Breaking Free

comments 41
Poetry

If the premonitions of being
that scythe through your soul’s
back forty all day
like shadowy pendulums
hung from a pivot
so insanely near to
the nodal origins of your existence
that it’s a perpetually mild discomfort
to your otherwise undistracted mind

cause you to tremble,
take a quick, nervous breath
and brace for impact,
dive towards an embankment,
spontaneously recite
procedures for exiting sunken cars,
or climb the stairs of tall buildings
to burden the minds of pigeons
with your human algebras,

then might I suggest
you are misinterpreting
the Beloved’s compassionate
attempts to flag you down
from the backstage
of your personal hell–
(Act 471 and counting)–
to catch your attention
and say

Hey–!
Over here, you insanely
beautiful nut!
Look!!!

There’s not even
a wall back here!

41 Comments

  1. Michael …you have wondrously brought the simple out of the profound and for me , coming out from weeks of heart churnings , feeling threatened by slamming doors , your last two verses wake me up ! and I see no walls to hold those heavy doors anymore …your poem transcends and manifests love and I am seriously grateful …love , megxxx

    Liked by 6 people

    • Hi Meg, I’m glad to hear the heart churnings are smoothing… Life can be a diesel engine sometimes for sure. I know how it can be to feel underwater, to be wrestling with a particular difficulty– some canvas of emotion and thought that seems plastered to the skin of our heart– and then to have a moment when a clearing emerges, when the coating drops away and we can breath again. It’s the sweetest feeling in the world… Thank you for your shared thoughts here… Sending Love, Michael

      Liked by 2 people

      • Michael , …it is the sweetest feeling in this very gloriously strange life …thankyou for letting me know I am not alone … you have healing in your words ….love , megxxx

        Liked by 1 person

        • The greatest gift, which is both a giving and a receiving at once, is to help someone taste the relief of being known, and to discover the solace that comes of not being alone… for both parties are joined then in the healing, and indeed, all parties everywhere… This gift, like all true gifts, is shared by all… 🙂

          Hope you are bathing in the warm rays today, Meg!
          Love
          Michael

          Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, yeah…
      Hit the snooze…
      Gimme’ ten more minutes…
      one more year… another life…
      I didn’t sleep very well…

      The thing is
      there’s no
      one right way
      to run through a wall
      that isn’t there…

      🙂

      Liked by 3 people

    • Thank you, Sonmi! Yes, that three-act experiment got a little out of hand on this end. Sounds like you’ve experienced this phenomenon… The cloud strikes me as a good location for seeing the whole of it in new ways, which is what I enjoy so much reading your various offerings.

      Waving to the skies,
      Michael

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I remember Adyashanti saying at one retreat we were at, that we will all wake up, the only difference being the depth of the claw marks we leave behind 🙂
    Mine seem to be pretty deep, but sometimes, just sometimes it feels like I’m losing my grip 🙂
    Alison ❤

    Liked by 4 people

    • I like that one, Alison. The inevitability of freedom is one of those certainties the mind can use against us sometimes. I just like to remind the mind… do what you like… they’re your claws! Ha! I’ve lost more than my grip!

      Love
      Michael

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Loved this piece. I was just thinking this morning that not all my missteps and accidents are about the universe trying to stop me from doing something stupid, but are likely just the spirits attempting to get my attention to say hello. If it weren’t for knocking over the milk, runs in my stockings and holes in my pockets, I might not stop long enough to realize how loved I am. Act 471… yes, indeed….

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you, Noelle. I love what you’ve written here– about our finding love in the approach to the toll booth and the neglected spare tire, physically unable to perform. The spirits do have their ways of breaking through… We’re so very good at chalking their gentle nudges up to meaningless acts of universal computation. As if we’re the ones who get to decide what our lives mean…! 🙂

      Thanks for connecting–
      Michael

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Genie says

    The Beloved is a Spiritual state, thus, there are now walls.

    beautiful isle,
    mystical land,
    harbour me;
    wildflowers’ dancing
    to the song of a chickadee ~
    beautiful isle,
    mystical land,
    harbour me.
     

    Liked by 3 people

      • I am glad you clarified, Genie, because I trust your poetic voice so much now I was hunting for meanings and innuendos– and would have done so well into the night– before assuming any sort of typographical inconsistency. I was actually on the verge of calling up Hafiz for the instant replay when your second note arrived.

        Thank you for the visual and poetic beauty with which you have responded. I think that is what we step into when the walls come tumbling down… beauty… and lots of it… full of incredible beings disguised as poets, chickadees and morning doves…

        Michael

        Liked by 1 person

  5. In the past I used to know quite a few actors Michael, and the funny thing was that when pressed, most of them would end up admitting that they never could quite tell when they were acting and when they were not. I mean in real life of course, not just their professional work.

    The sociologist Erving Goffman’s writings in the fifties were often concerned with our dramaturgical performances in everyday life, as you may well know. Pure spontaneity and authenticity can be quite a scary thing to behold. Nuts? We certainly all are my friend.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello Hariod,

      It is interesting what you write here, as I can completely see how what you describe would occur. When I look back at things, very carefully, it is hard sometimes to extract what was truly real from particular events. Not that I’m trying to make things difficult– I must resort to metaphor here… A poem can never quite be what it aspires to describe or convey. And likewise, can our actions ever quite be the felt response we desire to offer, the initiating feeling or desire that motivates speech and action? Can we ever truly give that away? I think we can and do, but not materially perhaps… Once we realize the response we offer is first and foremost an authentic inner giving, and that the actions themselves are all attempts to render it visible, but subject to interpretation, it can be tricky to find “ourselves” in any description of events.

      Further, acting to me seems it involves a surrender to an inner creative space– a letting go of thinking about it and becoming someone else altogether. But this description reconciles quite nicely with what I would offer as a description of authenticity, does it not? Excepting of course, the part about becoming someone else. But it gets blurry… Who am I? is a disastrously difficult question to answer, and I think in both acting and authenticity there is a reaching into the well of being– one with the desire to communicate through the symbol of acting some deeply felt space of the character, and the other to contact and communicate the deeply felt space of oneself. The synecdoche theme arises here, because perhaps we discover here how easily we could be “anyone”… or everyone…?

      Going nuts,
      Michael

      Like

      • You make some excellent points Michael, with which I concur. Good communication involves adaptability, meeting the other at some midway point that is neither quite one nor the other’s stance were they each to be talking, as it were, to themselves. As with you, I think this can be achieved genuinely, and one test is whether the ‘performance’ remains true one’s own values, if not entirely one’s own character in its resting state. If the values shift, then perhaps this is the point at which we can say we move into acting proper; it is the transition into a dissembling which itself corrupts honest communication.

        In this sense, one acts out the communication, and I am conscious of doing just this myself as I, say, go from one blog author to another, meeting them in what I estimate to be a comfortable midway point for us both, bending the tone I impart to what I perceive as appropriate to the addressee, stressing certain values of mine and (perhaps) attenuating others just a little. My innate character rests upon a sort of sliding scale therefore, all points of which are genuine to itself, yet in my meeting the other the character flexes, the scale slides a little, this way or that, primarily in language. As long as I am not slipping into dissembling proper, then I remain innately in character, albeit not within its resting state.

        In my original comment I suggested that pure spontaneity and authenticity can be rather intimidating to others. This is the point at which my outward expressions of communication cease to flex or slide relative to inner states, and so what the other glimpses is my inner world laid bare. As we very seldom reveal this to others, it can be challenging to them; the accepted protocols of communication evaporate and they are left attempting to meet us where we are not. It might feel like trying to hug a ghost, only the phantasm is merely what we expect the other should be. In other words, we anticipate a dramaturgical performance and regard this as normality, which it is. That of course implies that without it things are not normal – i.e. ‘nuts’ – so there’s something of a paradox going on there!

        – Hariod signing off to take the medication.

        Liked by 1 person

        • So, Hariod, I think there is something kind of delicate to tease out here from this discussion. We do make these choices to moderate the expression of particular values or thoughts in particular circumstances, when we choose, and while it is indeed essential to good communication skills in most any collaborative setting, we can also at times feel as though we’ve gone too far in this. Not spoken up. And by the same token, speaking up can become a little too forceful at times. We can find ourselves speaking to score points, or affirm our positions by the sound of our own voice.

          (That’s why I maintain a blog of course.)

          It strikes me there’s a comfort with oneself that is involved in authenticity, and if we haven’t realized this comfort, and weened ourselves from particular judgments and expectations, we’ll perpetually be tripping over ourselves. We’ll almost be forced to dissemble, in the act of covering over this discomfort. This suffering…?

          And to continue to one last notion here, when we recover this comfort, while it may be true that spontaneity and authenticity on our part will still be quite challenging for some “others”, it strikes me that the greatest difficulties are largely resolved. For we no longer have anything either to prove, or to hide. And thus, we are free to offer only what is required… What we feel is required… What we feel in the moment, spontaneously, may in fact be quite out of character! It may be as surprising to ourselves, who thought we knew who we were(!) as to the other. It may be more surprising to ourselves than to the other in fact…!

          Which is all to say that in authenticity, I still think we find at our core an ambiguity that emerges from the only true solidity there is: the comfort in our non-existence if you will. Authenticity is like an awareness that flows in and out of our local consciousness like the ebb and flow of a great tide. We sway back and forth. We are inspired by new thoughts we did not think before. We are alive.

          We are real…?

          I don’t quite know how we got here, but I’m very glad we did. 🙂
          It was very good medication, I suspect, that you’ve been taking…
          Love
          Michael

          Liked by 1 person

          • ‘Comfort’ – yes, an absolutely relevant point, well made. One thinks of parallels in Taoism, such as offering no resistance, which I suppose is another term for comfort. And your initial mention of a “perpetually mild discomfort” in the first verse is almost a classic rendering of the Buddhist term ‘Dukkha’. I hope you don’t object to me constantly seeing these parallels my friend; it’s as well to reference them perhaps, as they fall within my prism of reference just as readily as the ACIM ones do to yourself – not to be stuck in formulaic doctrine, but merely as a matter of interest. And yes, I take your point regarding ‘surprise’ at our responses, as spontaneity is hardly that if remaining confined within the known, within what is in a sense ‘old’ habitually and therefore unsurprising.

            Much love and gratitude,

            Hariod.

            Liked by 1 person

            • Hariod,

              I love the references and the parallels, so keep them coming. Truly. I’ve always enjoyed seeing connections… even if perhaps I may stretch them at times to fit the pieces together… 🙂 In a way, I find that seeing these connections and similarities helps me to remain open to this spontaneity– of both thought and meaning– by not allowing me to sink into any particular formulaic doctrine, as you wrote. This vision that arrives, it’s always overflowing those banks. Reaching beyond the banks of my own familiar to see parallels keeps the experience fresh, even as it reinforces the solidity of my own inner foundations. I gain a great deal of insight from these exchanges my friend, as I think and hope you know.

              Comfortably, and gratefully,
              Michael

              Liked by 1 person

  6. I read it once. I read it again. I started to write a comment but it wasn’t saying anything. I read it again. I am going to read it again. I am just happy, very happy. Harlon

    Liked by 1 person

    • O! Thank you… and that you for the incredible slew of icons… I want to keep that line-up handy. I may need it some day… 🙂

      I’m with you on the interesting, beguiling, stupefying, mystifying nature of our reality. (I need a whole new breed of icons for reality descriptors!)

      Peace
      Michael

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Backstage of your personal hell. That is awesome!!
    Yeah, stage design is bad, freakin no wall.
    You do not know how infinitely coincidental that I should read
    this at this moment in my life. So free, free…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Ted! That is hilarious… I have little to no idea about the design of real stages, and assume they at least remain fairly level and pedestrian friendly until you’re well beyond the curtain, but perhaps I’m mistaken! Hope your freedom doesn’t involve a cast on your femur!

      Peace
      Michael

      Liked by 1 person

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