People see me space out oftentimes when I should pay attention.
They ask me where I am.
I tell them I don't know, and then return to the present.
The truth is that with every twist and turn of the path, I like to wonder. A lot.
Sometimes I wonder if I scare people away in my desire to find the balance between two diametric extremes using this or that specific situation to determine this or that imperfect answer.
Or if I am unbalanced for trying in the first place.
Other times I wonder if my job actually does any use.
Or if I can make it useful.
I also wonder if my wasting away an afternoon reading instead of keeping up on political issues and power relations--that I feel are pertinent to write about, speak out about, care about-- is time well wasted.
Or if political issues and power relations are too clad in heaviness for an unbearable lightness in being.
The answers I find are rarely gratifying.
A month ago at an educational peace conference, I met a writer who unknowingly gratified me with an answer. He's a poet who lived his teenage years in Iraq during the war. He now attends college in Montana. He shared a poem with us the first night we were together that reached out to me as if it were my brother. The next day we were at the lunch table where I told him I wrote too. We started talking about his poetry, and he gave me an emerald:
"All of my poetry ends with darkness. I don't like ending on a light note--it's not a realistic representation of life for me. I find it more compelling to leave off negatively... People when they first heard me did not know what to do with it. A lot of people criticized me for not trying to write about the light side, that I made it too clear cut. But as I continued to write and perform, people began to see my style for what it was. They sometimes don't agree with it; this I know. But they still sit and listen now, so I know that I'm doing the right thing."
With this final sentence, I saw the India in his words:
First they ignore you. Then they laugh at you. Then they fight you. Then you win.
So, today, I want to remember this phrase, and send it to all those around the world who also work (tirelessly) and seek (without compromise) to put peace and dignity back into the earth and those that live there:
Today, My Love,
Today You're Doing the Right Thing
And may that, for now,
Perfect the imperfectable.