I know this post has some energy around it since it has been mostly written in my head for about three hours and I have twiddled away my morning writing time and run myself up against the wall of have to be somewhere too soon to get it spell checked and out.
Having said that, I am going to try to capture the raw energy of this morning and then get it out to the world later. I’m leaving all this in because it seems to say something about important information that is trying to come through me: if it’s big, I procrastinate. Especially if it feels like something that has been asleep in the deep, and is now not only awake, but rising towards the surface, seaweed slick and barnacle encrusted. Hard to not want to run away.
In The Origin and History of Human Consciousness, Erich Neumann says that the community (the world) depends on “outsiders”, whom he defines as people “within an ebnlarged category of the type known in myth as the hero, the Great Individual.”
He says the hero “must conquer the ordinary because it represents the power of the old order” which is constricting.
But conquering normal life – which is the life of the unheroic – always means sacrificing normal values and so coming into conflict with the collective. If later the hero is honored as a culture-bringer and savior, etc., this is generally only after [the hero] has been liquidated by the collective.
I hope you do not think less of me that I claim for myself the title “hero.” It seems my whole life has been standing up to “this is the way it is” because it chafes me raw.
In the epic poem, NightVision, that is the heart of my Master’s thesis, I write:
“you don’t understand,” he said.
I am 19. It is several lifetimes ago.
“This is the way it has always been,” he said.
And he said, “Why won’t you go along with the game.
The game is played on middleground guarded by rules.
Why must you always pace at the edge. You might
“We know,” he said, “how it is done here. Don’t rock
His voice is all the voices I had ever heard in my life.
All the voices trying to drown out laughter heard
at border’s rim where Yellow’s lightening sounds to them
llke howls the do not wish to hear. [see” note” below]
I did not choose this ledge,
this tension between land and beckoning abyss. It is just…..
despite myself, I am not afraid.
This piece of the epic creation poem is a conflation of my first (and second – one and the same, another story) husband and my 2nd semester Master’s facilitator, as well
as a lot of other people in my life who did/do not understand why sometimes you have to go ahead and challenge the status quo. No matter what.
And while Heros have their moments of knowing they were meant to do the work they are in the middle of, they also have their moments of complete despair.
It says something about the past two weeks that I was brought to near tears by the words I read this morning by T. Thorn Coyle in Kissing the Limitless: Deep Magic and the Great Work of Transforming Yourself and the World:
We have put parts of ourselves in a box on a shelf, or made another facet toe an invisible line…We conformed to lives that did not fit. It is up to us to make our lives fit who we are…At this point, who we are includes whatever years we spent attempting to shape our lives to fit some other ideal, or hiding parts of ourselves in order to feel more acceptable..
The heroic is calling. I am never sure what that means. Coyle says: “The figuring out impulse is an attempt to take control, to be active, to do. Sometimes the doing is in the being, and right here, teaching and learning can occur.”
What is rising for me right now is doing things in ways that I have not done them before. At work, both sitting with “the way things are” and trying to be true to myself is creating a good bit of internal drama. External too unfortunately. It seems I almost never react until I am in full reaction mode and can’t quite turn it off.
Inside I am restless which is usually the way I get when I am in transformation. Always scarey (see above: seaweed slick and barnacle encrusted), so you can see why “doing”/being in control would be and has been my first response. This time, I am going to sit and see what comes up. And write – around both feelings (my last post was inspired by “the way things are” at work). That was actually said to me: “This is the way things are.” My edge walking self responded: “And this is they way they will be 100 years from now if someone doesn’t say something.” Of course I am always and every “Someone.” Can you see why I might identify with the definition of the hero who gets liquidated?
I can unequivocally say that I have been through several liquidations (and haven’t we all by a certain age?!). The bad news is that it always feels like death. The good news is that wings grow and I rise again, often boosted by the energy of the awakened seaweed slick, barnacle encrusted thing I am transitioning into/with.
How about you? How do you respond to transition? How do you know you’re in the beginning or in the midst? What do you do or be while there? Share!
Note: so you understand the reference to Yellow in the quote above, here is a previous stanza in the poem to put it in context:
Purple lay humming
and the hum danced
in and around Purple
criss-crossing and spiraling
until Purple was full of whom
it might be. Caught by curiosity
and thrum, Purple became Blue Water
and Red Flame quite by accident, more
a letting go than a splitting apart, and hum
became sigh and sigh became Winde; then Blue
and Red and Wind danced together long enough
to create Time. Beneath beyond Purple hummed
and, because of Wind, the hum began
to tickle Purple and Purple laughed
out Yellow and Yellow draped
among the crosses and spirals
of Purple’s Web creating
For all I know, they are sill dancing.
(the poem is concrete in that the shape of the paragraph is meant to bring to mind the belly of pregnancy….for the birthing of shadow and light)