findingexpression

awe, humility, hope and a few other things I might notice


Leave a comment

Another side of immigration

We laughed, we sang, we meditated. Probably an apt phrase for a few spiritual camps out there of all persuasions, but this is actually the subheading for my application to become a permanent resident of another country, TBA (just in-case they’re listening).

Goldilocks zone we have not found, nay, but we have made a decision after several portents, (ok one portent in the name of the she-devil of immigration…can I say she-devil and still be considered a feminist?…), and several signs of the more positive sort came our way.

So, back to the original idea. I am writing the story for our application to immigration and sprinkled throughout the visit dates, mentions of flight itineraries attached, and the dropping of names of our friends as we met them along our little journey to couplehood and matrimony, I have included a few words about the kinds of things we do together. We laugh, no matter that we are serious types and more often have discussions about how to experience God amidst the emotional commotion of our era. We sing, usually softly and to ourselves, and we meditate, together even, although not recently.

I can only imagine what it is like to be an immigration officer reading over couple’s stories, getting to know them, or trying to see through them to their ulterior motives I don’t know which, or both most likely. Are financial documents like joint bank accounts equal to spending 2 weeks together while truck camping? Will they bother reading everything, word for word, or do they just scan the stories and check off the documents received? Should we note the things we have in common, tell them in writing that he cooks sometimes but I do all the laundry? Do we explain all our major decisions, why he proposed and so soon after we met? Do we need to annotate why we didn’t take pictures of our every day life? I don’t have a single picture of us just sitting in our apartment together. Does anybody?

To distract our minds we watch science fiction shows (and yes I am considering writing that in the application) and I recently watched “Atonement” from season 4 of Babylon 5. The scene about 15 mins. in with Delenn and her Minbari clan leaders sounds a lot like immigration. In re-watching it, the similarity is overwhelming and poignant. Delenn is made to answer why she has gone against the tradition of her clan in proposing a non-Minbari for a mate. The clan leader states that the leaders of her clan must determine and judge if the true reasons for her choice are appropriate or not. Basically, Delenn has to prove her choice is made completely freely through a dreaming ceremony. Love or even her own subconscious desire for atonement would be reason for the clan’s disapproval of the union.

Just one of the many precious exchanges;

Delenn: “If I say I love him is that not enough?”

Clan leader: “No. You must convince us on other grounds.”

Delenn: “What other grounds could there be? You set the rules, so you’ve already decided that this is wrong. What hope do I have of convincing you?

Clan leader: “That is what you must discover.”

Now, governments don’t yet delve into the dreams of people applying for immigration, but I sometimes wonder if that would be easier.


Leave a comment

Nowhere

IMG_7064

there is no there there

I am creating a map of a place that is no destination or even a path,

it is a way of being, an existence,

more like a rock exists than a life,

or even a body like an ocean has more motion,

activity, action

the choice is to be neutral

is that a choice?

there is a rhythm if you listen very carefully

no melody but certain percussions

landing stations

occasionally decks to lie upon and listen

or docks on the lake when no one else is around or distant

breathing in and out, drops and splashes, nothing hurts

all is unanticipated, unworried

soap trees dangle leaves to wash us but we are already pure

just green

nowhere

before everywhere was possible


Leave a comment

If we live the question now, someday we may live into the answer.

“Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.”
Rainer Maria Rilke

I think writing is a process of becoming conscious of the questions. We spend most of our lives running from or trying to answer questions, but sitting with the questions themselves in awareness, hardly. We either tiptoe out of the room looking for something else to distract us or set a laser beam on the more obvious but perhaps least sincere resolution. Meditation is a process of defining the questions, waiting, listening, observing the mind until gracefully the question becomes clear. Or if we have great longing we surrender to our tremendous smallness and we merge with the questions like the low tide exchanging sand and water, water and sand, at once, moving together.

Writing is a meditation on the question, refining it, circling around it if we are clumsy, touching it tenderly if we are calm or frightened, breaking it open if we are bold. What are my questions?

Lately I am facing the question of place, where do we belong?

This is something we have been patient with, waiting for an answer; we have been living with the question. I deal out different answers, sure, but only because social conventions oblige us. We have been diving through the question for more than a year, a clock ticking beside us on the wall and still underwater. Mostly we feel stillness there observing the fish, the rocks, the lake weeds, is there a warm swirl of water there where the sun comes through illuminating the mica in the stones, rose colored quartz and golden sunfish swimming? I admit, sometimes I panicked and kicked upwards to breathe the air and called it all absurd, but I didn’t throw myself back onto the shore. I waited and the question itself became a part of me and I could again feel the peaceful observance. We want to know the answer, of course, but this question will only be answered through small gifts of listening shells, maybe something will wash up on the shore, catch our eye while swimming and the collection will speak the answer with its weight. I think it unlikely that we will find a sunken treasure, but a few rare jewels may suffice.

To be more true to Rilke’s sentiments, by living the question, we may live the answer. In our waiting we have made discoveries, not of jewels but of our hearts own desires, of decisions made by not deciding. We don’t need to be near the door of a Gurdwara Sahib, we have lived this year without it and found enough faith in our four walls to sustain us.  We only found it by waiting. I know that living above the ground has kept me from touching it. I know I can’t live so far above the ground for much longer, I need that first floor door to propel me out where great joy awaits in dark soil and puddles and stemmed and rooted things. In our waiting for Spring, Spring itself will propel me, send me seeking soil. The mud will embed in my fingers and I will become a part of that place. The answers come in the living of it. The compass twitches with our own electromagnetic force.