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Filtering by Category: Yelena Tower

On God

Yelena Tower

by Yelena Tower

We know we want to live
unmolested, but
the truth is we’re ashamed,
hiding and skulking in scat
while the world rattles by,
holding you secret down in our bellies,

something we'd seriously
rather not talk about

a disgusting agora of fear,
a hissing entrail of shame.

I can’t figure out what’s wrong.
God, help me. I am a twinge
in the setting sun.

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Put It All Down

Yelena Tower

by Yelena Tower

Put it down: the phone, the pen, the keyboard. Sit with yourself a minute.

What's missing? What are you holding onto? grasping? rejecting?

White nationalism, harassment, greed, and fear... these elements are rising. When will we have courage to speak?

Fake news pours from every faucet, and the real news hurts. It's easy to retreat. It's easy to get lost when we try to escape.

The world is changing; it's not an infinite supply; it swirls and rattles around us. We don't want to look to the realm of nightmare and open up that cellar door. No, we are right, and that rightness kills us. We scuffle back into our closets and hide from the light.

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A Fable about a Giant

Yelena Tower

by Yelena Tower

Once upon a time there was a giant. She lived in a cave and humans called her "bad." In fact, she would have ventured to say that there was no such thing as good or bad; she was a mix of both, like all of us.

She was named Evbo. Her skin was tough, halfway to leather. When she wore no clothes, human men and women became like bats, winging their way to her to draw blood and suck. They pulled her hairs and twisted her fingers; Evbo let them without fuss, knowing how strongly they were drawn, how irresistible she was. In exchange, and without their full knowledge, she took from them information about the plants and animals, fields and rivers, mountains and valleys. When she did not want her blood drawn, she wore a leather cloak made from a giant bull that swept the ground as she walked.

Evbo went off into the mountains one day, looking to be alone. She trod the mossy path, picked up boulders where they had fallen, carried them a while, and deposited them on their home soil. They nestled back into their hollows and breathed their thanks.

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And This Is the Fear

Yelena Tower

by Yelena Tower

Today I am God's. Let me be cut down, redistributed, rebuilt from the ground up.

So much of me wants to be good already. To have everything figured out, to never fail. And so I'm constantly lamenting how I mess up; I'm not perfect; I've let my expectations down. Then I'm free to hate myself, because who would love someone who's not perfect? And I feel justified in avoiding other people because (it feels) I don't deserve them.

When I'm the arbiter of my own goodness... it's more than I can take. When I act like I am deeply, fundamentally, irreparably bad... it invites abuse.

Then the hardest thing is to turn all this over to God.

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Spiritual Accounting

Yelena Tower

by Yelena Tower

My friend Linda suggested, as part of our work with the Artist's Way, that we try "Cheshbon Hanefesh" (a spiritual accounting). It involves keeping track of the number of times you do something each day. After 80 days, the Sages promise, you will be a new person.

"My friend," the text goes, "you have the power. To start this process of self-discovery, ask yourself intimate questions, then wait for answers."

  • What is the purpose of existence?

  • What is my goal in life?

  • Why did I choose my career?

  • How do I spent my spare time?

  • In what ways am I wasting time?

  • What is my motivation for doing what I do?

  • What really makes me happy?

  • What are my future plans? Why?

  • What are my secret dreams and ambitions?

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