(Rivera’s Note: Tangerine Bolen, whom I am honored to call a friend, has shared a dose of deep wisdom gained from her personal experience. A deep thinker, a torch bearer, an incredible woman, Tangerine is a soul worth savoring, in word and in person. She is also struggling with a severe illness – and a lack of medical coverage. If you are inspired by her words, help her return to health by contributing to her medical fund: https://fundly.com/team-tangerine Thank you!)
“On Love” -a guest post from Tangerine Bolen, Executive Director at Revolution Truth
It seems a lot of people are going through some measure of tumult or loss right now. Or perhaps, because I am fighting for my life, I have entered the strata where suffering is ever present, that darker river of life that runs through us all, that seeds a part of our existence here.
And because of what I see, I want to tell you that you are loved. I may not know you, but I do think about you. I picture you being held up, being in the light. I picture love and hope and faith coming to you, surrounding you, filling you up. In my worst moments, the moments I am having when death would truly be a mercy (and they are increasingly frequent) I picture every single person who is suffering being lifted up, being held by the light that runs through all of us. That light may be one that our world turns its back on, pretends doesn’t exist. But that’s not true, and we know better, no matter how afraid we are. Of course the light exists! It is here for all of us. We are made of it. We come from it. We return to it.
While pain is changing my body, my place in the world, and affecting my life force, I picture every single person who needs it finding a deeper measure of hope in the midst of humanity’s madness. I picture armor being formed – armor, made out of fierceness and love – love for all of us, for ALL life on this planet, love for our tumultuous, wild existence here, love for the possibilities ahead, no matter how dark the road we seem to be on. I picture everyone being able to be whole, to be realized. I picture coming out of these dark days of broken systems and pathological “leaders” and planning, spinning, weaving together a brighter future, a future made out of the incredible imaginations of our dreamers and our clearest pragmatists combined. I can see our systems and societies remade and fueled by what is best in us, in smart, loving, and ingenious ways.
Hold on tight to the deepest part of your heart. Do not lose your vision. Get reacquainted with lost feelings, a lost knowing that transcends every circumstance. Let go of any and all bitterness. Do not be afraid to let the wrong armor dissolve – just consider letting it dissolve quietly, lovingly, so that you do not startle the ones around you who are terrified of living without the dark armor our world insists is the only way to live – the armor that makes us petty, afraid, competitive, small. Make your armor out of the best of yourself, no matter where you’re at, no matter your circumstances, no matter that you don’t know how you will get by, or how change will be safe when your entire environment says “protect the status quo”. Know that there will be loss in being brave – and there will be incredible gain – gain you cannot put into words, gain that will change you and change your life for good.
Stand up, inside of you, while you are quiet and alone. Recognize those who are standing up around you. Acknowledge them. Light your own candle. Lean in. And always light the candles of those who need a little help remembering who they are along the way. Light begets light, love begets love, true power is never competitive.
Trust something deeper. Know that you are loved, and that you are never alone. This river of tumult, the way our society and world is turning ever away from truth and decency – no matter its juggernaut character, it is still only the smallest part of us, of our scared imaginations. And it is possible to transcend all of it. No matter what.
If your heart is singing, please help Tangerine afford a proper diagnosis and treatment for her illness. https://fundly.com/team-tangerine