Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Meanderings on Mortality and Creativity

"Green Heart Icon"
 I've been in the hospital having a tumor removed...........that sounds so dramatic, but it's not really.  It's a long process of visiting doctors, X-rays, waiting, researching,  etc.  I've been aware of the situation for almost a year, and it's one of the reasons I went to Glastonbury. There is nothing like the prospect of a life-threatening disease to put things in perspective, and quickly!   Everything is colored with a light more brilliant, sweeter,  revealing how precious each fragment is, each memory, each familiar voice, object, taste.  When it seems that that familiarity, that stream of thoughts, contacts, experiences we call our lives may be endangered, the privilege of it all taken away in the forseeable's priorities change quickly.

My friend Ro has come up with the term "SWE" - stupid waste of energy.  You evaluate where the power leaks and "SWE"'s are.

Anyway, I've been in a kind of stasis, waiting to find out.  Now the tumor is removed, and my biopsy is really good.  That was the news I got on 11-11-11, and I can't help but think that's a very  magical day indeed to get the "go-ahead" with a new year! I'll take it!

My great gratitude to my friends,  who so generously offered me their prayers and would have been so much harder without you.

One of the things I meditated on as the scary day of surgery approached (11-9-11) was creativity.  Creativity, and our unique expressive gifts in life, which come down to the same thing.  One is the eternal, seamless source, the other the mortal (and hence not immortal)  means.

Creativity, to me, is the Divine made visible.  When we are Makers, the Divine expresses through each of us, whether we're making a mathematical theorem or a new recipe for lemon cake.  How can anyone look at an orchid, shamelessly pretending, in the hope of being pollinated, that it is a beautiful bevy of  magenta tipped butterflies in flight......without seeing the Goddess at Her easel? Without appreciating the gorgeous humor, and creative intelligence, behind all things visible? 

When I was a kid in a long-ago Bible class, I had an "ah-ha" experience.  I could not understand the "God" that was so often put before me as we plowed through the Book,  a God of terrible vengence. Even now, I shudder to think of children internalizing some of these stories as divinely inspired. How about this, for example, from the Holy Book?
"And  the Lord spake unto Moses, saying "Avenge the children of Israel"..............and Moses said unto them, "Have ye saved all the women alive?.......Now therefore kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with him.  But all the women children, that have not known a man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves."    Num. XXXI, 1-18
I remember reading this, and trying to fathom how the noble Moses, made so visible by Charleton Heston delivering the Commandments......could be involved in what was actually being described here. 

All those women, old ladies, babies  and little boys hacked up with swords,  the little girls carried off to be raped, sanctified by "God" and His prophet.   How could I reconcile this horror?   Other options were needed.

And how sad that a fragmented history of the bloody genocide practiced in ancient battles, fought beneath the banner of a tribal war god sometimes called Yahwah........should appear within the same book as  "Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you" (Luke 6:27).  Or, and this passage, a favorite of mine, which is not from the Bible at all, but rather from the long hidden Nag Hammedi Gospels, attributed to the Gnostic Gospel of Thomas (the Twin)*** :

"If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you.  If you do not bring forth what is within you,  what you do not bring forth will destroy you."

There it is!  The Divine Creative Force, expressing in everything and everyone. Early Christians called it "gnosis", knowledge of God within.   Joseph Campbell called it your personal  "bliss"......... it's the joy of creation,  and if we bring it forth, it energizes and informs and expands our lives.  If not, the energy contracts, turns self-destructive, dark, stagnant.  Maybe, that's even one of the places tumors can come from.

Be that as it may, I think it's so important to not "give your power away", which can mean appreciating, in fact thoroughly enjoying, the gifts that life has put on your banquet plate.

There's a wonderful passage in the ancient Sumarian stories of the goddess Inanna where she goes to visit Enki, the head of the Gods.  In a celebratory mood, he calls forth some heavenly beer, and the two get drunk together.   Enki gives Inanna many empowerments or gifts (called a "me") -  from the art of sexual seduction to the governing of cities to the making of cheese. At a Witchcamp I attended this cycle was ritually enacted.  As  Enki offered each "me" (I always found that ancient word for gift or power interesting), Starhawk, in the role of Inanna, said loudly with conviction and gusto:

"I'll take it!"

I think that's what you have to do, and it's not always easy.  There are so many forces that discourage both creativity and talent  - one does not necessarily get love or acceptance for being "gifted".   I think of my own small dysfunctional family, and the kind of "dumbing down" I've always had to do in order to be tolerated by my envious brothers, who felt that any form of success on my part somehow diminished them. I've seen this operate in groups as well, groups that do not know how to facilitate or address this unconscious collective shadow aspect (a friend who prefers to remain anonymous calls it the "mediocrity prerequisite").    I do not mean to sound harsh, but many people live in toxic spheres where they are being energetically rewarded for being stupid, uncreative, or a "victim", and punished for not being so.  For not using their divine "Me"'s.  And I guarantee that if you live that way long enough, you will demand the same currency from others.   It can take a long time to heal.........

Well..........I have a lot to be grateful for this coming Thanksgiving.  Most of all, all the inspiring people I've been privileged to encounter who are busy expressing the Divine Creative Force***** joyfully - may we all, like Inanna, loudly proclaim:  "I'll take it!"

****  Elaine H. Pagels further commented that: 

"The Gospel of Thomas also suggests that Jesus is aware of, and criticizing the views of the Kingdom of God as a time or a place that appear in the other gospels. Here Jesus says, "If those who lead you say to you, 'look, the Kingdom is in the sky,' then the birds will get there first. If they say 'it's in the ocean,' then the fish will get there first. But the Kingdom of God is within you and outside of you. Once you come to know yourselves, you will become known."........Here it says, "It's inside you but it's also outside of you." It's like a state of consciousness. It's hard to describe. But the Kingdom of God here is something that you can enter when you attain gnosis, which means knowledge.....The secret of gnosis is that when you know yourself at that level you will also come to know God, because you will discover that the divine is within you." 

Read more:

**** Here's a link to Cultural Creatives TV - enjoy.


kd said...

Beautifully expressed. Thank you for the call to creativity! A blessed healing to you, Lauren. I too had two tumors removed this year and the process has been liberating and unlocking is so many ways.

Lauren Raine said...

Hey, thanks! Perhaps we've both had some psychic tumors removed as well!
Happy new life to you as well!

Joel Le Blanc said...

Sending you lots of wishes for healing at the moment! And thanks very much for your post. I recently re-watched "Eat, Pray, Love" and one quote really rings out in my mind at the moment: that god dwells within us, as us.

Valerianna said...

Oh so good to hear this, Lauren! I need to come back to read the full post as I MUST be off to bed, but I did read the first bit - what a journey. Blessings!

Catherine Nash: Desert Paper, Book and Wax said...

I am so grateful for your prognosis, Lauren~ The removal of your tumor is significant on so many levels: Removal of physical and pyschological toxins, Purification, Release, Embracing the New, Replacement with LIGHT and LOVE. There is a space to be filled now with all the best and most wonderful that you need. And it will emanate in a new life that is better than you can even imagine. And so it is!!! Blessings to you friend~ Love, C

Lauren Raine said...

Thanks to you all!

T said...

Glad you're on the mend! Psychic tumors...great phrase and a perfect metaphor. Your call to creativity is inspiring!
- Trish

Lauren Raine said...

Thanks Trish!

Gail said...

Glad to hear all is well, BODY, mind and spirit. Gail