To celebrate the release of my third solo album, I played a big concert (of course). This was in 2016. I remember the nearly sold-out crowd gathering in the swanky Portland club and me, sitting in the back stairwell behind the stage, trying desperately not to barf, trying to ground back into my shaking-with-adrenaline body.
I don’t know if you are real
and I don’t want to be fooled
anymore, letting myself be born
into beliefs that are both wrong
and profoundly harmful – two-edged
sword slicing my insides
as it tears stranger into enemy.
I feel silly in ways
I didn’t as a kid,
writing to you
this time unsure.
Like many Friends, I was a Peace Corps volunteer in my youth. The Peace Corps Act includes three goals for volunteers: do a job, introduce host country locals to a U.S. young person (usually young), and bring an awareness of the host country’s culture and history back to the U.S. Of those three goals, far and away the most difficult has been that last one.
The question of how to have a fulfilling existence during our short time on earth is especially significant in contemporary society. Many of us find that we struggle much less than our ancestors did for survival and basic necessities. We don’t have tigers chasing us, or wolves bothering us.
Two years ago, I was sitting in a circle of dancers practicing Contact Improvisation. The session started with all of us breathing together, waiting together, and listening for one of us to talk about something that connected the speaker to dance in a deep way. I was suddenly reminded of Quaker meeting for worship.