The language separating us is glued
to constructs of time and space.
Without them, we would tumble
into the eternal now.
And so we experience
our seeming separation,
you, a young brown-skinned Muslim man facing
silver-haired peach-skinned mystic me.
We aren’t even
supposed to transmit this way, you say,
Allah forbids it. And yet Allah also leads
us to this moment, always. I have been
setting a prayerful intention to step into
the next level of being in relationships,
and so it’s obvious I’m right
where I need to be. Reaching across
this desert landscape, the deep cultural
divide in the entrance to Healthy Thyme,
dappled light moving across our faces
from the listening trees. We are connected
even though in your faith, to deviate
and impart a spiritual lesson from male
to female is forbidden. To lessen your fear
of being overheard by management, we head
to a darker corner and try different
words. I spoke to your inspired creation
of a product I need, hand-made, sustainable,
fairly priced. You’re young. This is a valuable
contribution to the planet. My choice
of words implied that Allah was not honored
as the creator of all things. You need me
to truly understand. We are residents
of our cultures’ belief systems
brick walls suddenly visible
as we painstakingly dismantle,
one by one, our preconceptions wrapped
in our ability to language what we sense
in each other: the deep appreciation
that only arises from spiritual practice.
And though perhaps ours spring
from different galaxies, we still
meet here in the shadows:
the sage elder co-creating with the young
man whose heart’s on fire.
In many ways, you are like my grandson,
an Aries child of April, Year of the Monkey,
curious, fearless, testing boundaries.
Only when he feels heard is he able to shift.
And so it is with the two of us.
The diversity of our tongues and colors
fade as we stick with it, healing
the planet by tuning in to each other,
discarding the words that don’t land,
celebrating the glimpses of a-ha!
when we resonate. We smile our goodbyes
after your gentle reminder that Allah won’t permit
you to shake the hand I’ve proffered.
Sliding back, rattling the bars
of our cultural cages, leaving
the unlocked doors open
to the navigable now.
With a quotation selected from Ray’s Cool Prompts Lessons From Nobel Prize Winners