Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Call Me by My True Names

This spoke to me because of my service as a rape advocate and for those times when I forget that the person capable of hurting another, has a context from which they come, whereby they turn their own pain outward and on to another...

Call Me by My True Names

Do not say that I'll depart tomorrow
because even today I still arrive.

Look deeply: I arrive in every second
to be a bud on a spring branch,
to be a tiny bird, with wings still fragile,
learning to sing in my new nest,
to be a caterpillar in the heart of a flower,
to be a jewel hiding itself in a stone.

I still arrive, in order to laugh and to cry,
in order to fear and to hope.
The rhythm of my heart is the birth and
death of all that are alive.

I am the mayfly metamorphosing on the surface of the river,
and I am the bird which, when spring comes, arrives in time
to eat the mayfly.

I am the frog swimming happily in the clear pond,
and I am also the grass-snake who, approaching in silence,
feeds itself on the frog.

I am the child in Uganda, all skin and bones,
my legs as thin as bamboo sticks,
and I am the arms merchant, selling deadly weapons
to Uganda.

I am the twelve-year-old girl, refugee on a small boat,
who throws herself into the ocean after being raped by a sea
and I am the pirate,
my heart not yet capable of seeing and loving.

I am a member of the politburo, with plenty of power in my
and I am the man who has to pay his "debt of blood" to, my
dying slowly in a forced labor camp.

My joy is like spring, so warm it makes flowers bloom in all
walks of life.
My pain if like a river of tears, so full it fills the four oceans.

Please call me by my true names,
so I can hear all my cries and laughs at once,
so I can see that my joy and pain are one.

Please call me by my true names,
so I can wake up,
and so the door of my heart can be left open,
the door of compassion.

Thich Nhat Hanh


yogawithaja said...

Suffering, violence and pain are a vicious is for that very reason that I have dedicated myself to this path. After my own suffering as a victim at the hands of another, I remember very clearly the day I said out loud “the buck stops here!” and I was determined to turn my experience into healing for myself and others. I couldn’t bare the thought of being another agent of suffering and violence. Thank you as always for your eloquent inspirations….



The light in you, your resilience and thriving, comes through in your words and willingness to share.

I too have found forgiveness and healing on this path, like no other offering before it, and it feels like coming home...