Sunday, October 4, 2015

The touch of winter


This morning I felt the first faint taste of winter's advent, the going into the dark time, achingly bitter sweet.  I found myself flooded as well with a bone deep feeling of loneliness.  The ghosts of the lost and the past clustered thickly around me at that moment, and I didn't know who I was.  It's not good to live too long among ghosts, they are not meant to linger, but sometimes you must give them your ear.  And the Dark must be welcomed like sleep, or dreams, or the imaginal cells of a coocoon.  

The dark can  return us to forever, to that sometimes terrifying  formlessness, but it brings gifts from the depths.  Like Hecate, offering just a little lantern to light the way.   That little flame can bring  healing and wisdom, even as it breaks your heart. 

 "There's a crack in everything" said Leonard Cohen.  "That's how the light gets in."

I've always loved the poem below, I read it often.  A poem or work of art is something that stays with me, it's a touchstone to come back to.  It speaks to me always, and takes me back to frail moments when I listened, really listened in the depths of a silence only, perhaps, found in a snowbound night, or, as where I live, in the deep desert.  

                             All those years
                            forgetting  how easily 
                            you can belong to everything
                            simply by listening.

I think it speaks to me so much because we live in a world with so little "listening".  So much noise, constant input, computers, cell phones demanding our frayed and unravelled  attention and it increases every year,the distraction, the stress, the noise.  The endless pressure to connect, produce, promote, promote, promote.    It is hard to be alone, really alone with yourself, to have your attention fully absorbed in listening.   

                           All those years
                           listening to those
                           who had nothing to say.

I've been having a kind of meltdown lately.......maybe it's the moon, maybe it's a kind of PTSD, but I find myself crying, anger rises like a volcano, and the emotional roots go down into the dark, bringing up grief, and sometimes great insight.   I have felt quite possessed by violent emotions I thought I had "mastered".  Hah.   The emotional body has its own kind of intelligence, our souls do not always want what our minds think we need,  and sometimes you really do need to fall apart, erupt, lose your mind, it happens, it insists,  it has roots in the dark that go back and back and back to touch your history, and sometimes, to flow from an underground river, what Clarissa Pinkola Estes called "the River beneath the River of the World."    

                           what disturbs
                            and then nourishes
                            has everything we need.

Sometimes a good depression can slow us down and show us something we need to know about the life we live. Is it the life your soul wants to lead?   Sometimes great anger and anxiety can show us what we need to know about about ourselves.   Sometimes tears are overdue, need to be grieved,  and can help us to let go.  Sometimes all of the above can explode, and it's time to change.  All of this opens the heart, and that is where soul intelligence lives, where the whole of us moving through time can be felt, known.

                          What we hate in ourselves
                           is what we cannot know
                           in ourselves 

Every one talks about "healing", as if you could somehow pull out emotional pain like a bad tooth  in a convenient encapsulated  way and it would be gone.  But I've found that many things never "heal", so much as we learn to deepen from them, we know them and can even listen to those  painful psychic states with humility.  They are teachers.  They tell us when to stop, to listen, to hear the voices so difficult, or so vast, all the disenfranchised and unloved people accumulated within us...........they ask us to love ourselves better, in the end.  And thus, others.

                       And the slow difficulty
                        of remembering how everything
                        is born from an opposite
                        and miraculous otherness.

I have found in working with groups, and myself,  that if you raise energy, you raise energy......and that means that both the "light" and the "dark" are raised, the integral polarities.  We live in a culture that values only Appollonian logic, the  "light", and dismisses the "dark", the unconcious, the intuitive, the unseen.  It is "scary", bad.   But if you raise energy invariably the shadow aspects of participants will come up for review and healing and karmic shift, along with the high energies, the "enlightenment".   This is true of those times when we are triggered in some way as well.   "Enlightenment" must also bring "endarkenment".  

When I lived in Bali, I was struck by the way the sacred clothes were all checkerboards, black and white, black and white.  The curbs of Ubud were painted like a checker board - black and white, yin and yang, Sekala and Niscala, the seen and the unseen, always being brought into balance.  

                          What is precious inside us 
                           does not care
                           to be known by the mind
                           in ways that diminish its presence.



The winter of Listening

No one but me by the fire,
my hands burning red in the palms while
the night wind carries everything away outside.

All this petty worry while the great cloak
of the sky grows dark and intense
round every living thing.

What is precious 
inside us does not
care to be known by the mind
in ways that diminish its presence.

What we strive for in perfection
is not what turns us
into the lit angel we desire,
what disturbs and then nourishes
has everything we need.

What we hate in ourselves
is what we cannot know
in ourselves
but what is true to the pattern
does not need
to be explained.

Inside everyone
is a great shout of joy
waiting to be born.

Even with the summer
so far off I feel it grown in me
now and ready
to arrive in the world.

All those years
listening to those
who had nothing to say.

All those years forgetting
how everything
has its own voice
to make itself heard.

All those years forgetting
how easily you can belong
to everything simply by listening.

And the slow difficulty
of remembering how everything
is born from an opposite
and miraculous otherness.

Silence and winter
has led me to that otherness. 
So let this winter of listening
be enough for the new life
I must call my own.

'House of Belonging'


by David Whyte

5 comments:

Barb said...

I'm not sure we ever really master anything, much less emotions.

Rain-in-the-Face said...

Last night, I came across a reference to a book by Jungian Stephen Parker,
Heart Attack & Soul and then I went to sleep to dream about the
aunt & uncle of my ex-husband. My congenial and affectionate connection with them was one of the casualties of my divorce, not from any animosity on my part, but because they believed blood was thicker than water. Residual and deeply embedded tribal loyalties are like zombies; can't master them, can't kill them, throw salt!

lauren raine said...

Well said my friends, thanks to you both for your comments. Sometimes I try to get the big picture, instead of punishing myself for my lack of understanding or emotional distress, for not being "in control" sometimes. That's where "the light gets in".

With loss, ultimately, one has to "kiss the joy as it flies", like William Blake wrote. All the beauties, the love, the good times, the companionship, whether it lasts a day or a lifetime, pass into impermanance, so I try to remind myself to be grateful that I had the experience, the memories perhaps being viewed not as a loss, but a momento, a souvenir.

lauren raine said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Crystal Vanluven said...

Sounds like we had a similar month. The blood moon eclipe was quite powerful.