The desk

The desk in the briar patch
What was that about?
Something said, go that way
Walk towards that space alive
Go barefoot at that
Shoes left by
Two totem trees
Winter land covered
with dead leaves
20190106_130101
crunching under toes
Wind pipes up
Swallows soft blows
Desk sits there all alone
Learning what is to be sought
by autumns soft rot
go ahead, linger longer
Ask not what is to be taught

Ode to Borges

borges quote edits

I am a woman, and loved-myself most regularly, although I suppose in the human dimension, we all are born as female. Let’s be clear on this, however, whether in the role of lover or the object-being loved, I am a lover of all things concerning love love love. 

Cities, I’ve seen a few, and in this case, I’ve lived in two – Pittsburgh and Washington, DC.  Born and consumed a lot of bread living at the end of a not-exactly-paved private driveway [1]in Western, Pennsylvania. Spent wo years as a volunteer teacher in Yunnan, China teaching children to read and write in English among other things — like how to dance to American pop songs, shoot a basketball and why “money” earned for high test scores should not be copiously counterfeited in order to purchase a sheet-rolls of scented stickers.

 

At this time, most of the learning was done by me -the teacher – and the teaching done by them – the students. Three years after returning from the journey and I’m still wondering if that’s the way things should be in the way we teach and interact with each other.  What if rather than “suiting up” for the roles we play, we spoke through the essence of our “being?[2]” We could really exchange the information that gives us the energy we crave to survive and thrive fully and satiates our curiosity for understanding shared unity that sustains our shared human experience.

 

I am on a journey of evolution and self-discovery. Guided by insight and intuition, I stand with a foot in the ground and a finger pointing towards the edge of the emergent.

Let’s enter into this play together. Explore the possibilities of our latent potentials. Walk to the edge of the liminal consciousness.  Create and configure the containers that can hold a “we-mystical”[3] Heart. Drink the sap from the up-tapped Wisdom of our Being.

If you’re interested, I invite you to back to the start.

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[1] Made of gravel and mud that my father hand-plowed most winters and friends refused to drive down come high school for fear of getting stuck, resulting in a definitive break in my psyche after childhood days free-range roaming the woods and making friends, both real and imaginary, that never showed hinderance to pot-holes filled with ice as a deterrent to the solemnity of friendship (see my unpublished drafts for Buzzfeed article titled 13 Reasons Why, I, a Millennial from rural Pennsylvania, am Grateful for the Invention of the Internet)

[2] adrinne marie brown. Emergent Strategy “Less prep, more presence” p. 42

[3]Albere, Patricia. “We-Mysticism: The Church of the Space Between” https://evolutionarycollective.com/mysticism-church-space/.  She writes “The movement of We-mysticism involves leaving the external world behind, not to retreat  into a private inner world, but to  place all of your attention on an interpenetrating reality that exists in the space between.”

Ode to 艾 and 爱 (Ode to Ai and Love)

Today I went to go see Ai Wei Wei’s “Never Sorry” at the Hirshorn Museum.  It’s been over five years since I’ve seen the film. To be honest, at this point I define my life by “life before I went to China” and “life after I lived in China.” Most ex-pats who have lived there for any extended period of time might agree. The place changes you. I was curious – how would I feel about the film this time?


When I saw the movie five years ago, I went with a group of four Chinese teachers my father had dragged along with us. I respect my dad so much – for years Chinese teachers have been visiting his school and he always connected with them so beautifully – inviting them to dinners, Christmas, taking them shopping for groceries, and supporting them just as humans who needed to be seen and understood. Of course, having a bit of a radial edge, he always wanted to dig deeper into their experience. What was life in China really like? Were they a part of the Party? Were they religious? What was life like for their grandparents during Community rule?


So he took them to the film. Big mistake? Maybe. They yelled at the host leading the Q&A after the film. He was also Chinese. He originally came to the US to get his degree in engineering at CMU, but started learning about Chinese history in the 20th century, and switched his degree to nonprofit management. He had been working as a coordinator for wealthy Chinese high school students coming to the US. When I asked him afterwards what the Chinese teachers were saying to him he said, “They think Ai Wei Wei is a nobody, not important, worthy to be ignored. They are still so brainwashed by Chinese propaganda.”


When I saw the movie today, I noticed people in the theater laughed a lot at Ai’s antics. He is quite a hilarious activist, a modern day jester if you will.  There’s certainly shadow side to Ai in this context. He makes those privileged in the US feel safe in our complicity. To  feel good that we “aren’t” China. We are here, in a museum watching an activist film, for free, on a Sunday. I probably watched the film the first time in similar fashion. Amazed, fascinated, curious and in awe of the man. Knowing that “over there” people lived in repression and thankfully we had free access to art, music and culture. A dangerous dose of some American exceptionalism I was born into: the illusion of pure free expression.


My viewing of this film this time around was much more…human.


I cried much more than I laughed. I sobbed seeing schools destroyed by the Earthquake in Sichuan province in 2008, due to shoddy construction of “tofu-brick” buildings in schools in poor areas; meaning, tuition funds go to a fat salary for an official comes before the price of a student’s life in a safely constructed building. I cringed at the moments when Ai sat in the hospital photographing himself wearing a bandage on his head after being assaulted by the police. The audience laughed, but here I saw a man in pain, trapped in a cage he could not escape, no matter how humorous his approach.


When I came to Washington, DC in 2013 for an interview with Teach for China, I remember heading over to Hirschhorn afterwards, alone, to see Ai’s “According to What?” exhibit. Always was my favorite museum after all. I saw the backpacks of every student killed in the Earthquake lining the ceiling, the names of dead children lining the walls, read aloud by many different voices.


Knowing, in my heart at the time, these students and families would one day be a part of my own world. People I connected with, played music with, shared meals with, attended religious services with (Yes! religion exists in China!), talked about love and relationships with, danced with, cried with, spent the night in their humble homes with.


Today I sat shocked, at the lengths an artist must go to in order to humanize himself to the Other.