The Heart is a Bell

by tobias crabtree


This is a letter to you, whoever you are. These words aren’t for sale, nor am I. My words are for the heartbroken and the ones who feel left behind. They are for the foresaken. They are for the forgotten. This is bone soup, take it in and let it make you stronger. There is a song in the bell that is your heart, and I’m just the one to strike it. This is for you, if you are a woman. It’s for you, if you are from another land where another flag is flying. It’s for you if you believe in nothing. It’s for you if you are a warrior. It’s for you if you are gay or lesbian or transexual. It’s for you if you love a different God or no God at all. It’s for you if you have a baby or lost a baby . It’s for you if you are not the same color as me. Or were born in the middle of America.  It’s for you if you’ve been raped or abused and left to find the pieces you believe yourself to be. It’s for you if you are young and unsure. It’s for you if you are old and losing the memories of your precious life.  It’s for you if you are afraid and hiding. It’s for you, all of you, even the one’s who hate.

There are things that are and then there are things I believe to be. I’m affected by emotion and words. I allow the world to interact with my heart. It’s my choice. The path I’m on is the path I’ve chosen and there’s a good amount of power in that knowledge alone. Every day I make decisions that lead to an array of actions. This is life. I choose what to eat and drink and say. I live in a fairly alternative fashion. Since I was in the Marine Corps, I’ve never owned a house. I’m listed as homeless. I travel in a dolphin RV and my mind is a catalogue of places to which I might travel and stop. I sleep in caves and basements and under the wild and burning stars. I see my friends and eat food with them. I’m invited to hundreds of places, so many that I cannot visit them all. I try to bring more than I’m given, but it’s difficult because my friends are such givers. My experiences cover a broad spectrum from noble to distasteful. I am a man of mistakes and re-do’s. I have been a leader of men and I’ve been led by powerful men during dangerous times. I needn’t spend much time with someone to know if I can follow them, it’s a character thing. And I don’t mind following, if I believe in my leader. I like to kick ass for strong people, in fact, I love it.

And here’s the in-between. Here’s the deal. No one, no country, no man, no lover, no king…owns your heart. Only you, my dear, can own that clunking engine. Only you control that wonderful bell of truth that hangs in your rib cage. We all have a wilderness inside us and our hearts sit in the midst of our being. Life is lost without the heart and so, with the heart, there is always power. There is no controlling the wild heart. It is our connection to the cosmos and the fires that burn from distant stars. And in the petty workings of humanity, in the chaos of our machines, under the silly pretenses of our elections and positions, we still own our fiery hearts. What glory and power!

Leading is secondary. A leader is powerless if no one follows. I have simple rules for who I will follow:

— They must respect women. This is simple. This is because I love my mother. My position and strength as a man is a result of the patience of the women who love me. Anyone who disrespects women is innately weak and not to be trusted.

— They must be fair. In other words, they must understand the qualities that lie beyond skin color or origin. This is the ability to see everyone as human and treat them with equality.

— They must be honest. This does not mean perfect, simply willing to admit when they are wrong and then make adjustments. I have little time for someone who has to tell me what they are through self-proclamation. A man doesn’t need to tell me how hard he works, I’d rather just work with him and find out for myself. The Truth of a person lies in how he is, not in how he says he is.

— They must be willing to listen to criticism and remain open-minded. If you are never wrong, you are a liar.

So here I am at the point. And these thoughts are easy like a Sunday morning. We have come to a point in America where we will overlook the character of our leaders in order to reach an agenda. There is no excuse for the choice we have made. Since when should we choose business savvy over basic human respect. Money is not the fix. Hateful words and dissonance are the opposite of strong leadership. When self-proclamation and hate become the vehicle to victory, we must check our loyalties.

Let me be clear. This is not a call for chaos. This is one heart, ringing like a bell. This is a call to the honest hearts. I am singing out for the ones who don’t know how to sing. I am sending a message that I want to be clear. I will not follow that which is weak. I am no sheep. I am a wolf.

“Make yourselves sheep, and the wolves will eat you.”

                                                           —  Ben Franklin


I intentionally did not use anyone’s name in this bit of writing. I want it to be clear that I will not follow anyone who fits the description above. Just because you have the title President does not mean I will respect you or follow you. I also did not write about my allegiance to the earth and her oceans and whales and trees and mountains. I am a servant of the earth herself and I believe in protecting her from greed and recklessness. This writing was for the hearts of the humans that need to find strength. Like it or not, this world (not just this nation) is our home. My heart is taking lessons from the ocean; it is wild and raging and uncontrolled.  And don’t forget Love. 

Remember that we are responsible for our own moral compass. Navigation is a perishable skill that requires constant practice. It is your duty to check your truth and make sure you are on a positive heading. Leave fear behind, it is unnecessary baggage. Be strong and walk with purpose.