On Friday afternoon I walked into the yoga studio, Saraswati’s Yoga Joint, where I was to teach a class at 4pm. It was 3 o’clock and I was wired from an afternoon of crying, numb from disbelief and needed the solace of silence. My ears had been wringing with the saddening chaos of the day’s tragedy.
I sat in the windowsill, a note dropped out from a book that was loose in it. The first line said:
“The same words in silent are in listen” but I didn’t want to hear.
28 people dead. 20 Children murdered. The world just discovered Newtown, Connecticut.
Wait, let me understand that again. Because I can’t. I haven’t been trained to understand that. None of us have.
We’re not supposed to understand this completely because if we could, we wouldn’t be able to build our lives as we do. If we believed these things happened we wouldn’t have the courage and brave hearts it takes to start a family, or the creativity and energy to start a business. We wouldn’t bother to go for our dreams if we believed we would be stripped of their ever coming true. We wouldn’t build sandcastles, we wouldn’t tell our children magical, wild tales of never land, we wouldn’t put smiley faces on cup-cakes or even care to blow bubbles on a slightly windy day to the delightful screams of a child. All of these moments not really leading to anything but simply build a sense of wonder and awe in the world.
And that’s the world we truly believe exists. But, right now, we’re faced with knowing these things do happen, they just did and, if we don’t change they will. And so, we’re left asking asking “Where is that world?”
It is in our nature to ask questions, if we didn’t, we wouldn’t evolve. Babies wouldn’t reach out, toddlers wouldn’t step forward, kids wouldn’t look under and around and over. Teenagers wouldn’t read or pick up a guitar, a paintbrush, or a hammer or a calculator. If we didn’t ask questions, we wouldn’t fall in love, we wouldn’t travel the world, we wouldn’t ask “how do I make more light?”
We’re desperate to understand this so we can put it in a box, secure it in a safe, knowing it can never happen again. Answers make that happen. And damn it! We want fucking answers!!! But, what are they?
I want to answer that with an angry, exhaustive tirade about the need for gun control and the complexities and rise of mental illness. Of how we need to get back to nature and stop filling the spaces with the cacophonous messages to buy more stuff and be more perfect and ‘this’ quick fix and that ‘quick’ meal. Spaces that could just be left alone – for our own thoughts, for our reactions to turn to reason and for our differences to become understood. I want to rant on how we’ve built a society where the idea of the pursuit of happiness is more about eliminating as much fear from our life, rather than turning our attention to the simplistic nature of it. It’s like we can’t actually believe happiness can be so simple so we actively and exhaustively spend our days bypassing it completely, looking for it cheap thrills and expensive highs. But, mostly, what I really want to bang on about is how disconnected to each other we’re becoming and that guns DO kill, which is actually their sole purpose, and why people find them thrilling. But I want to say that power isn’t held in a weapon, it’s held in the tight and gritty act of forgiveness and understanding of our diversity.
But I can’t go there, because I have too often and it just feels loud right now, and there’s enough noise. The religio’s are calling for more God, the yogi’s are calling for more love, the liberals are calling for more laws, the right-wingers are calling for more rights to their weapons. But there are 20 parents who are calling out for names, and only silence beckons.
Today, I was driving in the cold, damp Connecticut rain. The rains are not washing away our pain, not yet. I know that it’s not ‘God’ crying, as my Catholic upbringing would delight in having me believe (Not on the record of course but Oh! I so wanted to believe that). Because if it were true, if that religious God really did exist then I hoped his tears were for recognizing his own fuck up in the paradox he called a human.
But, I don’t believe that either; that we are completely messed up. That would just be too easy.
I do believe there was one individual on Friday who got a bum deal for a life. In our tree of life, he was the apple with the core eaten out. And, because of that, he was so removed from emotion, he was able to carry out an act of violence so drenched in evil, most of us can’t comprehend it. In his disconnected place he found a gun for the only thrill that, I can assume, made him feel alive; death. We shouldn’t have to comprehend this, but we need to.
But, before we go spending too much energy on him and trying to figure out why and damning our world to the dog house, let’s fill our space not with questions and arguments but with awe. For just a moment or two let’s instead remember that there were seven appointed human beings who stood for our good souls. Who chose death to shield the magic in our life. Who didn’t turn their backs, but turned their hearts to save lives so that those little lives could go on to build sandcastles and catch bubbles, and make smiley faces on cup-cakes and to truly believe that it wasn’t weapons that saved them, it was simple human love.
Of the twenty human angles gifted to us, and then taken?……………..
When You Have No Words
When you have no words remember that you have hands, hands built for bracing yourself as you fall, hands perfectly designed for holding other hands with interlocking fingers and wide open palms, hands that fold beautifully against one another in prayer, hands that will wipe away tears, hands that connect to arms, and arms that connect to bodies and those bodies can reach out and will reach out to embrace and the embrace is not just an offering it is at the very same moment a receiving
When you have no words remember that sometimes our spirits ask for silence in order to rise, in order to remind you to have faith, the kind of faith that will get you out of bed in the morning when the words still don’t come
When you have no words surround yourself with kind people, with spirited people, with the kind of people you can be silent with
When you have no words remember that true love resides in your heart and is not held in your mouth so it’s not the way you speak that matters but what matters is the truth that is spoken in the way your heart beats or the way your heart opens to let another in for keeps
When you have no words remember that silence is the gospel of peace
When you have no words listen to the broken hearted, listen to those in despair, listen to the softly weeping or the wildly inconsolable for their pain needs to be heard
When you have no words, remember that your eyes tell a story that no longer needs to be spoken
When you have no words remember that on the other side of unimaginable horror lies the unimaginable capacity to love again and to love hard with every bit of the magic that makes you, you
When you have no words remember that courage is an unspoken language that unites the strong with the weak
When you have no words remember that while forgiveness may take every last ounce of grace you have, and while you may need to beg someone or some God over and over and over again for even the slightest clue on how to forgive, that you will need it, that you will need it to find the freedom to speak of joy again and that when you speak of joy again you will be heard