when i started this blog, i did it with this intention (as explained on the about page): “there’s so much to write about if i stop being afraid.” i didn’t just mean the grumbling about divorce as i’ve done in some of the poetry; i also meant clarity about the good things, as i’ve done here and here recently.
mostly i meant being honest about everything — even when it’s less than flattering.
for example, i’m not sure i can tell my dalai lama story without making myself look bad (petty, vindictive, etc.), but i also happen to think it makes me quite human. you see, after i left, one of the uncharacteristic things my husband did was begin quoting the dalai lama. over two decades, my husband had never shown me a spiritual, peaceful, one-with-the-universe, kindness-toward-all bone in his body. that he suddenly connected with the dalai lama became a big joke to me (especially during periods of, shall we say, spitefulness toward me).
i doubted his sincerity. thought he might be trying to score with a chick. i decided there were two possibilities: he was faking it or he hadn’t been letting me into his inner world all those years. (a best friend of mine even remarked that if he’d been all along the person he made himself out to be in the months after the separation, we wouldn’t have been separating.)
of course, there was at least one more possibility: he simply found comfort from a new source. i’d left him in an unenviable, prickly place. how could i blame him for reaching for anything he found that made sense to him? well, i did. i’m not proud of it, but over the last 10 months, i’ve been known to say, “fuck the dalai lama.”
now, no hate mail, please. i don’t mean any disrespect toward the dalai lama. in fact, of the two of us, i was far more likely to lean into something like buddhist philosophy. my off-color phrase has nothing to do with the dalai lama and everything to do with disgust with my ex. my flippant remark was my knee-jerk reaction to believing my ex was full of shit, a retaliation against something he was doing that made no sense to me. i was pissed not just on my own account, but (i thought) on behalf of the dalai lama. surely, he didn’t want his words to be misused by someone who didn’t really mean them and certainly wasn’t practicing them.
in reality, it wasn’t any of my business, of course. but i haven’t been able to let it go. in fact, recently i came up with the idea to get a book written by the dalai lama and turn it into a disturbing piece of art by beating the crap out of it or shredding it. destruction as art’s not really original, but i didn’t care. it was going to be therapeutic. it was going to say something. if he could misappropriate the dalai lama’s words, i was going to take it one step further. i was going to use the text to mock his usage.
well, the universe had something else in mind, as it often does. last weekend while at dove & hudson used books with jillypoet, i finished gathering up the poetry books i wanted, and i wandered over to the eastern philosophy section to grab the raw material for my art project — a text by the dalai lama. i grabbed the spine of the first book i saw with his name on it and pulled it off the shelf. can you guess what book it was?
are you kidding me? there’s no getting away from that message from the universe is there?
and so i conversed with it: dear dalai lama’s text on anger — on healing anger — you’re coming home with me, and you are going to make your way into a project. an art project, maybe. a poetry project, perhaps. but i’ll read you first. is that what you want? you’re going to have to get in line behind natalie goldberg’s long quiet highway, but i’ll let you skip the rest of the line. ok? now quit grinning at me. really. stop it.