Category Archives: Wisdom

TEN YEAR OLD KENYAN GIRL RECITES MY POEM

Click and it will re-orient itself properly! This is beautifully done! Brava, Mercy!

AFTERWARDS, WHAT THE MOTHER SAID

I was happy when those green birds

flew shining into my garden.

 

I thought it meant that Allah had smiled

and fate would be kind.

But the grindstone turned.

 

For my son, the struggle was all. I did not know

the meaning of his great determination

to be al shaheed al hayy, “the living martyr.”

 

The small birds clung to the line

for nearly an hour

 

before they hurled themselves to the sky

in a great shrill.

 

Now I can think only of the gore

of innocents on a shredded shirt

I’d washed the night before,

the blood on his Quran left on a bench nearby.

 

I was ashamed when asked

to claim him as my child.

 

You ask me

am I happy my son has joined the martyrs?

Do I rejoice to be the mother of a hero?

 

Who cares of heroes or martyrs

I have lost my son.

 

May those whom he murdered forgive me.

 

Inshallah, we will not meet again,

no, not even in Paradise.

 

But had I known of his plans

I would have taken a blade, sliced open my heart

and crammed him deep inside.

 

I would have seamed it tight to seal him in.

I would have never let him go.

 

Copyright Pamela Spiro Wagner 2017

Toltec Wisdom (and a Little of My Own!)

Despair on Park Bench
Despair on Park Bench

Sometimes you never know who it is that has a disabling mental “illness,” not even when they are right in front of you. Not every person who has been diagnosed with schizophrenia, for instance, looks like it or pushes a shopping cart laden with household “extranea” down the street, homeless, filthy, and laughing wildly to themselves…Not that this is so terrible either, frankly. We should all not be so quick to judge. And no, we should not judge even this notion of the homeless-shopping-cart-person as “bad” or “wrong” — not until we know the person and understand what he or she wants from life and his or her history. I am not saying that anyone should freeze to death from exposure, or suffer from hunger or from any unwanted basic deprivation, only that no one understands the life conditions of another until you talk with them and come to know that person…

Too many people make assumptions that are wrong and/or erroneous based only on what they want and are comfortable with, not on what the other person needs and wants. Believe me, I know, having been there way more often than I wish and experienced it from that “other side.” Far too many times have people claimed to be “helping me” and have only hurt me! It is not that I think they were badly intentioned, so much as that they were only thinking about how they felt or would feel. They were not being truly empathic, not giving an inch or a nanosecond to trying to think about how I, personally, did feel nor for that matter asking me what I might want or need at that moment.

I want to remind people to remember that “ASSUME makes an ASS out of U and Me..” so instead of assuming anything about another person, especially someone who has an apparent mental “illness” or someone who at any rate seems somehow “different” from the people who are familiar to you, ask them questions…Find out what they want and what makes them comfortable!

As Toltec spiritual advisor Don Miguel Ruiz tells us in THE FOUR AGREEMENTS, which is the best book of its sort I have ever read, you can and should ask any question you want to, so long as you are honestly prepared to accept the answer.

By the way, the Second Agreement, in his book, an Agreement I find so fundamentally important, is Do Not Take Anything Personally. By taking things personally — that way danger and disappointment and all distress lies. Truly this is so. People are all in their own little bubbles, taking their own lives personally and frankly, think about that! We are only on the periphery of everyone else’s thinking and living, and in a very real way they cannot ever know us as we know ourselves, they can only know us through the lens of their own lives, their own bubbles. This revelation can be freeing if you let it…

That is why we should not take anything personally — because other people are too busy doing the same thing and not seeing us as we are, but only as adjuncts to their lives and thinking. If we truly knew and accepted this, we would be free from a great deal of angst and upset. But of course this is a very difficult thing to do…to free ourselves of the notion that we are as important in others lives as we are in our own. No, they are the important actors on their own stage, we are not. We really need to get over thinking that we are prima donnas in everyone’s drama as well as our own…Is not our own life enough? I should think so. Who would want to star in more than one drama at a time?