It’s been a little while since I last posted but I needed the sabbatical to clear my head, think.
I don’t like my posts to be too long, but I think this one will be longer than usual, as there is a lot involved and this is very important to me. Whoever reads this can glean what they want from it. I hardly know where to start and I know I haven’t covered it all. These are just my personal thoughts if you care to know them and not meant to be imposed on anyone.
From hell to nonconformity.
When I was taught Islam, I was told that if you believed any of the teachings, then they all must be true, and if you don’t believe in part of it, then you’re a nonbeliever.I don’t dress as a Muslim, I don’t participate in the rituals, I don’t fellowship with other Muslims, and I don’t foresee that I will ever go back to doing any of the aforementioned things; therefore, can I rightfully claim to be a Muslim? I think not. I thought it would be harder to admit this, but strangely, it’s not as hard as I thought.
As you may have guessed, as soon as there is an expectation of me, I am stopped dead in my tracks and I head in the other direction. Ironically, hanging out with nonconformists has its own set of rules, which becomes another type of conformity. That’s what people do, isn’t it, try to mold others in their own image?
Organized religion is a social construct meant to control the masses, but I suspect that humans have an innate sense of right and wrong or can easily figure it out with even casual observation. At young ages we realize when a wrong-doing has been inflicted upon us. We feel the pain, we know what makes us feel small, and we don’t like it. We know that to perpetrate that behavior on someone else inflicts similar pain. I’m sure some people don’t register that as wrong-doing, but most do, though whether they feel the guilt of it is another matter. Ultimately, we are responsible for our own behavior. Good and evil, night and day, right and wrong–I believe that every force has its opposite and just as we displace air as we walk along, the deeds we do cause ripples that affect us and come back to us, karma, if you will.
God and such.
My concept of God has never changed from any one phase of my life to the next. I am a firm believer in absolutes, therefore there is only one God that different religions call different things, but it’s the same entity. My concept of God is that of an omniscient Creator and a source of infinite energy from which we as humans can draw, a Lifesource, if you will. One thing about Islam that I agree with is that God, or whatever you call It, cannot be defined in terms of human attributes. The God I envision is gender neutral, and not anyone’s parent or child.
I think all of us have the ability to create, which is our purpose in life. Nurturing, teaching, cooking–whatever it is we do is part of that creative spirit that is gifted to us. Poetry is what I do and for me is a gift so precious as to be sacred. Please: This is not to say that every poem I write is beamed down on a cloud lovingly arranged on an angel’s platter, or that it is any good at all, or that I only write about nice, “Godly” things. I’m talking about the seriousness with which I take my craft, the artistic intent. My goal is to expose myself fully a la confessional poets–with Sylvia Plath being my favorite and the poster girl–and to bleed on the canvas as did artist Frida Kahlo.
Everything I write is not autobiographical, but whether the poem is short or long, I want the emotional content to be authentic, not manufactured. When I write, some poems appear on the page in one fell swoop, intact, and others require hours of labor and sometime the baby needs to spend time in the incubator. Mood, life situations, etc, all go into the process.
Poetry as religion.
I’m devoted to poetry and it’s up to me how I worship.What I like about this religion is the lack of people telling me how to conduct myself. For the first time in a long time, I’m putting myself first and making myself happy, regardless of whether my writing is good, bad, or indifferent; trust me, I am not fishing for any compliments on that front. I’ve heard it all, I’ve had my poetry minimized as not important, and in the past, I myself have pushed it to the side for other things, but not any more. I don’t let people or ideologies impose limitations or foist expectations on me. I have spent a lifetime accepting people’s idiosyncrasies and now I want people to accept mine.
During the course of the last couple of decades, though I used to binge here and there, sometimes years would go by between my writing a poem. There were times when I thought that maybe my dreams were dead. Now that I am back into what I feel I was called to do, nothing is getting in the way of that. It’s one thing when the body dies, your spirit lives on, or so I think. A broken spirit is like a lizard that grows back its severed tail. But when the spirit dies, there’s nothing left. I believe that because I’ve stared that kind of death in the face. It’s not dark, it’s empty, and if you give completely into it, there’s no coming back from that.
© Sweepy Jean and Sweepy Jean Explores the (Webby) World, 2010.