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Remembering the Preciousness and Deep Purposes of Life

Remembering the Preciousness and Deep Purposes of Life

Learning from every film this week in the Mill Valley Film Festival, the utter preciousness of each human life, and the lives of all the creatures we share this planet with. And the deeper purpose of life to cherish and protect that life.

Three poems as placeholders for that wisdom while I’m still immersed in films teaching that preciousness and deep purpose. 

If You Knew 

What if you knew you’d be the last
to touch someone?
If you were taking tickets, for example,
at the theater, tearing them,
giving back the ragged stubs,
you might take care to touch that palm,
brush your fingertips
along the life line’s crease.

When a man pulls his wheeled suitcase
too slowly through the airport, when
the car in front of me doesn’t signal,
when the clerk at the pharmacy
won’t say Thank you, I don’t remember
they’re going to die.

A friend told me she’d been with her aunt.
They’d just had lunch and the waiter,
a young gay man with plum black eyes,
joked as he served the coffee, kissed
her aunt’s powdered cheek when they left.
Then they walked half a block and her aunt
dropped dead on the sidewalk.

How close does the dragon’s spume
have to come? How wide does the crack
in heaven have to split?
What would people look like
if we could see them as they are,
soaked in honey, stung and swollen,
reckless, pinned against time?

– by Ellen Bass

The Way It Is

– Rebecca Wahtola Trommer

Over and over we break 

open, we break and 

we break and we open. 

For a while, 

we try to fix 

the vessel – as if to be broken is bad. 

As if with glue and tape 

and a steady hand we 

might bring things to perfect 

again. As if they were ever 

perfect. As if to be broken is not 

also perfect. As if to be open 

is not the path toward joy.

The vase that’s been shattered 

and cracked will never 

hold water. Eventually 

it will leak. And at some 

point, perhaps, we decide 

that we’re done with picking 

our flowers anyway, and no 

longer need a place to contain them 

We watch them grow just 

as wildflowers do – unfenced, 

unmanaged, blossoming only 

when they’re ready – and mygod, 

how beautiful they are amidst

 the mounting pile of shards. 

With this Open Time 

With this open time

You do not have to write the next bestselling novel

You do not have to get in the best shape of your life

You do not have to start that podcast

What you can do instead 

Is observe this pause

As an opportunity.

The same systems we see 

Crumbling in society

Are being called to crumble

In each of us individually.

The systems that taught us we are machines

That live to produce, 

And that we are disposable 

If we are not doing so. 

The systems that taught us that monetary gain 

Takes priority over humanity. 

The systems that create our insecurities

And then capitalize off of them.

What if we became curious with this free time, 

And had no other agenda,

Than to just experience being?

What if you created art for the sake of creating?

What if you allowed yourself to rest, and cry, and laugh,

And play and get curious about whatever arises in you?

What if our true purpose is in this space?

As if Mother Earth is saying:

“We can no longer carry on this way.

The time is now – I am reminding you who you are.

Will you remember?”

– by Emma Zeck