Letter J

J- is for Jail. I recently visited the island of Alcatraz, California, an island only about 1.4 miles from San Francisco.  Alcatraz personifies many of the most disturbing aspects of life in jail. It is set apart in treacherous waters, it is a place where little was allowed to grow, surrounded by natural and architectural beauty that was denied to its inmates. In the audio tour of the island, a man recalls how prisoners could hear the merry making of New Year’s Eve celebrations at the San Francisco Yacht club. This detail seemed to be the most painful part of life behind bars.

David Whyte writes “The world was made to be free in”. The cruelty of depression is the feeling of complete isolation. No one can understand how limiting depression is for someone else. The first time that I admitted I was depressed was one of the scariest moments of my life. I remember shaking and barely able to utter the word “depressed”.  I was admitting I was in jail and I had no idea how to get out. David Whyte also speaks about articulation as a means to liberation. He says the moment you are able to describe the exact nature of your aloneness you cease feel alone. This can be an example of what some poets call the Divine Imagination. I see Divine Imagination is the understanding that we are part of ever-changing Reality that is pure Creativity, pure Genius, pure Love.    Below is a poem I wrote about freedom.

Genius Loci

In this place of deeply felt sorrow

A fire burns

Love’s beckoning song prepares the ground

And Beauty finds its way in

Here my compassion flows

Its generous source renders the mind powerless

And Beauty finds its way in

Here I am broken open

By unending waves of

Life’s white beginnings

And red edges of endings

My pain

Taking root

Pushing past where I stand

Branching through the walls of this now

To where I tend this fire

I am infinities overlapping

Destination and source aligned in Being

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