Written on Friday August 11, 2017. Preamble. As a child, I loved to play in the bath tub in my home in the Dominican Republic. I have memories of drawing little soap-foam-bubble faces on the tiles, and then talking to them. The faces were the American president, and I was usually asking them questions about the “red phone” and telling them that it would not be good to press “the button”. In my child’s mind, I was conscious that the US president and the Russian president could blow the planet and create another “Hiroshima and Nagasaki” type incident with the their known aftermath of radiation, and toll on planetary life. As a sci-fi kid, I believed an event on Earth could contaminate space, and thus reach other planets. So I role played talking to the soapy-president-on-the-tiles, because I believed that he could see reason, i.e. I believed that he was capable of understanding and willing to rule from a place of understanding and clarity. As a child I believed that he (and all humans) could and would understand, if I talked to him/them, and I also believed that anyone would (after understanding) want to choose to do the right thing for humanity, for the Earth, and really, for the universe.
It’s been interesting to discover that the child-Rita is still alive in my heart. This child believes in the human potential to understand, and to choose to do what is right. However, this child-like heart is now tempered by the sadness of knowing that THAT president was a soapy-figure-on-the-tiles, and that while the countries in conflict at that time are not the same as the players in conflict today, many of the presidents in the world, our Earth, as it exists today, still have the means to blow us to pieces. The sadness is that my soapy-president-on-the-tiles listened, and would/could understand (and he wanted to), but I am not so sure about the willingness to listen of our world-leaders today, and this includes my own. Sad.
From the perspective of this child-like sci-fi heart, I feel the weight of the thoughts that say that as a humanity we have lost our ways. I have begun to remember how much I am affected by the leadership of presidents and governments from all over the world. The world has somehow seemingly gotten smaller and the fears I had as a child again weigh heavy in my mind: I see the likelihood for mass destruction increasing, and like it was when I was a child, my only tools are words, and the education/taming of my own mind-heart. I feel that I do not have much to offer, but what I have, I offer.
Talking. I started reading fantasy and watching sci-fi on TV very early. As early as age 4. I still do. And today, while at work, after receiving online news about North Korea’s threat to deploy nuclear weaponry near Guam, and of the American president’s response to that threat, I was caught in a felt-wave of fear-anger-laden thoughts that were mine and mine alone. Then I answered a phone call from one of my supervisors. We talked deeply for more than an hour about things that are at the core of how I currently feel about not having guaranteed work-hours or insurance; about how I do not feel as part of the team because I am a PRN interpreter, called and present when needed, but invisible when not. My plight of wanting to have full-time status and medical insurance seemed extremely tiny in comparison to the newfound clarity of remembering that nuclear weapons have never vanished and that as they are tested, we, humans pollute not only our own air and water, but all systems around us.
However, regardless of how tiny my plight is or isn’t in light of the potential damages done at a planetary or a grander scale, one thing seems to remain true. Today I was able to talk calmly and truthfully to my supervisor with my heart in my throat, and with tears swelling in my eyes. I spoke my mind-heart as it was at that moment, and because of this, it was genuine. I talked with her with the same truthfulness I spoke to my soapy-president-on-the-tiles when I was little. The sad-beauty of the conversation was that neither of us shut down. We both touched each other’s heart. And I feel clean, and clear. And I am grateful for that encounter, for the possibility of going beyond my fears and opening, and for that seeming-other human brave enough to do the same and open that space. I have not encountered many people in a supervisory capacity in this country with the bravery of a true friend. I pray that our friendship extends and that she has benefited from the encounter as much as I did, for this is “enlightened society at its best”. Sad truth: I crave this depth.
[Saturday August 12, 2017. Recent recognition of the darkness(es) or of things I had labeled as such and believed them to be so as a child-protecting-itself from what s/he intuitively s/he cannot handle– without again pushing it/them away nor craving it/them is/was key: This key can now be looked at with the understanding that all that it once hid is already integrated and that it all is as it should be. From the mud, the lotus.]
Communicating. The following mini-event also took place yesterday, before I read the online news about Korea and before I talked with my supervisor on the phone. In the context of being the coordinator for a project. My tendency is to deal or navigate projects by asking questions and clarifying my understanding, throughout the duration of any project. I depart from a stance of open-curiosity, which all too easily turns into anger and feeling deflated (and I see this as my problem, not anyone else’s), when I feel that my understanding of my role and my particular way of understanding said role is not respected. I have over the years trained myself to not react by sending flurries of emails or text messages. Instead, I pull back and craft what I want to say, attempting to address with as much clarity as I can muster in my writing in English. I do so because in the crafting I manage to temper or tone down what ego-monkey brain comes up with initially. I also craft the message by re-reading the communication I am reacting to, making sure that I am responding exactly to my concern which usually boils down to something like the following: I am coordinating this project. This has been established. I have already initiated the conversations that I needed to initiate with the project leads, and I have told you who plugged me into my current role, that I have done so. Ah, but you did not receive my message to you on time, so you went ahead and contacted the leads to ask the same questions. Why did you not ask me instead if I had taken the step already? So I notice the communication flurry of emails and I become confused, and truth be said, a little annoyed since I do not like confusion with my morning coffee. So I craft a response, and I send it. Your response comes back with an apology and an offer of completing part of the task that I had already told you I knew how I was going to complete, ignoring the other part of the task and the fact that I took the time to tell you. So, I go back to my own emails, not just confused but doubting myself: Did I not say this clearly? How poor was my pre-caffeine-writing-in-English this morning?
And I sense my frustration swelling, and then the SNAP into place: “No. You do not get to torture me today (talking to monkey-brain). Everything I thought I had told her is there in what I wrote. If she wants to complete that part of the task herself, so be it. All I have left to do now is thank her for her help, and further clarify that I will be completing the other part of the task.”
Looking back. Looking back is useful because if we don’t use it as attempts to reify the past, it can shed light and let us see how far we’ve come, and where we need to look next. I have recently become aware of my tendencies to hide and not play at all, or to overwhelm and dominate the games or life situations where I was afraid. These tendencies hid in the darkness of not even denial, for denial acknowledges the presence of that which is being denied. These tendencies hid instead in the darkness of submissive-little-ms.sunshine who would pretend to do what others wanted while totally withholding warmth, and human empathy/contact. Instead, this time I could feel the tendencies swelling and getting ready to lash out, and I was ok with feeling annoyance, confusion, fears, shame, all the thoughts, together with the sadness I also felt because you could not bring yourself to ask me questions directly and felt that you had to do things yourself. Oh well.
I pray that I can bring the fruit of this newfound clarity, the clarity that happens when certain things SNAP into place, and the clarity of what happens when hidden things SNAP into the open and allow themselves to be looked at, to guide me in my attempts to communicate in order to conjugate “enlightened society” as if it were a verb. I am grateful to the teachings that allow and encourage me to look at the SNAPS of this mind-heart and at what is below the cracks. And I am grateful to the people who participate or appear for the dream of this life to unfold.