalism and ecological terrorism is having. I’m sick of the pressure that keeping on top of basic living costs is putting on parents.
I want to see a world where parenting is regarded as THE most important job. Where the people doing it are supported financially and by community to do it to their best ability. Where everything we know about secure attachment, neuropsychology, and our deepest needs for love and belonging, informs the core motivation of how we raise our children.
I want to see extreme overhauls of our education systems so that teachers are upheld to support the biologically wired, natural and beautiful blossoming of innately intelligent, good, active humans.
I want to see a medical system that supports families to have great nutrition, sleep, and spiritual support before labels and prescriptions.
I want to see a world where we understand the value of unstructured time together. The value of parents having time to breathe, alone with themselves. The value of free play.
I want to live in a world where we know that we’re all in this together.
Not a big ask. And I know I’m not alone in this wish.
Things feel pretty glum.
My old dog is getting wobbly in the hips, but today was another new day for him.
He showed the same optimism for a morning walk that he does every day, intuiting before any of us could tell, that the rainy grey morning was but a light cleanse of yesterday’s dusts before the blood-warming heat crept in.
He sniffed and pissed his way along the High St as if it was any other day; particularly pernickety about some zones in a way that we could never sense the importance of.
He patiently let the toddler proffer a freshly picked dandelion intrusively close to his veteran snout, and behaved with grace when a neighbourhood cat came slinking out onto the path for the “dendle” petting she knows is guaranteed when our trio passes by.
Glad, with so many birthdays behind him, for a short walk; home once more, he allowed his muscles a break from holding him in shape , as he sighed his large nobility into a pile on his indoor bed, trusting that things were in order, and a feed would come soon.
Despite more than twelve years passing since his rescue, his breakfast meets his gut like iron filings to a magnet, over almost as it began. But these are sweet days, and the toddlers rejected egg scraps will likely follow soon as seconds.
They do. Today is good.
Watching him, he spends his day in a similar way to how my grandfather used to self-admonishingly describe his own idle days on the other side of ninety. And I am glad for him, that he can feel the changes in the breeze, hear the conferences of the magpies, sense the light shifting as clouds move across his patch of vast sky.
Witnessing with calm the bubbling babbling bauble of golden curls and rapid synapses; an anchor of cool self-authority, the dog just is.
As he was yesterday.
How many pats today? A lovely brushing in the sun? The child incorporating his water bowl into her play? What is his agency in any of this? Could I manage life with the same serene dignity as he does, with so much beyond my control?
Instead, I am stirred up, fragile in my tiredness, and vulnerable in the wake of decades of perceived misuse. Crashing after building hope that intelligent change was within reach. Needing just that little bit more resource to be able to stay in the lane of everything actually being ok. Perhaps even frightened, for what it represents, that the majority of our population have used our chance to choose, to hand the power to racist river-killing bigots.
I’m glad the dog doesn’t know. He feels my sad. And he soothes me in it by showing me that today is another day.
And tomorrow will be too.
Onward dear heart.