More love shared

/ 4 October 2012

I’ve been in California, doing some work with the faculty of PSR, so I was unable to watch the debate last night. Maybe I’m glad? There seems to be such widespread disappointment around the President’s performance. But frankly, not having seen it, I’m not as upset as some of my friends. And in the meantime, there is a swelling up of love and commitment for LGBT people in this country that is truly a sign of transformation underway. I’m not idealistic, I know that this upswelling is also provoking hatred and resistance. But I remember, nearly 25 years ago, committing myself to making marriage something that our LGBT friends could enter. In some states in the nation, they already can. In some nations around the world, they already can.

We may yet lose the amendment battle here in MN, but no matter what happens in the polling booth, something is changing for the good. That change expands love and community, and that can never be for naught. So even if the President lost the debate last night, that doesn’t mean he’ll lose the election. And even if he loses the election, that doesn’t mean that we will turn back from this expansion of love.

Here are the words of Audre Lorde, one of my favorite poets, using prose for once:

The principal horror of any system which defines the good in terms of profit rather than in terms of human need, or which defines human need to exclusion of the psychic and emotional components of that need--the principal horror of such a system is that it robs our work of its erotic value, its erotic power and life appeal and fulfillment. Such a system reduces work to a travesty of necessities, a duty by which we earn bread or oblivion for ourselves and those we love. But this is tantamount to blinding a painter and then telling her to improve her work, and to enjoy the act of painting. It is not only next to impossible, it is also profoundly cruel.

. . . [O]nce we begin to feel deeply all the aspects of our lives, we begin to demand from ourselves and from our life-pursuits that they feel in accordance with that joy which we know ourselves to be capable of. Our erotic knowledge empowers us, becomes a lens through which we scrutinize all aspects of our existence, forcing us to evaluate those aspects honestly in terms of their relative meaning within our lives. . . .

During World War II, we bought sealed plastic packets of white, uncolored margarine, with a tiny, intense pellet of yellow coloring perched like a topaz just inside the clear skin of the bag. We would leave the margarine out for a while to soften, and then we would pinch the little pellet to break it inside the bag, releasing the rich yellowness into the soft pale mass of margarine. Then taking it carefully between our fingers, we would knead it gently back and forth, over and over, until the color had spread throughout the whole pound bag of margarine, thoroughly coloring it.

I find the erotic such a kernel within myself. When released from its intense and constrained pellet, it flows through and colors my life with a kind of energy that heightens and sensitizes and strengthens all my experience. </blockquote>

Here's one small example of this love expanding: