I rub rose otto oil onto the skin above my heart each morning and evening, saying, “I am a soft and trusting heart.”
This is my justice.
A thousand times I’ve reminded myself of this: my life is mine to do with as I wish.
I want to be soft, I want to trust.
Intactness is an inside job.
Last night, I’m watching Corey Damen Jenkins teach a masterclass on interior design.
He conveys his belief that we all get to create beautiful spaces to inhabit. That we only will live in so many places in our lifetimes, and that at the end, he wants us to be able to say, “I lived in beauty.”
I check my phone, bad habit. The news about the school shooting in Texas.
Fuck. I don’t want to feel impacted right now. My preference is to watch this brilliant man tell me how to build a color board, and have a sweet night.
A smoky apparition saunters into the room, and presents me with a choice.
“Numb”, it whispers, “Don’t pay attention. Watch your show.”
I can almost touch its soothing fur, feel my pain dissolving in its murmurous voice.
I don’t have to care about this.
I already cared last week about Buffalo. I put in my time, my tears. Added my grief to the collective.
But part of my justice is feeling.
I ask my partner to turn off the Masterclass, and give tears their way. I give over to the despair, trusting yet again that feeling will lead to more feeling.
We all get to live in beautiful places.
And in this sacred world we inhabit, brutal beauty is haute couture.
How to live, to love, in this world?
Do you struggle as I do with internal paradox?
The part that wants to be here… and the other part that wants to be on a harmonious planet far from these people who did not receive the same instructions for incarnating & healing you did.
The part that wants to help your frail, aging mother…and the angry 15-year-old part, smoking clove cigarettes and wearing black leather who screams, “Never forget!”
Holding paradox means getting wide.
You have to make room for more than one truth.
Worship at the altar of nuance all you want, but holding all of it as real at the same time is harrowing.
Widening, unfurling from your midpoint, expanding out to the edges of your skin, you have more space for multiplicity.
How can we hold a beautiful, holy world, and elementary school massacres?
How can those things exist at the same time?
Sitting with me on the couch as I cry, my partner reminds me that horror is happening all the time.
He works as a pediatrician in rural healthcare.
The small, individual ruins never make the news, but instead, line the file folders of CPS.
A few months ago he had a mom whose two daughters under age ten had walked alone from Honduras to Mexico, and then to North Carolina. One was nonverbal by the time she arrived.
One example of lives forever impacted, that you would never know about if I didn’t write it. And countless others.
It’s too much.
Whoever came up with that axiom, “You’ll never be given more than you can bear” was a masochist. And a liar.
It’s too much for our tender hearts, every day.
To numb in denial, or to turn toward what is?
I feel so powerless when faced with horror, terror, oppression, suffering.
But I am not.
My power is in my choice to feel it.
To feel not just the hard stuff, but also the wonder.
I hold tight to my innocence.
Incorrectly, we believe children are innocent. No, they are inexperienced.
Innocence is hard-won.
I choose to remain in love with this brutal, beautiful world, just as it is.
Rose oil, soft heart, justice.