Outside of the travelling, or even within it, there’s a deep recognition that I’m trying my best to come to terms with what is and what ought to be. Call it justice or maybe fear for the unpredictable manifestations of karmic energy, whatever name you give it, it’s there. Movement and an oscillation from place to place dulls my critical nerve a bit in favor of openness. I find myself baring the lines of my palms, fingers outstretched, yearning to touch, to feel, to hold all of what I can. In return, I’m surprised by the logic of reciprocity that claims: whatever I touch, feel, and hold does the same to me.
Often, in the places I am curious about, the gut reaction for some is to close one’s fists in defense against the uncertain and in so doing pose to deliver a punch. What we know little about forces us to fight and before we can learn any, our tiny hearts are blackened by prejudice, fists still aching from punches we believe to have been offensive.
I have been this way about people for a while now. If you see them as I do, you begin to regard them as places on an infinite map. Each one an island, props to Donne. From where I stand, I can see far into the horizon, into each slither of land. It’s a limited view but I take it because I’m taught to believe only in what has been traditionally known.
I close my fists at the sight of certain people because of certain things they say at certain instances in time. I see only what my limited shoreline-view would like me to see.
But tonight is different. I surround myself with people whom I know can see right through me. A friend casts a look toward the direction of my likeness and I’m reminded of reciprocity again. I am who I am in part because of my friends–and what good friends they are, to be so honest and also vulnerable in my presence.
I reveal my palms slowly and understand now some Buddhist koans that had previously escaped me. Opening is not just about receiving grace, though sometimes we are hard-pressed to accept it. It is, more importantly, a reminder to give–in and of oneself. The emptying of the mortal shell through physical actions directed toward others makes room for to fill the spirit. It’s all in the giving and this is painful too.
Criticality which requires honesty is more likely to burn bridges rather than mend them. But I’m reminded of someone long gone who once taught me that being critical is not a close-fisted gesture but an open one, done out of love.
So, let’s get critical, critical.