my hands, from which i divine with. to caress a glossy deck and trust that they know when to pull a sword or a cup. palms up in my lap during quiet morning musings, to invite stillness and knowing into my days.
How strange it is, to watch someone’s face sparkle and dance with life on a Monday, and for it to be gone by Tuesday.
How strange it is, for our bodies to decay, to expire, yet leave behind an undeniable presence if we’re open to it.
How strange it is
to look into your eyes merely through a photograph
and still feel the life you once held through them.
It sometimes feels silly, futile,
to pour you liquor when I don’t drink,
to light a candle even though you don’t have eyes to see it,
to pray to you when I have no religious ties.
But death has taught me that the permanence of spirit goes beyond what is comprehendible for me.
It is precisely in the offerings, the flames, and the devotions where I can find you again,
because looking for you in the flesh is the true shortcoming of my humanness.
I cultivate a new relationship with you.
One where a dime dropped means you heard my prayers,
where a vivid dream of you is no longer a dream but a genuine encounter with you,
where a stranger in passing who looks eerily like you is a reminder that you still exist, just differently.
What beauty there is to foster connection with the deceased.
Reaching the lowest lows gives you a different appreciation for the highs. When you’ve truly looked rock bottom in the eyes, nothing or nobody can take that away from you, no matter what heights and accolades you reach. It’s a deeply personal place for everyone, wall to wall full of your mistakes, your shadows and the parts of yourself that were never nurtured. Once you’ve genuinely had a long stay in this place, cleaned up the cobwebs and dusted a little, is when you can leave triumphed and forever changed.
This year, I got a taste of a type of introspection even I am not used to.
This year, I have lived (and am still living through) a global pandemic. I must admit, the lockdowns and closures did not drastically change my way of life. A true introvert, guilty as charged. But, assimilating into keeping our distance from everyone, even loved ones, wearing masks in public-I adopted these practices without a second thought. When I started dreaming about forgetting my own mask when going out and being confronted at work with people without one was when I realized that this entire pandemic has scarred me deeper than I’d like to admit. I’m beyond grateful that everyone close to me is healthy, but the amount of microtraumas we are all experiencing, along with the mass amount of death, makes me weary for us. We have much undoing for ourselves in this decade. Yet, I am oddly hopeful.
Why the “love and light” side of spirituality is bullshit
We come into the world in a stark, painful way. I’m sure there’s a lot of symbolical beauty in the birthing process, but until I have my own children, I can only see it as a physically excruciating process. We sit inside our mother’s womb, pretty content with things. Its warm, there’s a constant flow of nutrients, and you’re protected from the elements. You’re conscious, but in a very primal way. Your biggest stress is if your mom moves abruptly and it shifts you slightly left. But then the body encompassing you decides its time. Hormones surge in and the uterus contracts and you’re kicked out. And by kicked out, I mean you go through what I believe is your first traumatic event as a human. Your soft, malleable skull is pushed through an opening 10 cm wide (at best). Your entire body is squeezed through the vaginal canal. You’re ejected from your warm safe haven into a cold world, literally and figuratively, covered in blood and amniotic fluid. You are thrown into a new reality where you know absolutely nothing and cannot recognize anything but your mother. The first sound you make as a human is a guttural cry, to purge your lungs. Not to mention you’ve put the person who literally gave you your life through possibly the worst pain of their life. The cord that served as your lifeline for 9 months is severed, and you’re a part of the world now. No big deal, I guess.