To all who have been following this thread, I think it is time that I speak in my own voice. I fictionalized my experiences because I believed I would reach a wider group of people, and because I felt I needed extra protection against the few people out there who could make my life difficult if they found out who I really am. I have thought long on it and decided that making these experiences my own, which they are, is an essential way to live by my own values. Being true to myself is much more important than saving myself from trouble that most likely will not happen. Also quite practically, the experiences I wish to tell of that follow don’t make as much sense if I had them happen to a sighted character. If people really like my character I can certainly write some interesting stories about her that did not actually happen, and because I’d be making it all up, I could make her life much more interesting.
November 21, 2013
The wind is howling tonight. I can hear the leaves scraping in frenzy several stories down beneath my bedroom window. The wind tosses an aluminum can around the courtyard. It’s dull clunk against the pavement resounds hollow, a drone against which the mournful, swirling air eerily harmonizes. The wind is an entity to be reckoned with: a feral cat stalking the sky, a fierce wolf yelping for her children, a creature all of itself born of the freedom fog which crouches, which watches, which waits. I hear it’s keening, and I silently keep vigil with That Which Watches. It is a vigil I do not remember entering into, but I am fully present with it now.
The wind mirrors the wild turbulent waves—of air or water it would be hard to guess—that spill over, overflow, break relentlessly on the threshold of body and soul, my body, my soul. I do not live in a still and placid time. And yet—and yet the tide, it has turned. It has already turned and returned and is charting a new course in turn. And though the wind gusts and forces trees to bend with it, plasters my hair against my face when I go out to relieve the dog, speaks of ghosts and the secrets of landscapes and hums with the expectant chatter of the seekers of possibility, it seems important to pause and reflect that, when the tide turned, there was not a sound.
Silence is the greatest teacher. At the heart of every person is a profound, poignant, persistent, passionate, peaceful, and present silence. It is the place to which we first and foremost belong. I have come home to that silence. But as with all things, every place of solitude and stillness contains the door through which we step to belong to everyone and everything else that is.
Yesterday I met over a hundred, you the first fianna of Éire. I looked into each of your eyes, I put my hand in your hands. You looked into my eyes and there were no uncharted spaces. From the depths of my soul, or perhaps just of soul, beyond my ken here and now, I called you. I dedicated my life to actualizing, no longer running from, the wild heart that beats so assuredly within myself.
I answered your call, I leapt to standing, to stand, and I sobbed, I sobbed in grief for what is forgotten. I sobbed in joy because much is not forgotten. I called those I know by name and all the many whose names I know not. Separation is a myth, an illusion. What is, is. I am, I am, and we are.
You walked past me in twos, and placed your hands under my own. I could feel your shadows pass me by. I knew the ones who stood arm and arm with me, and lingered longest. My hands radiated with the energy of the collisions of worlds. We heard each other, we understood each other, and the stillness, the silence, it spoke for itself. Words were unnecessary and cluttered and did not happen, and even now I struggle to find words to express how, though I am more myself than ever before, I will never, ever be the same.
I am convinced I recognized you, that I feel I know you, like my own brothers and sisters, like I will know my own children. I recognized within myself that same wise and wild, empathic and enfolding, passionate and peaceful, ferocity of being, that willingness to face and accept the dangers of growing, that we all share, if only we would dare acknowledge it is there. I shouted Is Mise Eilish Niamh, and I shouted the truth against the world, and in this world and the next I keep the principles you hold dear, for they have always been mine also.
And now I have looked up from writing, from wading through these mere mirages of meaning, words, that do not do justice to experience. Caoilte is standing here, he who so often walks between worlds.
“You already know this, but we wanted to remind you not to imitate any of us,” he says. “You must be fully who you are, yourself. This is what will serve you well, and be well with us.” (I know I really need such reminding as it is taking me a while to fully believe the truth of it, that I am enough.) Caoilte continues, “There is still hope for our future. Not as many listen now, but the song that you can share to leap it’s way into the world will be better heard in these times when the hills sing to no one. You are welcome with us.”
He says this not in audible words, but in gesture, as if he embodied the words. As if words were motions that could be danced gracefully, full of the depth that gets lost in their telling.
And I say, though it is perhaps inadequate, “Thank you.” Actually I do more than say. I make the gestures, the signs of gratitude, in the language of the other world. Motion that is almost dancing. I have watched how those of the other world turn the raw threads of a universe in which nothing is at rest into beautiful patterns imbued with meaning. I learned at least how to dance “thank you.” And so, a bit less gracefully, I embody the gratitude I wish to convey and it is more powerful than mere words could ever be.
Then I reflect for a moment and add, “You are welcome here, too, always welcome here Caoilte, son of Ronan so long ago, different and the same. You and the others are welcome to come through here on your way to wherever you are going. I know what it is like to not have a home of your own, to be a wanderer. Though you belong now to another world, your people are welcome here with you, so that you know there is a place in the manifest world which you can call home despite the when or where of it.”
I truly empathize with that displaced feeling that must come with having no permanent place to call your own. In the desert, I was like a nomad as well, and thanked the gods everyday that I finally found a place that was mine, that I landed somewhere. I am simply so excited to get on with the rest of all that will happen, to throw myself into a beginning, learn and be all I can, grow even if it’s difficult, that offering my hospitality seems like the least I can do to give back in kind… and I’d do it anyway, I know.
Caoilte shrugs. “It is yours to give and that we gratefully accept.” (Now I am unsure whether he looked amused, or took me completely at my word. I was definitely clueless about what I had just signed up for.)
Then I am alone again. Then I sit staring at the wall, listening to the wind shake the night into a restless awareness of itself, but I am somewhere else. The wind continues it’s tearing apart, but now at dusk, the new day is in it’s infancy, and I am peering out at a world that is impossible to see as torn apart. It’s a world within which I eternally and intricately belong. A world to which I know now, I have always belonged.
I think, I used to not know a thing about being grateful, not until everything that has happened these last few months. When I look within, no divisions remain. I am not just grateful, I am at peace. I am not just in unfathomable awe and wonder at how I live, literally, with, for, by, because of others. But I stand in amazement by the side of my own hearth fire, knowing it is my own self worth and acceptance that made any of this possible. Being myself, fully, utterly, unapologetically and so much much more than what I ever could be, beyond myself, more, because separation is a lie, everything is part of the pattern, the endless knot woven whole out of all that is, this is the truth against the world. The world discovers dualities, dichotomies, schisms and distinctions, categories and opposites. I not only believe or think, but know, have seen, witnessed, been present with and aware of all otherwise. It is.