Vol 3, Issue 1: On Rebellion

As I sit down to meditate in Cambridge’s central Shopping Arcade tears well up and fall from my half closed eyes. It’s been a long time since I’ve been in my heart in recent weeks and the constancy of its welcoming softness overwhelms me.

Racing thoughts slow.  Sensations give way to energies pulsing, the breath bridges  present and past. I am sat between my best friend* (*disclaimer: one of!!), an elderly couple and a lady and her new born baby. I consider that the forces that bring us together are stronger than the ones that keep us apart. The sense of numbness that usually colours my weekend shopping experience thaws and falls away. A soft curiosity, a gentle serenity takes its place.

Grand Arcade, Cambridge photo: https://xrcambridge.org/

I drift in and out of the sounds of conversations buzzing. Fragments of sentences arrive and depart, ‘I can’t wait for the planet to die!’ one passer-by remarks.

As my regular experience of this public place peels away, memories I thought lost to time arrive.  I am transported back to the shopping centre I used to visit with my mother as a child. I encounter the warmth a daughter feels in the presence of her mother, walking in gentle companionship side-by-side. I feel the tenderness in the journey of seeking out new outfits together and making our own menageries of memory amongst crowds of frantic shoppers. I feel curious about the simple contentment of sandwiches together at our local cafe, Lucy’s Lunchbox. I think of how going out made coming home a new adventure too. Memories fall into my heart like a loving embrace, entwining with the sun’s rays as they journey down from the Arcade’s high windows. 

And then. As I become wildly absorbed by these ideas, my friend’s phone rings. Her ecstatic voice journeys through my ear canals; 

‘My sister just got engaged!’ She says. 

Through my lips I make a half smile whilst trying not to alter my posture. It is a gesture that says, ‘I’m happy for you!’  But also…

 ‘Sh.’

In a world that is rushing to pass life by, it is easy to evade what passes into us when we sit still.

There is a sense of wholeness in one’s being. There is a sense of being enough. 

Just being in a place dominated by narratives contrived to make us believe otherwise was both humbling and enlightening.

I began to feel what those of us who sit in silent protest are seeking, as well as what we are fighting against. 

It is just as important to bestow compassion on the world we are leaving behind, as well as the one we are turning towards. Rebellion is not just an act of dismantling the structures in the outer world, but dissolving those that’ve been built within us. Rebellion is an act of journeying, that takes back to the causes naturally valued before we were taught to see a certain way. If you are confused about what to seek for, what to represent, what to retaliate against and what to rebel for, rebel for all of those things. Rebel for those beside you. Your neighbours and your best friends. The people you barely know. For those dearly passed and for those after us. In a world that succeeds in selling us things by keeping us isolated and apart, rebel for your own love; rebel for your own heart.

A still, small voice

Why is it so quiet here? – I ask

In the place where water once flowed 

The banks are tired and weak.

It is because I didn’t stand up

A voice says. 

It is because I didn’t stand up to speak.

Where did they go from here? I ask,

‘What did they want for this place –

For this earth to mean?’

I’m sorry. 

The voice says. Softly now, crying, 

They had a song in their heart, 

But it went unseen

What would you tell them?

I ask the voice 

‘To turn it all back. 

To take back time.’ 

I would tell them not to walk forward

The voice says,

by letting the will of their feelings resign-

I’d tell them not to fall down forever, 

To draw purpose from their pain 

I would tell them not to wait to rise up.

Not to let power exile their souls again.

That is the only way, the voice says

to make still water eddy 

To make fallen air flow 

That is the only way

To let the green come back 

To let the dying flowers grow.

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