spoken into my phone on the east river waterfront, 11/22/21.
listen to the original recording here or watch the debut of this piece here.
we’d like to think that we can have responsibility to whatever we want. whatever we choose. the life that we are trying to make, trying to create, trying to work for, hustle for, figure out, unpack, process. one of my greatest teachers advised to let yourself be claimed and to notice what claims you. because often it is not what you would choose. something else is recognizing the claiming. as we move into the later phases of our life we have a choice. we can continue living from a self-centered point of view. this self feels adolescent, this self has not matured into full adulthood. because the full adult does not create, control, mastermind, plan out, the arc of their life. the ripened adult lets the soul lead. and the soul recognizes what is claiming it. because there is some energy exchange, there’s some affinity that is beyond the thinking mind. that is beyond the mind trying to put the pieces together, trying to make it make sense. soul doesn’t make sense. why would it? it knows. it knows, with a depth beyond which you can see. because if you think about it, we’re always creating our future based on our past. if we let ourselves be dreamed, if we let the soul lead, we can find pathways into that which is wilder than what we could dream, what we could imagine- what could be based on our past. and i won’t fucking lie to you. the path sounds beautiful but it is also difficult. it’s difficult to be humbled to it, to consent to being humbled to it. to bend your ear and bow your head to something greater than you. but the more and more time you spent on this path, you know. that something knows better than you. and that something is not quite human or not human at all. it’s the wildness. the wily-ness, cunning. the unruliness. the shape-shifting-ness. of the Dreaming. how willing are you? how willing are you, to give up what you thought was your life? your work? your dreams? your partner? your money? your job? how willing are you to give that up? to step into the Dreaming.
we don’t choose what claims us. and we can’t. that’s not how it works. the thing that’s kind of insane about it though is that– deep down in the depths, in the deep deep soul. there’s a part of you that Did Choose. it’s the part of you that can see, Far. it’s the part that moves with the soul of an animal sometimes. it’s the Old One. it’s not you, in your current body, your brain, your mind-scape. all that infrastructure. it’s built to collapse.
because in the collapse— is the promise of an encounter. an encounter with that something greater than you. with that Old One. with what keeps you standing up, when everything around you has— collapsed. when everything that you thought you were, that you thought you had— has collapsed. i am not i. juan ramon jimenez wrote. i am not i, i am this one walking beside me whom i do not see. the one who will remain standing when i die. in the collapse that part of you begins to steer the boat through those waters. and not the boat that you sailed in on, because literally that’s wrecked on the rocks. a different boat, a wily boat. a boat filled with characters and legends and animals and memories that you can’t even access right now. it always comes to pick you back up. no matter how many times you wreck that new ship that you built. that you were certain was gonna sail you into the promised land. wreck and wreck and wreck that ship— keep fuckin building it. the Old One. the animals. the stories. the ancestors. the deep time. the earth. that is what’s gonna sail by. and pick you up.
often, you’ll be kicking and screaming. sometimes you will be dead-ass silent other times you will be dead. but they will make funerary rites for you. they will anoint you, they will sing over you. they will make you whole. whole in the way your soul already is. this process is gruesome and grueling. we think that when we manifest the course of our destiny, we get to choose everything we want. it depends on what you believe is choosing. who chose to leave this relationship? who chose to leave this job? who chose to carry the body to initiation? who chose to walk the songline to sing to the sewer, to stay in the city she swore to leave— who chose? i chose. but not here. here. and here. and maybe even here.
i am in a tangle with this right now. i am in the reeds, i am in the weeds, i am standing at the eroded shoreline. i am climbing over rocks with bright green river moss, standing on a collapsed fence, over the water— feeling an excitement that shows me why i’m still here. it’s not such a bad thing for the mind, for the self— the lower case ’s’ self— to not know where it’s going. because there’s a great wild and wily vessel coming to pick me up. and take me to places that i vehemently believe i couldn’t have dreamed. and the only way i get there. is if i keep listening to what has claimed me. what has asked me to have responsibility for it. what has asked me to acknowledge. that has asked me to stay standing when i die.
i may not be many things right now, in the society that i was born into, the society that i did not come from. but i am a listener. and i am a singer. and i am a storyteller. and i am a weaver of hearts, back to the source. and maybe that’s what the world needs. a few more sirens sitting on the rocks. in so-called ‘abandoned’ spaces. reminding her fellow beings to listen, to notice. to be watching for something Different. when their ships come in.