Special Boy

At the April, 2004 training, I declared my intention to become an LIT. Before the training that just completed, I finished all the tasks required of me to become an LIT except for one: I needed a hot-seat/blessing from “the community.” I contacted several of the leaders about this and there was some push back about the short time (only two days before the training began), and some confusion about the process for requesting the hot seat. I talked with Turpin Mott and received several directions, most of which I followed to the letter. I later learned that he wanted me to call him back, the one direction I missed hearing. On Thursday as I was driving to the training, I heard from Martin Richardson, my mentor, that I was not to ask for a blessing because Turpin had told Martin that I didn’t do what I had been told to do. I called Turpin and left a message, but did not received a return call by the time my by the time I had picked up my three riders and shut off my phone. I later learned that Turpin called me back only moments after I had shut off my phone.

When I got to Wa Ri Ki, many of the staff members asked me about the blessing/hot seat. Was it still on? I responded that I did not know, but probably not. I did not tell anyone about Martin’s direct message to me from Turpin. I was (and still am) angry with Turpin, and I used that anger as my justification for not obeying his orders. But that dialogue happened entirely inside me. When Jonathan Cohen told me to ask for what I wanted, I went ahead and rounded up the staff members who were available and the hot seat happened.

Later that evening, my mentor, Martin, pulled me aside and asked me a simple yes or no question: had I informed the leaders of his instructions to me that Turpin did not want this to happen on this weekend? I hedged, hemmed and hawed and did not want to give him a clear yes or no answer. Inside me, my guts were churning and I felt myself trying to justify my own confusion; but Martin would not let me off the hook. Yes or no? Which was it? When I finally acknowledged that the answer was “no” he asked me what the shadow was? He told me that his trust in me diminished because I could not clearly tell him the truth.

For the next couple of hours my stomach was twisted into knots. I wanted to leave the site, to disappear, to hide, to throttle Turpin, anything but simply feel the pain I was feeling. I asked Phillip Baker (Fibilt) to sit with me. I wanted him to tell me the shadow he saw in me; but he would not tell me. Instead, he gently asked me question after question until the shadow appeared before me. It took so long because I did not want to see and own it. But here it is: I am a special boy. I will lie to you, manipulate you, fuck you over and do whatever it takes to get what I want. And if you get hurt in the process, that’s tough shit. Maybe we can clean that up later if I am “nice” to you. It’s not a pretty shadow.

As I lay in my bunk, twisting and turning, unable to sleep, I knew that I had to own this shadow in the morning staff meeting or leave the site and MKP forever. And I knew that I would be asked for a make-up. As I lay awake searching for an act of service that would bring me back into integrity with the container we were forming (and most importantly, with myself), I thought of reading a poem. And then I realized that my act would be to write a poem, then read it in the container, and finally, to share the poem and the background (my shadow) with my larger community. So here is the final piece in my “simple act of service.”

The Special Boy

The special boy
the other day
longed for his moment
in the sun.

He didn’t look up
and see the clouds
marching like ancient giants
across the marvelous sky.

He didn’t look down
and feel the grass,
wet with the nurturing rain.

He didn’t look inward
and touch his aching heart.

Longing only to be held,
he looked only for the sun
that wasn’t there that day.

Bob Jones
Salmon Swimming Home
June 11th, 2004

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