Butterflies tap dancing in belly,
As thoughts move from mind
To be read
in your mind
in your voice.
It is a story that wants to be told at this time.
It is a story about touching reality to connect deeply with personal truths.
Why does this matter?
It matters because of Newtown and Columbine and Tucson, and too many other massacres.
It matters because touching reality means finding layers of truth. By touching reality, we can change the reality we choose to create.
The possibility for change exists within what you, what I, what each of us experiences by touching reality on a visceral, perceptual, emotional, cognitive and spiritual level.
This is a story about what happened when touching reality was something I didn’t do, and what changed when I did.
So, I begin.
Twenty four years ago, I was pregnant,
Then an ultrasound revealed that one of the twins had no heart beat.
No longer alive.
Yet still inside.
Too strange to process.
The other twin – alive and well.
It is a crazy making experience to be confronted simultaneously with the sadness of a life lost, and the joy of a life in the making, all inside your own body.
In retrospect it was clear that I did not, could not, process the full breadth and depth of this experience, and I know this because…
That same week our cat died.
My brother found her lying in the street, outside our home, earlier in the day, when I was at work.
Later, he came to tell me.
“How do you know? Where is she?” I asked.
He walked to the back of his car and opened the trunk.
He pointed to a bag.
“Please open it. I want to see her,” I said.
Then, I commanded him to stop.
I couldn’t bear to look.
He shut the trunk and drove away.
I told my husband later that night when he returned from a business trip.
The next day, I became obsessed with the thought that the second twin was dead, inside me.
I could not stop that thought.
I could not stop paying attention to that thought.
I have no idea what else I did that day, if anything.
The thought kept me awake all night.
It consumed me the next day as well.
Finally, we called the doctor.
He told us to come in immediately for an ultrasound, which revealed a healthy baby with a healthy heart beat.
Until I walked outside.
And then the thought began again.
I was convinced of a reality that did not exist, except in my own mind, and no amount of data could convince me it wasn’t true. The medical term for this condition is psychosis.
The next day my husband and I saw a friend, a curandera, a native spiritual healer.
After we related the story he said,
“Touch the cat.”
Maybe we asked why, maybe not.
Later that day, we collected the cat.
We dug the grave.
We lowered her into the ground lovingly and said goodbye.
We covered her with dirt.
We cried for the cat
And we touched the sorrow of the twin, no longer alive.
Later that day we touched the quiet joy the one who is now our 23 year old son.
When we refuse to touch the reality of a thing, it will express itself somewhere else, at another time, in another place, but it will find a way to find us until it is heard.
We must touch our experience of Newtown, of Columbine, of Tucson, and of all the other massacres. We must do this so we can change a reality we have created, either actively or passively, but in both cases with complicity.
I implore you to
Listen. See. Touch. Feel.
Then do what is called for
So that never again
Will you feel this reality
This massacre of our children.
Update: Senator Yarmuth, Kentucky, who has been silent for 6 years on gun control, spoke out this morning, 12/18, on Chuck Todd’s morning news show. When asked why he is speaking out now and whether things will change, he responded “None of us wants to feel the way we are feeling now, this pain, again.”
Touching reality matters.