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Inside Outdoor Voices

Just as honesty plants seeds of integrity
so too
vulnerability plants seeds of honesty.

My primary vocation
in this my gay grandfatherly retiring age
is to parent mindbody challenged adolescents
of diverse colors
as ecotherapeutically as possible
to optimize their and our wealth
of health,
growing nutritional elements and moments
into humanely co-operative organisms
with good days
more than bad.

More or less like watering the flowers
and ignoring the weeds,
or, better yet,
repurposing the weeds,
redirecting their potential energy
in a more nutritiously nurturing way.

My kids not only are vulnerable,
they know they are vulnerable,
and this tends to make them exceedingly honest
with themselves
with me
with each other
about what is funny and what is tragedy.

They are easy to parent
in this way.
Yet this same vulnerability
is their greatest risk
in a too often competitive,
and mindless of other’s special needs,
world.

We communicate connected to the feeling level,
even while learning the ABCs,
the 1 through 100 percents of good and bad numbers
and proportions and balance and symmetry,
the drawing of self-portraits,
homes,
Earth and Her Sun.

Often these inside feeling voices
do not feel well enough to care about the ABC’s,
or even the needs of those we need to love
and to love us,
to be as lovely with as possible.
Inside feeling voices
become loud and angry and hurt outside voices.

I noticed this the other day
when old family friends dropped by.
Not quite as old as I
and therefore much less retired
from life’s exterior competitions.

When we had time to visit several times per week,
we often began together
checking in about how our inside voices were feeling today,
happy or sad,
depressed or triumphant,
and usually some more richly nuanced place between.

Then we would turn to our big outdoor voices.
What we were working and playing on and with
in our back and front and side-yards,
the gardens and woodlands of our productive nutritional lives,
how the pets and pests
and domestic egg-layers were feeling,
and why
and why not.

These two voices generally resonated with each other.
What we were working on with Outdoor Voices
said something about nutrition and health we were working on
as individuals
as a family
with our Inside Voices,
and vice versa.

Only then,
if there was nothing else to do,
no further outdoor recreations
and discernment projects,
would we return to more
yet less intimate and vulnerable
Indoor Voices.
Work and play projects in perpetual interior process.
The noticing of more ornamental acquisitions
like ceiling and wall and floor coverings,
safer boundaries
about what we could see together
through all those more interior feelings
and thoughts about relationships,
past and future and present interactions,
transactions of value and disvalue,
warmth and cooler apathy.

I remembered this yesterday
when old friends,
no longer neighbors, revisited
and we began with new floor and ceiling coverings
and ended with farewell.
They arrive so late
it is already past time to be back home
to get ready for another Indoor Voices
monotonous
monoculturing day.

Which, this morning,
results in feeling blessed
to be here in this time and place
to listen and speak at our leisure
with my vulnerable no-boundary kids,
outrageously honest about their nutritional needs
and wants,
speaking with full volume integrity
in both Inside Outdoor Voices,
health
meets and greets and eventually defeats
pathology,
through honest integrity
of repurposing redirection,
feeding the flowers
and noticing how funny the weedy Outdoor Voices
sound indoors
feeling our way through the ABCs
and the 1 through 100% flowering days
and mean weedy nights.

I’m surprised and disappointed
my former neighbors didn’t notice all the new fruit trees
and berry bushes
poppies and lilies
strawberries and tomatoes
onions and garlic
asparagus and rhubarb,
and 17 new solar panels on the roof!

My kids could care less
and probably never more
what our old friends did
and did not
notice,
other than their own Voices
vulnerably maturing into integrity,
I hope.

Still,
I’m glad they noticed,
because the liked,
the new floor and ceiling covers.

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