Fabulous Friday — Not Here

BOOKSometimes a phrase or verse absolutely captivates me; it’s just that fabulous.  It gets me thinking, the wheels turning, and I must, must, must share.
This week, it’s Rumi.  From the Soul of Rumi, translated by Coleman Barks. For some reason, I can’t seem to format the title with the rest of the poem.
I’ve had worse days.
Not Here

 

There’s courage involved if you want

to become truth.  There is a broken- 

open place in a lover.  Where are

those qualities of bravery and sharp 

compassion in this group?  What’s the

use of old and frozen thought?  I want 

a howling hurt.  This is not a treasury

where gold is stored; this is for copper. 

We alchemists look for talent that

can heat up and change.  Lukewarm 

won’t do. Halfhearted holding back,

well-enough getting by?  

Not here.

This is the essence of writing, for me.  And, as I’ve recently discovered, the essence of life.

At which point do we throw off our blinders, take courage, and examine ourselves so closely that we begin recognizing the untrue?  Does it take a crisis? Some external event that deals a death blow to that paradigm we’ve trembled beneath for so long?

It’s easy, I think, to see truth when it’s full of sunshine and glitter. Not so easy to see the untruth, the parts that hide beneath the glitter, disguising themselves as mostly-true, nearly-true, once-upon-a-time true.

Where are those qualities of bravery and sharp compassion in this group?

Bravery and sharp compassion, two things required to scrape off the images we’ve been ingrained with, those nearly-true and once-upon-a-time truths that are anything but true.  If we’re lucky, they’re in our Fool’s rucksack.

What’s the use of old and frozen thought?

It’s a starting point. An exercise in facing the thoughts we don’t share that lie buried under the ones that we do share.

Old and frozen thought is the Grand Illusionist, the ventriloquist, the Wizard of Oz.  It’s the thought that, when examined closely and measured, produces an “Aha” moment when we find it lacking, no longer serving its purpose. All thought services a purpose. If we find new purpose, we find new thought. If we find new thought, it begins to serve a new purpose.

I want a howling hurt.  This is not a treasury

where gold is stored; this is for copper.

The howling hurt that, no matter how terrible it seems, can prove to be a catalyst, a seed. That fatal blow to old and frozen thought. This place, this

broken up place in a lover

is the place we hold that seed. Not gold, but copper, something that can be changed through the alchemy of transformation.

We alchemists look for talent that

can heat up and change

The fire of courage. The fire of willingness to see what really is untrue, when everyone says the speak the truth, when we’ve built our lives on that which we held to be true.  The fire of passion. The passion of courage.

Lukewarm won’t do. Halfhearted holding back,

well-enough getting by?

Getting by is something I’ve done for the majority of my life. Lukewarm living. Half-hearted honesty. Trifling courage.

Lukewarm isn’t “well-enough.”  A half-hearted life isn’t “well-enough.”

Not here, at any rate.

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