Being the self as divine and of service to others has been on my mind since recording this poem. I'm told, being of service is hard wired into being a fulfilled adult human being. I believe that it is true, and we grow into this. It is obvious that there is a kind of peace in helping others that is an amazing medicine of connectedness, involvement and mercy. You would be hard pressed finding this standard service circuitry in me, however. I have been released as not a good fit in one way or another from every traditional "service oriented" placement that I tried over the course of my life. Upon reflecting on this, I think I might not have defined service and sacrifice very well as I'm inclined to ask now, "How does one vote in favor of oneself to serve many?" And further: Is outside validation really important?
As a woman I am, by default, cast in the shadow of the expectation of sacrifice of the self for the good of others and in the cross hairs (mostly because of my age) of setting an example in this regard. It has been difficult to wrestle a sense of self-hood without shame within this construct - one that has been dictated, of course, for millennia by male need. When I am asked what I want to do for my community and how do I want to "give back" and to belong, I immediately recoil from the suggestion and respond with an impotent "I don't know" but to be honest, I'm feeling within me a strong adolescent, "hell NO to belonging!" Still, this is not actually true because I am very aware of my many privileges, and I do want to share with others. I just don't want to share in ways that have been traditionally expected of me.
I recently came to wonder again about the word belonging as I wrote about my thoughts on this in my book and I found that I may have conflated this word with a deeper feeling within myself called "longing". Once I eventually reached adulthood, I never really bought into the idea of finding anything of personal value in seeking it through others. I sought stability through work, granted, but backed off people. I value other people and connecting but I don't seek attachment to them in the conventional sense. There were times in my life that I would forget this, and it usually happened as an act of insecurity in the wake of a sense of failing at something. What I DO relate to is my longing to connect with an elemental source, passion and creativity and this seems to be centered within myself and what I perceive within others. I have a deep longing to feel what it is to be a fully conscious human and present. I'm not alone in this, obviously, but my inclination is that doing this while trying to belong to a work situation or be in a traditional partnership is a fool's errand for me.
The voting that this poem references tends to imply to me a validation by others and while I can see value in that, I'm not keen on waiting on others to invest in anything that I do. Even Hafiz. This is a slippery slope for me because an old form of myself wants to judge me for being not enough in some way, narcissistic, self-indulgent, not ambitious - even lazy and creepy, etc. I'm resisting that slide because I really do believe that I am enough. My life is quite lovely to me and provides unique opportunity, frankly. I have no trek with the concept of being god or sourcing my own reality and answering to all of my choices and the consequences of my actions but I do not want to be forced to look outside myself for approval and be involved in judging or be judged. That said, as an American I have not missed an opportunity to vote in an election for decades. When I vote, I'm simply sharing an opinion and consenting to be counted in favoring an issue or person. I do jury duty out of respect for the system I was born into, and I have a sense that there is a kind of justice at work in the rather fragmented, inefficient system. I am not confused or stressed about this type of social service.
Validation and adjudication is a heated issue for me, obviously. It has been all of my life. I have Chiron in the middle of my first house of identity in Capricorn and it is retrograde. This translates as: I, in this life, need to find a new and unique way to identify, to be in the world, and use my skills. My identity is wrapped up in the issues of self-worth, choice, stability and accepting consequence for my actions. I have been threatened, coerced and seduced into compliance to keep these issues front and center in my life. In reaction I have done plenty dirty right back as I reacted to events and tried to work things out. At 70, there is no more acting out. I live only from what I deem is best from within my life experience. I trust my knowledge in my healing in that regard and forfeit the comfort of consensus to find a different way, whether it means anything to anyone else or not.
I have digressed wildly from Hafiz' intent in this poem, surely. I guess when it comes to this poem and Hafiz' nomination, my soul is still being groomed for any elect-ability. He is making a case for people to step into their divine nature. I can certainly agree to all of this service that Hafiz implies as worthy in this poem but with any luck, a vote for or against me by my ego, Hafiz, or anyone else, will not matter.
Thank you for listening.
Music: I sometimes think I have had too many lifetimes as a soldier and a victim of war to allow being told even one more thing to do in an incontestable manner. This song flew up as I was writing this post. Credence Clearwater Revival 's, It Ain't Me reflects clearly the defiance I feel about service and belonging; as does my second choice in music for this, Leslie Gore singing You Don't Own Me. I feel as though I've logged a few experiences in both of these topics and on both sides over many lifetimes in all colors and both genders. Collectively, as human beings, I believe we need to recognize that it is time to evolve and be DONE with this shitty revolving cycle of oppression. At least, I do.
Picture: Athenian Stone Voting Ballot Box
The Gift: Poems by Hafiz and translated by Daniel Ladinsky can be purchased here.