The first couple weeks of classes in Thailand my mind was overflowing. I would go to bed and though I was utterly exhausted could not, would not sleep. I would lay on my bed, barely close my eyes and the flood of buzzing thoughts, feelings, colors and scenes would settle here or there, in beautiful dreams of possibilities and ideas. I would tell myself: I don’t have enough time to day dream. This happens quite often to me. I get really good sayings about life, metaphors that roll off your tongue and leave a seed in your mind. Effluves. Things is I can’t usually remember my lovely thoughts the next morning. I can remember how lovely they were just not their form. I can remember their impact just not their incarnation. I can perhaps if I’m lucky remember the idea but not the incarnation of it.
These past weeks, I have been in classes that are giving me the framework, the language, the organizational tool to put my every thoughts in, wide awake.
A challenge I do not yet know how to respond to is how will I communicate the things I have learned in weeks to those I go back to? We have two and a half hour lectures twice a day every day except Thursday and the weekends. These are intensive times of exploring concepts, our minds and the world. We have an “art” class which is more like a philosophical aesthetics anthropology class and we have a community development class which makes me question even wanting to work in an organization. I just want to live with people. Truly. How to express the things I have learned?
I can’t even express how much of a freaking chemical reaction there is in all of this. The classes are built upon our experience. Like if our brains hadn’t been completely thrown up in the air with our experience in Thai culture and practicum then there would not have been the possibility of laying new foundations. Without our first round of classes, the easy intro where we interacted with Thai people in a comfortable setting for us and interacted with Thai culture laying a framework to understand it in our terms. Historical, political, economic information and analysis. All in a classwork, writing papers, doing our thing.
This experience has offered the possibility to provide a dissonance to our built up structures of being and seeing. This dissonance: I picture it as a building projection that you see as you would see Manhattan during a clear day that all the sudden gets static and you see there is something behind, beyond. And you can go through this momentary haze. The haze I always live in. Yet, as Michael said everything is a form. I learned freshman year that rejection of a form is still letting this form guide your actions. Rejection is a form. Today I learn that going between forms is a form. Ecclectia. Nice. Makes sense. Feels good to have terms to define your seemingly rash movements. To know they are actually guided. To begin to recognize this complex wave of seemingly unpredictable jumps and intimacies and hidings. It’s like how when I just need to write out a paper. And I think it’s absolute crap. And then I read it over and realize that there’s actually an argumentative structure to the whole thing and it makes sense and it flows and I’ve conveyed something. That’s what you get for having a French thinking structure and speaking in English. No it’s not translation it’s literally combining different tools that you equally master and using them fully yet there is a part of you that is not functioning. You can’t grasp what is happening in that moment. You can’t see. You are blind. But are we not all blind? Or perhaps this blindness will go away once I finally understand somewhat of this crazy spiral. It’s like I see spikes. Everything is spikes. But from miles away, from lightyears away, all these spikes make a perfectly round circle. It just has more .. matter? mass? width? thickness? This is my shape. Perhaps others’ shapes are simply thin lines that go straight and abruptly end and they intersect. Or maybe they are simple little dots that align.
I feel free. I know I am constantly changing I know it is nowhere near to being finished. I strive to continue to blur the lines between worlds, between masks and mirrors.
I have pretty much cried in every single class. The tears are different each time, though they are linked. Is it not beautiful how many different types of emotion we can feel? The different possible combinations, the acceptance of letting them all flow through you. The act of observing how they are touching you. How they are revealing parts of you. Parts you had forgotten, parts you had abandoned, parts you had hid, parts you had sacrificed or surrendered to the illusion of love, to the promise of security, to the structured education, to the pessimist world, to your own tired soul. Tired of loneliness and misunderstandings. With no way of expressing this.
First classes I was being told to think in a new way, to open my eyes to the world… Can you imagine ? Being told to abandon your way of thinking, of seeing? Difficult? Unheard of? I live not only with two different brains, cultures, lenses. I live with all of the beautiful, paradoxical and unsettling possible combinations of these. Everytime I go one place or another. A part of me dies. A part of my stifles. It cries to be let out. It cries for how blind everyone around me is. That they can’t see. Can you imagine? Being told after all these deaths that the in-between that I live in is how we should strive to see? That the magic, the beauty, the intersects, the dream is where we should live. GO AHEAD TRY! The underlying speech beneath all the complex concepts and sentences. The hidden, abandoned self. The dreamer. It’s like when you are half asleep. At a party, at a dinner. Everyone is talking about boring stuff. Things that seem just absolutely so so so pointless to you. Things you feel even they themselves know are empty. You go off even to sit on a different couch. You get forgotten there. Maybe you actually dozed off and everyone else went downtown for drinks. And then all the sudden you hear them talking about you. Talking about the research you’ve been doing. The project you’ve devoted your life to that literally has become your heart and soul and being. And they are not talking about you, but you open your eyes excited. Or perhaps you hear a song that you love. You hear it from afar. You open your eyes. Straining your ears to hear more. But maybe this happens in a split second and you are bouncing off the canopy and rushing in to hear more. Your heart thumping. So…. this is what would happen. Except is more than that. There is a pain. Let’s add the fact that the dinner party was more than just boring. Let’s say people were actually stabbing you the whole time. Crazy right? You’re invited to this beautiful party, by beautiful smiling, seemingly loving people. And You’re all excited. It’s like going to the disney land freaking castle for tea and cupcakes! Everyhting is sparkly. You are dreamiiiing! And then you are greeted. The smiles seem a little twisted. You’re a little apprehensive but you are too excited and innocent. You go to sit. And the feast begins. You are the feast. Getting stabbed. You would be shocked right? Scared and screaming and bleeding on the floor as they all leave you there. Tears and blood stirring on the linoleum floor. Staining the shimmering tassels of your sparkle dress. And you can just stay there. Like Prometheus. You’re not going to die from it just maybe pass out from the pain and always be on the brink, but it’s easier to act as if you’re dead and then when they come back you can greet them with a smile and go out to the bar with them, initiated into the ways. Or you can put some of the blood on your face, look at your self on the floor and decide in anger to exact revenge and retribution. Jump out the window yelling out curses, landing outside in the dirt, taking the glass shard from the window out of your bleeding arm and banishing it forth as a weapon, looking in the shadows for the cursed and dying who you can take forth against the shimmering gowns.
But oh. You have fallen down in the dust and worn yourself weary and in all of that you have brought the warrior and the follower together and you have gone forward in humility, trying to find in betweens, words, mindsets where you do not hate and were you do not bleed. And then a poet invites you to the castle and speaks to the two and there are attentionate and their heart is beating and the poet is shining a light on the deepest wound that has been stuffed and beaten around and that you keep at the deepest. There’s the best makeup all around it. Did he know that the hole he was poking would go so deep for you? That it was the heart of it all? That its the core of your circle? The last, the truest, the fullest, the original hears herself being called. It’s like being saved ? If only you knew… This way, this new way is my way. This is me. The dreamer. And now she listens. With the three. All the more hungry. And still bleeding. The tears stinging the wounds but healing them at the same, gardening, flowers popping out almost instantly. And the three joining in hands. And all those that come from them. The dreamer reorienting them all, leading them. She wishes to speak now. She wishes to take the mind for a ride. She wasn’t asleep she was watching the reflection in blood and tears. And her eyes are still fill with it. She follows the wind and she smiles to the dreamer in all. I want to let her. I want to learn how to speak to her, I want to be her completely. Bringing shalom to the whole, the warrior needs the dreamer not the anger. The follower needs to be with the people. In their midst not staring in judgingly. But the follower needs the dreamer to not be fooled like all the others. And they both need the warrior to act it out…
Are you starting to get it? Well… I want to dream. And I am so so blown away. The ride I’m taken on. I seriously can’t wait for the next.
I’ve been asked to think of community development as Gandhi, mother Teresa and MLK would. THANK YOU. I’ve been told we can think of ourselves as part of a whole because of the direction in which we face not form the qualifying, quantifying and organization of our actions. I’ve LITERALLY BEEN GIVEN A DREAMING MODEL. My last community development class. Asked to share three exceptionally positive moments of my life. We all were.
Here are mine:
1. My sister’s wedding. Watching her shine with joy and love and being a part of it. Of something that I had nothing to do with… So filled with euphoric pure joy.
2. Receiving my acceptance letter to go to Taiwan and Korea last summer. I cried from joy. I remember it so sharply. “Thank you God”. Literaly the answer to a prayer. The assurance, the unexpected answer to a request I had not even dreamt of asking aloud. In such a sharp contrast with everything that surrounded me.
3. It took me a while to think of a third. To pick something. It came to me. I hadn’t realized it really. How positive. Seeing my brother performing on stage for the first time in 10 years? Seeing him doing what he loves, and my heart swelling with gratitude that I could see him shine.
I was before last in sharing my three and my voice was shaking as I shared them. Guila, my amazing professor than asked us to think of the commonalties, “what is the driving life force?” . Family. An “enormous sense of the presence of God”. I realized it was in the moments which you are still. There is a shift in time. You observe something beautiful and you see its eternity. My second one is quite different. Perhaps it is so important because it speaks of the underlying truths in the others that are not as able to grasp. The redemption that marriage represents. The redemption of family that me being at my brothers play was. The rejuvenation and refining of humans and life. We are then asked to dream. “How do these life forces factor into, where are they in the dream of my future?” and finally “How do I get there?”
Well dreaming and sharing them is a pretty awesome freaking darn start. Jah. Seriously I was so blown away by the last 20 minutes of class. I told Guila when she asked us to think of those three I was like “she’ got us”. Flashed to my last class in Social Problems with Winslow. Except that I actually totally started crying in that. hah. It was a little less expected.
But really how beautiful to share our happiest times? It is sharing out hearts, sharing what touches our heart. What makes us glow and letting it make others glow. It’s not that hard to share happy moments. But its very hard to share difficult moments. Darkness hates being in the light, darkness needs to be dragged out into the light. But light, it only grows and glows and makes everything it touches new.
We have been to a shining white temple, to a happy happy festival of lights where the sky was alit with the dreams of peoples of the earth, we treked through the jungle and rode on the head of elephants, and have been taught to dance, we have harvested rice that shall be eaten by those who cut it and painted together and talked and laughed and dot dot dot lived and been. 🙂
It’s magical really. This life. I’m magical I guess. A freaking talking, thinking piece of flesh that can make pretty sounds and pretty things and can change this world with my hands. And it all flows together. I loved lights and soft things and singing things and holding hands and smiles and smells. 🙂
Just keep dreaming. Thanks for everything. I’m gonna go hug a pillow now and kick my feet up.