A Way of Being Free

A lesson in letting go.

Anyone who has ever studied the question with any seriousness, apart from their own self-interest, can tell you: it is attachment that will kill you, and once you let go of those who prey on knowing this, they will stop killing you until it is time to die.

Meanwhile, there is work to do. 

With practice, a body bent on living may eventually learn to avoid what makes them ill. The learning is hard and long, but when it comes it will be real and more lasting than any false promise could ever be, and suddenly you will know that you are finally repulsed by what you have been meaning not to care for.                     

That’s when you know the work of your atonement is done, she said, and you can be done with waiting in the name of humility, and you need not keep waiting for the next humiliation when the lesson takes.

Which is to say, I loved and lost, over and again. Who doesn’t, when a woman, bent on giving it all away? Still, there comes a time when it is clear as the first light of the sun: it is possible, in the end, to be giving and remain untaken, unfettered from the claims of those who would take all you have for their gain, especially when it is your whole life.

It is possible that the path to this understanding is the oldest story ever understood. Nevertheless, we keep needing to learn.

Here at last, live on stage! Ladies and gentlemen, the moment you’ve been waiting for in vain, the opening night of A Way of Being Free! And now, let me die by your satisfied mouths. I remove the breast while the director sleeps, and move on.



Inspired by certain projects I once believed in, and the learning that followed. And by Ben Okri.

Ends and Means

On the insistent impulse toward redemption.

Language, in its majestic tyranny, if it had its human origins around the time when Adam went around naming the creatures, might be blamed for the way that he then forgot to see them. And if the first visionary made fire, it’s hard not to wonder what moved her, in the moments when she crossed back from the word to the first spark.

A common scene: you’re on a bench somewhere and a parent is telling the child with the ice cream cone, Careful! Hold it up! when it is clearly only a matter of time. You watch the child, see the cone fall. Now everyone is paying attention. Oh well! is one response. Another is Too late now!

It is, as a matter of fact, too late for that once-perfect cone to be salvaged. And yet, show me a parent who is not at least gut-level moved to offer a reminder of the promise of salvation, by proving that even the fallen cone may be followed by another. Who, if there is enough money and ice cream to go around, does not want ––on some level–– to perform the promise in living form, to say, Here and See and It’s Okay? They might resist on principle or principled pathology, but still. Some inherited impulse to embody hope in renewal and redemption has a way of pushing. 

It is either too late or just beginning

or both