What was said to the rose that made it open

was said to me here in my chest

what was told the cypress that made it strong

and straight, what was whispered the jasmine

so it is what it is, whatever made sugarcane

sweet; whatever was said to the inhabitants

of the town of Chigil in Turkestan that makes

them so handsome, whatever lets the pomegranate

flower blush like a human face, that is being

said to me now. I blush. Whatever put eloquence

in language, that’s happening here. The great

warehouse doors open; I fill with gratitude,

chewing a piece of sugarcane, in love with

the one to whom every that belongs!

Jelaluddin Rumi

*************

It’s been….two and a half years since I heard that poem on the radio while driving on the freeway that floats above and through San Francisco. When I hear it now I feel the sweet remembrance of that beginning…and in grateful awe of where these years have taken me. Actually, nothing can really describe how I feel when I read this poem, at once home, and in love, and filled with passionate desire. Somehow today a friend asked me about that time, what did you do to prepare yourself for the path? He asked. But, preparation? How to prepare for what you don’t know? There was merely the day before, and the day of. Life before and life after. It is that stark. You can prepare for a test because they make test prep books. But it is like asking, how did you prepare to be born? I didn’t prepare! How could I? I had no idea what I was getting myself into! And if I had known that I would be compelled to quit my job, give up friendships, sell clothes, and whatever else, would I have walked off that plank? I seriously doubt it. Am I happy I did? Christ, happy is not a word that can do justice to life. I wasn’t alive before. I was in so many prisons I had no idea. Trapped, deluded, talk about lonely…Oh lord. Prepare for the path? The path is perpetual preparation. There is arriving in this moment, but never arriving at the path, you were on the path before you were born, with or without your awareness. Preparation is the intellects arrogance. Being in your muddy place is the humble sacredness of the life we were each given.

Tonight I’m having wine for dinner and every time I turn to the computer to write, or work, I hear the voice say not yet. Not yet.

“Not until faithfulness turns to betrayal, and betrayal into trust, can any human being become part of the truth.”

I keep hearing “more truth, with more courage, go further.” There has always been an honest bent to what I feel compelled to write about, and also a hesitance to write about what I believe in this world, what may be controversial politically. I think I need to get closer to that line now, we have no time left to worry, or wait, or hedge…

I don’t know what words that call asks me to serve yet, so there is some confusion, and silence. But tonight, in some candlelit tentativeness, I traversed from desk, to room, to kitchen, to dining room, back to desk, moving with the care and patience I love to write with, picking my way, listening, listening.

*******

Another friend spoke to me from a place of longing, discomfort, and the sense of something missing today… a deep sense of loneliness. I know loneliness… but those are words that when spoken merely amplify that confession from another. So I listen, and in my heart ask, is loneliness an offering that we make? A willingness to be where we are without grasping for relationship? How can I hold this for him? Loneliness is a more tenacious emotion, not easily diffused with words when it really longs to be held, touched, loved and intimately so… Is loneliness how I allow myself to be cooked? To be prepared for the lover that comes this way? Some days this story has appeal, other days I balk like a child, how will I know? What should I do? Between the being and doing, the faith and the doubt, there is some edge in there I walk these days, never knowing, never sure, but compelled to willingness.

This is muddled right now. But this state of allowing things to become clear actually feels good. “What was said to the rose that made it open was said to me here in my chest. What was said to the cypress that it strong and straight, what was whispered to the jasmine” what was said to me to make me who I am, what was said to you to make you who you are, what this world is saying, singing, to us. Those words in our hearts are the truth, the answer to loneliness, the rain on a roof at night in bed, so much music, so much touch, all the love in this world, the divine longing for kinship in us, the call of your light to you while you choose to sit out in the rain by yourself. All the company in the world. I’m high right now, high on wine and words, and love for all this bloody insanity and reckless beauty. Damn, if you can hear glass breaking, choruses singing, wind whipping your cheeks to pink, and new growth, the sounds of both laughter and crying, you are hearing me well.

I’m sorry this makes no sense.

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