Saturday, April 30

Journeying into a Lifetime

Thought a lot about him today. Wondering how much of reality is a projection and how much is actually real...

Of course its hard to know when he's away, up high somewhere…but here I am sitting on top of the hills of Providence, closer to myself now, all the while singing back with the birds and my dad, amidst a dance in this late setting sun. 

She's finding purpose in the purple and white flowers that bloom, the ones that have the courage to live in the growing green grass that will soon be mowed.
The ones that hold her goddess body while she dances to the tones of yang, then yin, then yang again. 
Somehow making sense of men. And me.
Somehow making sense of love. Of life. Of truth. 
And God. All today...

She found God today in the shape of a working class mechanic. One who holds up the Ten Commandments and speaks of wealth being consumed by the greedy. By the Trumps who demand certificates to proof ones birth. Ones sight.

But love. Oh love. Oh those red walls which I made love to. I adore you. and you. and you...
Journeying into the core of deeper truths. Ones that filter out our separations. Ones that hold our eyes in sync and you close yours and I close mine and still we somehow jive. Still, somehow you trust me to pull you, blindfolded by silk... 

Amazing this life. And yes, I am wondering less and less how to make those "he's" love me more and wondering more and more how to love myself to the core...yes, me, myself and I...more.

Yes, I used used a male pronoun there. Sometimes its still a shock to the me who defined herself for many years as queer and that it somehow meant gay. Boxed in, exactly what she was trying to break free of. But now she's more like open. Beyond distinctions and distractions is a comprehensive set of hearts. And its growing momma, its growing like truth do. Like love. Like now. Like always, and forevermore.

Wednesday, April 13

Never Again

Wondering if it takes a genocide to come together in the real and deep way the Rwandans have, are...

Bring here at Rebero has completely changed my perspective on our presence here in Rwanda. I, for the first time since being here, can see how being here is actually an act of solidarity. Before hearing these speeches I was feeling tremendous guilt and shame for carrying white skin, for being of European descent.

Yet, now I'm seeing that being here, as representatives of the international community, we are showing that we care. That yes, white Europeans got on the planes that our governments provided to come take us away as their brothers, sisters, wives, cousins were being murdered. But here we are. We're back. And thats really an important thing.

I find it extraordinary that somehow, even with this kind of history, they allow us to come here and bear witness to the post genocide reality of the murder of over 1 million of their loved ones. I find it extraordinary that they are allowing us to be here.. to open our hearts so that perhaps another genocide will not be possible. If we can truly allow this experience to enter our being, then maybe, i wonder if that is enough in response to my question "does a genocide need to happen in order to have a people, a nation, a world, come together in the way the Rwandans have?"

Rising to Meet the Sun

So much for sleep.

The images of those lime covered, partially decayed bodies visited me throughout the night. Its turned into a morning with a love for coffee the size of the unknown. Images of bodies which lay akimbo - covering the entirety of those wooden platforms in which they lay upon...filling entire rooms of entire buildings. Babies too. I can tell cause their little arms are the size of my hands. Bodies of babies in their mothers arms. A place many of us have sought refuge from the concerns of the world - only found it a place in which they would be hacked into.

There is this story of a 9 month pregnant woman that stays with me. The killers cut the baby from her precious body before hacking her to bits.

So how can one sleep when the souls of the dead visit your dreams? Your mind? Your heart?
"Mwaramutse" * takes on a whole 'nother meaning, as does the sun rise this day. I feel changed - as if nothing could soothe the utter and total horror at Murambi - a place that we all stood in the don't know and bore witness to the total human catastrophe.

Tuesday, April 12

Rainbow Body

Bodies covered in lime. Bodies recovered from deep within the earth. Deep enough to be preserved so I could see where their flesh and bones, limbs, heads and hearts had been hacked into. Bludgeoned. Shot.

White bodies, which now lay strewn about in a classroom meant for training - meant for progress. Classrooms that now instead hold a most horrifying history of our human potential.

I was 14 when it happened.

If someone had told me then about Rwanda I would have wondered where it was. If someone spoke to me of the genocide I would have been too concerned with the brown lip liner lining my lips. But now, at 30, as we make our way up this perfect red clay bumpy road, i am carrying with me the promise to never forget. Not the horror. Not the strength. Not the sky that rivals that of my most dearly beloved, New Mexico. Not the crystals or the eyes - the cries, the wails, the laughter... or the rainbows that hang over Kigali and day like today.

Saturday, April 9

Morning Musings in Kigali

Here I sit at a wooden desk, looking out through the screen at the most lovely and unfamiliar equatorial flowers in bloom.

This place feels like a pure land - something that I find to contrast quite drastically the knowing, holding of an awareness of almost a million people who were horrifically hacked up, some brutally raped, many killed.

Before coming here I had visions of such darkness - the kind that completely enshrouds a person as they intently listen for the sounds of predators as they try to fall to sleep. Yet its been quite the contrary. I feel a deep sense of welcome, even in the sound of the straw broom brushing bare earth. The colors here are glowing, brilliant - unlike anything I've ever imagined or seen - in this alone, I feel feel deep appreciation. 

I have caught myself speaking to the spirits of this land. Not an uncommon thing for me to do, but also not something I thought I'd be doing here - on this Mother of all lands...

There's an unfamiliar type of quiet here - even in the bustling throws of the city - and at night when the moon and stars show up on full display I can hear the play of the civets outside.

Leave as big as giants' palms dance under the rain. The lush landscape does not let me forget all those delicate hands and intentional minds which cultivate full of praise, this most beautiful place.

I stare in awe at the beauty before me - the smell of wet African soil - red, like the womb from which we all came. There's a taste in the air that speaks of Upholding Truth and Preserving that 17 years post genocide is held in beaming light of Amohoro (peace) Kwizera (hope) and Imbabazi (compassion). They rise up to meet the heavens as purple flags are flown. There's a reliance here that even infuses the songs of birds.

It blows me away and I'm brought to my knees in complete admiration for a nation that will lead the peoples to a world infused with peace. I can only hope my people will join...

Thursday, April 7

Commemoration of Genocide

Sobbing, wailing, bearing witness to a sense of tragedy beyond my wildest imaginings, my most terrifying nightmare.

Beyond what I could ever perceive as real, I touched into the deep sorrow in the stadium of Peace in Kigali this morning. It became real for me as I heard others scream out in terror, as if their loved ones were being slaughtered right there before their very eyes.

And that did happen...

Still some 17 years later, the pain has not escaped their bodies, and I find myself wondering where one would store the memory a genocide.

We betrayed them and walked away, flew away back to our white skinned privileged nations.
I inquire about reality in a place of genocide. I wonder how the world could stand by and watch it happen, wanting to rather debate the semantics of a word...

When I come back to my room, I find myself praying to the sprits of this land, to allow me to be here. I hear them as I awaken in the pre-light of Rwandan dawn. They have much to say and seem very kind. Happy even. Full of light, which surprised me at the time.

When I was preparing to come here I thought I would be stepping into a dark zone of terrorizing energy, naturally, I thought, seeing how many lives were viciously stolen from bodies.

But then, there's the radiant hibiscus to greet me as I walk out of the airport in Kigali. Welcoming me with sub tropical beauty.

You’d think there was water close by, like in Hawaii, but there’s not. Its land locked, which makes me question the fish I ate last night for dinner. But that’s not what I’m here to write about. I’m here to write about the resilient and beautiful people here and how open their hearts are. I’m here to write about how it feels to be in a nation, a continent of people that we in the US consider disenfranchised. I’m here to write about a resiliency that blows my mind. Cause meeting in mid air, somewhere in that stadium during the Commemoration of Genocide, was peace and truth infused with accountability and a sorrow I hope not another will ever understand. They deeply held one another and without a second guess seemed to be the only support needed.

So what does one say to the young mother with two babies strapped to her body when she asks for money, and you give her one American dollar thinking that’s worth a whole lot here, only to find out it may buy her a bottle of water, no, not even a gallon. What does one do when another young mother sees that gesture and comes up and asks for something. There has got to be more then money that I can give. There's got to me more we can do. I touch her baby and look deep into her eyes. I want to take them home, but there goes my codependent trying to fix someone again.

'Bearing Witness, what does this mean,' I ask myself as I walk back towards the car.

I wonder what a million bodies look like all together in one place…and felt tremendous shock when Genro told me there were maybe 40,000 in that stadium.

I wonder what my presence here actually accomplishes, if anything at all. That somehow I feel better when I wear that purple cloth around my wrist. That somehow that makes me not one of “them.” You know, the ones who left.

As I sit there in that stadium, I wonder what I would have done. "Of course," I think to myself with slight arrogance, "I would not have left on that April day in 1994 when the planes came to take us away." But really, just sitting there in that stadium, amongst the cries of the world, I felt flooded with terror for moments at a time. Could I have stayed and watched as humans were hacked up? As my own life was questioned? Would I have stayed and wore my white skin of privilege thru the streets to be with those who bore the legacy of colonial power? Who would have listened if I would have stayed? Who would have been here in this stadium if more didn’t leave?

I realize there is an inherent sense of guilt I've been carrying around. One that I'm working to shift into positive action, positive potential. As I sit here, I'm reminded of why I sought out Fleet...moving beyond guilt, holding my seat. But still, as I walk through these streets and drink delicious African tea I still wonder what they now think of me.

Yet, after writing this, I see that there's a rare occurrence happening here. One in which I can move about and do what I came here to do: Bear Witness to the full potential of this: the human condition

Not Knowing
Bearing Witness
Loving Action