There is a quiet place, a secret place, that is yours for restoration. There is a realness in the stillness. Go there, when you can; when you need to. It's safe. For me, it is the Other Side of the Trees.
‘Couple of Oreos in the night after a disruptive dream. I could not quite remember the details. The Oreos were amazing. A son, undisputedly handsome with a good, a noble, heart, intelligent, awareness of his world sharper than a sword, gifted in a way that he did not ask for, bringing him intermittent sorrow, coexisting with joy, a sense of humor, robust imagination, warrior spirit. I had my share of wounds, lost at times in a world that moves much faster than I can grasp, my own creativity I cannot get to, I look for trails but they are unfairly elusive. I found myself grieving for a man who was and is a legend, who loved well, lived well, laughed well, my friend and my dad. But none of the dream was a dream. Reality has a great deal of mystery, at times.
I was walking with a woman, swirled in beauty with blonde hair and with unfathomable wisdom, a saint of a mother with the spunk to tell me when I was wrong, who married me in spite of me and my wounds and groaner jokes. Two younger ones looked up to me with love and respect, and I was confused by that: a daughter with eyes that can see into the depths of the journey, the hearts and souls of others; my son who creates so many things, his laughs radiate outward and inward toward others. I stood in Scotland at the castle Dunnotar, and at the Loch Ness hoping for a glimpse of Nessie, the Loch Ness “monster”. I walked along the ice road between McMurdo Station and Willy Field (camp) in Antarctica. I sat in the Christchurch Cathedral, putting together some pieces, there at the Christchurch Square. But the dream was not a dream. They are sparkling realities and memories I keep close.
I’ve been in a forest. A metaphorical, thick, forest; trees so tall. A forest where some of you have been. Moonlight struggles to get through the overlapping, entangled, limbs and boughs. The sun does not always waste it’s time on a wounded, weathered, soul, in an unforgiving wood. Perception can be mutinous.
“Why have I spent time in that forest?”
“Because it’s where I am supposed to be.”
Mutinous perception. More accurately, a lie. It’s not where I belong. Hmmm … I must remember that. “Where am I supposed to be?” Maybe we know where we are supposed to be. Or, not. Maybe it is more about vision; honorable longings; redemptive passion. To follow, and walk out, the vision. To release that which is good, the passion that speaks of who we are.
The storms, continuous. There are good days that have been very good days, a reminder that the storms do, in fact, blow over. Healing happens in the storms: injustice, hardships, pain. Some people are like storms(!),( they bring chaos, frenzy, intensity. Others are like good days, bringing the sun, clarity, calm. There are unexplainable moments of beauty in the storms. The dark storms come, without beauty: the bad stuff, people who want to make life hellish / difficult / cruel … I feel bullied. And, I try to remember: there is healing. Healing in the land of the bullies. I am not a victim; I (we) have what it takes to do the next thing. I’ve worked with kids, removed from the home because of the parents’ own style of bullying … sexual abuse and neglect. I think about people in Michigan, violently bullied by a man with a gun, illogical, brutal. I recall images of people in Paris, running for safety, away from terrorists killing innocent citizens. I think of bullies like cancer, Parkinson’s Disease; I think of bullies who target students in school; I think of corporations saturated with greed bullying American consumers; I think of women, men, harassed in the work place unmercifully. Such a small list. So, the healing … it is not just about me. It cannot be just about me. Yet, there are times when I get preoccupied with “self”, and I believe it is about me.
When we are bullied by people we do business with; when we are bullied by life; the car that breaks down in route to a meeting; the depression that rears it’s ugly head, our joy sliding away … when those times happen, our anguish is real and legitimate, and we do need healing. We need healing in the Land of the bullies. And in that healing, we can sometimes see a little more than what … initially … meets the eye.
“Redundant” … I am a bit embarrassed that my short writing today is a bit redundant. I’ve talked about the waters, here, in the front range area of the Rocky Mountains. I’ve talked about seasons. I’ve talked about my own grappling with my challenge, stepping into what is next. And yet, this mix has gathered … like a small group … at the front of my present being. As the gathering has come together, I … therefore … write.
Every single time I take a look at Bear Creek, it’s waters flowing … not only fast, but strong … I acknowledge the beauty of nature, and I acknowledge my poignant disruption happening. I know that I would not allow myself to get caught in those currents, for they would overpower me, and slam me against the boulders.
It is one thing to talk about that which I see. It is one thing to feel what it is that is flowing through my veins, pumping rapids of thought into my mind. It is one thing to think about the metaphorical implications what all that is around me: a new season arriving as you and I connect; intimidating rapids storming through the passes; the rallying words of wisdom I read and hear.
It is a separate thing … to move intentionally with vision, and passion, and out of necessity … in order to transcend my own mediocrity, my small portions of subtle self-pity, and to fight well in spite of my woundedness. I do, truly, want to overwhelm the lies that could keep me stuck in the molasses-like fog.
And this business of moving … I believe it is not as simple as I want it to be. And it is true, that this business of moving … is not as difficult as I sometimes think.
I’m fortunate in so many ways … Countless ways. Even the wounds are a gift. For I I learn from all of this. Every week or every other, I meet with a wise woman, walking with me for a short season. I bring a few pieces for the puzzle; I reach down, I reach out, to find pieces that might fit. Sometimes a piece will fit. I might want a piece to fit, but it doesn’t. I just keep the pieces coming. I call this process “Puzzle-ing”.
Sergei Rachmaninoff’sConcerto No. 2 for Piano and Orchestra.
In the midst of my 11pm – 2am radio show, I found Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2.. I was absolutely awestruck. Months later, home from college on the weekend, Mom gave me tickets for the symphony, that would perform Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2. Strange timing. At some point I read about Rachmaninoff’s depression. In his letters he referenced his depression as the “black melancholy”, most prevalent between 1897 and 1900.
* Note: I sometimes refer to Sergei Rachmanioff asRach Man.
Prior to Rach Man’s black melancholy kicking in, his 1st symphony … “Symphony No. 1” … was performed in March of 1897. Here is a good description of the significance of Symphony No. 1, provided by Brent Woo from UCLA in one of his documented works:
“The premiere of Symphony No. 1 on March 15/27, 1897,was a significant, (negative), turning point in Rachmaninoff’s career. No longer the wonder child of the Moscow Conservatory, he was mercilessly shot down by the critics after making his first steps as a Free Artist (a title conferred to graduates of the conservatory).” Brent Woo from UCLA / http://www.international.ucla.edu/media/files/woo-journal.pdf
My heart hurts for this young man, getting raked over the coals by critics. For two and a half years after his performance (his first symphony)Rach Man did not compose a single new large work for his new project. And it was about this time, in 1900 January, that Dr. Nikolai Dahl began meeting with Sergei every day using an approach called “Autosuggesative Therapy”. *NOTE: This had nothing to do with selling automobiles.
Dr. Dahl and his friends encouraged, empowered, Rach Man to start writing again. It is profound: Sergei Rachmanioff began writing one of the most powerful, most beautiful, classical pieces of all time … his Piano Concerto No. 2 …in his three-year battle with depression.One thought is that Rach Man’s courageous choice to start writing again, in spite of his own doubts and his own woundedness, played an unfathomably important role in his healing from the black melancholy.
I am intensely drawn to this part of Rach Man’s story for several reasons:
my own personal experience,
the privilege of walking with clients for the last 17 years and experiencing their healing,
what I have learned from friends and other bloggers,
my own reading and research,
and the positive power of healthy community.
Some of us find ourselves in different places, intensely challenging, thick with anguish. Whether it be “the dark night of the soul”, or the desert, or a hellish place, or isolated – alienated – desolated – negated, when we are there, we wonder if we will ever get out.
The “aloneness” is unavoidable, even when friends are around. One cannot escape the reality that “you are”, or “we are”, or “I am”, “going through it”. But at times, certain people can help us. But those certain people have to be the right people, at the right time, and they need to be able to help in the right way. And we may not know, at the time what that right way is. My hope is that this post successfully emphasizes the power of community; the power of music; the power of getting back into that which we are called; and the power of our own fortitude and vision and commitment … to do our own work in the healing process.