good deeds

good deeds

A remote tribe in the southern part of Africa was discovered to employ a unique tactic for righting a wrong:

When a person acts irresponsibly or unjustly, he is placed in the center of the village, alone and unfettered. All work ceases, while every man, woman, and child in the village gathers in a large circle around the accused individual.

Then, one at a time, each person in the tribe steps in front of the accused and recalls a positive deed the person in the circle has done in his lifetime. All of his positive attributes, good deeds, strengths, and kindnesses are recited carefully and at length. This ceremony can last for several days.

At the end, the circle is broken, a joyous celebration takes place, and the person is welcomed back into the good graces of the tribe.

___
Light

slow motion

Slow motion.
Heavy foot, right left.
Trying to shrug it off.
Get over it, just do it.

Flashes of humiliation.
Debilitating truths.
Two sides, one coin.
No one is right.
Yet it feels so real.

Jump.
Get out there, get out of your head.
Do it over and over.
Fail and fail better.
I am visited by doubt.
I am visited by weight.
I am visited by the Ghost of Comparison, who rears its lion head.

It’s mane as thick as cement.
As permanent as fake truth, fake facts.
It’s a lie, right?
Come on, pull yourself out of this muck.

A rush of cold water to the face, do it.
Do it now. Do it quick.
Heal this wound by ripping the bandaid off like, Right Now.
People are dying, hurricanes are whirling, our world is in need of less self-centeredness, more generosity.

But first, slow motion.

cali teen

bless you

Red tank.
Short denim jeans.
Orange hair growing out from a collision of blonde shades.
Black socks squeezed into matching flip flops.
Old rollie. Used and reused.
Sweet, classic Cali teenager.

Thirteen? 14? 16? No more than that.

She looks nervous, diverts her eyes.
“Can I share the table with you?” I ask.
Thumb in mouth ripping at skin, she nods with eyes drawn away.
Staring off in the distance…

She looks passed the line of impatient coffee addicts, through the back wall, as if waiting to get caught.
A father? Boyfriend? Cousin? A dysfunctional mother?
No one loved me enough to stop me.
My mind goes wild with horror stories.
Too much television.

I sneeze.
She doesn’t say anything. I clock this.
A woman essay-typing 2 tables down turns, “Bless you.”
“Thank you,” I tell the woman through my nod.
Bless you, I say under my breath.
Yes you, sweet Cali teen, creating potholes in your thumbs.
Don’t you know you are blessed?

Not sure what trip you’re taking – be it bus, train or side streets.
You are blessed.
You are blessed.
Your are blessed.
Do you believe it?
Hell, do I?