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2022.08.23・knowing, below the surface

knowledge is inherently rooted in the past. each experience, each moment, brings with it a new truth, if we can remember to stay present. when we get stuck in our knowing, we can rob ourselves of the opportunity and openness required for learning and living.

© Brenna Jiv 2021



I’ve been wrestling with this idea of the things I (think I) know. and the acceptance that in fact, I/we really know nothing. and how beautiful that is when you truly embrace it, as it allows you to fully exist in the moment. in the experience of self/others/life, in all our beautiful chaotic glory. but most of us are unable to stay there. even if we become better and better and bringing ourselves back to the present, as humans we think and we talk about things that happened/things we want to happen. not necessarily as gossip, but simply for the act of sharing. connecting. hoping for common interest. seeking validation when we doubt ourselves. seeking comfort. love. advice. we talk and we time travel. leaving the moment behind for past and future ruminations. memories. hopes. fears.


those of us trying to grow/heal can spend an immeasurable amount of time thinking of ourselves. is it absorption or a desire for understanding?


my journey to self has been full of these moments. the times I catch myself overthinking, or wondering if all these considerations even matter in the grand scheme of things. thoughts about gender, sexuality, race, colourism, love, parenthood, career, and what I really want from life. what would my life have to look like to genuinely be filled with more joy and peace than stress? are these thoughts the source of dissatisfaction, or are they the path to peace? I suppose time will tell, but for now I’m here to share. some of them. because this is what being human is. for me. right now.


thirty one feels like a stripping bare. bark removed. finally touching the marrow of my existence. it’s raw. wholesome. frightening. honest. it’s a matter of staring all my insecurities in the eye. a confrontation without war. an acknowledgement of all that must die in order for me to live. it’s slow. frustrating. and so fucking beautiful. the kind of beauty that leaves you choking on your tears. overwhelmed with unnamable emotion coming from unknown sources. probably more of the shit you buried deep in the wounds of your childhood. it’s re-parenting my inner child as I learn/teach myself how to healthily parent the ones I’ve brought into this world. it’s remembering that I have brought life into this world, because I often still don’t feel like a parent. it’s full of apologies. of what can I do betters. of is there anything you need from me that I’m not giving. it’s humbling. maddening. awakening. a recognizing that all the ways I’m afraid to love them is synonymous with the love I still don’t know how to give to self. or how to receive. from them. from others. friends and lovers alike. nobody tells you receiving takes practice. it’s watching myself run, then pulling u-turns on my own coping mechanisms. painfully. pouring rum and lighting candles, sobbing, each time spirit brings me back. it’s full of gratitude, because all I really believe in is honesty. even when it hurts. for isn’t that what life is? the dichotomy of pain/pleasure, joy/sadness, love/hate. the constant push and pull and opposites requiring each other to experience themselves in their fullness. it’s breath. the inhale/exhale as we follow the wheel of life. we forget we are the ocean. bodies of salt/water/blood. all we really need is more sun/light. more earth under bare toes. wind caressing skin. these bodies are not sinful. and while I struggle more than I care to admit with my own, I am learning to love it more and more genuinely each day. to water and nurture it. feed it with things that feel good. to speak to it kindly. to forgive the ways it betrays me and thank it for carrying me further than I ever imagined. for the art it enables me to create. for its strength. and willingness to forgive me too. the ways it’s always ready to try again.


it is a vulnerable returning to something so far unencountered by the conscious, yet known fully by the spirit. it’s the heart screaming I am ready even when the mind is not. it’s a separation of parts for the sake of unity of all I’ve been afraid to be. and the only thing I know for sure, is that I know nothing except everything will be okay.


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