The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you.
Don’t go back to sleep.
You must ask for what you really want.
Don’t go back to sleep.
People are going back and forth across the doorsill
where the two worlds touch.
The door is round and open.
Don’t go back to sleep.
From Essential Rumi
translated by Coleman Barks
A friend who was getting off an antidepressant after many years told me not long ago that he felt as though he was finally “waking up.” He had not realized how asleep he’d been all those years. He was sleepwalking, he was numbed to the world, to his wife, to himself. This was protective at first, it saved his life perhaps. The struggle now though was to walk through life finally awake, feeling the pain and the hurt and not dying in the process.
The reminder to me when I read this poem and when I think of my friend’s experience is that dulling the pain has its moments but those moments have to be temporary. It cannot be the full story of me. As much as I joke to my husband and my friends that I’d rather medicate my pain- order another margarita, sneak another piece of candy, sit in my car outside the gathering of people I’m avoiding, watch reality TV- I know it only prolongs the pressure. It doesn’t dissipate anything, it just pushes it down the road. I have to want to stay awake and in the absence of that, sometimes I have to do it anyway.
Warning: political rant with no redemptive, insightful ending in sight…no call to action…no potential solution. Proceed with caution.
You can’t beat crazy. You just can’t. Crazy will make the news every single time. Crazy will trump truth and facts and all kinds of things. You can’t beat crazy.
All sides of the political reality show we call the 2012 elections do it. They look for the crazy. They look for the worst case scenario. They look for the guy who preaches hate and bile on youtube. They look for the little known fact and past girlfriends and then they advertise the hell out of it.
It’s not a new tactic. My daughter tells me that in her American History studies this year she’s run across tactics like this in elections from nearly the start of our teenager nation. We did this in the cradle; mud slinging, crazy making.
When my boys fight it makes me mental. They fight over everything.
They fight over half eaten biscuits and scraps of paper. They fight over who sits in the front seat of the car. They fight over who gets to tell me the funny story they all just heard on television. When the cacophony gets too loud I leave the room. When the cacophony follows me no matter where I go and there is no escape I send them all to timeout.
Three couches. Three boys. Three butts. No talking.
I’d like to send the candidates to time out. I’d like to send the media to time out. I know I’m not alone in my weary of the world of politics. It’s too easy to just throw my hands up with “They’re all like this! What’s the use of trying?” It’s a little too easy and a lot ineffective.
Mark Twain once said, “A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.” This, friends, is what drives that search for the crazy. The wild and weird makes the news where politics is concerned because it’s a fast runner and we like action. We’d much rather whisper about the scandal. We’d much rather hear about the wacky pastors and the KKK and the mysterious birth certificate than fiscal behaviors and civil rights voting histories. The crazy makes for good television. You know what it doesn’t make?
Yes you have it.
By now I believe we understand metaphor, yes? I will give an explanation again in case any of you happened to be absent this last 2 years…alrighty then?
To draw a metaphor is to compare two things that are unalike and create a kinship between them. They can tend to be richly visual, maybe even jarring at times. Be sure to avoid using the words “like” and “as” because to do so means you’ve just drawn a simile rather than a metaphor. yes?
Your assignment this week is to make metaphor with an eye toward politics. Be nice. I’d like to hear bi-partisan metaphors please. No mud slinging, no net casting…let us not agitate one another anymore than need be.
This is merely a writing exercise to help you broaden yourself a tad. Don’t use it as an opportunity to hate please.
I’ll start you all off here with one I spoke to my friend Carol about last night:
This election is a war-like reality tv show that I cannot escape. This has been a year of me leaving a warm darkened room and being forced out into a place filled with glaring lights and people shouting on all sides. As much as I WANT to go back into the warm, safe, dark place I cannot. I also cannot seem to talk sense into the shouting people. This is what the election has held for me. And frankly, I’m just plain sick of it all. so there.
Now your turn. Take your time, I’ll wait.