How is the year shaping up for you so far? Have your predictions come true, or did you have to face a curve ball or two?
Things are shaping up well. I’ve committed to writing daily and so far have not missed a day. I need to increase my daily word count so that I’ll get more writing completed. As for predictions, I’m not much into them. I believe in doing what needs to be done. Ultimately the outcomes will be reached, however long it might take.
I am not strictly about the ugly nor the beauty of humanity. I’m about the truth of humanity as I see it and as it is. That truth encompasses every aspect of who we are collectively—good, bad and indifferent. Some days the sadness will show through and other days the beauty will show through. Always, it will be authentically how I see as well as how it is.
To ignore the ugly denies someone who is suffering the right and power to be freed from their oppressions and pain. Ignoring suffering to focus on beauty shows that what they feel doesn’t exist simply because I choose not to give attention to it. My not giving attention doesn’t stop the pain of a soul on the other side of Earth. My desire to live the life of a flower child who only “attracts” beauty does not feed a starving child or stop a bomb from dismembering a living being.
Equally, to ignore beauty denies someone who is enjoying the pleasures of life the right to allow love and light in. Ignoring beauty to focus on suffering says that what the lover feels is irrelevant in the face of pain. Not giving attention to beauty does not stop beauty from being real and a worthwhile experience to desire. Beauty is necessary in this world filled with ugly. It is all we have to keep us sane and creative.
We should strive to give attention to all that exists so that healing can find its way into our near future. We shouldn’t judge harshly the person who sees and highlights mostly the beautiful or the ugly, telling them to see more beauty or look at the pain. They are on their journey, seeing what allows them to survive this existence and their “now”. Humble understanding is what we should reciprocally give to each other.
It all needs to be seen. If humanity intends to grow, neither reality can be overlooked simply because one or the other discomforts us, fills us with guilt or shields us from pain. Nothing of this life can be ignored, no matter how ugly or wonderful. At the same time, our judgement of the path of others serves only to show how little we’ve learned on our own path.
As we strive to additionally see the world as it is, not merely as we are, we should go within.Visit ourselves inside ourselves and find in that place the child that is both filled with wonder and awe at life, and also afraid of the bigness of existence and how fragile we are, how small we sometimes feel in the face of a power structure and the seemingly untouchable cosmos.
We are here together. Now. Tomorrow you will wake up and find that you are 80 years old and closer to exiting this planet. Will your existence revolve strictly around you? Or will there be a shared existence that provided balance to you and everyone around you? Will your awareness of everything that exists propel you to affect change?
It is all a question. The answer? I don’t pretend to know. All I know now is that I inhale and exhale and think and remember and feel. It all washes over me.
But I am free inside that part of me no one can see or touch. I see the landscape, the sun and the storm. I walk toward it all.
Write about your first name: Are you named after someone or something? Are there any stories or associations attached to it? If you had the choice, would you rename yourself?
Funny you ask whether I would rename myself. I have, actually. My name is, zaji. It took several years to find a name I felt would suit me. After searching through hundreds of names, I finally came across zaji. It is from the Tappa of West Africa and it means, woman.
I love the sound of it, zah-gee. Zaaah-geeee. It’s musical. It vibrates from a deep place inside me. I find names fascinating. It is a pity to me when numerous people have the same name. It is as though something unique about them has dissipated.
In some cultures, a person goes through many names. As their personality changes and they mature, their name changes to match their new personality. I am in love with this concept and way of living. I imagine that if I lived in those cultures I would have had five different names already.
I also love the idea of naming one’s self after a certain time period. Who better to name us? As we get a sense of who we are, we find a name for ourselves that better suits us. This idea of knowing self before naming is present is some cultures where a new born child is not named until the child reaches a certain age, sometimes not until the child can walk.
Language, words, are merely sounds strung together in a certain sequence that we’ve collectively agreed to use to describe the world around us. When we speak, we create chords and notes that allow us to give definition and meaning to our seemingly intangible thoughts. The sound we use when we create a name is a vibration that will be coded to our energy. This is why I find naming important. It shouldn’t be haphazard. It is an important part of our soul DNA and spiritual fingerprint.
I love the name zaji. It sings to me and vibrates my truths. As I grow and change, there may come a time when my name will need to change. Until then, I am zaji.
You’re at the beach with some friends and/or family, enjoying the sun, nibbling on some watermelon. All of a sudden, within seconds, the weather shifts and hail starts descending from the sky. Write a post about what happens next.
The minute I see the first piece of hail fall, I’m gone; pink and orange floral beach towel thrown over my head, running for my car or other shelter, family and friends left behind, seeded watermelon sitting on the hail pocked sand catching hail between its red flesh, sun shining on only the beached starfish and greedy sea gulls, and my white sandals, lonely and waiting for their barefoot owner to return.
Minutes later everyone finds me and wonders how I found shelter so quickly. “I’m allergic to hail,” I tell them. “Little frozen balls of ice hitting my delicate brown skin at gravity speed is not pleasant.”
The beach is empty, the clouds walk away, and the hail storm ends while a shark glides by waiting for someone to again swim out too far.
This is the beginning of an idea I believe I can flesh out and do something interesting with. I was thinking about consumerism, commercialism, capitalism, usury, and the poor economic state of this country. I haven’t done any editing, so…
The Elec-Trick Company
The line was long. The people were fat. They each looked like humps in a little plump caterpillar, moving through the line, colorful with multiple legs. They writhed and squirmed, seeming to be filled with gas. Their faces looked hungry. They each looked around the foreign space, seeking a morsel, or two. But there was no morsel to be had unless they’d taken to eating people. From the looks of them, eating people was probably their secret past time.
We inched forward, their eyes on us, the anomalies in the room. Slim. Astute. Clean. Nothing sold in Wal-Mart touched our bodies. The caterpillar parts, however, wore even pajamas to pay their bills. Was it because their lights were already turned off and they wanted to be dressed the part as soon as the lights came on? Plop down to watch TV. Order pizza. Scratch ass. Fart. Leave scraps in box on floor. Scream at kids. Fall asleep on couch. Wake up and head to bedroom. Turn on TV. Recall that the living room TV was still on. Good. Maybe will go down to kitchen to grab another bite to eat and can catch something interesting. Lost. American Idol. The commercial said 40 was the new 30, so indulge yourself in chocolate. Mouths open and another 100 pounds piles on. The bedroom TV blazes on. Late night talk shows and sex. The flashing on the wall as sleep takes over. While in slumber a string of commercials talk about restless leg syndrome and eating more pork, the other white meat. Morning comes and the fat caterpillar part changes its shirt but leaves on the pajama pants; it doesn’t know why it now has a strange craving for pork. Will grab some right after paying the damned bill. “Why’d they cut off my lights in the first place?” it thinks. “I was only five days late.”
They keep looking. Their parts moving almost in unison to the front desk where separated caterpillar parts sit collecting green paper. Caterpillars like green leafy looking things. They work for the lie bearers, the people who took what nature offers for free and made it into an empire. The caterpillars don’t have time to think about why they are on the line. They are too busy being caterpillars, moving along in little shuffles, into a destiny with no substance or form.
“Hello, sir,” the separated caterpillar chirps half pleasantly.
“Fine,” I lie. It’s what you’re supposed to do? Right? Tell the caterpillars what they want to hear so they don’t begin to twist and bend out of shape, losing their form.
Are you comfortable in front of people, or does the idea of public speaking make you want to hide in the bathroom? Why?
While I do get a bit nervous when speaking in front of people, it is not generally a terrifying experience. Once I’m about five to ten minutes in, all is well and I no longer need to imagine everyone in pink polka dot panties, men included. I suppose the reason I’m not fearful of public speaking is because I’m not afraid of people. Like me, everyone eats, drinks, sleeps, craps and will one day die. There is nothing particularly more special about any other human compared to me beyond their soul print, which to me is like a fingerprint. We each have our thoughts, ideas, opinions, faults, idiosyncrasies, talents. We all carry memories that shape us.
This realization allows me to see a crowd not as something to be intimidated by, but as an opportunity to share with and learn from my fellow humans. When I stand in front of an audience, there is no shame in them seeing me in my black socks and red satin top hat. Because I know that under their cotton coverings, like me, they are but skin and soul.
I want to dance naked by the light of a full blue moon
at the witching hour when cauldrons boil red and hot
and bare breasts are swollen full with milk
for new life visiting from the old world
Cries of sadness as the child exits the womb
She is back
back to this place that has forgotten itself and her
To this place that she’d left
Where witches were shunned and
full moons watched clothed
Defiled by our lost memories
Infant cries reject reincarnation
Mother’s cries tell the story of pain
and other lives that remembered blue moons
And naked dances between sisters and men
Love that knows that naked
was how we exited the womb
I’ve watched movies since I was not much more than 8 years old. I grew up on TV shows such as the Twilight Zone, Thriller, The Odd Couple, Gilligan’s Island, The Honeymooners, and a long list of horror & sci-fi films, too many to name. Horror and science fiction were what fueled my imagination and taught me many life lessons. I quickly fell in love with dystopian films that allowed me to see, with crystal clarity, the sort of worlds I hoped to avoid. Each film gave its spin on a future world where the proletariat accepted his/her oppressive lot without complaint.
During my more than 40 years of watching dystopian films, there was an understanding that lived beneath the surface of my psyche. It was a known element that I never allowed to surface until only a few days ago. There is one primary thread that runs through every dystopian film and book ever created; 95% of the people in these stories believe that their way of life was normal. They did not think they were in a dystopia.
This realization hit me like an avalanche, consuming my thoughts and filling me with unexpected fear. I wanted to disappear from this place, because I realized that what we are currently living is a dystopia. But like the characters in the films and books, we are so steeped in the culture we don’t realize that what we’ve come to accept as normal, most certainly is far from the case. Like many dystopian films, those living in it defend it, often to the death. Isn’t that our present condition? A great majority of the population defends our current way of life, or feel powerless to change things. The handful that do see the glaring issues are typically ostracized or labelled as crazy conspirators.
Essentially, we are living the dystopias we believe ourselves to be far removed from, merely because the many films and books are deceptively made to seem worse than our current conditions.
Loot at Logan’s Run, Soylent Green, V for Vendetta or Cloud Atlas. Each culture developed an ideology that the people were either forced or tricked into adhering to, often through generations of miseducation, misinformation, disinformation or simply exclusion of information critical to making an intelligent assessment of one’s own social and culture condition. Although the ideology was oppressive and socially enslaving, all but a handful could see it. The one or few who attempted to change things were treated like criminals attempting to over throw a “free” and “democratic” government, not the evident dictatorship that it was.
How could the “troublemakers” not see that Big Brother was not only legitimate, but needed by the people? The people protected Big Brother. Big Brother kept peace and order, evidenced by the lack of war on their doorsteps. Life was orderly. Systematic. War was made in other lands in order to maintain the demands of Big Brother. The world would be forced into submission by those in power, because only their way of seeing the world was legitimate.
Our dystopia may look different and feel different, but it is, nonetheless.
I won’t list the things about this culture I find abnormal and abhorrent given that it would take far too much time. But much of how we live is contrived and illusions we’ve created that hinder us from achieving real and effective planetary and individual growth—physical or spiritual. As a collective, as an Earth village, we are not doing well.
Look around. Think about how we live and imagine a better way. I don’t want to give in to the false notion that this way of life is normal or all there is. Normal for who? I won’t allow someone else to create or recreate my sense of normal. Too much is going on for us not to see that something is terrifyingly wrong.
Your blog is about to be recorded into an audiobook. If you could choose anyone — from your grandma to Samuel L. Jackson — to narrate your posts, who would it be?
I would want my youngest daughter to be the narrator for my posts. She’s fun loving and animated, and would bring my writing to life. She’s an excellent reader and knows how to put her whole self into anything she undertakes.
Take a line from a song that you love or connect with. Turn that line into the title of your post.
I’ve included below the lyrics to “I Hope You Dance”. This song reminds me to see the beauty in life, even amidst all the ugliness. We are here only briefly. Regardless of what we believe about our existence, we should LIVE life to the fullest and live it freely.
This week, share a photo of something vibrant. Vivid colors, a lively portrait, or perhaps a delightfully colorful landscape, if you’re in a warmer climate. Let’s wash the web with a rainbow of colors to keep the winter gloom at bay.
When I first saw this photo prompt, I was excited. Sadly, I looked around my room and saw that everything looked rather dull except for the many books that laced the room walls with various colored spines. I thought about photographing them, then I remembered my crystals and stones.
Crystals, rocks, stones, gems.
The planet is abundant with these life forms. Like many flowers, shrubs and trees, they come in thousands of vibrant colors and shades. Crystals, gems, et al, typically have more of a variety of colors than flowers. Isn’t that amazing?
This photo I share of my babies is a reminder of how vibrant our planet is. The wonder of color is not reserved for flowers alone.
I think of the weeping Buddha and what it means to me as I walk through this life. I found a small wooden one over a year ago in a small “spiritual” shop. At the time, I had no idea what it meant, but I was moved by the sadness it portrayed. I purchased it. It’s a reminder that if we don’t let go of the fight, we may one day weep for the loss of more than a single loved one.
This is the story I’d found many months ago about the weeping warrior, which is said to be one source of the weeping Buddha carving.
The Weeping Warrior
A long, long time ago there were two legendary warriors who confronted each other in numerous battles with neither getting the best over the other. Both of them wore masks which meant that they never actually saw each other’s face. After many such battles where both skilled warriors failed to best the other, one finally prevailed and the younger warrior was killed. Upon removing his opponents mask as to finally see who his worthy adversary was, the older warrior discovered he had been fighting and now killed his one and only long lost son.
Anguish and suffering tore through the older warrior like a jagged sword tearing through its victim and the man fell to the ground, the very life ripped from him, his chest heaving, he buried his face in his hands to hide the truth of what he saw as tears of dread poured from his eyes. It is said that “the weeping Buddha” is actually a wood carved statue of that tortured and grief stricken older warrior.
Peace. Let it find you in the innocent places. Even in the dark places that want for sunshine and long lost love. Let peace stretch you taut until you are soft and ready to be touched in erotic corners of being. Let it supple you into egoless submission, naked and wanting for eternity—wanting for a timeless love that remembers oceans and wetness, like tears filling seas. I am peace always seeking tomorrow’s child.
Do you have a favorite quote that you return to again and again? What is it, and why does it move you?
I don’t believe in any one thing being a favorite. I am shaped by a plethora of things, including a plethora of quotes.
Here are a few that I return to very often. I return to them because they speak truths I can relate to and have in many ways shaped my thinking and ability to be open to all possibilities housed in the grand universe/omini-verse/multi-verse.
What ever this thing is that we are living/experiencing, it is a ride that turns me inside out and draws from me thoughts and emotions that stager the imagination.
These quotes are just a small store of how I think. Maybe even why I think about things in the way that I do. These quotes have opened me, filled me and challenged me to see life from numerous angles.
“I hope the exit is joyful and I hope never to return.” ― Frida Kahlo
“The greatest fear in the world is of the opinions of others. And the moment you are unafraid of the crowd you are no longer a sheep, you become a lion. A great roar arises in your heart, the roar of freedom.” — Osho
“I honor that place in you in which the entire Universe dwells. I honor that place within you which is of love, of light, of truth and of peace. When you are in that place in you, and I am in that place in me, we are one.” — Universal Greeting
We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.
— Ancient Indian Proverb
Absence of evidence isn’t evidence of absence. — Unknown
However long the night, the dawn will break. — African Proverb
To doubt everything or to believe everything are two equally convenient solutions; both dispense with the need for thought. — Henri Poincare
“She was free in her wildness. She was a wanderess, a drop of free water. She belonged to no man and to no city.” ― Roman Payne, The Wanderess
The only way to deal with an unfree world is to become so absolutely free that your very existence is an act of rebellion. — Albert Camus
Religions are strange: they are against everything that can lead you to some truth.
Live where you fear to live.
Destroy your reputation.
Important facts may be completely ignored. Our mind has a natural tendency to reject the things that do not fit into the frame of the scientific or philosophical beliefs of our time. After all, scientists are only men. They are saturated with the prejudices of their environment and of their epoch. They willingly believe that facts that cannot be explained by current theories do not exist.
— Man The Unknown by Dr. Alexis Carrel 1935
It is never too late to give up our prejudices. No way of thinking or doing, however ancient, can be trusted without proof. — Henry David Thoreau
Read not to contradict and confute, nor to believe and take for granted, nor to find talk and discourse, but to weigh and consider. Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested; that is, some books are to be read only in parts; others to be read but not curiously, and some few to be read wholly, and with diligence and attention.”
– Francis Bacon, The Essayes or Counsels, Civill and Morall
“Every great work of art has two faces, one toward its own time and one toward the future, toward eternity.” — Daniel Barenboim
Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid. – Unknown
And as you come closer to yourself, you are coming closer to the universe. And the greatest moment in your life is when you accept the mystery of existence as it is without asking any question. You have understood one thing, that existence is mysterious and is going to remain mysterious. There is no need of any knowledge. That means you have settled with the universe as mysterious and you have settled with yourself as innocent. This is the second birth. In India we have called this state dwij, the second birth. And this is our search here. – Sat Chid Anand
Facts are not pessimistic or optimistic, sane or insane—an optimist may assert
a fact, a madman may, a pessimist may. Describing the man who uttered
the fact still leaves entirely open the correctness or incorrectness of the fact.
— Imperium by Francis Parker Yockey
Your children are not your children. They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself. They come through you but not from you. And though they are with you, they belong not to you. — The Prophet Gibran
When a man wants to murder a tiger he calls it sport; when the tiger wants to murder him he calls it ferocity. – George Bernard Shaw
Hold fast to dreams for if dreams die, life is a broken winged bird that cannot fly.
— Langston Hughes
“To live content with small means; to seek elegance rather than luxury, and refinement rather than fashion; to be worthy, not respectable, and wealthy, not rich;
to study hard, think quietly, talk gently, act frankly; to listen to stars and birds, to babes and sages, with open heart; to bear all cheerfully, do all bravely, await occasions, hurry never.
In a word, to let the spiritual, unbidden and unconscious, grow up through the common.
This is to be my symphony.”
— William Henry Channing
I will tell you one of the things we remember on our land. We remember that our grandfathers paid for it – with their lives. — Wooden Leg, Cheyenne
The more ridiculous the belief system, the higher the probability of its success.
— Wayne R. Bartz, quoted in Human Behavior magazine, 1975
“Healing begins where the wound was made.”
— Alice Walker (The Way Forward Is with a Broken Heart)
“Herein lies the tragedy of the age: not that men are poor—all men know something of poverty; not that men are wicked—who is good? Not that men are ignorant—what is truth? Nay, but that men know so little of men.”
— W.E.B. Du Bois (The Souls of Black Folk)
“We are not fighting for integration, nor are we fighting for separation. We are fighting for recognition as human beings…In fact, we are actually fighting for rights that are even greater than civil rights and that is human rights.” — Malcolm X (Black Revolution)
“Not everything that is faced can be changed; but nothing can be changed until it is faced.” — James Baldwin (As Much Truth As One Can Bear, New York Times)
“Ignorance, allied with power, is the most ferocious enemy justice can have.”
— James Baldwin (No Name in the Street)
“It does not require a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority keen to set brush fires in people’s minds.” — Samuel Adams
“You don’t need a formal conspiracy when interests converge.” — George Carlin
“Whoever is in control of the hell in your life, is your devil.” — Dr. John Henrik Clarke
Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.
– Anton Chekhov
Nothing is fact. Everything is varying degrees of likelihood. – Elue “Kevin” Palmer, Jr.
I was going to die, sooner or later, whether or not I had even spoken myself. My silences had not protected me. Your silences will not protect you…. What are the words you do not yet have? What are the tyrannies you swallow day by day and attempt to make your own, until you will sicken and die of them, still in silence? We have been socialized to respect fear more than our own need for language.
I began to ask each time: “What’s the worst that could happen to me if I tell this truth?” Unlike women in other countries, our breaking silence is unlikely to have us jailed, “disappeared” or run off the road at night. Our speaking out will irritate some people, get us called bitchy or hypersensitive and disrupt some dinner parties. And then our speaking out will permit other women to speak, until laws are changed and lives are saved and the world is altered forever.
Next time, ask: What’s the worst that will happen? Then push yourself a little further than you dare. Once you start to speak, people will yell at you. They will interrupt you, put you down and suggest it’s personal. And the world won’t end.
And the speaking will get easier and easier. And you will find you have fallen in love with your own vision, which you may never have realized you had. And you will lose some friends and lovers, and realize you don’t miss them. And new ones will find you and cherish you. And you will still flirt and paint your nails, dress up and party, because, as I think Emma Goldman said, “If I can’t dance, I don’t want to be part of your revolution.” And at last you’ll know with surpassing certainty that only one thing is more frightening than speaking your truth. And that is not speaking.”
I was going through some old writings I’ve posted on little known blogs. It’s always interesting to look at what I wrote more than a year ago. When I wrote this I was meditating on the kind of noise we don’t often discuss. Spirit noise can be just as deafening and numbing as Earthly noise. Sometimes more so.
As I read this, I am reminded of the ever present noises that we live with daily. It is so rare that we sit in silence without the noise pollution that invades our every waking and sleeping moment.
We need long moments of quiet. To sit in silence is like fasting, we cleanse or spiritual selves in the same way that we cleanse our biological selves. We clean out the spiritual poisons that accumulate over years.
Meditation can be a road to the silence we desperately need in order to cleanse.
Image artist unknown
The world is filled with spirit noise, soul noise, deep in the bottom of our cells noise. The noise keeps our soul ears from hearing what the planet is saying to us, in its whispers. It pleads to us, not to save itself, but to save us. It will survive, but will we? The soul noise, the spirit noise, the deep in the bottom of our cells noise is a constant din that reaches us way down in our dreams, loud and unprincipled, unwilling to let us hear the sounds of survival, the sounds of Mother Earth, our only real savior.
Give your newer sisters and brothers-in-WordPress one piece of advice based on your experiences blogging. If you’re a new blogger, what’s one question you’d like to ask other bloggers?
One of the major fears of some bloggers is not having an audience. Who will read what I write? That is what I belabored for many months. Then one day it occurred to me that if I write it, they will come. Yes, for those who get it, I watched Field of Dreams back in ’89 when it first came out. “If you build it, they will come” was the take away quote and idea from that film for me.
Write your heart out bloggers. Write every day if you can. Don’t worry about your audience. If you have something to say, the audience will find you. Simply say it well and with authenticity.
Sometimes I can see the inside of my skin, raw and wet with my tears. It covers the parts that keep me here, in this world—the lungs, heart, liver, spleen, kidneys, pumping, breathing, flowing, moving things that travel cyclically back to their departure point, then onward, then returned. Spinning wheels made of flesh and bone move through veins stretched taut. I flow through self, through tunnels that stop at each organ. Next stop, the unknown conducted on by the known.
I am turned inside out, spread across summer concrete under blazing white sun. I dry and shrivel watching cloudless sky, birds wait to pick at what remains. I am not carrion. Not yet.
make me a witness to the dreams that seep into our reality. what does it mean? what is real in this frantic place that upends lives and sabotages cultures waiting to be reborn into self? they’ve become the lost ones who have forgotten their way back. back. back. back to The Way. it was in a place called Then, far removed from Now and the false time we worship as though it were a god. distorted dreams pave the way through fog covered roads. make me a witness. i will be your memory.