Different Ways

[Image description: a path in a woods in the fall. The photo is taken from a very low perspective, with the path in the foreground, covered in brown and yellow leaves, dividing in the background against a backdrop of trees with green and yellow fall leaves.]

A well-known anonymous quote reminds
that those who mispronounce a word
most likely learned it by reading,
without ever hearing it said aloud

and I wonder what is the equivalent for
living out an different way of being one has
only read about, imagined, caught glimpses of
without experiencing long term in real time.

Most structures, families, organizations
revolve around power, control, clinging to
the same way of doing things even as
we all know something’s off, not working.

Wanting desperately to chart a new course
but with only a compass to guide, a compass
I know only from books always points true,
but I’m unsure whose truth it is pointing to

and if it can point me to the truth I’m learning as I go
while also keeping me from veering back onto
the well-traveled way that was modeled and
whose inertia feels nearly impossible to overcome.

Everyone else on the same different course
is also learning as they go with navigational guides
they’ve acquired by searching, not example,
and it seems like there are too few, too far away.

I need the language, the guides, the practices
to communicate to others, to teach myself,
but it always feels like pronouncing
words the wrong way. Out loud.

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