Keep writing. Someone I met now some time ago but not too long ago and already respect and admire told me this. I haven’t been writing. Well, I’ve been writing but not sharing much here. So I’m trying again.
I’m working on being more courageous. Practicing courage. Practicing being brave. Starting with this blog. I’ve been finding it difficult to write honestly. Especially of late. My days are too often spent masking my feelings it takes time just to peel back the layers to know what I’m feeling at all. Let alone risk sharing it.
It’s July 4th and I hear folks out enjoying the sunshine and their loved ones. I’m “supposed to be” celebrating too. I’ll get there. I’ll get to meeting up with friends to celebrate each other and these complex lives we live. I’m not there yet. I’ve been jarred the past week. Enraged. A bitter, vengeful righteous anger that I haven’t felt in a long time came up full force. This weekend I sought, with limited success, stillness amongst the chaos of this city and within myself. I’ve sought to honor yet still the anger that could consume me.
I found a post I started and stopped some time ago, which collected the broken thoughts that have come up over the last few months. They’re from the ‘notes’ on my phone, a place I jot down thoughts impressions, ideas, and document quotes & prayers that move me. Like a previous post said I often find myself having a hard time holding onto thoughts before my attention is distracted elsewhere. It’s done me good to (again) review all these broken thoughts. And to sit for a moment in my wholeness.
These days trying again and again seems like the best and most I can manage. So I’m trying again to share. Here, a glimpse of my thoughts, some old & some recent, unedited from the train to the sidewalks of New York City:
Daniel Berrigan. Died today.
Lived across the river from him for three years and never met him
Yet he impacted my life
Challenged my Catholicism
By living a Catholicism that deeply resonated at a moment I needed it.
Inspired me to write a paper that lead to a project that’s one of the things I’m most proud of and grateful for.
[Man on the train]
He looks battered
Containing whatever brought him
Here to my assumptions and
Observations about his worn form
Squat. Sturdy yet worn
Worn down like a sharp rock pummeled by ice and water
A mountain peak
Worn down to a hill
Four lives intersect
At a table
On a train
All attention elsewhere
Cities have a particular feel to them. I didn’t think this was a thing before I lived in a “major city.” I was wrong. It is true. And as varied as they are amongst themselves and within themselves, cities most certainly have different energies.
Step off the train into NYC morning, noon, night. The place emotes energy. Admittedly it can be an exhausting energy. It’s simultaneously invigorating and exhausting. The city is always to be contended with. Like a very complex relationship. She has her moments of quiet. Green spaces carved out by racist city planners worried about people’s souls’ being lost to the chaos of ‘urban’ life. She fights with me and acceptance is the only way to walk through the crowd.
This place is making me hard
Resistance makes me hard
Giving in I’d die to self.
I just want to be
A shell I put up to protect my inner self
Hip against hip on the train
Positioned just so
That I’m uncomfortable
yet question my own discomfort
And different ways of being
Teaching my kids professionalism but that just means old ways of being. White ways.
“Sometimes it takes darkness and the sweet confinement of your aloneness to learn that anything and anyone that does not bring you alive is too small for you.”
From what am I doing to who am I being? What am I building?
Fingers spread wide
Not just hands
But whole bodied
I am a small
Piece in this moving
Attentive to the man I pass
On my way home
[Wine shop wisdom]
“There may be more beautiful times but this one is ours.” -Sartres
I remember playing on a jungle gym and seeing some girls and seeing some girls playing and thinking to myself I’m better than them. How did I think this? It alarmed me when I later remembered it. Privilege was the air I breathed and I had no idea. It seeped into my lungs.
I arrived in a shiny place
Fully of shiny faces attentively turned
Toward someone whose attention
I once desired
But no longer desire
As where I desired my attention to be lay behind me
As I walked away looking back
While walking forward
Away from those who hold my attention
Toward people who are supposed
to capture my attention
Walk in the doors that clamor shut
But no one pays attention
As their attention never falters to the front
Others with me think too
Of food that’s in front of us
Not who’s in front of us
While I focus on food that’s in front of me
To nourish me truly
To distract me
From who’s behind me
Who I walked away from
Rode away from while my attention
Remained far from who’s in front of me
My attention divided
I want something or someone or some thought to wash me away.
Attention divided between
All the faces
Of the ppl on this train and
All the thoughts in my head
Coming together and
Things that keep one’s attention on the train:
Wildly drunk dude next you verbally harassing everyone.
Keep your head in your phone.
Keep an eye out the side
Keep an ear out.
Eyes draw attention
Only dare to when he’s turned away
Quickly assess from under downturned eyes
Won’t bat them
Won’t raise them
Folks keep an eye out
And keep going
Just another night in the city.