Have we learned our lesson? Or are we still children, young and old? Caught, with fingers wrought, hands and minds begging for solutions. We pull in opposite directions, asking distance to free us, but it cannot. In the tightening of the trap, we realize that our first instinct was not the best nor only option. So we try something else, something radical and counter-intuitive.
We bring fingers close
we seek middle ground
we relax in-between space
this mystery, this paradox, this liminal soup of our being.
our letting go
our allowance and celebration.
Far beyond colorfully braided bamboo, we are ensnared in us vs. them, language and living. Too often, we practice exclusion rather than inclusion. We operate under falsity, believing that in order to distinguish ourselves we must attack, tear down and dismember the validity of another’s logic, practice, or belief. As with animals, the will and drive toward self-preservation is evident. Unlike animals though, our desire is not only to keep on breathing but also to preserve our ego (persona, self-image, individuality, and uniqueness).
Our ego is ill equipped to handle the interplay of varying ideas, practices, and people. She feels compelled to organize, separate, and distinguish. She knows with much certainty whose in and whose out. Like one living with OCD, she needs the rigidity, the familiarity, and the calming effect of the following this compulsion, in order to function. Life does not make sense with it. She is slave to exclusion; consistently weaving the narrative to her advantage, unable to believe the story could, should, or would turn otherwise.
Everyday, she dresses the window, like the mortician, she is well equipped to preserve appearances. Hagia Sophia (holy wisdom) beckons her beyond this, to a place where her ego is shattered, binaries and polarities are forgotten, and the vast spectrum of oneness comes into view.
In this awakening, this coming home to True Self, she finally knows she cannot and should not try to do or be it all. Here, she is learning to dance as the Shakers do, remembering often to bow and defer to the other. She no longer climbs the ladders titled “personal success and gain.” Here, she dances in the circle, beginning to appreciate the place and part of one and all. She stops counting, washing, organizing, and perfecting.
She has found again the table, the place of commonality and inclusion, where each and every, is welcomed and held. Here, she begins again as she will do next week and every week after.
Maybe the first step toward inclusion is an awareness of our own capacity and propensity to exclude. On every side, there is an illusion of inclusion. We are all well versed in crassly portraying the other. We are all well equipped to pull away but as with the Chinese finger puzzle this effort only ensnares us further.
At the table, she finds common ground. She is released from performance and perfection. She is welcomed, wholly as she is.
The sacraments and liturgy
the altars and shrines
the temples and the forests
… all point toward inclusion,
a belonging together.
She is learning to ask questions and listen with her presence. She is engaging in the similar posture of dialogue, dance, and inclusion. She is a slow holy movement; learning to let go, to float, to be held, carried, and uplifted by the strength of a diverse community. She is learning be and allow others the same privilege. She is praying colour for the first time. Into the mysteries and paradoxes that tie us all together, she goes. To the tables and temples, shrines and altars, forests and sunrises that speak of our oneness, she rises.