The still, mournful quietude
of a rainy winters day in Bordeaux
makes way for the loneliest Friday night
I can remember.
The Basilica, regal and silent, towers alongside
stone chimneys over the bridge Pont de Pierre
that crosses Le Garonne.
Light glimmers on the stone roues glazed with fresh rain,
all of it gently haunted by something I cannot place.
I make a call to New Mexico, where its sunny
and a different kind of melancholy.
The girl on the other end of the phone
wants to escape too.
I think of Paris and all its divine distraction.
A blonde guru reminds me that longing is the most fertile
ground for creativity.
He watches my eyes move with thoughts.
Doucement, he whispers, his accent bulky and American like mine.
Woke up today in Oakley, Kansas,
a place I didn’t necessarily mean to land, but
found myself anyhow.
Leaving home means finding
home in this body or perishing.
So, I do the things I know as
if they’re holy ritual. Sprints down
the road before departure time,
a hot shower, look for my favorite leggings,
a small breakfast of fruit from my pack, jot down a poem.
Studying the sun, it looks different here
than it does at home.
When I was a child, I feared that if I moved too fast,
God would lose me.
I’m over here, I would say–
I still say
This fear is a fear of losing
the velocity I’ve hoped
of sacrificing a wild and industrial motion
to an uncertain
abyss in peaceful rapture.
What is youth but fighting peace with every muscle?
Does progress exist without a continuous leaning forward?
And what of my curiosity who contests
all comfort as I sit quietly?
I will not succumb to stillness,
I will not succumb to stillness, it says.
when stillness visits,
I daresay there is a deliciousness
that I now
allow myself to inhabit
for whole minutes at a time
before re-dosing myself with urgency.
Dear one, imagine we knew not of our own mortality–
what if we, like so many other creatures,
had not even the faintest idea?
How would be this day,
how would I do this quietude
aside from the ancient, yet unproven, rumor
that I am to die?
His spiritual prowess and resonant vocabulary for navigating hardship did not come without a lifetime of heavy lifting. But sitting in Tuesday meetings at Friends in Deed, I revered Robert’s calm response to the grief of the hundreds of survivors that surrounded him. His unshakable heartful felicity, his enchanting ease of speech and soothing way of translating life seemed to offer many a lantern in the darkness, a roadmap through the void.
He was riveting and undeniably handsome. At 60 years old and living openly with fatal illness, it was strangely as if the circumstances of illness and aging had over time, in fact, harvested his being into a strapping, embodied, powerfully masculine champion. He dressed in white as a kind of signature and translated peace with a frequent pearly smile.
My 2012 self wanted to be like him, or to at least cultivate a route of similar vast effect. To be able to break through the dark vortex of human mental agony with a single sentence that delivered a simple and essential flip of perspective was, to me, a fascinating form of wizardry. He was one of the first to influence my eventual move to New Mexico, where he had spent significant time during a period of dire healing in his 20’s, and where he later returned to attend a school in Santa Fe called Southwestern College, an institution to which I applied as well after learning that’s where he went.
When a public person dies, sometimes it seems as if the social world launches into a series of sadness contests, especially with the modern presence of social media. Today, after learning of his death, I don’t feel sad; honestly, I barely knew Robert. But news of his passing brings me to reflect on how he was for me, as with so many others, a true road angel and ambassador of light.
— Julia Daye
I want to write a message to all the Nice Guys out there. Being a nice, kind, good-hearted, humanitarian, and an overall well-intentioned person does not safeguard you from inadvertent human ignorance and imperfect decision-making. Every man who has ever engaged in abusive behavior towards me (and sadly, there are several) was not only was a self-proclaimed “Nice Guy”, but was also known as such by many (if not all) of his peers.
I am noticing the dangers of blind identification with a positive characteristic, a conviction that leads many people’s sensibilities to be like Teflon for information to the contrary or any input at all that points out behaviors outside of that which they’ve identified themselves.
Getting healthily called-out for bad behavior will render such a person amidst blame of everyone else in the situation. I’ve seen this happen. This is how abuse begins.
Steadfast identification with the term “Nice Guy” does an immense disservice to the one doing the identifying as well, as it robs his imagination from viewing a wider spectrum and the innate, dynamic nature of human personality.
Sometimes good people do bad things, sometimes good people say disrespectful things, sometimes good people act disrespectfully or clumsily or even violently and should be held accountable just like everyone else. This may be disappointing news, but being a “good person” does not exempt you from error or accountability.
No one is perfect, but everyone is responsible for themselves.
I have moved into the lyrical portion of this
particular lifedance wave—
emptying, grieving, negotiating gravity
with my feet and heart—
not too heavy, not too light—
toward a stillness for which
I have begged the divine
for some time.
I want peace, I want peace, I want peace, I say.
Today I ask for peace. So,
slowly I piece it together—
saying goodbye to all that I hold
that is not treaty,
I offer others what I hope she looks like;
what I have
combined in humble circles.
Fact: The true revolution in this society lies in the micro, not the microphone. What a person does when no one is looking, in the privacy of his home or alone with his partner, is the realest testament of his awareness, intention, and goodness.
Fact: A person who considers himself a warrior for social and political progress but who does not respect the ones closest to him is not the heart-centered advocate he presents himself to be.
Fact: Revolution lies in the holiness of your hands far more than the wisdom of your words. Beliefs are just air, actions create new worlds.
Fact: Revolution is a practice, not an event; an ongoing, conscious rehearsal of embodiment in every waking moment of that which you wish to see in the world around you.
Fact: Revolution is a personal process first that hopes to join the collective in the form of service once solidified in the individual soul.
Fact: Energy flows where attention goes. The practice of revolution includes unplugging all of one’s own energy from the things that harm or impede our society. This means working for causes, not against them.
This life is a place of great death;
everyday I die a little more,
relieved to have let another piece go.
What are these things anyways?
A dishrag, a lover, my ring finger;
what are these things?
Everyday I practice losing—
a dishrag, a lover, my vision, my temper—
everyday I practice
in terror and relief—
asking others to hold the whole of me
in their 4×4 inch hearts—
driven to chase the illusion of satisfaction
again; in the end,
emptying even more into the great, dark ocean.
I am learning to listen. I am learning to apologize. I am learning that the speed of wounded panic is faster than the speed of rationale and that the vast warmth of a loved one’s understanding makes space for that. I am learning the wisdom of wounds. I am learning the resonant field of shared joy. I am learning timeless presence. I am learning there’s no time. I am learning to ask only for that which I myself can take responsibility. I am learning armistice. I am awake. I am unbridled heart. I thank God for bringing me. I am learning the truth of love of the whole. I am learning love.
How to be happy for the unfolding
that has been, that has,
until this moment, seemed meaningful
Nine years ago, you chose experience
over love, and boy did you get it.
A swashbuckling education in emotional travel;
around the world in eighty greys–
vulnerability, discovery, loss,
mortality, shame, error.
Yet it’s a decision you continue
to make like a contract, annually
renewing over and over this strange,
lonely sort of freedom.
~ Julia Daye