Saturday, January 21, 2012

And Let Me Be

And let me look with bright blue eyes,
on beauty's heart, on beauty's face,
and let me feel her breathing sighs,
with all of true love's style and grace

And let my heart not quicken so,
when shadows crawl across my eyes,
to darken and disgrace my sight,
with unknown fears and useless lies.

And let me be someone to trust,
who will not lie, who does not hurt:
someone who is not ruled by lust,
but loves to laugh and dance and flirt.

And let me show that I can be:
a man like no-one else or other;
a unique soul who lives for truth;
who loves the world and is its brother.

And now I know what I must do,
in life, in love, in work, in play,
and all my thanks must go to you,
for simply showing me the way.

I think that I'd like this poem to be written on my headstone when I die.

I wrote it in 1999 for someone who had a surprisingly strong attraction to. She really didn't reciprocate,  and even then, I found a powerful emotional driving feeling at my core in the small hopeful act of falling head-over-heels for someone. Although I was seeking a deeper emotional connection when there simply wasn't one there to have, the poem was a wonderful end-product of this process.

I took a 'transformational life-training' course at a company called Landmark Education in 2001, which had a really profound and beneficial effect on me. This course was all about personal discovery, self-realization, breakthroughs and re-charting the course of my life. It consisted of about 200 people and was lead by a remarkable Australian woman call Cathy Elliot, who must have lead this course to literally hundreds of thousands of people over the course of her career and I was determined to make sure that she remembered us, the people from our course, out of all the hundreds of courses she's participated in.

So, I wrote out this poem in a frame, and read it to her in front of the entire room full of people on the last night of the course. I then asked every single person to sign their name around the border of the frame to represent how the sentiment in the poem was true for everyone else as well. It was just a wonderful night and I filed it away as just one of those fantastic moments for posterity.

About 3 or 4 months later, Cathy sent me a small note of acknowledgment for this: the postcard shown below. This was really a small gesture, but is certainly a token that brings me a remarkable amount of pleasure and satisfaction to see.

And now, as I sit, reflecting on my current experience, amid my failings, the seemingly impossible challenges I face, and the unquenchable thirst for suffering exhibited by my shadows and my fears, I think of this poem. I think of how, at its heart, these few scribbles on a page is a true expression of who I really am and of what I really stand for in myself. Perhaps, we all need such a declaration to seize on in troubled times. This is mine.  

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