I am my own standing ocean where the heart-moss calls the wave-vessels clock towers that keep track of strangers’ letters’ flight paths to other strangers’ bodies broken from no hope. I am my own standing ocean filled with everything that can contain loss and gift, so much so it is an ocean of nothing which hopes-not and is at peace. Believe this and love only.
Into the life of every transforming person enters the drama of death and rebirth in which one’s transpersonal destiny is met and accepted. This destiny is never found at the level of the mundane and personalistic considerations, but is always the result of a showing forth–(Epiphany–the ancient name of the feast commemorating the baptism of Jesus) —Jung and the Lost Gospels
I have always, since a child, carried around a need to see what is around me, what is going on–outside in the world and inside myself–written down on paper. Forever, writing has been, and largely reading, too, a way through, as in a lamp. To formulate and think and see. Mostly see, I suppose. See what it is that speaks, or is spoken or can be spoken, about life. A way of understanding.
Once, in an undergraduate creative writing course, I said to the class that the poem is smarter than we are. What I meant, of course, is that how and what we write is often not so much what we are saying but what is being said to us about our own experiences, things we don’t even recognize yet.
It hasn’t been until recently that this ACT of writing out things has been so clearly a saving grace. I say grace lightly. Sometimes grace is a storm and a swallowing wave that at first brings emotional danger and immediate fear. Of course, without it, there would be no movement to a different, illuminated shore.
Maybe it’s that I’m getting older. Maybe I’m paying more attention to others, not so much myself. Or how myself affects others. I’m not sure. But writing is saving. It is saving, perhaps, more than me, but others. And not because I am in any way a beacon, but that I have grown less and less afraid to not stay silent, to NOT STAY AFRAID.
I have walked into many a dark wood and turned around. I have not called on others for advice. I have listened, stupidly, to my own circles of reason. This round and round ride of immaturity does no one any good, especially the self. In fact, to another extreme, I have walked into a dark wood and kept going, blindly, egotistically thinking I needed no ones council. I guess this is part of growing. These mistakes.
And in those moments I do NOT listen to my higher self, or others, and wind up in danger, shockingly alone and in need of a voice. It is then most stay silent out of fear or embarrassment, lacking a sense of self-worth.
I have come to recognize this is not a unique predicament that only I suffer. KNOW on an intellectual and spiritual level that, in fact, the whole of us do this day in, day out.
It is with this that I dare to speak, and to write, and to share my own journey. Which is not my own but everyone’s alike.
Shame is a powerful force. It embitters us, silences us, takes our true power and hides it under a bush somewhere in one of those dark woods where we think we should not go and most certainly should not speak about.
Transformation from this through writing, for me, has saved me many times. And it is just now that I realize the depths of that saving.
Of course, sometimes to save we must circle into chaos–danger and opportunity–as the Chinese symbols say (having no one symbol for “chaos” they combine “danger” and “opportunity” into one).
The danger of facing it gives way to opportunity to lead ourselves onto greater lands. Darker woods, maybe, but woods that will open up into a field of light and dark at once–the womb and grave which are both grace and necessary.
I do not know what speaks or who, only that it is important to speak. I have read others’ words and felt a life-boat drift in just when I needed it. I have written something myself that at first, feels like nothing and later, upon return, shifts in me something so powerful I knew it was a mountain and is now a seed. A seed I can throw into a wood which will grow and become someone else’s life-boat.
There comes a point when, briefly, I know I am the person beating someone senseless in a blind rage–in them, the pain that could have transformed me into that, is seeded in me, too. Or I am the person giving everything to love another. Often and most likely we are all someone in the middle. Barriers built, walls erected. Emotions and woods never explored except in the briefest of transforming moments. These moments only rarely captured (in my case) in writing. In others–a painting, a sentence, a thought, a deed, a prayer, a crying out—
A “showing forth”. Without it, I don’t know if anything would come or go or weep or sing. Without it, I wouldn’t be able to see my most horrible moments transformed into opportunity to recognize in myself the monster or angel next door.