Love is louder

Last summer, I was shocked to hear that a group of far-right nationalists were holding a demonstration outside City Hall on a Saturday morning. I walked the short distance to City Hall and was blown away by the scale and beauty of the counter-demonstration. I harvested the poem below from what I witnessed and experienced.

The same “patriots” are demonstrating outside City Hall one Saturday a month. Thank you to Love is Louder and People for Peace London Ontario for continuing to mobilize with your whole hearts through the snow and rain. Let’s keep showing up, and showing them that love is louder!

Here’s a clip of me sharing the poem at another demonstration outside City Hall in October.

Love not hate makes London great.Posted by Mike Roy on Saturday, October 28, 2017

And here’s a performance of the poem at Innovation Works as part of the I Belong Downtown event in November.

Starting our day off right at Innovation Works. Thank you for your words Heenal.

Posted by Innovation Works London on Monday, November 6, 2017

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What’s that on your slipper?

Another weekday morning and the kids have been deposited at school. My wife and I finally have a moment to ourselves before I have to leave for work, so we sit down for our daily check-in.

I sit beside her on the couch, put my feet up on the ottoman, and we take a deep breath. I offer “Let’s just go with the usual questions: How are you feeling, what are your challenges, and what support do you need?”

“Sounds good,” says Kara. “I’ll go first.” And then just as she’s about to begin her check-in she stops, looks at me, points at the congealed mess at the end of my leg and exclaims, “Before I start, I just have to ask: what’s that on your slipper?”

I laugh and explain that our beautiful baby had smeared what she calls oatmeal and I call porridge all over it.

“Oh, OK,” says Kara, visibly relieved, and proceeds to check in deeply, from her heart. I think wow, how great that she asked that question, before checking in, rather than having it in the corner of her mind. I can learn a lot from this woman!

There are many ways to bring myself into the moment, to make myself present. Hosting myself isn’t just about looking after my body and soul and saying no and asking for what I need (although these things are all important), it includes much “smaller” things too.

How often do I push a question to the back of my mind, thinking that’s not important now or we don’t have time for that?

Humans are not rational creatures. Our brains do funny things. That annoying question or thought sits there and gathers energy and gets bigger and distracts.

Hosting myself means being aware of myself, of what I need right now to bring myself wholly to the present. Sometimes that can be as simple as getting a nagging question off my mind.

Taking the time to ask that “small” question now could not only clear my head, it could also build trust and connection in my relationship.

And who knows, I might also unearth some bigger questions lying under the surface.

Portable

A week and a half ago I attended the Civic Engagement Fair, which was wonderfully orchestrated by the City of London in collaboration with the Urban League. I sometimes take my daughter, Freya, to events like this, but this time I was on my own. I was chatting to Shawna by the coffee and snacks table and she commented that I’m lucky that Freya, at six months old, is still at the age where’s she’s “portable”. That chat inspired this poem 🙂

I’m lucky
that my baby’s so portable
light and bright and adorable
in my arms supportable
I don’t have no fear at all
to take you with me everywhere I go
people think it’s cute I got baby in tow
more than that – you’re the star of the show
you light up the room and your smile melts snow

You’re portable not potable
I’d drink you if I could
you’re jokeable you’re sociable
you’re sweet and quiet and good

But soon it won’t be so easy for me
when you’re one or two or maybe even three
cos toddlers wander, find things to grab and chew
it’s not their fault, it’s what they’re designed to do
exploring, discovering, curiosity
that’s the next thing that’s in store for me

but for now, I’m happy
that you love your Daddy
you grab my beard and my hair so shaggy
playful, curious but safe in my embraces
I feel free, amazingly, and I can go places
we greet the world together with our happy faces

being without you now would be insupportable
I’m glad that for now you’re portable
cos baby you’re so missable
so sweet and soft and kissable
I’m lucky that you’re portable
I’m lucky

Hello, World!

So here it is, here I am. If you’re reading this, I’ve finally done it. I’ve started a blog!

On this blog I will share my poetry, things I’m working on, and cool stuff I notice in the world around me. It sounds kind of boring when I put it like that. I hope it won’t be boring! My goal is to post twice a week and to document my blogging journey as well as my life.

It’s a scary thing, putting my life and thoughts out there for all eternity on the interwebs. Who knows who might read this? What might they think of me? I’m not known as someone who has difficulty speaking his mind, but somehow this feels different. I feel ready — just about! — to step into the discomfort.

Because life is too short to hold back. Too short not to speak my truth, not to use my voice, not to shine my light. Too short not to be vulnerable. Too short to worry what anybody else might think or say. It’s time to stand up and step into the fire. Fuck it, I’m all in.