Saturday, November 10, 2012

The Migrating Eyes

Consciousness—it is best understood against its opposite, unconsciousness. It is more than being awake as opposed to being in a coma, but where unconsciousness can be imaged as an ocean, in its darkness and vastness, consciousness usually is like the tip of the iceberg (i.e. 1/8 of the iceberg) in the ocean.

It usually is limited and can be with one thing at a time and requires a lot of psychic effort on one’s part, because the default mode of functioning for humans most of the time is to be unconscious, we are in our own dreams all the time and only come out of that dream from time to time to interact with the world. And this is because attainment of consciousness is an injury, an insult and no one volunteers for it. That default mode of psychic functioning is one in which we are all that matters, we are IT and we have it all, and know it all, and in that economy, it is only me, myself and I, but then consciousness which is a prize of conflict resolved, challenges our egocentric position, and conflict is inevitable when we have to interact with another human being, but when endured and apprehended is the only way that we grow.

But the good news is that once consciousness is attained in one area or with regards to an issue, it is never lost, it remains forever ‘out of the ocean’ so to say. If this is challenging for an individual to attain, one can imagine what it must be for the collective as in a society or a country!!

My grandmother used to describe consciousness or the lack of it with a metaphor of migrating eyes. For example, with regards to child rearing practices, and force feeding those babies and toddlers who would just refuse to eat, I had two of them and trust me it is tough for a mother. The mother sits on a low stool, and straddles the child across her left thigh, she traps the child's midriff under her left armpit, so the child is upside down, and almost face down between her legs, she then covers the child's nostrils with her cupped right hand, this forces the child to open his or her mouth to breathe, when the child does this, she pours in the food usually a corn meal or other liquids into the child's mouth using her cupped hand as a funnel, and the child, so she can breathe gulps this down quickly. To the child it feels like imminent death. She did practice it with me, but then she stopped with my younger cousins and when they would refuse to eat and she was frustrated, she would say, ‘when the eyes were at the level of the knees, I would have force fed you.’ In essence, she was referring to a time when there was no awareness of the dangers –physically and psychologically to force feeding a child. Quite a few children died from aspirating the food being forced into them by well-meaning mothers who didn’t want their children to starve to death, or become malnourished.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

And Then I Fed my Father’s Dog.

He had a booming laugh,

He was a very handsome man and he knew it.

He knew how to read the minds of a toddler and the kinds of play that they loved,

And he would join in with them and go on forever.

Such was my father’s love.

Symbiotic in your preschool years but freeing after your first day of school.

He loved to hold court, surrounded by his children while the gifted one of us told of folklore.

He did love his beer, as he sat bare-chested in the evening cooling air, but I hated to rub his back.

I didn’t understand him, I was a child and he towered and as such scared me.

He loved his dog Tiger to distraction, but Tiger had love for him and only him. 

I hated that he made me give to Tiger, the bone from my drumstick that I was still working on,

And in his absence, when I called to Tiger to come with me on a walk, it would give me an arrogant baleful look and return to lazying in the sun, stupid dog!!

The background noise of my childhood: my father insisting “let the boy do what he wants to do.”

The other was not happy, "make him do what I want,”

“It’s his life, let the boy do what he would do,” my father pronounced and returned to his newspaper and Tiger, watching the scene, would cozy up to his legs.

Such was my father’s love.  It didn’t take the stance of conquering the world and laying it at my feet.  He left the conquering of the world to me and my soul’s dictates.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Kehinde's Israel

I will begin this blog with a disclaimer:  This is NOT a political commentary on the State of Israel by any means.

Sea of Galilee
Israel is a very beautiful country and this is one thing that I never heard said about Israel until after my trip when I stumbled on a page “Israel is Beautiful” on Facebook.  But like someone responded, “Is it any more beautiful than the rest of the middle east or the whole of the Mediterranean coast for that matter?” and another response was ‘my mother in law visited there a few years ago and she didn’t think it was all that.” Well, for many years now, I have learnt not to listen to just the words being spoken but to understand what is doing the speaking. And in these situations what was speaking didn’t take anything away from me about the beauty of Israel.

My son said to his sister, “Mom is Jewish now, she came back from Israel and now decorates the house with mezuzah and menorah,” he left the other half out and that is “Mom is probably Arabic too because there are also hamsa by the doors to keep away the evil eye, figurines of a camel and Aladdin lamp on the mantel and a Bedouin Arab quilt hanging on the wall, not to speak of lots of Arabic jewelry and scarves bought from the souks in Jerusalem.”

A few weeks after I returned from my one week trip to Israel, I had this dream:

I am driving by in a landscape that is unmistakably Michigan and I saw a big road sign pointing to Migdal, so I followed the road and I arrived at Migdal, and it isn’t just a namesake of the Migdal—the birth place of Mary Magdalene that is in the Galilee area in Israel, but it is the very Migdal that is in Israel that is now in Michigan in the USA, and in the manners of dreams, it was conveyed to me that the USA has stolen this real Migdal from Israel. I was furiously indignant, and had a lot of un-publishable words to say about it in my dream. On waking, the meanings of the dream are totally personal to me, and my psychology.  And Migdal was returned to her rightful place in Israel.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

I Dreamt of Many Children

What treasures are you bringing to me? I asked of them.
For that is the meaning of children in a dream.
They are never still, busy, running, climbing,
jumping, skipping, pushing, touching, breathing,
hugging, crying, laughing, and through it all,
wide-eyed with expectations.
Expectations and Anticipations.
For they believe, 
that I have it in me.
They want me to bring them to life.
Bring them to life?
What a huge responsibility!

“But you can do it.” their anticipating gaze pulled at me.

“But you are so many.” I cringed away from my destiny.

“Yes, we are.” They chorused in giggles.

“And there are many more of us. There are zillions of us where we came from, and if you bring us to life, many more will come, and they will keep coming and coming and coming and coming . . .”

I am the wide-eyed one now,
not in expectation but in terror.
I had wondered before in my waking mind
‘what would it be like to have 365 children,
One for each day of the year?’
Terror! Abdication!
But they could read my thoughts.

“No silly,” they giggled again, as they jumped, skipped, hugged and kissed,
And yet some were in the tree that I didn’t see before.

“You will stay and embrace us, and we, we will take care of you.
All you have to do is hug us and listen to us.”

“That is all?” Skepticism!

“Yes, silly,” they chorused again, and they were touching me, breathing on me, shoving me, pulling me, jumping on my knees….