Damaged Goods

Your stories need to be told
This is something I can’t deny
But I don’t want to go where they’re taking me
And I’m afraid to tell you why

Yes, I thank you for your bravery
Still I can’t escape the shame
But through forgiveness I can take another step
Yet, it still can’t dull the pain

I want to keep this to myself
After all this is your hour
God grant me the ears I need to hear
So I can listen to your power

Sacrificed at culture’s altar
I can admit they hate your voice
That’s why I don’t want that to be me too
So I try to suppress my choice

But every time I do it
It’s like something in me dies
It seems there’s no love for the middle path
When the world is choosing sides

So today I am choosing you
I can have my day tomorrow
Just know that my silence I’m speaking now
Doesn’t mean I have no sorrow

While I might not say all that I can
It doesn’t mean I’m ignoring you
Some men just don’t know how to say the words,
”I have a story too.”

© Copyright 2018 Pedro S. Silva II

 

 

The Visitation – Being a Healing Presence

In our spiritual community at First Congregational Church Boulder, UCC some of our members are reading a small book called, The Art of Being a Healing Presence. Those of us reading it, are part of a small group of people who are choosing to heed the call to embody a healing presence with community members who are open to our invitation. Over the months that we’ve been meeting, my heart has increasingly found joy in our time together encouraging each other as we discover the gift of Visitation together. I wrote the following poem to/for them to both express appreciation for their gifting of themselves and to remind them that when we are being present, every moment counts.

The Visitation
It was only for a moment
It was here and it was gone
But when they think of the Visitation
The Presence lingers on

Breaking into Time-space
Eternity in half an hour
When two or more gather here
We’ve invited in the Power

Never underestimate,
What a moment can unfold
A single earthly encounter
A lasting balm for the soul

You were called to bring the Presence.
Being is what you do.
Giving form to the Love,
That preceded me and you

© Copyright 2018 Pedro S. Silva II

Matthew 18:20
“For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them.”

Take This Life (w/ Lyrics)

(When you shine your Light it isn’t just for you.
It’s for everybody else that’s been watching what you do.)

Take this life
Make it right
Take this life
Make it Light
To see…

You ever had those thoughts that wouldn’t go away?
They’re runnin’ though your mind like every single day.
Wake up in the mornin’
Get on your knees and pray
Don’t believe it works
But you do it anyway
That’s what it’s like when you feelin’ hopeless
Lookin’ at your life and it’s got no focus
You say, “It gets better.”
Swear to God you know this
But you caught up in the mix
Don’t where your flow is
This is the way of the American dream
We think we see clearly
But it isn’t what it seems
Addicted to consumption
So we livin’ like we fiends
Only find meaning
When we get a bunch of things
Sooo…

Take this life
Make it right
Take this life
Make it Light
To see…

You know the Way
That’s what they say
That’s why I pray
To shine like the Day
Sooo…

Take this life
Make it right
Take this life
Make it Light
To see…

Here’s a little something
I’m getting off my chest
It’s been a long time
Since last I confessed
I denied you
Thinking I’d get the rest
But life without you
Is a life that’s a mess

The best of me
Is messin’ with the rest of me
It’s testin’ me
At least until I get to see
I’m blessed to be
Livin’ with you next to me
‘Cause life within you
Is but ecstasy
You see

They say you know the Way
I’m inclined to believe it
Though never in my life
Have I seen one to achieve it
You told us how to do it
I’ll be shocked
If we gon’ heed it
Then we looking all surprised
By the fact that we defeated
Soo…

Take this life
Make it right
Take this life
Make it Light
To see

You know the Way
That’s what they say
That’s why I pray
To shine like the Day
Sooo…

Take this life
Make it right
Take this life
Make it Light
To see…

When you shine your light
It isn’t just for you
It’s for everybody else
That’s been watchin’ what you do
You can talk that talk
But the walk shows what is true
Are you a hypocrite
Or the proud and the few?
That’s the kind of question
I ask myself daily
Trying to get back to my roots
As if my name was Alex Haley
You don’t like my style
But never will you play me
‘Cause I’m gon’ shine my light
Till the day that they take me

You say I know the way
‘Cause if you do, I’m supposed to
I’m glad you chose me
Even when I hadn’t chose you
The world is out of order
And everybody knows it
How’s a nation under you
When all you are, it opposes
If they gon’ be that Pharaoh
Then I’m gon’ be that Moses
They don’t want to see us shine
‘Cause when we do it exposes
So I’m gon’ keep speaking
Til everybody knows this
It’s when we turn to you
That we see where the flow is

You know the Way
That’s what they say
That’s why I pray
To shine like the Day
Sooo…

Take this life
Make it right
Take this life
Make it Light
To see…

Matthew 5:15
No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house.

Repairers of the Breach

There is nowhere God is not
Even in what doesn’t last
God gives all things a future
And is not shackled by the past

In our weakness strength is known
And through it we know each other
So through it we are all made One
Each a sister and a brother

So let us see our humanness
Through the eyes of the One who made it
That we might be repairers of the breach
For the world we’ve co-Created

© Copyright 2018 Pedro S. Silva II

It’s My Cross Too

I want to be of service
To pour out who I am
Without the thoughts being accepted
Or that people will understand

I don’t want to shift based on opinion
Just to move when I’m in Truth
And be willing to fail if that’s what’s real
And need no signs or proof

I want to follow Jesus
Even if it takes me to the Cross
Because I know he stands in the Light of Love
Where in Truth there is no loss

I no longer want to deny Him
Just because he cannot be explained
You see he’s bigger than religion
With a love that’s not contained.

I want to live his revelation
That all of us are One
The truth he lives and dies for
Until every lie’s undone.

© Copyright 2016 Pedro S. Silva II

Who’s Your Marisa Tomei?

Who’s the best supporting actor
In the comedy that’s your life?
Cool to play the background
But steps up in times of strife?

Funny when they need to be?
Serious as your mother?
Surprising in their dimensions,
But somehow keeps it undercover?

Out the box beautiful
Even if they keep it plain?
Can take it to the next level
Without the slightest sign of strain?

Knows how to keep it humble
Even when everybody’s staring?
Knows how to take it all in
But non-attached when they are caring?

Intimately woven
In the fabric of your existence?
Tells you what they think
With a passive non-resistance?

Who is your Marisa Tomei–
The one who reads between your lines?
The best friend when you need one
Who walks away when it is time?

© Copyright 2016 Pedro S. Silva II

I know this poem might seem random, but it isn’t as random as it seems. If you want to know what inspired me to write this and name it after Marisa Tomei, you can check out this post on The Roofless Church.

Coming Out of the Dark…

The Roofless Church

Somewhere in time there is a part of me that I visit frequently.  He is in a dark room and he feels alone.  He is living a lie.  He believes that he is separate from God and from everything else in life–the consummate individual.  Even though he knows that he can get up and walk out of that room anytime he wants to, he refuses.  He refuses, because he knows that outside of that room responsibility awaits.  If he walks out of that room he has to admit that he got himself into his situation.  He has to own his pain.  If he walks out of that room he has to admit how forsaken he feels.  He has to admit how naive he is. Outside of that room is a history of being misunderstood, misjudged, and misaligned with the world.  If he walks out that door he will experience a…

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Judge

Judge

Am I jealous of your ignorance
Because I wish that I were too?
Do I call your innocence, stupidity
Because I can’t do what you can do?

Why do I judge
When I know that I don’t like it?
Is it because I know I’m you
But I have no way to fight it?

Did I create a “heaven”,
To prove that I’m better?
Is it because I think I am now,
And I just want to be forever?

Well if “God” is always right,
If I try to judge I know I’ll fail
So if I refuse to admit this
That’s what will keep me in this “hell”.

I wrote the poem above when I was on a flight from Baltimore to Orlando.  There was a family coming on the plane who had never flown before.  Out of nervousness, the mother kept apologizing for her family and confessing this fact as they loudly found their way to their seats.  They were the last people to be seated on the plane and essentially the rest of us were waiting on them.    My former wife and I were headed to the Sunshine state to spend some time at the Disney parks and go on a cruise.  I assumed that this other family was headed to Disney as well.  Needless to say their children were very excited and it only made sense.  However, despite the plane having several families on-board presumably headed to the same destination, it seemed that many people were judging this other family.

From my seat I could hear the surrounding passengers mumbling such things as, “find your seat already” and “it’s not that hard”.  Even my wife was a little bothered and probably embarrassed.  You see this family who had never flown and was having a very hard time were African-American like us. Now to some people reading this you might think that their ethnicity doesn’t matter, but you’d be wrong.  With a lot of Black people, we tend to take it personally and feel embarrassed if other Black people are doing something that draws public scrutiny.  I could go into the psychological reasons for it, but I will just make it simple and say that in a world that runs largely on first impressions and stereotypes, there is a frequent and underlying fear that what other people do will reflect back on us if we can be identified with those people.  We fear that whatever judgment someone makes about the offenders will be generally projected onto us.

I have found that this tendency is most prevalent in cultures with a dominant sense of collectivism but it happens with all people who see themselves as directly connected with others in some way such as family, teams, political party, nationality, etc.  It is the whole idea of being guilty by association.  I remember being a child and when the news announced a serious crime my family would be praying that the criminal was not Black.  Largely it was because we didn’t want to hear the bad news of another one of us being accused of a crime, but as I learned soon enough, it was also because we didn’t want whatever crime that was committed to reflect on us; further exacerbating the already existing and deliberate tendency of the larger society to view us in a negative light.  At first I couldn’t understand why my family felt that way until I noticed that if the criminal was Black, the newscasters would always state that fact, but if they were White, they would never mention it in their descriptions.

I thought about this as I watched the faces of the people on the plane.  Being the sensitive type, I allowed myself to feel as much as I could trying to get a sense of what was going on with not only the family trying to find their seat, but also with the other annoyed passengers, and my own inner person.  I tried to turn up my compassion and to think more about what the people were experiencing than my own judgments about how I thought people should be.  As I watched the family struggling to get in their seats and find a place for their carry-ons, I thought about what it might feel like to already be nervous about flying for the first time as adults not to mention having excited children tagging along.  I imagined that they probably were feeling very anxious and likely it was this anxiety that influenced their decision to wait until everyone else was on the plane before boarding.  Having never been on a plane before, they would not have known the carry-on situation and therefore did not anticipate having to try and find a place for their stuff because passengers who boarded earlier took their once empty bin.  Add to this that they were on display as all of the other seated passengers annoyingly waited for them to get their seats, and I could only imagine that this whole situation was torture for them.  Consequently, the wife was subtly pleading for compassion by constantly revealing their inexperience while the husband seemed to be pulling an Adam with a face that said, “this was all her idea.”

As for my wife and the annoyed passengers, I already mentioned part of what I felt was getting to her and some of the other Black passengers who barely looked at the family.  There were some passengers who could care less and were just settling in for the flight and then there were those who were projecting their frustration on the family as if they were doing something to them on purpose.  At first my mind wanted to make it a racial thing.  I wondered if the family was White if they would have been less annoyed.  And I think the answer for some of them would have been yes.  Is it personal? Sometimes yes, but more often it is no.  People just tend to have greater affinity for those who they seem to have more in common with.  It is like a programming.  They don’t even know they do it half the time it is so ingrained.  And then there are the people who are just people who are easily annoyed–which in the Metro-DC area is not uncommon.  There are a lot of people who live their daily lives in a rush.  Anything that seems to make getting to where they want to be take longer is subject to the wrath.  It could have easily been a snow storm and they would be angry with nature.  Everything  outside of themselves is an equal opportunity annoyer (made up word).  These stressed out people probably need a vacation more than anyone.  But it is probably likely that they if they were going to Disney, they were going to try and conquer it and ultimately leave their vacation more tired than they were when they arrived.  I’d say that they were as good of candidates as anyone for Jesus’ insight to “forgive them for they know not what they do”.  And then there leaves me.

I tend to be one of those people who is initially intolerant of intolerant people.  I judge people who judge people and condemn those who condemn others.  In reality, this is probably the worse kind of judge because those of us who have this tendency have the luxury of what people call righteous indignation.  We can convince ourselves that we have the “might of right”.  Usually we can point to religious texts like the one below to demonstrate why our point of view is the more accurate one.  Consider Matthew 7:1-6 which admonishes people for judging others.  It would be easy for me to point to this scripture when attacking someone I see of guilty of judging others unfairly.  Used incorrectly, I could do a lot of harm with this scripture.  Much like the away those who are adamantly against abortion can justify killing a doctor who performs abortions, using the “thou shalt not kill” defense, I could come to someone who is judging and say to them, “you are a no good dirty rotten judger of people and I hope that you get what is coming to you because you are just wrong because the Bible says don’t judge.”  And when I did, I am sure that I would have a lot of people supporting me who also have pent up judgments about themselves and the world around them that they are just waiting to project onto someone else so that they can get the nasty feeling of  self-condemnation off of them.  But here’s the thing.  That’s now passages like the one below are meant to work.

As the second stanza of the poem asks:

Why do I judge
When I know that I don’t like it?
Is it because I know I’m you
But I have no way to fight it?

Passages like Matthew 7 are spoken to and from a place of Oneness.  When Jesus speaks to the disciples and others about why we should not judge, he does not do so only from a position outside of us, but from a place within us as well.  He is speaking from the all encompassing reality that we all know and that we all are.  Paul touches on this awareness when he says in Romans 1:20,”For since the creation of the world His [God’s] invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse.”  While I will not unpack the full breadth of this passage right now, I will point to the obvious implication made here that all of Creation knows the fullness of its Source.  We are not separate from Source–from God and consequently from one another. Therefore, we have no excuse for living as if the opposite is true.  As the Christ, Jesus lives this reality of Wholeness eternally and speaks to us from this place.  Thus, when he makes assertions like the one you are about to read, it comes from that place.  And from this place his judgments are true, because their only intention is to remind us of who we truly are.  For as it says in 1 John 3:2, “Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.”  Now, in this Light read the passage below:

Matthew 7:1-6

7 “Judge not, that you be not judged. 2 For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. 3 And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? 4 Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? 5 Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. 6 “Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces.

This poem Judge attempts to convey the essence of this passage–that the judgments we project onto others naturally returns upon us precisely because, in Oneness, those others are in fact us.  When Christ through Jesus, advises us not to judge, it is because he knows that it is of little effect in transforming our collective consciousness.  Our judgments do not transduce the dark energy of ego resistance into the vibrant all-creative energy of realized potential as we deceive ourselves into believing it will (if you would like this sentence unpacked contact me).  Only consciousness can do this.  This is what Jesus is telling us in verse 3-5 above.  What we often find when we release judgment for consciousness is that once we remove the plank from our own eye, we will discover that there never was a speck in our brother or sister’s eye in the first place.  All we were seeing was our own projected planks out in the world.  However, if after removing the plank from our own eye, we still see a speck in another’s, our conscious Love for them will show us how it can be removed for the benefit of the All.

Rather than unpack the rest of the poem which mentions heaven and hell in the context of being the ultimate in the human struggle with judgment, I will leave you with this expression I found on the bottle of Dr. Bronner’s soap, “For we’re all One or none! Listen children, Eternal Father Eternally One!  We’re All One or none! Exceptions eternally? NONE.”  As it pertains to this poem, Heaven is acceptance God’s reality and hell is it’s denial.  When we deny God’s reality to others we deny it to ourselves.  “What we bind on earth we bind in heaven.  What we release on earth, we release in heaven.”  Such is the Way of One.

Nature and Beyond

Nature and Beyond

In every grain of sand, a world
Times three thousand more
There’s more to the natural world than eyes can see
Thus impossible to keep score

Can we count the raindrops
Or the hairs on a single head?
It’s overwhelming to imagine
So we distract ourselves instead

Have you noticed the ants at work
Or a family of deer playing?
Have you listened to the honks of geese
And wondered what they’re saying?

Most of us can’t say so
We have better things to do
When there are things to be bought and sold
Who has time for nature too?

But we are in a relationship
With everything that lives
We can’t seem to get that what we receive
Comes from that which nature gives

So when we take and take and take
Hoarding for fear of lack
We, at the same time, hurt ourselves
Putting knives in our own backs

Now only nature can save us
That’s what it’s trying to do
By revealing to us her secrets
Hoping we’ll get the clue

We know that she is infinitely vast
Yet somehow infinitely small
Jam packed full of paradox
Yet able to contain them all

She gives us room for freedom
As long as we trust her law
Love everything as we love ourselves
And we will be free from flaw

If you doubt, this ask the sparrow
Or the lilies of the field
Like everything else, they live by Nature’s Way
Will we join them in what’s real?

© Copyright 2013 Pedro S. Silva II

I really don’t get how so many of us live our lives as if we are so divorced from Nature.  It really trips me out.  And I’m not just talking about the whole global warming, pollution, and endangered species piece.  I see all of that as symptoms of the underlying disease. It goes deeper than that.  Now, I’m not going to say that I “get it”.  I don’t understand a lot about life. But one thing I do know is that I am a partaker of life.  I am not separate from any life and that which I give to life I receive from life.  We are One with all that is.  This much I know.  And I know that any contrary thought is born out of illusion.  While we try to subdue or defy nature, we do nothing more than subdue and defy our own consciousness of who we truly are as beings in relationship with everything that ever was, is, and will be.  All we have to do is pay attention.  But as it seems, we see paying attention as a threat.  When we distract ourselves from the mirror of call of Creation the consequence is never knowing who we really are.