Currently, the whole world is presented to us as a mystery. As we live it nowadays, the mystery is often given to us as yet another capitalist construct. So, it is no surprise that spirituality is presented as yet another mystery that only a few have access to, that you must study to learn, or that you must participate in certain groups to begin understanding.
Yes, I start my text with my emotional rant instead of the references or peer-reviewed studies or ways to self-promote my knowledge to engage the reader and make you feel at the same time intelligent for reading me and incompetent for not knowing as much as me or not dedicating yourself to writing. If you want numbers, references, or self-promotion, read Pablo Helguera’s substack; it’s great for all of those. There is nothing wrong with any of that, by the way. Great for him, and great for me, who can read him and feel enraged enough to write the text that has been in my mind for over a week.
My first raging point is how can we not historicize but truly engage with the genocide in Palestine? Spiritual life, wellness, activism, anything, our whole realities have been engulfed in this massacre. We are spiritually engaged in it.
And then, I want to talk about spirituality and feminism. It is all here; we all know it, in our bones and blood, because WE ALL, every single human being, came from a person's womb. The pregnancy is the portal, the proof of spiritual life without any mystery. What I want to say is that there is no mystery! There are only human beings articulating themselves to claim power, making their connections and groups, making their courses to make money, and reading their tarots for money to somehow say, “I know more than you.”
How can we move away from this model? Can we look at Palestine and learn something about living in reality so we can finally learn something about ourselves? That we don’t need another tarot reading, that we don’t need another thing, another course, another book to access ourselves?
I know this rant looks like it is against other people, but really, it is about myself. About my own need to live my spirituality through my own reality. My reality now is this:
I wake up hugging my children because we sleep together on a king-size mattress on the floor. They wake up full of energy, smiling and happy, and I feel pleased because I spent the night tending to their needs, breastfeeding on demand, and hugging. My body is tired and uncomfortable, but my soul is at peace in doing everything I can to take very good care of them, especially their emotional needs, which are intangible and arguably infinite. Then I feel thankful and fearful because I remember Palestine, and I want my children to receive all the love in the world, and I want all children to receive all the love in the world, and I feel the pain that I know mothers in Palestine are feeling too. Then I know that their pain is unimaginable to me, and that causes more pain in me. And all this is spiritual and goes on and on and repeats multiple times throughout the day. And many, many layers of this reverberate into knowing that mothers who live where Israel is today also feel pain and are also confused and are also building the spiritual life that we have on earth. And I, who am not in war although being in the US, because I refuse to be complicit, no matter how much all the systems make us complicity without a choice – I, who am NOT in war, who refuse to engage in war, say to you and myself, let’s build peace now, today, in every second. Because I am an artist: I can feel the present moment. The present moment is everything we are living in, and there is no mystery in this. The present moment is NOT a privilege. It is all that we got. The spiritual might be everything; it is political, it is economical, it is material, it is, it is, it is. But it is NOT a privilege. We all live it, we all have it somehow, we all access it on our own terms all the time. The spiritual is not the last frontier of capitalism because it CAN NOT be trapped, it cannot be imprisoned, it cannot be taught. It is our experience, our being alive and being dead.
I prefer to make no sense than to make the sense that "logic" is making sense nowadays. I prefer to make no sense than to pay and ask someone else to read the cards for me. In writing about my reality, I started with my mornings. Maybe I’ll end with my nights, which also revolve around my children’s sleep:
I go to bed with them around 8 PM. We “get in position,” as Helena says it, which is Ulysses under one arm breastfeeding and Helena under the other arm, which requires stretching and opening up of my chest to accomplish. I’m uncomfortable to some degree, but I relish the darkness of the room and the softness of the pillows. We say prayers of gratitude for our day and for how much we love each other, and we ask the guardian angel to take us to a very nice place in our sleep, which Helena goes on to describe as “a place where we can poop and play.” In all these moments, I think about Palestine. I fear the feeling of being under the rubble and the trauma the children are enduring. I think about how Helena needed a bandaid on her finger for the smallest of the scrapes, and I feel the tremendous pain of the children suffering in war. Then I feel the mandate asking, “What about children in Africa and other conflicts? Don’t you suffer for them too?” And then I suffer for them too. Then, I think about the energetic field of my thoughts and its impact on my children, how they are children born through a pandemic, and how their time is plagued with this suffering. They are being raised by a mother who is experiencing all this and seeing all this. Somehow, they drift to sleep while I sing Brazilian songs mindlessly, the Portuguese words coming out of my mouth while my thoughts are in English. And then I HAVE to leave the bedroom, even though I feel so tired and really should sleep. I think about my tarot and want to take out my own cards, although I fear it because all the messages lately feel almost too direct and too much to the point.
Can our reality be more explicit than now? That’s the healing word I’ve been looking for: EXPLICIT.
The Spiritual can never be a privilege because it is absolutely explicit; if only we make a point of not refusing it, not disguising it.