Not only do we live in a living universe, but the living universe lives within us.
— Duane Elgin
photo by Margit Bantowsky
by Margit Bantowsky
Take root in your grief.
Root yourself way down, all the way down,
and further still.
All that shatters becomes soul-gold.
It's what you came here for:
to feel and know and burn
in the divine devastation.
Angels fall from Heaven to Earth
not so they can just turn around
and escape upward again,
but rather to revel in darkness and density.
So root deeper into the mud,
the fecund rot, and the cold, seeping
aquifer beneath bedrock
carrying the current of our personal
and collective evolution.
Wrestle and roll in that muddy, bloody wallow
and let yourself love
the impossibly glorious mess of it.
Let weeds cultivate chaos in your hair.
Root yourself in the shattering imperfections
and unbelievable horrors.
Let your dress become soaked with blood,
and notice the dagger in your own hand.
Nothing human is alien to you.
Take root in these humbling lessons,
let them ferment and dissolve any illusions
you might still have about superiority.
Fall to the ground, and stay down,
until mercy becomes the only word
left on your lips,
until the only commitment you can make
is to stop causing harm.
There's no escape, only rolling up your sleeves.
Only tending the wounded,
like a battlefield nurse
or a chaplain on death row.
Bear witness to the deep and wide
underbelly of humanity.
Become a sanctuary
for Truth and Reality.
Make remorse possible by
withholding judgment and offering
See yourself in each and every person
and extend to them the healing generosity
you yourself long for.
Not being afraid of the dark
allows you to serve the light.
Note 1: The first line comes from poet Alfred LaMotte
Note 2: Around 2,000 years ago the Roman-African playwright, Terence, wrote "I am human, and I think nothing human is alien to me."