Constrasts and Suffering

Some of my wisest guides have been people that encourage seeing things as they are. Not running from what we don’t wish to see. Not running from what is painful. Rather, turning toward.

I have learned over the years that it takes a certain kindness and compassion to be able to turn more openly to suffering and to what appears as contrasts in our lives. Kindness and compassion with and for self. Kindness and compassion with and for others. Kindness and compassion with and for circumstance.

I have learned over the years, particularly from my more bhuddist and zen friends, to lean further into orientations of wholeness. It is true that there is suffering. It is also true that there is joy. There is a certain discipline in developing mind and heart to live with all of it.

Recently, a friend from New Zealand sent a poem, “Maybe,” that speaks to some of these contradictions. It is written by Maia who is now 27, but was locked up for murder when she was 14.

For turning toward.

Maybe chances were never chanced and life never breathed me
Maybe everyone gave up on me and the devil came and claimed me
Maybe failure was inevitable and the inevitable never failed me
Maybe love hated me and hate really loved me
Maybe family were associates and associates were my family
Maybe the dark seemed to bring me light and the light brought me under
Maybe captivity captured me and my life really eluded me
Maybe I can’t give up as that means I’m letting the system win
Maybe time and time again I fail and fail time and time again
Maybe chances were never chanced and life never breathed me

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