Blog#94 – Flamboyant & Flawed

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Hello and welcome back to my blog. Follow this link to listen to a recording if that’s your preference.

I would love to think that you’re all doing OK, managing as best you can in the way only you know how. That’s kind of what it’s all about.

Off to a great start

On a happy note, and off to a great start, I’m marking four and a half years as I write this since the first day of my sober life. It’s a milestone and one that needs to be marked to ensure that I don’t ever become complacent about how my life has changed in this time. It’s not so much in a material way that my life has changed, the changes are more pronounced within me, in my body, mind and soul. Well, okay, I have published 94 blogs, had my work published in newspapers, been on radio inspiring others to find their own power through bearing my soul, and then there are the many connections I’ve forged with like-minded seekers in the past 1,645 days. But the most important aspect of my sober life is the shift that’s taken place in my thinking and in my heart. I have learnt the secret to a happy life. It is so simple and was staring at me straight in the face since I first attended a meditation workshop in London in the early nineties. I just wasn’t ready back then.

Bound by a force

I had an incredible experience on Saturday just gone. You will know if you follow my blog regularly that I am privileged to sing with the most awesome of choirs. I am a proud ally and member of the Perth Pride Choir and with whom I get to be as flamboyant and as flawed as I care to be without fear of judgement. It’s the month of Pride here in Perth, Western Australia, so we were invited to perform as part of a ceremony to mark PrideFEST 2023 at the magnificent St George’s Cathedral in the heart of the city. There’s something overwhelmingly beautiful about churches and cathedrals. I sang my heart out with my wonderful tribe. The acoustics and high ceilings make the whole experience of choir singing absolutely captivating and deeply moving. One of our songs was ‘There’s a Place for Us‘ by Carrie Underwood. When we got to the line ‘when these broken hands are whole again’ I felt shivers run down my spine and tears pricked my eyes as our voices reached for the high notes. As we neared the end with the line ‘exactly who we are is just enough’ I could feel the communal energy lifting us up to a place that transcended all our pain. In that moment we were bound together by a force that was stronger than any of us alone. It was magical and life-affirming.

Celebration and solidarity

It was the first time that such an event took place in the Anglican cathedral and was an attempt to reconcile the harm caused by discrimination and persecution of the LGBTQIA+ community by religious organisations over the years. It was positioned as an evening of coming together in celebration and solidarity for people of faith with the LGBTQIA+ community. It’s hard to imagine how challenging it must have been for some of our choir members to set foot in a place that never previously felt safe to them and understandably, some of our choir members chose to stay away. Those who did join in, however, showed enormous courage in doing so. I could tell that there was some rolling of the eyes during certain moments, especially when some of the Bible readings made little sense and didn’t resonate at all. I must admit that I do find the language archaic and hard to understand at times. I think it’s about time that a more fathomable language be adopted if the churches want their teachings to resonate with the masses. That said, a reverend did read something utterly fathomable which resonated like an electric shock that bolted through me. It is a poem by someone I had never heard of until then but am thrilled to have discovered. Turns out the poet Pádraig Ó Tuama also hails from Cork, and I would imagine has, as a gay man, also suffered at the hands of the church. I am sharing his poignant poem with you today as it is deeply moving for its authenticity and for how it captures the messiness of what it is to be human.

In the Name

In the name of goodness, of love and of broken community
in the name of meaning, of feeling and I hope you don’t screw me
in the name of darkness and light and ungraspable twilight
in the name of mealtimes and sharing and caring by firelight

In the name of action, of peace and human redemption
in the name of eating, of drinking and table confession
in the name of sadness, regret and holy obsession,
in the holy name of anger, the spirit of aggression

In the name of forgive and forget, and I hope I get over this
in the name of father and son and unholy spirits
in the name of beauty and broken and beaten up daily
in the name of seeing our creeds and believing in maybe

We gather here, a roomful of strangers
and speak of our hopeland, and talk of our danger
to make sense of our thinking, to authenticate lives
to humanize feeling and stop telling lies

In the name of philosophy, of theology and who gives a damn
in the name of employment and study and finding new family
in the name of our passions, our lovings and indecent obsessions
in the name of prayer, of worship and demon possession

In the name of solitude, of quiet and holy reflection
in the name of the lost, the lonely and the without-direction
in the name of the early and the late and the wholly ineffectual
in the name of the straight, and the queer, transgender and bisexual

In the name of bootclogs, and boobjobs and erectile dysfunction
in the name of schizophrenia, hysteria and obsessive compulsion
in the name of Jesus, and Mary and the mostly silent Joseph
in the name of speaking to ourselves, saying ‘this is more than I can cope with’

In the name of touch-up, and break-up, and of breakdown-and-weeping
in the name of therapy, and Prozac, and of full-hearted breathing
in the name of sadness and madness and years-since-I’ve-smiled
in the name of the Unknown, the Alien, and of the Wholly-In-Exile

In the name of the named and the unnamed and the names of the nameless
in the name of the prayers that repeat ‘I wish that I could change this’
in the name of goodness and kindness and intentionality
in the name of harbour, and shelter and family.

© Pádraig Ó Tuama – Read more:


Spiritual…not religious

As I’ve stated before, I am not a religious person, but I am deeply spiritual. I still have issues with the way organised religion uses its power over people. It’s sad because I am sure that if Jesus were among us, we would love him and all that he stands for. If we could stop for a moment and think about him as a real person who wanted us all to realise our own power, our true worth, to know that we each have the power of the universe (aka God to many) within us, that we are filled with the light of consciousness and that we are one with the power of creation, we would feel less hopeless about our lives. We spend far too much of our energy looking outwards to people to guide us, people who are not awake to the goodness within them and so driven by their egos.

Fear and insufficiency

Have you ever considered that the people who are most influential in the world, the people with the loudest voices, people who seem full of confidence and appear mega powerful might actually be operating in this way because of fear and insufficiency? The bigger the ego, the deeper the fear they carry within them of being inferior. Hence their drive to prove themselves superior. The ego thrives on comparison, always wanting to be better than others. What a horrible way to exist. They are not aware of this. They are not living in an awakened state. Let us not be fooled by them. With self-awareness, we can become more discerning about where we want our energy to go, where we want to focus our hearts and minds. We are not how much money, power, or popularity we have. We are much greater than that. Through stilling the mind and body, we get to connect with the true self, the powerful self that is the light of the world and which is connected to the power of life itself.

Dulled the senses

During my drinking and dope-smoking days I was unable to connect to the deeper part of myself because I dulled the sense within me that enables it to thrive. The power of presence seemed way too airy-fairy, as though it had no real meaning to it. But you could say the same about love. Both these concepts seem idealistic, yet when we embrace them, we find meaning beyond our wildest dreams. If you’re still with me, thank you. I am hopeful that, if you haven’t already, you too can find this sense of freedom within you. I know from experience that one has to be ready before one can be open to it. All in good time. I wish you stillness of mind, harmony of body, and peace of heart. Thanks for being here today. Love, Gill x


Gill Kenny - the Writer & Blogger

About the author – Gill Kenny

I have been writing for as long as I can remember. Through my blog, I aim to provide you with a place where you can feel valued by inviting you to share your journey too.  I will regularly have guest writers who wish to share their views or experiences on each topic. I am open to ideas and happy to cover any topics that interest you, so please feel free to share yours with me.

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Love, Gill x