I know in the past I have discussed the dangers I see with this recent trend of self-care, and while I don't wish to be belabor the point, I find myself continually coming back to it. Social media feeds are filled with the topic, and typically revolve around splurging, overspending, and feeding an insecurity by fulfilling its wishes. I see these things, and I feel so unsettled by the definition of self-care that our society has found true.
Intrinsically, self-care is not negative (obviously). Our bodies make non-negotiable physical demands, our minds need time to process and rest, and our emotions really need our attention. The chaos of work and paying bills and dealing with our feelings is a part of life that all of us are trying to find balance within. We are all learning how to give space to these aspects of life, and to do so in a healthy way. However, most of what I see practiced when people use terms like "self-love" or "self-care," has more to do with consumerism and less to do with connection and communion with self.
Binge eating a box of donuts during emotional turmoil is not self-care, it's impulse happiness. It's an aversion to the deeper issue. A manicure or spa day, expensive new wardrobe can all really feel like we're treating ourselves, when actually, we are running. There are times when it's appropriate to make space for ourselves, where we can be alone or someplace beautiful, or even buy ourselves a latte, but if most of our "self-care" is based on treating ourselves to consumer goods more than it is feeling and processing our emotions and assessing our failures or re-strategizing, than I hate to say it, but we're doing it wrong.
I have personally found that self-care is often the exact opposite of excessive indulgence. It's about restraint and denial and self-control. It's usually doing the hard, ugly, unbeautiful, everyday things that push me closer to peace and security. Ways like: reconfiguring a budget or a plan to get out of debt or increase savings, creating a healthy meal plan, or just making time to sit with my emotions until I can find resolve. Consumer self-care is a form of escapism, and will only make us more selfish. Nobody becomes a whole person by running.
I have a history of running. Of changing scenery. Of busyness. It has taken years of practice for me to be able to confront the conflicted and wounded feelings within myself, and really am still very much learning to navigate through such things, rather than hiding behind a book, a podcast, or another commitment. Self-care is quite ofte, me, sitting humbly (and embarrassingly) before all of my unsavory feelings and tendencies, and asking myself hard questions that will get me to the why.
Before we engineer another deed committed in the name of "self-care," I pose that we ask ourselves if this is something that will benefit our health and overall long-term wellness. If self-care is the preservation of one's self, than we have to be able to ask which part of ourselves we'd like to preserve.
A friend recently asked me for children's book recommendations that address race, and sadly, I realized that I didn't have a single book title to offer her. This motivated me to take a closer look at the message I have been giving my kids - at how deliberate I have really been, and to search for new ways to tend to this essential message. It is so important to me to integrate the foundation of equality into the lives of my children. While I am always looking for new and organic ways to introduce conversations about race with my kids, these are some pretty major ways that I already engage. Let's begin with the idea of proximity.
This will always be my go-to solution for the whole issue of the "other." When you're directly involved with people who are different than yourself, you welcome an environment to not only expand your worldview, but your ability to empathize as well. You can overlook the differences by realizing how very much the same all of us humans are. Providing my children innumerable collisions with great BIPOC themselves and introducing them to great black thinkers, writers, preachers, humanitarian and civil rights leaders, educators, and our very own kin, can only reinforce that people are people no matter what color they are. It creates a healthy normal where whiteness is not the standard. Not setting white as the standard inadvertently avoids making POC the deviation. In my opinion, this is the beginning of how to protect the image of those that are BIPOC.
In that same vein of thought, it is our responsibility to call out the cultural stereotypes that present themselves strongly and ceaselessly. Entertainment and advertising are completely tainted with innuendoes that set a social map in our children's impressionable and forming minds. I recently watched a show that my kids enjoy and found (in only one episode) that the Indian kid is genius, the Hispanic kid is overweight, lazy, and hygiene-deficient, the Chinese girl is overworked, over schooled and neurotic, while the lead white girl is rich, dumb, and of great moral standing. These seemingly benign messages cannot be tolerated and must be dissected with our children. If you are one to argue that these works of fiction couldn't possibly lay any real foundation for our children's perceptions, I introduce to you, the Doll Test.
In the 1940's there was a psychological experiment designed to test the degree of marginalization felt by African American children caused by prejudice, discrimination and racial segregation. This was the Doll Test. While the evidence of this study helped shut down the dangerous "separate but equal" ideology for African American kids in the case of Brown v. the Board of Education, it has been reintroduced in recent years to measure children's attitudes about what color has to do with "pretty" or "good"/"ugly" and "bad." The test used identically diapered dolls that only differentiated by color. When these dolls were showed to children of different races between the ages of 3 and 7, the majority attributed the positive characteristics to the white doll, assuring us that racism is internalized, and very early on at that. Black children couldn't explain why the white dolls were better, they just knew that the world reinforced this belief, and so it became their own. We have to talk about what our kids are being propagated to believe.
While there is a deficit in children's literature (that I've found anyway) that specifically addresses racism and slavery, there is a ton of great literature that shows racial and cultural diversity, and this is equally as important as addressing the history of colonialism itself. Around the holidays, I borrow library books that highlight different cultural celebrations so that my children can peak into the windows of other families who exist with their own unique traditions, as my own family does. While reading books together, I identify and talk about those differences, I praise those differences in all of their equal and beautiful ways. Driving the beauty of diversity into their growing minds will help them to see that different isn't bad or dangerous or inferior, it's just different.
While the Doll Test showed some improvements for believed "white bias" in black children since the 1940's, the results of white children have shown that they remain invested in believing stereotypes. Children notice race early in their lives, and so we, as parents, have to help shape healthy views. It is so vital to take every available opportunity to lay the groundwork for your children. Talk about the differences you see, don't attempt to stifle the issue just because you don't know how to answer questions, or address such issues in a way that you fear might offend. Do the work, educate yourself, start conversations to even see where your children are at with their beliefs, and keep the momentum going by showing your children how to cohabit this world in a meaningful and safe way for all.
Sadly, no matter how deep I go with my children, I realize that their experience is whitewashed and that there will always be a certain amount of effort that will need to be put forth to understand logically (never experientially) the burden that BIPOC carry. While the Doll Test showed some improvements for believed white bias in black children, the results of white children have shown that they remain invested in believing stereotypes. This is why it's insufficient to assume that if our children aren't explicitly taught racism in their home, that they can't grow in discriminatory ideologies. Our children will be shown what to believe about race at every turn, and it's our duty to not only avoid racist rhetoric, but to actually take it a step farther and to be proactively anti-racist.
While I am certain I have messed this thing up from time-to-time, or passed up valuable learning opportunities, I am striving to do what I can to learn, to keep my children in recognition of their privileges they have simply from being white, their responsibility in dismantling the corrupt social structures, to raise compassionate, thinking, loving human beings who will never overlook someone for their skin color, but will embrace them more deeply because of it.
Trauma can radicalize the amount of time I spend in the past. Even when my thoughts are in the present, my subconscious mind is always searching for unsafety. The moments when my children's laughter grounds me, or I experience total embodiment from a beautiful sunset, those moments only last so long. Those brief and enlivening moments when I am fully present though, they are what it means to be human. So I want to keep my eyes on the tender moments of now, so that I can experience my children's laughter without looking for sharp edges. That I can see the beauty of a sunset without the fear of the darkness that accompanies.
Maybe instead of time being the one that gives (because it never does), maybe I need to bend a little more to the holy time that I am given. I can't smooth the wrinkles of life, but I can coalesce to the grace of the moment. The grace that's always there when I'm looking for it. I've found that I can't be what everyone needs me to be. I can rarely be what I need for myself. But I can slowly pour myself out: offering a hug, a roof, an ear, a meal, a heart of compassion. In giving, I'm also surrendering. Surrendering my expectations, acknowledging my limitations, understanding that it was never my role to be everything to everybody.
All I can do, all that is really asked of me, is that I pour myself out. My insubstantial and fragile abilities and efforts could be broken like the little boy's 5 loaves and 2 fish. That all I have to do to participate in the miracle, is to show up and be willing. To come with my holy and meager offerings by saying here I am, and to know that God's hands can take the little pieces of me and spread them before the multitudes with grace and fulfillment (and even leftovers). There's always multiplication in the breaking. When I give what I have, (which is never enough, but always the right amount), when I am broken from the inside out, I can expect the empty spaces of me to be filled with God himself, and that my life becomes more of a blessing because of it.
Through all of the recent police shootings of black bodies and the inconsequential legal battles that follow, there have erupted many protests, some turning riotous. While I don't condone violence for any reason, we have to be able to look back with some degree of context to understand why these occasions are becoming typical.
The first Africans were brought to the English colonies in Jamestown, Virginia in 1619. Our country laid legal foundations for the racialization of America starting in 1640: The Law of Hereditary Slavery that perpetuated the slave status to anyone born of a slave (an endless cycle), the prohibition of interracial marriages, the passing of the Fugitive Slave Law which enlisted black slaves to life-long service. These and many others were the groundwork that the first colonies adopted, becoming the moral foundation of our country.
1787, time had passed and we had not morally evolved. There continued to be the creation of laws that undermined the dignity and worth of POC, all while advantaging the white population. In the 3/5th compromise there was a dispute over whether POC should be counted as people or property. There were plenty who couldn't contend to the idea of slaves being counted as human, and the ones that did only had motivations that had nothing to do with the humanity of a POC, but of slave-owning states gaining more political power. In 1790 the first rules about citizenship were written and it basically extended to the "free white person" of good character.
After the Civil War the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments were added to the Constitution to abolish slavery, to grant citizenship to anyone born on American soil, and grant African-Americans the right to vote. In response to these victories, (southern) white Americans decided to reclaim their dominance by the constructing of Jim Crow laws.
Our laws have been tainted since the beginning, and our justice system has been reinforcing discriminatory, unjust laws. People look at the Black Lives Matter movement and can't fathom a people who have such animosity when they haven't experienced slavery for themselves, but what's not being understood is that the framework of our country has been unbalanced with injustice. An injustice that is still reverberating through the socio-economic, political, prejudicial and emotional realms of POC.
We look at the rates of African-Americans in prison versus whites and conclude that black people are more criminal. If we look more closely, we see the major factor of discrimination (POC more likely to be stopped, searched, given tickets and arrested than whites) the fact that the bail system thrives on poverty, and the harsher sentencing of POC than whites it is naïve to think that POC are simply "more criminal."
Furthermore, we look at the fact that slavery was only abolished 153 years ago, when it was legal for 246 years and practiced for far longer. The constitutional equality has been written, but equality has clearly never been fully achieved. It takes time to undo the damage, to unravel wrong philosophies, and to provide restitution for those injured.
African-Americans and white Americans have different access to justice, different access to the "American Dream," experientially do not have the voice of those of European descent, the promises of freedom and justice have not been met, and instead of speaking up and being met with compassion, they are further stripped of power by being called "angry" or "terrorists." Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke of the environment that we are again, experiencing on a massive scale. He said this:
"I think American must see that riots do not develop out of thin air. Certain conditions continue to exist in our society which must be condemned as vigorously as we condemn riots. But in the final analysis, a riot is the language of the unheard. And what is it that America has failed to hear? It has failed to hear the plight of the Negro poor has worsened over the last few years. It has failed to hear that the promises of freedom and justice have not been met. And it has failed to hear that large segments of white society are more concerned about tranquility and the status quo than about justice, equality, and humanity. And so, in a real sense our nation's summers of riots are caused by our nation's winters of delay. And as long as America postpones justice, we stand in the position of having these recurrences of violence and riots over and over again. Social justice and progress are the absolute guarantors of riot prevention."
We have to listen to the language of the riot closely. There are recurring issues that have been vocalized over and over again. The voices are getting louder and more angry simply because their appetite for justice is so big, yet their voices are repeatedly shut down. We are creating a hostile atmosphere when we invalidate someone's message because we refuse to (at times) listen through someone's anger. If we start immersing ourselves in the culture of the oppressed, our perspective will change, our empathy will blossom, and we will be able to help bring this world towards the overhaul of justice that is deeply needed. Let's become a country who listens, not an empire that exerts control. Let's listen to the language of the riots and see where it takes us.
I find it so odd that there is any form of comfort found in broken systems of coping. I've never been served in a positive way through the means I have learned to hurt less. Because in the hurting less, I have been investing less, receiving less, keeping a stranger's distance from the beautiful unknown.
I am giving myself breathing room to unlearn some of these habits I've called home. Because I'm learning that life's a balance of the holding on and the letting go. Letting go of things that cause more brokenness, gathering up trust, and holding on to the One who holds all things together. Because you can't grab on to something new when your fists are clenched with the old.
I have always been reaching: a drowning hand from the mire, a daughter who was reaching for a parent to see her and save her, reaching for the children she's wounded with her words, reaching for a way to inner peace, reaching for a way back. The long way back. It's hard to keep holding on when you haven't felt tenderly held. When you haven't let yourself be tenderly held.
My day is full of disruptions to higher ways, but I push through and shove past and elbow every single one out of the way in the name of convenience. Those disruptions are the way to new paths, the narrow path. And because I've had confusion in knowing when to let go and when to hang on, I've not acknowledged my hurts as a result of broken judgement, but I've internalized them as another reason to believe the lie.
The beliefs that I hold deep within my being are what hold on to me. So, what do I believe - truth and lies alike? This balance of holding on and letting go, just feels like I'm perpetually between trapezes. I have to let go of what I thought was holding me stable, and while in mid-aid, wait for the next bar to appear. Thankfully, I know now that it always will.
If anybody would have told me that twenty some odd years after my first experience with sexual abuse would still involve me actively seeking healing, I would have given up then and there. The journey is definitely different for everyone, the healing timeline is probably always infinite to some degree, yet the wholeness one can experience doesn't always have to be decades in duration. For me though, it has.
These few decades weren't necessarily filled with complete emotional misery. Our bodies have an amazing defense mechanism that allows us to almost totally disengage from our trauma. My trauma was still there, it was just beneath the surface, creating fault lines for me to step on later. Later came several years ago.
For me, the trauma was always so far removed that it was fairly easy to talk about. I have brown hair, green eyes, I love to hike and read, and I was sexually abused. That's about how non-emotive and irrationally calm I was. I mistook all of this for healing. While my mind had fragmented into a million displaced pieces so that I could function in life, I was living in an emotionally detached state. I logistically knew what happened, but I could not emotionally connect with it. I went through an intensive program for the sexually wounded, I had been to numerous counselors, yet it wasn’t until several years ago that this fragmentation began to make me feel like I was actually missing something. This "something" stirred all kinds of horrible emotions that made me spiral. Suddenly, I wasn't rational, I wasn't level-headed, I couldn't look at my abuser's face on the offender's registry and feel impartial. It amazed me what my body had kept secret from me all of these years, and how my unconscious memories came spilling out in the form of triggers to scents and sounds and seasons and those horrible nightmares that used to keep me in fear of sleep.
As my triggers were increasing, so were my anxiety and depression. Unfortunately, ignoring an outpouring of pent-up trauma is not the solution, it's not even a mediocre band-aid, it's a guaranteed way to send yourself into a tailspin. On a map, I could put a pin right in the middle of this tailspin with a sign that says YOU ARE HERE. I can’t sleep enough, I can’t feel content with my life in spite of the multitudinous reasons why I should. I find myself disengaging from my family because the pressure of being needed is, at times, insurmountable. I have isolated myself and kept my loved ones in the dark because being vulnerable on any level has felt violating. It has been difficult to find a therapist that is both covered by my health insurance and good at what they do. I was seeing a very gifted therapist only to have to give up on my sessions because of finances. I left therapy in the middle of digging into my greatest fears and terrors, the deepest depression of my life, and didn’t continue going anywhere at all. Then I went to a sexual healing conference that I thought would be beneficial, but only further triggered and damaged me.
Months after leaving therapy, months after ill-tending to my triggers, months of stuffing the bad stuff and hoping that it will just magically disappear, I found myself almost incapable of normalcy. It's discouraging. No, if I'm being totally honest, it is utterly despairing to feel as if I have regressed, even slightly. Sometimes I wonder if I will always have to fight this hard to experience semi-happiness. Sometimes I wonder if I will ever breech the boundaries of my diagnosis. Then I remind myself that "recovering" is a verb. Recovery takes intention and forethought, and very hard work. It is an active timeline that consists of looking from one moment to the next, healing a little more one day at a time. It's a process that I have put too high an expectation into, and have crashed and burned because of it. It requires great attention and nurturing and untangling. Becoming lax about my recovery process is not something that works, even when I hit burnout mode, even when my capacity is diminished, I still have to do the work.
With this great mess of triggers and tormented thinking, I have come to see that while this feels like a regression, or even a curse, it is really my body ready for the great purge. A purge that I have never really experienced in a way that brings deep healing, because until now, I had never emotionally connected to it. Recovery is about regaining possession of myself, or the parts of me that were fragmented in trauma. I was so young when the shards of myself began to disappear, that I grew as an incomplete person. This purge will bring me closer to myself, more wholly to myself.
So, I have reached out again to a mental health professional, one that I can both afford and have already had some success with. I will practice the methods that I know work for my anxiety and diligently tend to my emotional needs. These practices will make my life far more manageable. While "manageable" is never the goal, I have to be okay with it until it deepens into something more. I have forgotten to be thankful for all of the beautiful things in my life, all of the progress that has been made, and I have felt sorry for myself for not being more than I can be on this dot on the timeline. The shame of my past has been peeled back over the years for sure, but I am learning that I have a really hard time being tender and patient with the parts of me that are still broken. So I will start there.
Healing is not an easy process, but it is one I have to be committed to. Whether I chose to acknowledge my pain or not, I will live from it, oh, how I have lived from it. So I have to have the determination to keep going. I am excited for different therapies that have been recommended, I am confident in my therapist, I am hopeful that if I continue practicing being present with these aching memories and emotions, if I dedicate myself to the work, that the pieces have to find their way back.
St. Johns, Michigan
Sierra Vista, Arizona
San Bernardino, California
Winston-Salem, North Carolina
New Orleans, Louisiana
Los Angeles, California
Oxon Hill, Maryland
New York City
Sante Fe, New Mexico
Since the beginning of 2018, these are the many schools who have experienced the horror of a school shooting. Sending my three boys to public school creates a certain amount of anxiety for me, as I'm certain most parents feel these days. When my elementary boys came home and told me about their safety drill at school, I broke down.
When I was in elementary school we had fire and tornado drills, once we practiced evacuating in case of a bomb threat. I, never, in my 5-year-old skin was told what to do if a "bad person" came into my school with guns. Yet, my 5 and 7-year-old proceeded to tell me what they were instructed to do, God-forbid something like this make its way to my small community. Barricading doors and windows, hiding as much of their body as possible, throwing whatever their little arms can pick up if a shooter makes it as far as their room. Creating distractions, running around, yet staying as far away from the shooter as possible. Clearing the shelves of the classroom cabinets to hide in, these are all such awful realities to teach to kids who still sleep with stuffed animals and cry over boo-boos. My little boys have a contingency plan.
My middle-schooler has actual drills where the shooters position is announced over the loudspeaker as they follow protocol for every step the shooter could possibly take. He has a teacher who purchased ratchet straps to secure the door, and roach spray as a form of mace. Instead of buying extra books for the classroom, our teachers are purchasing safety equipment with their own money, all in an attempt to protect their students, my three sons. This is the age we live in.
I asked my boys if these conversations/drills made them feel fearful. Thankfully, they all said no. Their teachers told them this likely wouldn't happen, and they are all still young enough, sheltered enough from thinking that this is life. Their belief in the goodness of others makes this information foreign, unbelievable. I feel the need to occasionally drill them on what they were taught, to keep it fresh in their minds. My sweet little kindergartener told me that he doesn't want to throw stuff at anyone, even if he is trying to protect himself. As he said "God made them too." His innocence, his value of human life, his compassion, it broke me and made me want to scream "No! You do whatever you have to!" But I held my tongue and hugged him and agreed that yes, God did make everyone, but not everyone holds that truth in their heart. I told him that some people are so very hurt that they want to hurt others, and that if he doesn't want to throw things, then he needs to be the best hider in the whole school.
These drills create a hypothetical violence that both my sons and I are uncomfortable with. You're forced to think of yourself first (your own hiding place instead of your friend and classmates) how you could potentially hurt another human being, and the horrible dilemma of jumping from a broken window or staring down the barrel of a gun. While my emotions are erratic when learning about these simple drills, I cannot fathom the horror of experiencing what these communities listed above have survived.
We need to get serious about gun law reforms, and help for the mentally ill. We need more prevention and interventions where troubled kids slide through the cracks. We need to see that while these kinds of changes are necessary, that what we really need is a heart change. We need to be better parents, and neighbors, and mentors, and speak up, whether on a ballet or protest, or seeing a kid being bullied. We need to teach our children to be aware of their surroundings, report any seemingly benign threats, to be hospitable and loving to the kids who need a friend, and maybe, just maybe, we won't have to hear about another shooting on U.S. soil again. Hopefully, for my children and yours, this will only ever be a drill.
I used to have this recurring dream where dinosaurs were trying to kill me. I was at the great green house of my grandparents, a place attributed to happy childhood memories of being adequately dirty and endlessly barefoot. A house that held most of my precious memories, also held something visceral and dark. A place that, in the light of day encouraged all of the goodness of homemade cookies and burning wood in the fire. How even on a windless day, there always seemed to be a cool breeze that pushed through the kitchen window, making the curtain dance with lunacy. The toy room held old fur-collared coats and a tin of antique buttons that I would finger through with the delicacy of one handling glass. In the dark though, the house shifted and settled into a coldness that seemed otherworldly. It felt as if the house had eyes, and the pleasantries of cookies plumping in the oven were now overwrought by the cold and daunting smell of must and fear.
It was always there - at that anciently familial house - that the typically peaceful herbivore of a dinosaur would turn and try to snatch me and eat me up. I was always on the front lawn facing the barn bank. The one I had raced down innumerable times on that red Radio Flyer wagon. I would see this Brachiosaurus and then spread my arms and will myself to fly, knowing that flight was not something that I possessed the ability to do. I just needed to get above the tops of the trees, where it couldn't reach me. I flew clumsily and faltered, but always managed to get just high enough to escape, yet close enough still to feel the breath of the beast at my back.
The old family house and the dinosaur represent what is ancient, the trespasses of my family line, the darkness. I know the curse of Adam and the manner in which is has attached to my family. While the faces of the generations have changed, the brokenness has been recycled through time. Decades later, I am dealing with the trauma of that same curse. While I know the brutality of what my heritage holds, I also know that part of the trick is in the agenda staying hidden. While my life hasn't always blossomed with freedom, I have always managed to escape by some supernatural ability. I can look back and see where faults lie, where lies were believed, where brokenness was birthed, and I can also see that while I may feel the hot breath against my back, it is always behind me.
I was 17 when I got my license, and as a very inexperienced driver, I often made wrong turns, missed exits, and got a little too distracted with things that don't particularly pertain to driving at all. I always managed (no matter the point of origin) to end up in a tiny town called Zoar. Oh I'm sorry, did I say town? I meant to say village. My friends can attest to the fact that every time we headed out of town, we ended up there instead. To see that cursed sign was like venturing into the Twilight Zone, and as many unfortunate times as I had accidentally been there, I have absolutely no recall of the route I took that led back home. Zoar was my mental block. My curse word. I loathed Zoar.
One weekend I ventured out of town (in the complete opposite direction of Zoar in fact). On the way home I knew I had somehow gotten off track. My surroundings were strange and I should have almost been home, not seeing unfamiliar sights. Ready to take the next exit to stop and ask for directions, I saw a sign nearing that read "Zoar, 5 miles." I almost started crying from that all-to-familiar sign of impending doom. How could this have happened? I didn't think I had ventured off course that long. Needless to say, I had to have help getting home because I had no idea which direction home even was. On my way home (my long way home) I really began to question what the bizarre pull to this village really meant. Suddenly I had a strange recollection of what Zoar really represented. It began a long time ago...
In the Bible, there was a man named Lot; Abraham's nephew. He lived in a place called Sodom, which was near Gomorrah. These two towns had become so deviated from their true nature that there was nothing good in any who lived there...only perversion. Abraham called out to God to have mercy on the righteous who lived there, and to save them in the midst of the destruction that was about to incur. So God sent two angels to recover the righteous, with the grand total of the recovered being 4: Lot, his wife and daughters, that's it.
The angels kept urging Lot to get his things and head for the safety of the mountains. Lot stalled so long, that the angels finally grabbed him and his family and literally carried them out of Sodom before God's judgement fell. The angels told them not to look back with longing in their hearts, and Lot's wife did. She turned into a pillar of salt. (Disclaimer: this is where you set theology and opinion aside, and humor me for the sake of the point I am aimlessly getting to, I promise).
So, running to the mountains, Lot decided that this safe haven was too far for his liking, and told the angels that he would like to stay and rest where he was instead of traveling further. Although this wasn't what was intentioned, God surrendered to his will.
He now settled in a town that was so close to the very life that he wasn't supposed to look back upon, that he could see the smoke and ruin of Sodom from his window. A window that he could daily gaze out of, staring his past right in the face. This tiny town, this village, was none other than Zoar.
My life at this point in time is incredibly cyclical. While I experience so much freedom, there are still a few things that seem to keep urging me to take the wrong exit time and time again. I never seem to notice the distractions, because they are so minute. Yet, the variance of this subtle derogation leaves me lost all the same. I have been living in a place that is too uncomfortably close to my Zoar and it is now time for me to move far away from the things that I keep gazing my affections upon that are destructive, counterproductive, and annoyingly orbital. It is time for a new path, a new destination, and to take an axe to that sign that reads, "Now Entering Zoar."
(originally published in 2011)
It is spelled in words of blood - "be still and know."
Quiet the mind, relax the body.
Let the Truth speak. Speak back only by quiet surrender.
It will come: that violent rush of revelation that changes not what one sees but how,
the worries and anxiety that hold fast in your rib cage,
the lies in your heart you don't even see as lies...yet.
Breathe and give. Give and breathe.
Because it is written, because the word was man, because the man bled, because the only way to life is to KNOW and the knowing comes from the stillness inside (the one that carries you even in the chaos).