Late Fragment by Raymond Carver
And did you get what you wanted from this life, even so?
And what did you want?
To call myself beloved, to feel myself
beloved on the earth.
This is the only poem I can recite from memory.
It’s what we are all hungry for, isn’t it?
Hungry to know this as THE truth, and hungry to share this knowing with others.
To feel yourself beloved, to call yourself beloved, on this earth.
Part of the kith and kin of the universe. Here.
In kindergarten, I had a nightmare that I still vividly remember. Vividly.
I was on the playground and my classmates – even Beth who had a wonky heart and was always so pale and quiet – were chasing me. Around and around the monkey bars we went, a pack of screaming kids on my heels screaming, “Jennifer LoudMouth, Jennifer LoudMouth.” (It’s true, I do have a loud mouth. I like that now. Then, not so much.)
I can still hear their tiny feet in their StrideRite shoes clattering over the shells (I grew up in Florida and the playground was carpeted in crushed shells.) I can still feel the sting of being ostracized. The feeling of not belonging, of not being beloved.
I believe that dream has stayed with me, as has Mr. Carver’s poem (yes that’s his tombstone in the picture; he died of lung cancer at 50), because I am here to practice being beloved. And to teach this practice. To help you and me know, through every cell of our being, that we are beloved. To know that truth as the glue that holds us together.
And by knowing ourselves beloved, we hold every creature beloved, too.
And act accordingly.
The course I’m teaching is, at its heart, about belonging and being beloved. If it’s a fit, I hope you can join us.