This is a reading of my poem, Revelation, by Dame Kim Conrad.
The written poem is below.
Few knew I was here…
Like a geological specimen in a darkened room,
Collected, transported, lumped and split
Labelled, catalogued, and placed unceremoniously in a box with others deemed ‘similar’
My journey pre-determined to end here… in some long forgotten collection,
Losing relevance and context and gathering dust.
I couldn’t even see myself in the gloom.
Then, and who knows what prompted them,
Someone came rummaging, found my rounded, amorphous form,
And wondered, perhaps, what lay beneath, hidden.
Whatever it was—some mysterious weak-signal, some barely-audible resonant vibration—must have triggered an inkling of the merest possibility … A possibility of hidden potential… it must have attracted what still remain, to me, ambiguous, androgynous, anonymous gemologists who sought a challenge and were willing to take a chance. I guess if I try hard enough I will see their faces.
They picked me up, freed me from my resting place, and dusted me off.
Slowly, mounted on a small pedestal and sensing interest in me for the first time in ages,
I became aware of my own existence, of a world beyond that dusty old box.
The first cuts were shallow, exploratory, seeking to gently find the material of which I was composed before probing to check whether gem-like qualities might still be preserved beneath this rough and tumbled exterior, this rounded pebble forged from cosmic stardust; just like all the others.
I can imagine the seekers wondering “what crystalline patterns and facets might be hidden, dormant; buried beneath these almost invisible, impervious layers of culture, religion, gender, privilege and conditioning?”
I felt the cuts, and some of them hurt – at first the pain was mostly in my head.
Nobody else in the box had mentioned this.
How could they, they had never experienced what I was going through now, or had they?
So I wasn’t ready, hadn’t braced myself, just like the many that had gone before me didn’t.
I didn’t even know from where and when the next cut might come.
I didn’t numb myself to the potential for pain, for I hadn’t expected it.
I learned to wait for the dim lights to come on, and to expect some attention,
But had no idea of why I was getting it. What did they see in me? What did they seek?
I felt myself shed layers of overburden as every cut revealed more of me,
What had been inside, hidden from view the whole time,
Well, for at least as long as I could remember.
Unseen others watched from the shadows
As these precious individuals diligently worked on me…
What if they found flaws that rendered me worthless?
What if one day they stopped coming… stopped cutting?
What if I was put back into the box…?
Some cuts hurt more than others…. Some were really deep… close to my heart.
I had to learn to trust those doing the cutting, for they could see me in ways I could not observe.
Each peering through their own lenses, they used their eyes to see my potentials.
You, with your deep knowledge who exposed my shallow ignorance – thank you
You, with your sacred feminine who exposed my sacred masculine – thank you
You, with your religious faith who exposed my ecospirituality – thank you
You with your eco-theology who affirmed my living system complexity – thank you
You, with your psychology who exposed my hidden shadows – thank you
You, with your hurt who exposed my capacity to care – thank you
Each cut revealed another surface, each another plane on which to reflect.
I discovered that those administered with blunter instruments, less surgeon-like, hurt longer; some still do… and, that anaesthetic, while dimming the pain, doesn’t, cannot, heal wounds.
I discovered that those incised with love, intention and precision healed faster,
So I started to polish them, in the order that caused me the least pain.
And, as I did, the reflections got deeper, the light brighter,
And before I knew it I was welcoming new cuts,
For I could trust that my cosmic crystallography was being revealed
By those who could see my potentials.
As the light brightened I was more able to shine light into other places;
My photography deepened, my poetry deepened, my listening deepened.
Others saw this, often deeply grateful for my mindful artefacts that captured moments of beauty or pain; showing I was there, in those moments, fully-present, paying deep attention on our behalf, to those things which we all experience, or could…
Every everlasting moment, longer than a shutter click, sensing into the waves and particles coming at me, quantum potentials increasingly sensed before they happened, and lovingly captured and rearticulated to show to others the beauty, depth, colour, life, patterns, revealing themselves, wherever you look – if you pay attention.
By responding to every cut with compassion for myself and those who cut me
My capacity to see, capture, hold, refract and reflect light has been refined.
I have invited finer cuts and purer light
And feel I have grown brighter as my rounded, amorphous form has slowly revealed more facets.
So to you
You who can see how I endured the slow erosion, my time in a box defined by others,
You who can see beneath the shrouded layers that dimmed my potentials
You who can see the deep cuts and the pain, now healing
You who can see how I turned pain into light
You who can see my many facets
You who can see how your light already shines through me
And you who can see the parts still to work on, the next cuts to make
You, with your love, who exposed my ability to love again – thank you
You bring me the purest light; which, when shone on me,
Reveals my brilliance by shining in your eyes, and through my facets with such focus
That it will reveal to others, what I have become and we are becoming,
And what we, together, can achieve, when we light each other up.
We will reveal to them that, while trapped in darkness, in their boxes,
Each with their own many unrealized potentials,
They too can become gems with many facets to illuminate the emerging whole
If they endure and learn to have compassion for those who cut and those who see them.
Thank you, for your love, for your light,
And thank you, for your transformative life-affirming presence that heals and reveals.
11 July 2019
“People think a soul mate is your perfect fit, and that’s what everyone wants. But a true soul mate is a mirror, the person who shows you everything that is holding you back, the person who brings you to your own attention so you can change your life.
A true soul mate is probably the most important person you’ll ever meet, because they tear down your walls and smack you awake. But to live with a soul mate forever? Nah. Too painful. Soul mates, they come into your life just to reveal another layer of yourself to you, and then leave.
A soul mate’s purpose is to shake you up, tear apart your ego a little bit, show you your obstacles and addictions, break your heart open so new light can get in, make you so desperate and out of control that you have to transform your life, then introduce you to your spiritual master…”
Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love
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