Scrubbing Smiles

comments 15
Poetry

The instruction to
just be myself
resulted
in a pretty
meandering
to-and-fro
up-over-and-down
there and back again
maybe, but maybe not,
should I educate
myself better
or get a few more
life skills first
type of thing
until one
day when I
was brushing
my teeth
I came to a scrunchy halt,
arm cocked like a frozen piston,
and I looked into the silvered plate
hung on the wall, the one
framed by garishly bright lamps
poised to illuminate
the Self with unflinching malice,
and I looked back at my Self,
and into me,
through the
paste bubbles,
dribbles and chalky rivulets,
and out the other side,
and I saw that
more than anything
I could ever be or do
or have
in this world,
I desired to be
part of something
Beautiful, True and
Everlasting,
something involving
Everyone.
I had to resist
a sudden need to
hunch over as
my upper body
spasmed in the attempt
to laugh and cry
all at the same time,
oblivious of the fact
that my mouth was full
of minty suds and a grooming implement
I could choke on
if I wasn’t careful.

It’s like being a river, I thought,
staring into those eyes,
like being one true tear
with Everything in it
that finds its way to the sea,
like being a leopard on the horizon
at dusk, framed by the rising moon.

I would have kept going– (maybe)–
but luckily this other part of me
spoke up that day,
that crazy one
you love to death
but try and hold in reserve,
who frankly
you need to speak up
sometimes, like
when you’re consumed
with trying to just be Love
in the face of a gale force wind
bearing barbecue grills,
gazebo roofs, garden sheds
and small cars.
He says:
Like a human being, maybe,
you trippy idiot?

Yeah, I thought,
my forearm still cocked
and locked
in position to buff a molar
and suddenly wanting
to scrub the smile
right off that smart alec’s face.
Like that.

Once you get
over that hurdle
of wanting to spontaneously
become a moonlit leopard
or a jujitsu master
that doesn’t need to eat food,
it gets a little
more straightforward.
Like, for example,
next day I was minding
my own business
reading poems
by the river
when Hafiz shows up,
says gently,
you could try
writing one, too,
you know…

15 Comments

    • Indeed! It’s actually your very necessary Bradness that only you can supply us with. There’s a real thread through spirituality suggesting our lives on earth are somehow less than our “spiritual lives”, or the lives we may enjoy while not being burdened with a body and all its limitations, but I think that really distances us from being able to enjoy the present experience, and all that it offers. One of the aspects of A Course of Love I so enjoyed was the suggestion that Creation was purposeful, and the marriage of spirit and form is a divinely human task. This experience we’re having isn’t just a holding tank, trying to break us down… Or an ill-begotten mistake to endure… It was conceived by Love itself. THEN we painted over it with our separateness and fear… Which we are undoing of course… 🙂

      Michael

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    • Thanks, Laurie. You pick right up on the meat of it, the acceptance within ourselves of arrival at that port of call we’ve been seeing on the horizon for so long. We’re here. And it is good.

      Michael

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  1. So marvelous – the toothbrushing epiphany. I remember practicing some serious eye gazing at times – but it seems the frothy mouth could be an aid as well! I think my 4th of July experiences had me dancing with this radical, organic realization again in contrast with one I love who is struggling a bit with her earth suit and expectations. When I forget nowadays, it is such a relief to have the quick turn around – almost like a mantra that what I am is not only good enough – but a perfect puzzle piece – and never out of place or time, never needing to push or worry, guided and steered along the way by such benevolence. Once each one of us is in this place – we can become extenders of this benevolent, radical acceptance to others – open conduits! Such a treat, when I visit here.

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    • A quick turnaround is indeed a joyous relief. I have just skimmed your own post relating to your 4th of July festivities, and see the starkness of the contrast you encountered. I grew up with two adopted sisters, and our family represented three races, and we had any number of perfectly normal, actual dysfunctions (as opposed to perceived) to boot. I can relate to your daughter’s desire for a touch of normalcy, but simultaneously wonder: where is that normal life so many seem to have? At some point we realize it was always a bit fictional, even where it seemed to thrive, and it is indeed so joyful by contrast to accept what has been given rather than pining for what was not, and thereby become a simple extender of radical acceptance. I love that terminology. Extenders of benevolent, radical acceptance. That should be the name of the next pro sports franchise! Ha! Come up with a good word beginning with “Z” to put front, and they could be the Zebras!

      Michael

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  2. The pining for what is not must be part of the trip – I’m coming to see – which many never get beyond – for I see how the suffering this causes – causes one to seek to figure things out. With Chloe at 18, I see some turning toward acceptance and thus joy, already – so I hold this space for this unfolding in Eden. Actually, after the outburst, we had a radically good time – so perhaps I am marking some growth even now! Now for some news from the sports desk:
    The Zealot, Benevolent, Radical Accepting Zebras are a surprise last minute entry into the World Series Bowl Cup for the title this year in the new extreme sport category of Team agape Cliff Diving! (Can’t fake any knowledge of sports, here:)
    (looking forward to a deep dive into the quantum field when there is some space today)

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    • Yes, to suffering causing us to seek to figure things out. That is I think the deepest meaning to be found in suffering, to realize it was always the nudge of a gentle hand towards the only reality in which one could truly be free. To suffer is not to know who we are, I think. To listen to the suffering and recognize that it is itself a medicine, is to save lifetimes… And free up time for Team Agape Cliff Diving workouts. And lest I get off on a tangent here, wasn’t that always the deeper purpose of labor-saving devices? To free up time for the Zealous, Benevolent, Radical Accepters to practice their synchronized reverse two and half’s off of rocky outcroppings!?

      The [insert current corporate logo here] World Series Bowl Cup SPRINT POINTS CHAMPIONSHIP is what it’s called, Marga. Geez…!

      Michael

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  3. Gracious, I come to the party after a quick stop on Ptero still towing with me lingering thoughts about verschränkung (entanglement) and find the shave experienced through a view in the mirror in Copenhagen with a little cat named Schrödinger watching, thus making fast friends past any idea of needing to see the reflection of other than what currently is. Just what type of cat is and can be in our box anyway?

    This cool cat of a post helps one make peace with the interpretations their cousins the leopards share in a rich spot covered reality 🙂 .

    Human is the current coat warn to the dinner table, and in my experience this coat can be found as one of many colors in the sun or just black with shades of grey by the light of the moon…both valid, both beautiful in their own unique ways. And in our coat at that table of living, for me, I have found the secret to feasting on all potentials without dribbling down the coat or getting indigestion over the state of what currently is, has come by loving to death what I currently see in the mirror…this love that is allowing little deaths to be celebrated as they make room for new births over and over again.

    We spend half the day in the light and half in the dark. Doing so, I look in the mirror as I brush my teeth the next day, and the next and find the patterns of the coat shift all on their own, manage-ably, little by little over time…and detecting and remembering our true colors all the time, (even with only the pale moonlight at night when brushing teeth), becomes easier and clearer. -x.M

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    • Maren,

      Given the disturbing abundance of rodents on our domestic perimeter, I am conducting Schrodinger’s famous experiment with chipmunks.

      Thank you for such a rich reply, and I loved your sentiment “this love that is allowing little deaths to be celebrated as they make room for new births over and over again.” I think you’ve inspired the tagline for a new type of cosmic salon experience: Little Deaths Served Daily. I’ll take two deaths please, well done, a stick of that dark chocolate you got there, and one of those coupes M had on her site a month ago.

      Maybe remembering our true colors is the real answer to Marga’s student’s question about heretofore unrevealed colors… Off to see the wizard.

      Michael

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