The Flag We Really Need Right Now is Love

“Rainbow Flag at Oxford Pride” by Datchler is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

The Flag We Really Need Right Now is Love

By Jane Tawel

June 14, 2022

*

It is the fault in us, Horatio, and not in our star-struck eyes.

It is society, and the culture of our own bent and broken time and place,

that has informed us, tried to misshapen us, and taught us falsely

that our sexuality is our identity.

Whether I have been straight or gay or I prefer to check “neither of the above”;

when I have let people think that my sex or my ex,

or my having or not having a certain defined relationship to my gender,

is what defines me,

then I have succumbed to the ills of the age.

I have fallen prey to the false religion of our times.

*

And the religion of this place and time is

that what I Do is Who I Am.

This world will try to tell me that what I do,

in the board room or the back room or the bedroom,

IS who I am.

But “IS” is not defined by some public agency.

“IS” is the agency of being.

“IS” is a being verb.

*

And yet, being is the scariest, most active thing a person can “do”;

and yet once one decides that being who she is,

is more important than any thing she does,

then he can be the very best self they want to be.

*

“Can’t we all just get along?”

Oh, I am old enough, if not yet wise enough,

to glimpse that when I fight you, I give you more strength;

but if I giggle and guffaw at how you try to define me,

and if I but hold my pride and need for you to approve,

as lightly in my hands as Mother Teresa held the lepers,

then I defeat your ability to tell me who I am.

I don’t need to heal myself of my gender or my sex or my color or my race.

I only need to heal myself of the world’s definitions, not of who I am,

but healed of the false definitions of who the world says, I can not become.

All I need is healing to become my true self,

and that doesn’t come from out there,

but from inside of me.

*

Who I choose to love is not the truth of me.

The truth of me is that I choose.

The truth of me is that I choose to love;

choosing to love me and love you.

*

Why do we fly so many different flags?

The flag we really need right now is love.

Why do we carry so many weapons of heart ache and words?

The only weapon we should be carrying is the weapon of unfettered hope.

Why do we put our faith in the gods of definitions?

The only God we need is the One beyond all defining.

*

No, what the world has told us is not the truth.

Are we all too afraid to unmask the lies?

Or are we too used to living behind our masks

to recognize the lies we live within ourselves?

*

Surely nothing is true when it becomes the mile-marker of who I am.

World, I take your erasable markers writ on me

and I use my magic eraser of self-worth,

to clear the chalk-board of your scribbles on my soul

and then write in large letters of indelible ink:

“I Am Worthy.”

I am much greater than my color or my creed,

my gender or my sex,

my body or my intelligence.

I am not checked-off boxes on the world’s identification censuses.

I am proud to be myself,

but I don’t need your pride in me to give me my grade.

And I don’t even need my own pride in myself

because I am worth more than ego-fulfillment by anyone’s standards,

even the standards I have sucked in

from the world’s alluring but empty teats.

I won’t accept your judgement or mine.

I don’t need anyone’s a-okay.

I am great, not because of anything I do or don’t do.

I am wonderful;

because who I am

is enough.

*

No, whom I choose to love is not for anyone to judge,

except of course, for me and them.

Because they that I love will be the only ones

who hold the scales of judging any thing.

What we are all just trying to do,

no matter who we say we are, is this — 

We are all just trying to love and be loved.

*

No, who I choose to love is not about my gender or my color or my sex

or my race or my religion

or my nation or my education or my station.

But That I do love

any one,

Wholly,

Completely,

Sacrificially,

Truthfully and truly,

with all my heart, soul, and mind — 

That is all that has ever defined any of us,

ever.

And if the body, which is only a symbol and nothing more,

follows the heart in that love,

then that can not be me

if it is just my gender or my sexual self alone.

My body, my symbol,

And all symbols, whether of peace signs,

Or crosses, or raised fists, or rainbows,

All symbols merely point the way

to true and whole being.

*

No one defines me, but me.

And if God defines me too,

Then She defines me obviously not by gender, since THEY have none.

No, definitions are meant for crumbs to lead us on the way,

But they are not The Way,

For there is neither Greek nor Jew or male or female,

But all are One. Or so it is foretold.

And also, just to point out,

who we shall be, our true definitions,

are unknown by all,

even ourselves;

except, I believe (and hope) that

who we are and who we will become is known,

by that Universal Good that some call God,

and some call Awakening, and some call Woke-ness, and some call simply,

Love.

*

My body, my choice.

My I.D., my voice.

Their silence, my noise.

*

But when the world has told me that because

I am a woman, I have to be a “feminist” to get the same rights as a man;

or because I am a white man, I should be a “proud little boy”;

or because I am not heterosexual, I have to fight for my rights in only one month out of the year;

or that because I am Black or Native, my great history

should be separated from the history books because it makes imperialists uncomfortable;

Or that because I work with my hands or live in this neighborhood or talk with an accent,

that I must be “deplorable”

and not bright enough to know that something is wrong,

very, very, very wrong.

Then if this is who I am,

and who you are,

then shouldn’t we all stand up for each other and say — 

Don’t we have to say,

“There is nothing wrong in us.

There is something wrong with the systems

that set us up to use definitions against each other.”

NO! it is not some thing “wrong” in me or in you — 

It is the deep, deep wrong in the unseen and unseeing energies,

in the systems allowed to mutate the narrative,

against our wills.

It is something wrongly seen and lived in the whole set-up

of the place and the time in which we live.

But we can right it.

We can if we believe we can.

*

We must make it right, if not for ourselves, for our children,

and for the children of the birds, and fish, and trees.

Let’s right this ship,

so that our children have easier sailing,

so that there is a Mother-Ship left for them to sail;

and a planet and world in which the tides are always running in our grandchildren’s favor.

Are you in or out?

*

When the Powers that Be

try to define me,

I want to say: “No More!”

And when the Powers that Be,

try to define you,

I will say: “Enough!

I stand with her or him or them, and we have had enough.”

I want to stop fighting you, my brother and my sister.

Let’s link arms and fight what does not want us to be free together.

When the Powers that Be,

try to define me,

I want to stop fighting within my better self,

and I want to laugh at them and say:

I don’t need to show you or prove to you who I am.

I don’t need to fight the Powers for my pride.

My ego, my pride, doesn’t come from anything that I do,

or any one I do it with,

or any one I do it for.

The egos and powers of the age don’t define me.

And neither do they define my neighbor.

My neighbor and I will begin this day

to redefine ourselves

as mutually

Human.

And my only goal will be to be a better human Being,

and to let you be the best human Being you can be, too.

And now, let us become.

*

As a matter of fact, my ego trips me up and defeats me.

That’s what ego-trips do.

Just like your ego, whatever name or pronoun or adjective it goes by,

does to you.

Now don’t get me wrong,

the problem with pride, is that our world hasn’t given some folks

as much self-esteem as they have handed out freely to others.

But when did people start letting governments and nations

and religions and institutions

define us?

“I am Human! Hear me roar in numbers too big to ignore.”

If we are honest, don’t we all realize somewhere deep inside,

that only those we love and who love us can define us.

And the definition of Love is — 

Well, that’s just it, isn’t it? All the poets and saints and gurus and teachers and lovers in the entire history of the world have never been able to define Love.

But we all know real Love when we see it.

And we all know real Love when we are it.

*

Beloved children of the One Great Parent:

To be a part of the ONE, means we are One.

And that is beyond anyone’s understanding of who any one of us is.

And if I know I am One with The One, and One with all of you,

then no definitions of who we are, are ever necessary again.

We are One in Love.

*

And so, we march for pride,

and march for justice,

and march for life,

and march for rights,

And Oh Yes!

we should be, must be

marching, marching, marching,

with hearts pounding,

like the drum beats of reckoning and righteousness.

And we have always had to march.

But can not you and I also walk gently and peacefully together

in The Way –

together just as we are,

today?

Does it really matter what color I am,

Or where on the spectrum you are,

as long as we live,

and as long as we love,

we are all a part of the same Rainbow?

*

We march for justice and freedom and happiness and love for all,

Rolling down like thunder.

And we march not just for our sense of justice, but for the kind of mercy for everyone,

that we think that we ourselves deserve.

And we march not just for who we think we are,

but we march for what all humans

are meant to have been,

and still might become.

We march for what we are meant to be

with a bit less ego,

and a bit less humility,

and a bit less fear,

and a bit less anger,

and a bit less defeated-ness,

and a bit less push for success,

and a bit less power,

and a bit less powerlessness,

and a bit less pride,

and a bit less sense of worthlessness,

and with less of all that –

we could find so much more within ourselves — 

and find within us

a lot, a lot, a lot more love.

Well, you may say that I’m a dreamer.

But I’m not the only one.

I hope someday, you’ll join us.

Then the world will live as One.

*

Even our marches,

should not define us.

No, what defines each of us

is what a once powerful guy

who gave up his power for Love once said:

“If I have not love, I am like a loud, brassy gong,

Cuz without love, I am nothing.” — 

We live on a planet with lots of sounds,

full of fury but signifying nothing.

Full of fury, but too much in a hurry to be defined.

And we raise our voices or raise our fists,

not with enough self-esteem to see it isn’t about just our own team.

Without love we are all just blinding ourselves with giant planks,

while picking the splinters’ out of our neighbor’s eyes,.

And if I am blind, then I won’t see,

that I am still letting the Powers that Be,

define me.

*

Take back your power to love who you want to love.

But make sure you are truly, and truthfully,

Loving someone.

Because some of us have learned the hard way,

that we use other people

to define ourselves or get the love we need,

and that has never been

and will never be enough true meaning;

without love, no one’s identity can ever

be enough to live by.

*

So, love yourself for who you know yourself to be.

And then find as many people as you can to love as they are.

And then with those we call our enemies who seem hard to love — 

Don’t love them for who they are defining themselves as,

but love them for who you secretly define yourself as –

a beloved child of The Super Power of Great and Mighty Love.

*

Because when our bodies are gone,

and our minds are gone,

and our marches are in the dust bin of history –

Love will remain.

Not just in pride month,

not just in Black History month,

not just at Gentile or Jewish or Hindu holiday months,

not just in the U.S. of A.

or in the Ukraine or in Babylon or Rome,

not just in A.D. or B.C. or in AC/DC,

and not just in you or in me.

But Only Love will Remain.

Only honest-to-goodness-no-matter-who-you-are

Love

will remain,

Forever.

*

I offer you here,

All the pride you need –

Be proud to be

wholly and completely the love you have in your heart.

Be Love.

Be You.

All you need to know with the certainty

of place-lessness, and time-lessness,

and face-lessness, and mind-lessness,

and me-moreness and you-moreness,

all we need

this month, this year, this century, this place and time

this moment –

all you need to be whole-ly you, proud to be you, humbled to be chosen to be you,

all that is needed to know who I am and who you are –

is love.

Be You.

Be Love.

*

© Jane Tawel, June 2022

The Centered Life

dreamstime

*

The Centered Life

By Jane Tawel

March 16, 2022

*

There can be no circumference

without a center point.

And though all points surrounding,

wobble;

The Center can and does still–

and it holds

still.

*

It is we who let the unsteady legs of our small compasses,

bend and rust,

and always feel we must,

create something apart

from that which holds our hearts,

and holds the world in Her turning,

And with our childish yearning,

we twist the method roughly;

unsteadying in our haste and waste,

 our whole circled meaning,

created self, created design.

And flawing the Flawless

in our attempts to move the Center of Our Being,

we search for a freedom to scribble crooked lines

apart from the true Trued.

*

It is we who let the outside dividers

divide us.

Buckling, folding, veering,

we stretch our outer points too far.

Reaching away from the Center Point,

we find we are no longer whole.

And we have flatlined,

far from that point which Centers all.

*

Oh, Great Law of Divine Geometry!

Create in me a new center, O God.

Bring to bear upon my childish patterned ways,

the loving kindness of the

never-ending multiplying Sum of Your Infinity.

Create me anew.

Make me as pi to your Eternal Focus;

that all the small points on my life’s line,

may point inward, always to You.

*

We commit this day,

to start at just this point.

Not knowing where each circle

begins and ends,

but trusting that in God’s kingdom,

circles have no horizons, that the Center does not see.

We enclose as we are enclosed,

looping together our own small circles;

that in this great Circle of Life,

we may find the Path that

whirls and revolves

gyrates and wheels,

and orbits round and round eternally

together……All…..One……

Wholly and holy circling round and round,

in that Divine Spiral,

in and within,

the Center that does hold.

*

© Jane Tawel, March 2022

Puzzling With Purpose

“puzzle time” by Sherri Lynn Wood is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Puzzling With Purpose

By Jane Tawel

November 14, 2020

These past months as I have been reading and circling through the deep treasures in books by Victor Frankel, Abraham Joshua Herschel, Shane Claiborne, Gary Wills, A.W. Tozer, and Chief Joseph Riverwind, I have been filled with the paradoxes of longing/knowing, seeking/ remembering, learning/ yearning, and wondering/wandering. I have also felt myself taking spiritual baby-steps, and as another favorite of mine, C.S. Lewis wrote, heading a bit “further up and further in”.

My readings led me to rough-draft through a slight meditative acrostic. As the old adage goes, “writing is never finished, it is only due”; and maybe if we thought more that way about each day, each life, each person, we’d be a bit more joyful, caring, kind, and hopeful in our life’s journeys toward meaning. Aren’t writing and communication always really just today’s rough draft in expressing who I think I am, what I think the Big Themes are? Isn’t each day of life, just a bit of a second draft on yesterday, and another rough draft today, with hopes for perfection, or at least a passing grade, for tomorrow?

I enjoy word puzzles, but then I think that everything we human beings say or do or write are chock- full of puzzles — puzzles of intent, puzzles of consequences, puzzles of meaning. We are after all the species who speaks, the critters who communicate; we are the beings who are perhaps, just a little lower than the angels, but constantly fighting our own worst demons.

In general, I adhere to the wisdom that in writing, function should always come first and come first from the heart and later the head. But sometimes it is useful to start with form, and then find function in the very strictures imposed. I thought perhaps that was an especially interesting philosophy to play around with when looking at some of what we call the issues and ideas I have about “Life’s Meaning”. So, I started with the form of an acrostic to see where it led me about the function of expressing thoughts on what “it all” means, this Life. I also liked this idea since a form of acrostic is a form of poetry that was used in some of the Psalms of Judaism and the ancient Hebrews; and those are poems I have long loved, because they express still the universal human longings for meaning that all people have.

When we look for meaning, as all humans do, we are unaware of how the puzzle pieces will all fit together. We see only the edge of today, the bent pieces we messed-up yesterday, the corner of the puzzle we have almost, not quite put together, perhaps because we fear we are missing a piece. Then there is the fact that the Table holds lots of people’s puzzles and some of us are working on our own deciphering as well as the ciphers of several others’. Sometimes we try to put together the puzzle with someone else, but each person isn’t necessarily working on the same part of the puzzle, or even the same type of puzzle that we are. While I am working on this part of the jigsaw, someone I love may be working on another part, and so our communication with each other may end up frustrating or confusing us both; like someone trying to communicate with Morse Code while the other one is using JavaScript. Perhaps the greatest life mystery is how we ever manage to communicate at all in a truly meaningful way with another human being.

We are constantly in the rough draft stage of writing our own life story. But we are never meant to go it alone. We may look inwards, outwards, upwards, and beyond for hints and clues. We will have good and bad “teachers”, fans of our story, critics and foes; helpful and harmful life-story editors, sacrificial helpers, guides and mentors, promoters and beneficiaries. It is, always, however, at the end of each page, my story to write. And it must be my decision about who and what I will keep in, and what I will edit out, in order to form the great themes in my own life-story.

Every life-story is looking for meaning and each is the same as all the others, and each is completely unique and separate from anyone else’s. This is the paradoxical puzzle of You and We and I.

So back to acrostics and writing one. In all writing, we may start with form and hope function follows. Or we might embrace function and trust the form will naturally evolve. I think it more likely, though, when all is said and done, that every story, like every life, is a patchwork of form and function, not seamless, but beautiful in its complexity. Maybe when we are most in touch with our search for meaning, we ebb and flow between form and function, perpetually and poetically in motion. Like a river. Like a breeze. Like a baby being rocked in the arms of a Loving Parent. Like the whole world circling towards Tomorrow and coming back around to Now. Like a Story that will have no End.

I think it is important however an individual chooses to do it, that he chooses intentionally, purposefully, with great wells of deep hope — to work on the puzzle of his own life’s meaning. By searching for and finding my own meaning, I find The Meaning of all human quest and all human concern. In this way, my part of The Puzzle, is connected to all the parts of The Puzzle, and I am connected to all others in time and space in this great experiment God has granted us. The earth experiment that we are part of, we participate as subjects of it. At the same time, it is the experiment we humans on Earth are researching and overseeing, supervising, hypothesizing about, and reaching conclusions by which to live. We are both the supervisors and the substance of The Grand Experiment of Creating a Meaningful Life.

Find your puzzle today, whether it is a book whose themes you wrestle with to decipher; a relationship with someone you try to understand better; or a task that makes your brain sting and sing. Formulate your questions, and don’t rush the answers. Enjoy each day as a rough draft, that will only get better in tomorrow’s version. But for today be content to sit awhile with the great mysteries in the heartbeats of your very own little puzzle of a life.

And whenever possible, as The Good Parents always advise their children to do: Whenever you are puzzling out meaning? Try to use your words.

© Jane Tawel 2020

Star Trail - 1
“Star Trail – 1” by cknara is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

An Acrostic

By Jane Tawel

L ove first — The Creator and the Created.

I can, I must, I Will myself to do it.

F ollow the Leaders of Light and Servants of Hope.

E mbrace Mystery. She is Wisdom’s Helpmeet.

Pause and Punctuate the Moments.

S eek Eternal Values found outside the temporary storehouses.

M ates and moments are more precious than money.

E njoy the journey. Take one step at a time; look around at everything; look ahead with imagination; look behind with forgiveness.

A gain and Again, Time is our Current. Time is the Tide flowing backwards and forwards, until it becomes The Circle, covering over, revealing; an endless ebb and flow of the Big Questions, and the Last Mysteries.

N ice-ness in narcissism is a fool’s paradise; but Truth in Love is heaven seeking earth.

I n the care of the soul, perfect calling meets greatest need.

N othing can separate us from The Love without our permission. Grant Love permission to have the last say and the ultimate power.

G od asks only for enough faith to do Good.

S halom; and in Wholeness is Beginning and Ending.

© Jane Tawel 2020